Addis Ababa University Christian Students’ Fellowship Choir was established in 1967. The founding members were the following students: Solomon Araya, Hiwot Araya, Emnet Araya, Tsegaye Habteyimer, Trewoini T/Birhan, Bedru Hussien, Getachew Mekire, Tsegewongel T/Ab and Mikal Bayisa (later: Dr).
The Araya family had also played a significant role in establishing the Ethiopian University Students Christian Fellowship at the beginning of 1967 and the Christian Graduates Fellowship 1975. Solomon Araya was the leader of the students’ choir and played the guitar. Tsegaye Habteyimer wrote most of the choir’s songs. After learning to play the guitar from Solomon, he also accompanied the choir instrumentally. Some of the choir members translated English gospel songs into Amharic and contributed for the preparation of the Amharic hymn book, Sibhat laAmlak. The other choir members are best known for their vocal talent.
The choir met every Saturday and Sunday afternoon and worship God. The main activity of the choir members was to sing at Christian fellowship prayer meetings. Also, most of them preached, led Bible study groups and publicly (on the streets) proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ at Arat Kilo and surrounding (a square where many buildings of the Ethiopian government and Addis Ababa University are located).
During vacations, the choir travelled to different parts of Ethiopia and sang at various events such as closing programs of (mission) schools, church conferences as well as concerts in hospitals established by missionaries. To mention but two examples, in 1968 they sang gospel songs at the annual meeting of the Norwegian Lutheran Mission in Yergalem (Sidamo area). In 1970, they travelled to Wollega and sang at the yearly conference of Nekemte Mekane Yesus congregation. Knut Sigurd Aasebø, the Director of the Mekane Yesus Youth Hostel (at Arat Kilo) supported them by organizing vehicles for transport.
The choir stopped meeting in 1975, the year Mr Solomon moved to the US for education. Their songs were a blessing for many people who listened to the choir at conferences.
The AAU Christian Students Fellowship Choir didn’t release a cassette. However, some of the gospel songs they sang can be found on the Araya Family vinyl and on Tsegaye Habteyimer’s cassette no. 1. Some songs were also broadcasted by Bisrata Wongel Radio youth program.
Between the establishment of the choir in 1967 and his departure to America in 1975, Solomon Araya Habte-Egzi wrote a notebook with Amharic and English songs.
» Read notebook
Songs in hymn books
The songs of the choir were published in
መዝሙር ለወጣቶች (Mezmur Lewotatoch; ‘Songs for Youth’). Addis Ababa: Mekane Yesus Church Youth Residence and Recreation Center, 1971.
Sibhat laAmlak (ed. 1981)
A number of songs were translated from English by members of the choir:
- Emenet Araya: 318, 356, 218, 418, 511, …
- Hiwot Araya: 475
- Solomon Araya: 191, 342, 413, 515
- Others members (?): 417, 457, 515