The multi international award winning chorale, Lagos City Chorale, held her Independence Day Concert on Sunday, the 3rd of October at the Wesley Methodist Chapel, Lekki. Nigeria’s toxic relationship with time played out as the concert started behind schedule. However, when the music started, guests forgot about the earlier incontinence with timing.
After the opening prayer and welcome adress, the evening started with a solo and choir rendition of “O God Our Help in Ages Past” sung to the tune: Abbot’s Leigh. Sir Emeka Nwokedi, the esteemed director of the chorale and conductor of the evening, made the audience sing this prayer to a more familiar tune.
What followed was an array of African songs in the major languages in Nigeria, to celebrate our unity in diversity. The choir sang: “Gbe Gen Gen” by Ayo Oluranti, “Jigide ‘mo” by Chinedu Osinigwe, and “Ya Allah na Adilchina”. The evening was interspaced by solos and duets. The tenor, Fred duke, a former housemate of the hymn singing competition, Hymnodia, sang a medley of “I vow to the my country” by Gustav Holst, and “Great Nation” by our very own Timi Dakolo. Duke modulated from the former to the later in a seamless fashion that one could have thought both songs were one composition. He executed this with professionalism, and his silky voice rang through the chapel.
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When the Ghanaian singer, Bernice, started singing her number, there was a brief pandemonium in the hall. People started turning heads to trace the source of the sound they were hearing. The furore and shock was because Bernice sang in an unbelievable low male voice. She thrilled the audience with “Holy City” by Stephen Adams, “The Lord’s Prayer” by Albert H. Malotte, and a Ghanaian highlife which forced everyone to their feet. The choir retuned onstage to sing a prayer for Nigeria “Chukwu Nna Biko” by Sam Ojukwu and the hymn “Jesu, My Lord”.
After the short intermission, the second half of the evening started. The choir and orchestra – of about 30 pieces – filled the chapel with Handel’s great oratorio “Dettingen Te Deum”. This work showcased solos by baritones: Samuel Oloniyo with the commanding voice of thunder, and Denis Adeoti, an expressive singer. There was also a trio by David Ihechukwu, alto; Ebube Chukwuka, tenor; and Denis Adeoti, bass.
The evening ended with a mighty final chorus of ringing singers, blaring trumpet, piercing strings, and banging timpani. The minutes long applauds testified of the great work the choir and orchestra did.
A special guest, Dr. Augustine Onwumere, chairman of PWAN group, in his speech said “..this kind of music should be promoted, and these musicians supported…”
Truly, classical musicians should be supported greatly, for this art form is beyond magnificent. Bravi tutti to the members of Lagos City Choral, and big congratulations to Mr Emeka Nwokedi, the director of the chorale.