Celebration of legacies and achievements of Alabo Dr. C.I.T. Wokoma (JP)
Music can be defined as a pleasant sound, or the study of sounds organised in time. It is a form of art created by the organising of pitch, rhythm, and sounds made using musical instruments and/or voices. The human voice is often referred to as the oldest musical instrument and the synchronisation and harmonisation of voices in music produces a fine and melodious chorus or choral performance.
The synchronisation and harmonisation of the voices of choristers singing all the parts in a chorus alongside the accompaniment by various choice musical instruments gives a standard musical performance. As such, the task of coordinating the harmonisation of all the voices in each part together with the accompanying musical instrument(s) needs the expert services and experience of a choir conductor. In years past, the lack of competent choir conductors had been the bane of most choral performances.
In times past, the dearth of competent choir conductors who could bring out the best performance and interpretation of the music from a choral rendition was worrisome. However, the persistent training and retraining of choir conductors by the late Alabo Dr. C.I.T. Wokoma (JP) through direct and indirect means of tutelage is worthy of commendation.
Over the past five decades, he was consistent in the teaching of choral music and conducting through the choir he founded (The Choral Voices of Port Harcourt); as many renowned choral conductors and soloists in this part of the world had at one stage of their music careers passed through his training in the art of singing and conducting of choral music. Though he was a consultant medical doctor by profession before his retirement; his talent, versatility and knowledge of music was exceptional and outstanding. This earned him the deserved reverence worthy of a revered Music Icon and Doyen of Classical Music.
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance, such as an orchestral or choral concert. The principle conductor of an orchestra, opera or choir is referred to as either a music director, choral director, chief conductor, music master or choirmaster. Most often, revered and respected senior conductors are referred to as maestro (an Italian word meaning “master”); owing to their mastery in the art of conducting. The performance of a conductor can either make or mar a choral ministration as the conductor needs to have a good musical depth of knowledge of the music he/she intends to lead the choir to perform. In simple terms, a conductor is like the driver of a bus with passengers in the bus.
The passengers include the singers (choristers) and those accompanying the singers with various musical instruments. As such, the role of the conductor as the driver of a choral performance is very critical to the performance as he/she can literally spoil the performance or orchestrate the performance towards a good ministration. No matter how good or experienced in music the musical performers may be, the conductor is the one that holds the ‘key’ to bring out the melodious life, colour, beauty and harmonious blend of the choral performance by properly interpreting the music.
Also of utmost importance to a choral performance is the role of the organist in the performance. The organ or keyboard is often referred to as the ‘mother of all musical instruments’ and as such the skill and dexterity of the organist cannot be overemphasised. The combination of a poor musical conductor and an unskilled accompanist on the organ is a recipe for a bad choral performance, no matter how good the singers in the choir may be. The dangers that sequel a poor choral conducting and organ accompaniment include some of the following:
• The lack of interpretation of the music as composed by the composer;
• The absence of synchronisation and harmonisation among the voices and other accompanying musical instruments.
• The lack of interest from an audience after a poor choral performance, which in turn leads to a reduction in the sponsorship of the choral (classical) genre of music, etc.
To celebrate the late Alabo Dr. C.I.T. Wokoma (JP), who recently passed on to eternal rest, The Choral Voices of Port Harcourt in conjunction with other renowned Choirs in Port Harcourt is organising a special musical concert tagged: “An evening of tributes and songs” in his honour on February 18, 2020 at St. Paul’s Cathedral (DNDN) Garrison junction Port Harcour, at 4:30pm.
Victor Opuada Hart, Assistant Music Director
The Choral Voices of Port Harcourt.
As such for a good choral performance, the experience, acumen and skill of a good choir conductor and organist is vital. Where these qualities are lacking in any choral ensemble or choir, it leads to a decline in the overall performance of the choir, and subsequently a decline in the love and passion for the art, which in turn leads to a decline in the promotion and sponsorship of choral music.
To celebrate the legacies and achievements of this legendary Icon and Doyen of Classical Music who recently passed on to eternal rest, The Choral Voices of Port Harcourt in conjunction with other renowned Choirs in Port Harcourt is inviting everyone to a special musical concert tagged: “An evening of tributes and songs” in honour of late Alabo Dr. C.I.T. Wokoma (JP).
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