Lotana Ojukwu of Winehouse Jazz Family (); Director, MUSON School of Music, Mrs. Marion Akpata; festival Planning Committee chairman, Mr. Kitoyi Ibare-Akinsan; trustee, Adeniyi-Williams; patron, Mrs. Francesca Emanuel; Mrs. Omosolape Akinpelu of Meristem Securities Ltd and CEO, BAP, Mrs. Bolanle Austin-Peters at the media briefing announcing MUSON Festival 2017 last week… in Lagos
Nigeria’s foremost music centre, Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON), Onikan, Lagos, is set for its yearly festival of the arts. This year, the festival specifically has as theme ‘Celebration of Excellence in the Arts’ to draw attention yet again to the centrality of the arts in any society. Already, organisers have promised a rich bouquet of events to attract lovers of the arts from October 18 through October 29, when the festival comes to a close with a thrilling opera performance, La fille du Regiment by Donizetti, directed by Nigeria’s ace opera singer, teacher and director, Mr. Joseph Oparamanuike.
At a media briefing held last week, Chairman, 2017 Festival Planning Committee, Mr. Kitoyi Ibare-Akinsan, reeled out a line-up of festival programmes. According to him, “The 21st MUSON Festival of the Arts 2017, starts on October 18, with MusiQuest/Youth Concert. Several young musicians are constantly emerging in Nigeria and the annual Musiquest is our way of showcasing and encouraging these talents. The youth concert is a competition that provides a platform of self-expression for these young, budding artistes. This platform is also MUSON’s modest contribution to the national effort at discovering and nurturing of our youths. Wednesday, October 18 will flag off the final phase of this competition. There are three categories of Pianoforte, Voice and other Instruments. MusiQuest is partly sponsored by Stanbic IBTC.
“Our unique personality programme, My Kind of Music, is scheduled for Thursday, October 19. As usual, our guests will be taken on a musical journey through the memories, experiences and life philosophies of a member of the diplomatic community in Nigeria and a great friend of MUSON, German Consul-General, Mr Ingo Herbert, and three Nigerians, who have distinguished themselves in their chosen areas of endeavour: CEO of Bestman Games and former banker, Mrs. Opunimi Akinkugbe, lawyer and CEO of BAP Productions, Mrs Bolanle Austen-Peters, and Managing Partner of SIAO and Pastor-in Charge, Trinity House, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo.”
Drama is also a regular feature of the festival has Sefi Atta’s The Engagement, with Chevron as sponsor. It will be staged at the Agip Recital Hall on Saturday, October 21 by the Jos Repertory Theatre, directed by Dr. Patrick-Jude Oteh.
A Gala Concert, sponsored by Total holds on Sunday, October 22; it will feature MUSON Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the virtuoso visiting conductor, Walter-Michael Vollhardt and the MUSON Choir, conducted by its veteran conductor, Sir Emeka Nwokedi in a combined performance. MUSON Day is scheduled for Wednesday, October 25. This event is a special members’ day, set aside to mark the founding of the society.
This year’s Jazz event is scheduled for Friday, October 27 and will take the form of a Jazz Party, organised in collaboration with Winehouse Jazz Family. It will feature Winehouse band, the MUSON School Jazz Band and guest artistes.
Earlier, a trustee of MUSON, Mr. Adeniyi-Williams, enjoined Nigerians to be part of the MUSON success story, as the society was providing Nigerians with sound music education and entertainment. Also, first festival planning committee chairperson and patron of MUSON, Mrs. Francesca Emanuel, noted that continuing MUSON’s festival was “a fulfillment of what started many years ago; the result then wasn’t what we wanted, but it has grown like an oak tree. Our hope is that it shouldn’t just be a Nigerian festival, but one to attract outside people to Nigeria.”
MUSON’s General manager, Mr. Gboyega Banjo, noted, “We are gratified by the fact that the Festival has, over the past twenty years, established itself as a unique Nigerian cultural and artistic event. We will continue to do all we can to earn the continued support of our old partners, while exploring opportunities for recruiting new ones, who share our passion for promoting the arts in Nigeria. We will also continue to open the festival to other stakeholders in the Nigerian arts industry, who may wish to partner with us by contributing their funded events to our annual festival programmes.
“Finally, we thank all our artistes being featured this year, drawn from MUSON’s Orchestra and Choir, as well as all our guest artistes. The performances which they have in store for your enjoyment are the fruits of their dedication, professionalism and hours of remorseless rehearsals aimed at achieving MUSON’s standard of performance excellence.
“On this note, we invite you to settle down and enjoy our offerings of classical music, opera, jazz, drama and other favourites carefully packaged for your delight in our 21st MUSON Festival programme.”