With 8,688 choir members, Members Church of God International (MCGI) broke the Guinness World Records for the Largest Chorale Group during the Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path or TOP) program’s 35th anniversary celebration on October 12, 2015.
The Ang Dating Daan (ADD) Chorale graced the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, from the stage to its aisles, singing and dancing to 18 numbers of songs and medleys of praise in different languages.
The official praise song piece of the grand Ang Dating Daan Chorale is a 15-minute long medley composed of four MCGI praise songs entitled “Stand Up,” “Praise the Name,” “Hallelujah, Amen,” and “Enrich the Spirit.”
The four songs are original compositions of one of MCGI’s resident composers and conductors, Bro. Bong Rueda.
Guinness official adjudicator Ms. Fortuna Burke Melhelm confirmed the record-breaking feat on the same day of the event.
“It takes an organization that’s very special, very talented, and it takes the best in the world to get a Guinness World Records title,” started Ms. Melhelm.
“The record for the Largest Gospel Choir was 4,745. Today you have the brand new Guinness World Records title,” Ms. Melhelm gleefully finished, which was met with the deafening cheers of those in the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
For his part, Bro. Daniel Razon, the Assistant to the Overall Servant said the award is an additional blessing from God as the group thank God for the 35 years of the Ang Dating Daan program.
“This is something that we did not intend to do – to get the Guinness book of world records [title]. But our hearts intended to give thanks to God,” remarked Bro. Daniel as he received the Guinness World of Records award. “And we believe that this is an additional blessing that came from the Lord tonight, as we thank Him for the 35 years of ADD television program.”
“And so for that, we will always say: to God be the glory,” Bro. Razon added tearfully, as he held the Guinness plaque up for the crowd to see.
The evening filled with songs of praise also featured Ang Dating Daan Hosts Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel offering praise song numbers. Live via satellite, the MCGI Overall Servants sung “The Promise“ and “Through the Years” back-to-back before the entire crowd that filled The Big Dome to its limits.
Witnessing the festivities from the front row were persons with disabilities (PWDs), or in MCGI lingo, “Very Important Disabled Persons.” The VIDPs are given special privileges like seating priority during concerts or events along with the elderly.
Not only were they witnesses to the grand musical event, they were also recipients of MCGI’s charitable endeavors. 11 PWD groups received Php 100,000.00 each to help start businesses or fund their operational expenses.
Some of the recipients are the Markina Persons with Disabilities Federation, Paranaque Association of Persons with Disabilities, and Samahan ng mga Magulang na Iniingitan ang Lahat ng Batang Espesyal (SMILE) Inc., to name a few.
“It is the first time for us to receive such help for our federation. As you know, we have a lot of indigent members, and this money coming from The Old Path can help us start a livelihood,” in an interview said Gil Flores, Vice-President of the Marikina Persons with Disabilities.
Bro. Eli Soriano also donated a number of wheelchairs for the PWDs, and gave additional financial assistance to 30 PWD raffle winners. On top of this, all 1,700 PWD guests as well as their aides and family members, received cash gifts and grocery bags before the event ended.
The record-breaking event which featured acts of charity, as well as audio-video presentations of The Old Path’s humble beginnings with intermittent praise songs sung by thousands of chorale members, was high on emotion.
“The official Guinness World Records attempt that took place here today was really impressive; it was really emotional and it was also really powerful – there were lots of charity work that came about here today. And it was incredible to see so many people coming together and doing good and breaking a brand-new Guinness World Records title,” said Ms. Melhelm, Guinness Adjudicator, in an interview with local television channel UNTV.
“I am overwhelmed by the record that the Members of the Church of God set tonight,” expressed Bro. Eli Soriano, who joined the festivities via live web streaming from South America.
Bro. Eli added, “Singing and praising the Lord is older than the universe itself as recorded in the Bible. Now, having the record of the largest [religious] choir group, singing for the glory of the Lord is our pride. Thank you Guinness. May God bless you.”
(Written by Rigor Arellano and Pauline Arellano)