By Japhet Alakam
It was another credit to Nigeria, especially music lovers as one of the country’s choir group, the Lagos City Chorale which participated in the first European Choir Games,Austrian Open Competition for choirs worldwide made the country proud by carting away the highest number of awards at the event held in Graz, Austria.
The choir directed by the maestro, Sir Emeka Nwokedi, won two gold and two silver Diplomas which made Nigeria the only participating nation with the highest number of awards.
The group which celebrated its 25th anniversary recently contested in four categories (Folklore, Music of the Religions, Music Contemporanea and Mixed Choir) in the competition.
As part of this global choral festival, the Lagos City Chorale also participated in two friendship concerts in Murau, an Austrian village with great antiquity. The group performed in Songs of Spirit Festival in Minoritensaal, Graz (met the Mayor of Graz) and in Heiligenkreuz a. Waasen. The Song of Spirit Festival is designed to bring together people of different religions and to foster peace and unity amongst them using the medium and potency of harmonious choral music.
Lagos City Chorale was also invited and, they led the service in a Catholic Church at Heilingenkreuz a Wassen on Sunday July 22.
The 10-day event brought together over 50 choirs from different countries to contest in the Austrian Open Competition.
Each choir displayed the best of her country’s culture through indigenous choral music, costume and choreography. Nigeria’s Lagos City Chorale being the only choir from Africa in attendance was the cynosure of all eyes. The sparkling and varied costumes in national colours did not go unnoticed as they were cheered with loud ovations in public places and after each performance. Their performances which attracted large audiences were adjudged to be of high standard by the international jury, hence the top awards. They were specially selected with other choirs to perform at the closing concert at Congress Graz.
The festival was brought to a climactic close with colourful parade of participating nations which commenced at Stubenberggasse, Graz through some major streets to Congress Graz.