From Uganda:  An Hour of Gayaza Praise!

Gayaza Girls School is situated around 12 miles north east of the Uganda’s capital, Kampala. It is the country’s oldest all-girls boarding secondary school,   founded in 1905 by the Church Mission Society, and has  a long tradition of excellent teaching – including both European and traditional Ugandan music.  Its musical performances have long been admired. In 1983  the choir with its conductor Janice Hobday,  visited the UK to give  performances. Hence this recording.

I’m grateful to Janice,  one of Gayaza’s former music teachers, for the use of these recordings originally produced on cassette for the Church Mission Society. They are still much sought after by Gayaza alumni, many of whom are now living and working in the UK. Janice, who has an excellent soprano voice, sang as a soloist in several concerts which I conducted during the 1960s. She continued to teach there all through the troubled years of Idi Amin’s chaotic rule. Now retired she lives in Smethwick, West Midlands.

In their Hour of Praise they sang 27 items.  Apart from Kodaly’s composition and a few traditional hymns the vast majority were composed by Gayaza girls themselves

Enjoy them!


 1      Hallelujah! Jesus is alive today.


2. Mony ocoro.  The army of the Lord has come. (Acoli)

‘Acholi dancers’

   3.  Down, down in the city.

4.  Psalm 23 (in Runyankore).  

5. Psalm 150.  (setting by Kodaly)

The birth of Jesus.  

   6. Peace be with you. (St. Luke – Ch.1)

7. “O Glory! Hallelujah” (Magnificat)

8. The Glory of the Lord (Isaiah 60)

9. Simeon’s Song (Nunc dimitt is) 

Kiganda baakisimba dance

The Ministry of Jesus

 10. Yezu alokola


11. Hosannah


Jesus and his resurrection.

   12. Why did you choose to die?


   13 Atwemda (Soga)


14 Mazima Yezu ni murungi (Truly Jesus is good).


15. Nze mbanymiza uwima Yezu.


   16.  He is risen

Ascension and Pentecost


Praise drumming



17. Glory and honour to you, King of Kings.


18 In tongues of living flame.


19. Moto (the fire of the spirit is burning)


20. Bulijjo tutendereza  (the Uganda Martyrs)


21 What can separate us from the love of Christ?


22. Do not be afraid. 

Our life in Christ

23. New life in Jesus


24. Holy, Holy, Holy.


25. Ama zi ama (Lugbara)


26. Lubanga ne tye.  God is there in my heart.


27. We praise your name.

65 thoughts on “From Uganda:  An Hour of Gayaza Praise!

  1. This brings tears to my eyes! Thank you for sharing. I really had the time of my life, 1985 to 1990! We danced, Sang and made our Friends, I have kept to today.

    1. I just chanced upon this while searching ‘What can separate us from the love of God.’ I know Janice Hobday well as I worship at the same church as her in Smethwick. We have sung a few of these at church over the years, as a child I always loved hearing about Gayaza Girl’s school when Janice came home for visits. Lovely to hear these recordings.

  2. Wow, this is so beautiful…. Great wonderful memories of Gayaza. We bless the Lord for the values instilled in us through Miss Hobday’s music. Mrs.Geria’s commitment to teach us to sing for the Lord is always treasured at at heart.

    1. It is always a nostalgic feeling listening to these beautiful Gayaza songs which are a strong part of the GHS beautiful culture
      Long live GHS

    2. It is always a nostalgic feeling listening to these beautiful Gayaza songs which are a strong part of the GHS beautiful culture.
      Long live GHS

  3. This is beautiful. Reminded me of the beautiful days at Gayaza. Is it possible to make CDs out of this music which can be sold on Amazon and in hard copy at Gayaza?

  4. Wonderful music. Remind me of my good days at Gayaza high school in 1972 to 1977.
    Thanks to miss J. Hobday.

    1. Reminds of the festivals and the chapel music and Miss Hobday’s Musical ensembles notable of which is “ Come Together” and Joseph Coat of Many Colors. She would literally get the whole school involved in these presentations even if they were not participating. We knew all the lyrics. Beautiful voices and songs! Well done Janice Hobday God bless you !

      1. Hi Peter,
        I’d like to purchase a digital version of the songs if you can please let me know where I can do that.

        Sarah Gilbert.

    1. Can’t express the nostalgia I experienced listening to all these beautiful melodies so beautifully sung! My goodness, things we took for granted, like the diversity of Uganda’s languages and rhythms! From Kabale, Kampala, Busoga, Lango, Acholi … Took me right back to those wonderful, unforgettable years: 1985-1991! God bless Miss Warren, Miss Janice Hobday and all the teachers who are a part of this rich heritage. We honor you for the work you did in your service to God. Because of your service, we’re who we are today. May the Lord continually bless you.

  5. This awesomely reminds and revives my heart to sing the praises of God my saviour, day and night. From 1976-82 I was nourished by the word of God in music. Thank you Miss Hobday, and all Gayaza for rooting us in the word and in Christ.

  6. Oh my word! This is priceless! Took me back to my teenage days at Gayaza. The joy of composing those vernacular songs! Thank you for posting this.

  7. Listening to these songs brings tears to my eyes! I realize how much value there is in the things we so much took for granted. I wish the clock to turn backwards, I would give back to my school and teachers the love and the worth they deserve. Thinking about Miss Hobday and all her dedication to make us what we are today, I can’t help but cry! Gayaza girls shine wherever they are when it comes to music! Love you Ms Hobday! You are cherished ! Together with Ms Warren and late Ann Cutler etc Gayaza could never have been the same without you.

  8. Wow…this is very beautiful. The good old days at Gayaza just Ame flooding back. We thank God for the power of ministry through music.
    May God continue to bless Ms Hobday

  9. Praise God for Gayaza High School and all the wonderful memories, including singing and praising God. 1970-1975.
    We thank God for Ms Hobday’s commitment and dedication to us, Gayaza girls. Thanks for sharing.

  10. O this brings fond memories of life at Gayaza high school. That U.K. marked my first flight. The tour of U.K Cities including crossing the sae was phenomenal. Courtesy of Ms. Janice Hobday , I ended up being a member of all the school choirs. I still sing. I m grateful to God for blessing me with wonderful experiences.
    Anne Jagwe Bakyaita. 1978-1984.

  11. I am very much impressed. Our School.. ‘Gayaza High School’ …Through Gayaza, with our dear, Miss Janice Hobday,..its proof that “…All things shall perish from under sky,..Music alone shall live ,.. Never shall die..” she used to sing this, with all the love & vigour…”
    I left Gayaza in 1969..! Yet I kind of feel that ‘Gayaza blood’ still flows through my circulatory system.

  12. Dr. Cooke, Thank you for posting the lovely music and photographs of Gayaza. With thanks to Miss Hobday, Miss Cutler and Miss Warren who made this first recording possible. Thank you.

  13. Thanks for taking us back musically to our lovely school. Thanks for Ms Hobday for growing our love for music. Such lovely memories.

  14. Wow as a student and eventually a teacher, this brings back memories.
    The seventies were turbulent times and Miss Hobday kept us singing through it all, loss, change, fear, lifting our faith and helping us to know God was still on the throne. Thank you

  15. Thank you so much for sharing. I was part of this choir and the memory is still clear in my mind. We really enjoyed it and it greatly impacted my life in being a witness for Christ. I am forever grateful that I was chosen to be apart of this choir. Also very grateful to Miss Hobday, Miss Warren and the late Miss Cutler

  16. Mum and dad played those beautiful songs on the cassette in the early 90’s. A decade later when I joined the school, we were singing those same songs. Thanks Peter. Kindly add a song with title ‘The saints above adore you Lord’. Thanks

  17. Oh wow!! This takes me back to the good ole days.
    I am so thankful for the spiritual and musical influence that I had while at Gayaza. Miss Hobday, Mrs. Geria and also Miss Bigaruka instilled so much in me musically and I still carry that with me

  18. Wow. This is an amazing compilation. Thank you so much Dr. Peter Cooke for taking me down memory lane. To crown it all, I featured in the first photo. Left set of pews in the music room, first row, first from the right ( in a pink uniform with unbuttoned green sweater)
    That photo has our ever so lovely music teacher Mrs. Geria in it too. That would have been either 1994 or 1995. Wow 25 year old photo. Very impressive!

    1. Oh Prof, my former Physics lecturer at MU (1985-1988) this is wonderful. 1979 I was joining S1 at Teso College Aloet, but I now have my last born (Alamo Laura Asianut) in thus great Gayaza High School. We give glory to God for these wonders. Tx

  19. Beautiful memories. I glorify God for the opportunity to go through Gayaza High school. 1995-1998. Forever grateful for the values instilled.

  20. Priceless memories,I’m forever grateful to God for having gone through Gayaza High School 1993-1996 and I would recommend it again and again to anyone with a daughter out there.Thank you miss Janice Hobday&Dr Peter Cooke.

  21. Thankyou so much ! As a teenage believer in the UK in the 1980s I had this album on a cassette and played it constantly . I have never forgotten the songs and it is such a joy to find them again!

  22. Great music, timeless pieces. Thank you for putting this together. Gayaza set a matchless standard for tbe music world. True worship. Simple yet impactful. Indeed! We glorify your name.

  23. Wow, glory God for this beautiful collection of music. Two things that stand out for me, great teachers imparting a lasting skills and values in the children of Uganda. Thanks so much l feel refreshed .

  24. Peter, one of those pictures you have here is of my class performing a traditional dance more than 30 years ago. Thank you for capturing that moment. Would you mind if I use this photo in a book I’m working on? I would need you to send me a note via email permitting me to use your photo.

  25. Refreshing music. Gayaza High School you have a rich culture and values. You made indelible marks on my life.
    OG 1972 – 1977

  26. Oh, the treasures we can all sow in small consistent ways. Lord bless these ladies for the heritage they left us all through their faithfulness, without giving up!

    Thank you for shared such heart warming heritage! If there is more, please keep sharing.
    Many blessings

  27. I’m so glad to have been a part of beautiful upbringing of Gayaza. I’m truly thankful to God for all CMC Missionaries and their example to us

  28. Nostalgic feelings of the days at Gayaza with Miss Hobday’s Angelic music. . Gayaza legacy is unequalled.

  29. Aww thank you for sharing many good memories and many faces I recognise from my year eg the beautiful Beatrice nyatiya ( Mrs Geria), the drummers all A’ star pupils of my year in music class of course ( liz kabali, primrose, Nandi Kanyerezi and ? now possibly in their 50s with careers and families of their own ) lovely to see!!
    Takes me back, thanks for sharing such beautiful memories ❤️

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