Yinka Olatunbosun

The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), in conjunction with Professor Las Ekwueme, Tope Babayemi, Ayo Bankole and Babafemi Ogundipe, has announced that the 2016 Choral International Festival will be here in three months’ time. This was disclosed during a press briefing held at the Ayo Bankole Centre, a cultural hub in Surulere, Lagos recently where the Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Mrs. Dayo Keshi revealed that the festival is not just an art event but one with tourism biase.

The event fulfills in part the commitment of the NCAC towards youth empowerment, rural infrastructure as well as creating job opportunities. The present administration had harped on diversifying the nation’s economy and making culture and tourism sectors strong economic drivers. To this end, the ChoralFest will be staged in select locations across Nigeria.

“NCAC is fine tuning strategies towards the staging at least on National festival each in 6 geo-political zones of the federation aimed at accelerating the commercial and economic activities of such zones. The festivals in view are National Durbar, National Masquerade, National Boat Regatta and National Textile and Fashion Fair festivals.

Choralfest in partnership with the corporate sponsors is one way of improving and contributing to the festival landscape in Nigeria as well as maximising their economic and non-economic impacts,’’ she revealed.
The festival is expected to feature a rich variety of choral music that reflects the different ethnicities in Nigeria. Ogundipe, also known as B-Clef in the same vein, disclosed that guidelines will be sent to choirs nationwide in four zones while zonal competition begins in three months’ time. Choirs outside the country will also be invited.

A foretaste of the ChoralFest was savoured by the journalists at the briefing. The B-Clef choir ended the session with a very harmonious presentation in English and indigenous languages.

For Aremo Tope Babayemi who is the co-ordinator, NCAC, South-West, this festival is one in the series of projects that will marry the public and private sectors.
“It is about rekindling interest in our music and our culture. It is a celebration of community. There are various sub communities to be celebrated in this festival. From the youths to the adults, all cultural constituencies will be represented with particular attention to the youths. We are going to be working with schools and other educational partners.

“This is about strategic partnership. The way for development globally is to partner with the government on projects. Some forms of support are in cash while others are in kind. The NCAC represent the government and its political will, we have practitioners in the council. If you look at the people on board, you can see that they are reputable people. Reputation is not what you will do but what you have done. Las and Femi have made significant contributions in terms of practice.

They represent the soul of the project in terms of the practice. It is delight and a rare privilege to be able to work with such a team,’’ he declared.
In his submission, Prof. Ekwueme, who had written several academic papers on music, emphasised the importance of choral music in ous cultural space.

“Of all the forms of music we have, singing is the most popular. You can simply make music with your voice. And we know that Africans do things together. When people sing together, they make choral music. Culture is very important to us. In this country we have over 350 ethnic groups. We also have about 500 languages. It is good that we are using a culture of words in music because instrumental music can only give you sound and ideas but no specific meaning unless words are involved. This is why singing has become a primary form of music making. And when people sing together, they protect their culture,’’ he said.
The grand competition is tentatively slated for October while the schedule for the ChoralFest will be released soon.