When the 12th Class of the MTN Scholars at the Musical Society of Nigeria’s School of Music were ready to graduate, they joined the pantheon of previous Scholars in putting together a fine concert for a packed and rapturous audience.
These are our top highlights.
The evening began with something soothing when 1st Franz Krommer’s Concerto in E flat major was performed by MTN Scholars, Jonathan Anuforo, Finecountry Epaenetus and a string quintet (a musical composition for five string players).
The rest of the concert could only get better from there.
If you want someone to pray for you, let them rip the lyrics of Lori Tune’s May The Road Rise To Meet You (An Irish Blessing) and sing it with the flawlessness of our graduates.
We wanted the voices of Joseph Shaibu and Ukamba Daniel on the oboe and Odeke Macartan on the piano as they marvellously covered Concerto in F Major for Two Oboes 1st Movement by Tomassi Albinoni.
Placards are needed to emphasise this point.
Core Ngrato, a Salvatore Cardillo classic was masterfully blessed by the voice of Daniel Okereke with Bright Kpalap on the piano.
Dominico Modungo’s Nel Blu di Pinto di Blu performed on the night by Olivia Nwabudike’s sublime soprano and John Onosolease’s booming baritone had the hairs on our skins standing.
Carnival of Venice by Herbert L. Clarke was revealed to us by Oluwamayowa Ogundipe’s trumpet and Samuel Aina’s piano.
It received loud ovations from the audience. Hard to argue when it was rendered in near flawless Italian.
Full of attitude and life, Art Is Calling For Me by Victor Herbert was performed by Jennifer Maduka (soprano) and Bright Kpalap on the piano.
We wanted to be ‘prima donnas’ when they were done.
Joseph Shaibu was back like a boss and swept our hearts away on the saxophone with Dave Koz’s Cheng Fu – a sound familiar to all jazz enthusiasts out there.
Jackreece Samuel’s piano and Onwona Samuel on the keyboard proved to be faithful companions.
Victor Uwaifo’s classic Joromi performed by Jackreece Samuel and Ajayi Babajide on two pianos made us peel back the best of our childhood and left us with a thousand feelings.
Moses Hogan’s Witness, a booming negro spiritual delivered by Shallom Matthew on the tenor and Macpherson Aghah on the piano was the perfect excursion through the main events in the Bible.
Can all sermons be sung to us like this, pretty please?
I Feel Pretty, originally composed by Leonard Bernstein was performed by Chinwendu Okorie’s soprano voice complemented by Tunde Sosan on the piano.
We called it first, Chinwendu is a star.
Spanish Flea, performed by the trumpet quintet of Mayowa Ogundipe, Asuquo Archibong, Adedayo Adenuga, Olatoye Abiola, Kehinde Omosor, Anjolaoluwa Adeosun and Sunmiboye Ayoola made us feel like we were at the Mardi Gras Carnival in New Orleans.
If I Were A Richman, a 1967 musical by Sheldon Harnick and Tony and Pulitzer-award winning Jerry Bock got layered with the Nigerian treatment courtesy of Daniel Etim’s baritone.
Moral lesson: Rich people (or at least those who want to) also sing.
The concert’s signature showpiece, Hans Zimmer and Lebo’s prayerful ode, Shadowland, swept the audience off their feet and moving to their beat.
It was all cheers at the end.
And to cap up a magnificent night, the students sang an appreciation note for the MTN Foundation.
It was melodious in every way and symbolised their gratitude for the two-year scholarship from the Foundation which they have enjoyed.
By the following day, the Scholars had exchanged their instruments and voices for their graduation gowns.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Joseph Shaibu, the Class President of 2019 said, “When our music careers were like SIM cards without a phone, the MTN Foundation stepped in and gave us hope.”
In response, MTN Foundation Director, Dennis Okoro, a veteran of all 12 MUSON graduation concerts simply said, “This is the best set of performances I have seen at this level and on this stage. What a class.”
We cheered and pondered. We fell in love. We left inspired.
And it was all due to the inspiring MTN MUSON Scholars of 2019.