This is another celebration time for the Sir Emeka Nwokedi-led Lagos City Chorale. The effervescent Nigerian choir is basking in the glory of the two gold and two silver diplomas it won at the first European Choir Games held in Graz, Austria from July 13 to 22.
With this feat, it engraved Nigeria’s name in the hall of fame as the participating nation with the highest number of awards in the Austrian Open Competition for choirs from all over the world. The laurels were won in the four categories it contested in – namely Folklore, Music of the Religions, Music Contemporanea and Mixed Choir.
As part of this global choral festival in Graz, Lagos City Chorale also took part in two friendship concerts in Murau, a typical Austrian village with great antiquity and Schloss Eggernberg in Graz. The group performed in Songs of Spirit Festival in Minoritensaal, Graz (met with the city’s mayor) and in Heiligenkreuz a. Waasen. The Song of Spirit Festival is conceived to bring together people of different religions and to foster peace and unity amongst them using the medium and potency of harmonious choral music. The choir was also invited to lead the service in a Catholic Church at Heilingenkreuz a. Wassen on Sunday July 22.
The 10-day European Choir Games drew over 50 choirs from different countries of the world 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, as 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 indeed specially selected with other choirs to perform at the closing concert at Congress Graz.
The 1st European choir games/festival was brought to a climactic close by colourful parade of participating nations, which commenced at Stubenberggasse, Graz through some major streets to Congress Graz. Here the Mayor of the City of Graz, Siegfried Nagl accompanied by representatives of the City of Graz expressed great pleasure over the success of the 10-day global event. The President of Interkultur, Günter Titsch in his speech conferred on Graz the World’s Music Capital in appreciation of regular hosting of International Music Festivals. There was interaction galore among participants from all over the world.
Lagos City Chorale has in the past few years been showcasing Nigeria’s positive abilities in the world’s centre stages through participating and winning laurels for Nigeria in global chorale music festivals and competitions. In July 2012, the group participated in the 7th World Choir Games in Cincinnati Ohio, USA and won three Silver Medals in three different categories of the champions’ competition.
The choir, it will be recalled, recently marked its 25th anniversary at the Agip Recital Hall of the MUSON Centre Onikan, Lagos. The event had attracted several dignitaries as well as choristers from the Musical Society of Nigeria. It was also marked with a hearty rendition of Georg Friedrich Handel’s “The Messiah”, which was delivered as composed in three parts.