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With choral performances, masterclasses, America reiterates commitment to bilateral ties

By Ngozi Egenuka and Precious Ogwa
23 January 2022   |   2:14 am
The United States government, recently, reiterated its commitment to strengthening bilateral ties with Nigeria through music, arts and film.

Choral performance by participants at the music masterclass organised by Morehouse College Glee Club recently. They are rendering an African-American song

The United States government, recently, reiterated its commitment to strengthening bilateral ties with Nigeria through music, arts and film.

The Consul General, Claire Pierangelo, stressed this commitment recently through the support for Morehouse College Glee Club in Atlanta, Georgia, to organise music masterclasses and choral performances for more than 1,000 secondary and tertiary students and choir directors in Lagos, Enugu and Akwa Ibom states.

The Glee Club, which is also celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first tour to Nigeria, performed American songs, particularly African-American spirituals, which have roots in West African music with more than 30 student choral groups across the three states.

The masterclasses and choral performances, led by the Director of Morehouse Glee Club, Professor David Morrow, Morehouse Glee Club vocalist, Professor Timothy Miller and Assistant Professor of Music and Director of the Africana Digital Ethnography Project, Dr. Aaron Carter-Enyi, provided participants opportunity to learn and improve their musical skills.

In her remarks at the grand finale held at the University of Lagos, Pierangelo noted that the masterclasses and choral performances showcased the U.S. Mission’s strong commitment to strengthening cultural relations between the two countries.

She underscored the importance of music as a powerful medium for fostering cooperation, dialogue, and promoting cross-cultural collaboration.

“We recognise that we have many common interests, especially in areas as diverse as music, film and the arts through which we create dialogue and exchange. The role of music in diplomacy cannot be overemphasised, especially with its emphasis on free expression, creativity and collaborative teamwork,” she said.

Pierangelo stated that the deep ties between the United States and Nigeria are extended through institutions like Morehouse College and other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States, which have continued to serve as home for international students seeking education in the United States, including many from Nigeria.

She revealed that Nigeria currently ranks highest among African countries and 10th largest country in the world with students in U.S. institutions, and this has continued to expand U.S. and Nigeria’s international partnership, deepening our bilateral ties.

“We are thrilled to see and support this capacity building of emerging music makers. I know that these music masterclasses will enhance our cultural engagement with the people of Nigeria and highlight growing U.S.-Nigeria ties and the vast potential of African-American music to the African continent and beyond,” she said.

Fifty years ago, the Morehouse College Glee Club organised its first musical tour to Nigeria with the support from the U.S. Department of State and there were song exchanges between both countries.