It was an evening of excellence and celebration of the rare talents of five university-level students whose foray into classical music are beginning to pay them off. The event was the Musical Excellence Awards, organized by the Christopher Kolade Foundation,CKF, which aims at rewarding individual achievement, innovation, and creativity in the field of music.
Held at the Agip Recital hall of Muson Centre, the evening kicked off with “Bless this House” by an Australian composer, best known for her ballads, May H Brahe which was rendered by a tenor singer, piano and choir director, Mbalichizi Chizuru who also recited the national anthem. Thereafter the MUSON choir, the performing arm of the Musical Society of Nigeria, came on stage and rendered some of the familiar classical tunes.
“Italian Salad” by Richard Genee was the first in their selection for the evening, followed by “Va pensiro from the opera “Nabucco Verdi”, and “Ibike” by Derrick Esezobor, which the large choir rendered in a fluent and captivating manner backed by the brass section of the orchestra. Led by Emeka Nwokedi, their performance ended, where University of Ibadan Choir’s started.
The choir, which was established in 1987, under the direction of Mr. Christopher Oyesiku, a trained singer and soloist of international repute came on stage armed with a wide range of repertory, ranging from Westeran and African choral art music to Negro spirituals and Highlife music. But the highpoint of the night was when the five award winners came on stage to perform Burt Bacharach’s “ That’s What Friends Are For.”
The award winners were Awonuga Babatunde David, a 200 level student of the Department of Music, University of Ibadan, Adeyeye Adegorioye Oluwole, a final year student of the Department of Music, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Eze Gerald Maduabuchi,also a final year student of music, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Adenuga Johnson Oluwajuwon(200 level student of music, University of Ibadan) and Olarinde Olubunmi Rachael, who is a final year student of Music, Obafemi Awolowo University.
The evening was wrapped up with a performance by Muson Choir and UI Choir. Rendering songs like T.K.E Philips’ “Emi o gbe oju mi soke wonni,” the performance was exceptional as it was stimulating.
Overwhelmed by the evening’s outing, Kolade who was former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom expressed his love for music, saying that “In an active working life that came a few months short of six years, I have been able to derive much pleasure and satisfaction from the opportunities that my country offered me, enriched by the unparalleled privilege of working with colleagues who have helped me to express my own productivity in ways that led to our mutual advantage.
Along the way, it was laid strongly on my heart that I had an obligation to ensure that others, both now and in the extended future, would continue to find opportunities for developing the talents and skills for their own positive contribution to the development of our country, Nigeria.”
The students were rewarded with cash prizes of N250,000 to encourage them in a career in the field of music and to also motivate other students towards creativity and excellence. CKF was founded in 1997, as a platform through which its founder, Christopher Kolade, makes contributions to the development of talents in Nigeria.