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Glitz, Glamour at St. Lawrence’s Galilee Day, South South shines

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Easter<br />AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS

The smile on the face of Reverend Father Cosmas Mordi, parish priest of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Paiko, Idimu, was huge: The love and unity he had cultivated in the parish since he came in had grown to a commendable level.

Therefore, this afternoon, as members of his parish were displaying the best of their culture, it was all thumbs up for the priest.

Billed as the battle of the zones, the 2018 Galilee Day celebrations, no doubt, lived up to expectations. From the beginning of proceedings, with verbal fireworks and the ‘talk-na-do’, it was fun, excitement and high-powered entertainment.

Held on Monday, April 2, the event was ‘canonical apogee’ of the 2018 Holy Week, which started on Sunday, March 25, with Palm Sunday procession, climaxing on Friday, March 30, when the Passion play, reminiscence of the old liturgical drama of the middle ages, was performed. The drama skirted the Stations of the Cross.

Even in the wilting baking heat, the church’s premises was enveloped by throng of guests and well-wishers who turned the venue to a ‘cathedral’ of entertainment.

Music, dance, costumes, African cuisines, ranging from black soup to groundnut, banga, Gbegiri, Onugbu, Ovwho and cultural displays from the different zonal groups left everybody in awe.

Guests were treated to complex dance in diverse cultures through time. There was a ‘convoluting concourse of variegated actions, juxtaposed,’ as Ola Rotimi puts it, in the dance steps, as each piece oscillated within the different components of time through intricate interactions and precise movements.

Cultural tastes in music, movement and styles, developed and enhanced by changing trends, provided the desired denouement for the audience.

Vocal strengths aside, it was a moment to cherish the months of rehearsal, which the zones had to reach the peak that drew plaudit from everybody available at the event.

The zones deconstructed culture idioms in a manner that divinely expressed the relationship between the people and their culture as enunciated in Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology (De la grammatologie), where he explored the interplay between language and the construction of meaning.

The dance skit from Mrs. Itunu Oduwole-led South West told a metaphorical story in an altered manner. Essentially by deconstructing forms, using recognisable African expressions, the zone explored alternative movement possibilities and significances.

There was an equally exciting mix of colour and panache from the Mrs. Christiana Enoh-led North Central zone. What seemed the icing on the cake for the zone was the eclectic mix of the traditional Swange and contemporary Western styles.

The dance revealed sharp technical skills in abstract compositions, the pump of shoulders and roll and twist of the limbs and spines.

From when the zone made its first appearance on the hallowed space, where the event held, a creative expression of a total theatre was glaring. The panoply of drums and dance energy also received plaudit and critical commendation from the panel of judges and the excited audience.

The South South zone, ably coordinated by Mr. Sunday Odey, did not fail to leave a mark of distinction. The zone mesmerized the audience with their dancing skills when they performed. It was a sublime act that revitalised the ‘oil rich’ region’s cultural tapestry, reviving what was known, while retaining the modern movement.

Though, the Frank Chukwuma-led South East did not replicate the choreographed chants of ‘Igwe’ or showed off his royal apparatchik, impressively, the ekwe and idu that played underground stressed the glamour attached to culture and tradition by the zone.

The icing on the cake was a declaration of South South overall winner of 2018 Galilee Day celebrations.

The parish priest, Mordi, admonished everybody to live in love. While saying that the event was to celebrate the risen Christ, noted that the event was geared towards bonding members of the church, as well as making them live in one accord.

He told The Guardian that people have to use opportunity provided by the celebrations to embrace peace and love as remonstrated by Jesus Christ.

While pointing out that in today’s world, there’s an endless human pursuit of material goals, often ignoring the fulfillment of God to guide the daily thoughts and actions, he appealed to all to take a cue from the lessons of Easter, by serving God selflessly.

The parish’s Laity Council Chairman, Mrs. Clara Chukwuma, commended everybody for showing exemplary character in this year’s celebration. She said the council used the social event to balance out the ‘religious’ activities, which members often allow to subsume their entire being.

Paul Eghieye, vice chairman of the parish’s Catholic Men Organisation (CMO), said: “It was a welcoming event for parishioners.”

According to him, the success of South South zone should not be seen as an excuse for it to go to bed. “You can see there was tension because of the prize at stake, but South South won. The zone must be ready to give more if it wants to retain its crown in 2019.”

In high spirits, Isaac Annih, the parish’s choir master and orator, who was dressed in colourful Niger Delta attire, said: “It was worth the while considering the rehearsals, and difficulty of coordinating people with different work schedule and performance ethics.”

JC Andy Raymond, vice chairman of the Laity Council, who was compere of the event, said, “all effort would be channeled towards improving on the grey areas next year.”


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