MUSON honours centenarian Akintola Williams with concert
Mr. Akintola Williams has achieved so much in life. He is the first chartered accountant from Africa. He was also appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE). He also has the award of CFR (Commander of the Federal Republic). He has presided over numerous private and governmental bodies. However, what strikes him out is his recent attainment of a hundred years on August 9, 2019.
In an age when the most adventurous of men hardly get to 80, let alone, 90, Akintola Williams has surpassed them all by being alive and well at hundred years.
As a result of this, the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON), which is partly his brain-child, pulled out all the stops and devoted a weekend of celebrations to honour the centenarian, whose vision, in concert with the efforts of such stalwarts as, Chief Ayo Rosiji (of blessed memory), Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi (of blessed memory), Mrs. Oye Williams (of blessed memory), Mr. Louis Mbanefo (SAN), Mrs. Francesca Emanuel and many others brought the laudable MUSON structure and organisation into being.
MUSON houses the foremost School of Music in Africa and the musical conservatoire (university), which makes it equal in rank to equivalent musical institutions around the world.
The late Rosiji and Williams were able to commit a lot of corporate organisations into donating huge sums of money towards the building of the structures in MUSON Centre, Lagos.
The society celebrated this fact with a concert and an opera. MUSON opened its gates at these events to the public without a charge. The concert started with Egba anthem, composed by Canon J.J. Ransomed Kuti, who incidentally, is the grandfather of the late Afrobeat maestro, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
The anthem, conducted by Princess Banke Ademola (the Director, School of Music), was rich and pure in sound, featured African conga drums, and was sung by a 20-member MUSON Diploma School Voice Ensemble. At the piano was Mr. Tunde Sosan.
In the Concerto in E major Op 36 3rd Movement by F.K. Krommer, on the clarinet was Jonathan Anuforo, backed by the MUSON Diploma School String Quartet. Seyi Ajibade was at the piano. The mixture of the various instruments fitted together like a fabric of sounds. The motifs of the music got transported from one part of the instruments to the other in a delightful call and response.
Daniel Okereke (tenor) accompanied by Bright Kpalap (piano) rendered the song, Core Ngrato by Salvatore Cardillo. And as this anthem was being played, it was instructive for the listener to appreciate that all the facilities that the audience was enjoying, the marble halls, the sound chambers, the scholarly instrumentalists, all came to provide such glorious music through the insight of such men of vision like Williams and his glorious team. Oluwamayoa Ogundipe on trumpet rendered Carnival of Venice by Herbert L. Clarke and Aina Samuel was at the piano.
Williams himself was in the hall, his advanced age notwithstanding. He is fulfilled. MUSON was his idea, his project. He saw it through. He was victorious. All the rest is management. It is fulfillment.
The choir took a break to render the Happy Birthday Song for Williams. The MUSON Diploma School Choir (Sir Emeka Nwokedi conducting) then went on to sing Ope lo Ye O (arranged by James Yankey), which when translated from the Yoruba language, means Almighty God is worthy of Praise.
The choir also sang, If I could help somebody (as I pass along, then my living would not have been in vain). This anthem is by Alma Androzzo.
The concert was brought to a befitting halt when the MUSON Diploma School Band (consisting of wind instruments only: trumpets, horns, saxophones, clarinets, trombones etc.) and conducted by ace saxophonist Imoleayo Balogun rendered two highlife classics, Palaver, by Fela Anikulapo Kuti, and Taxi Driver by Bobby Benson. The two renditions made members of the audience rise up from their seats and move to the stage, which then became a dancing floor for all and sundry. Thus ended the celebrations to end the 100th birthday event of Mr. Akintola Williams.