By Chris Onuoha
The Music Society of Nigerian (MUSON) in its 22ndedition of their annual music festival which kicks off from October 17 – 28, 2018 has promised to be excitingly exceptional and entertaining. “Judging from the lineup of new programmes to jazz up the annual fiesta that has hold the entire music lovers spell bound during our previous shows, this year’s, will for sure thrill our ever increasing audience,” says the organizers.
“The new introduced programmes will certainly increase and wet the appetite of our audience and also help push our vision further.”
The programmes include the ‘T.Y. Danjuma MUSON Opera Endowment’ dedicated to the retired General’s 80th birthday to hold on Oct 19 and 21, ‘Quand L’est Rencontre L’ouest’ – a concert in partnership with Friends of Azerbaijan Organisation on Oct 22, ‘Festival Jazz Party’ supported by Dangote Group that holds on Oct 26 and ‘Legends, Kings & Kingdoms’ – a musical in partnership with Seeing through the Arts & Declassical Arts & Entertainment on Oct 19 and 21.
Also, there will be the usual ‘Music Meets Art’– an Art exhibition in partnership with Society of Nigerian Artists starting off the festival on Oct 17 followed by ‘MusiQuest/Youth Concert’ – a platform for self-expression and discovering young talents. The famous festival personality programme, ‘My Kind Of Music’ will hold on Tuesday Oct 18. Others are ‘MUSON Day’ – MUSON Chamber Orchestra with Tunde Sosan on Oct 25, Chevron sponsored festival drama ‘such is Life’ on Oct 27 and Total Nigeria sponsored festival gala night on Oct 28 to round up the event.
In a pre-festival briefing last week at MUSON foyer, Onikan, Gboyega Banjo, the Chief Executive Officer, MUSON, alongside other festival committee board present, comprising Chief Femi Williams, Dr. (Mrs.) Femi Akinkugbe, Mrs. Francesca Emmanuel , Mrs. Nimi Akinkugbe, Princess Banke Ademola and Emeka Nwokedi explained that MUSON has done much in developing music in the country and beyond. Others present are Oliver Enwonwu, President, Society of Nigeria Artists, Adedamola Adeniyi, from Dangote Group and Mrs. Billura Bayramova from Friends of Azerbaijan Organisation.
Speakers after speakers harped on the importance of music and how the society should appreciate MUSON’s effort in training some Africa’s best musicians in all genres. However, the festival comprising numerous genres of the theatrical practice which has been seen as an elitist delight alone have been debunked by the organisers saying, “It may be an initial perception on the mind of many in the past but currently, we have weaved various programmes for everyone to enjoy including children.”
MUSON is known for its classical and orchestra based performances including the Classical music training programmes. These however, according to some schools of thought, carved out peculiar audience that attend their shows, but subsequently, the narrative has changed thus bringing forth other entertaining programmes that are meant for everyone in the society.
Dr. Mrs. Femi Akinkugbe, the stand-in festival chairman noted that if music and art can be properly harnessed, that sector of entertainment industry will certainly take over from oil as a big money spinner in the country. She also stressed the effects of music to human longevity and how it also forms the vital basic developmental formation in every child. “I see MUSON’s vision as part of education that Nigeria needs and it will take the effort of the government to apply this vision into our system to make it work,” says Dr. (Mrs.) Akinkugbe.
Mr. Banjo while reeling out the programme of events disclosed some of their challenges which include lack of support from government and others. According to him, in other clime where centers like MUSON exists, government help sustains the centers with special grants, having noticed that it attracts tourists and foreign exchange.
But here, the running of the center is only through the efforts of the members, patrons and some corporate bodies that have interest in our vision.
Others in the same vein lend their voice in encouraging support from government and corporate bodies to the running of the Centre.
Meanwhile, Emeka Nwokedi disclosed MUSON’s new initiative to take the MUSON exam centers to other parts of the country so as to have the presence of MUSON across the states. According to him, this is in response to numerous calls to replicate what MUSON is doing at the Centre in Lagos and also let classical music lovers across the states to participate in MUSON’s programmes.