South-south Guild of Organists inaugurated
You may not be aware of the fact that I fought to take my place in this Guild, but as a principled gentleman, it was worth it and it is worth it, as I witness organists all over the country get onboard this ship that has enough space for old and young professionals and amateurs across all denominations, including no denomination.” This was an excerpt from a statement issued by a renowned organist, Kayode Oni, at the inauguration of the Guild of Organists of Nigeria South-south on October 30, 2020 at The St. Andrews Anglican Church, Rumuobiakani Deanery Diocese, Evo Rivers State.
The Guild of Organists of Nigeria, a professional body of responsible church organists and music directors of competence and artistry, has finally been inaugurated in the South-south, with its headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Not less than 70 organists were founding members. Membership was drawn from the six states of the South-south, which include Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta. The body aims to promote and advance the arts and practice of organ playing and choral directing, maintain proper standards, educate musicians and improve their proficiency in playing and conducting, promote higher studies for research, provide members with opportunities to meet and discuss professional topics and others.
On March 2, 2014, Board of Trustees was inaugurated. The Board, which has been facilitating the inauguration of the guild across the country, comprises Dr. D. K. Olukoya, Mrs. Tolu Obajimi, Deacon Olalekan Dosunmu, Kayode Oni (FTC, JP), Chief Maria Asseeva, Sir Emeka Nwokedi, Donatus Rotimi Ajayi, Alabo Dr. C.I.T. Wokoma, James Adekule and Dr. Mofolorunso Akintoye Olumide Kuti.
In his welcome address, Donatus Ajayi expressed happiness at the turnout of members. He noted that the demise of Alabo Dr. Charles Inko Tariah Wokoma the KURUYE ALELE V1 of Kalabari Kingdom in Rivers State, who had rallied organists in the state in preparation for the launch, left a regrettable vacuum in the minds of the Board of Trustees and South-south members that had started their coordination before death came calling. He, however, advised the Guild members to be united for actualisation of set goals.
The presiding Bishop of The Evo Diocese of The Anglican Communion, The Rt. Rev’d Innocent U. Ordu (JP) urged Guild members to remain committed to God. He said it would be unthinkable for any organist (s) to use the medium to coordinate strike action against the church of God.
“How do you think the church will look like without your services? It will look dead. Therefore, don’t go on strike,” he advised.
The Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs, Rivers State, Sir Hon Sonny Ejekwu narrated his past experiences and ideas as a chorister in the household of God, and maintained that such services should not be allowed to wither. In his view, the guild should be a guide to people who have no knowledge of the Liturgy, and that there should be no discrimination among ministers of God.
For instance, he noted that the masterpiece composed by G.F. Handel in his book titled: Saul ‘Dead March’ has been misinterpreted by many to mean ‘Dead March in Soul.’ He said some think that when the piece is performed at funerals, the soul of the departed faithful is invoked to dwell among men. So, the guild should educate the Christian community.
The event also featured choral presentation from The Choral Voices of Port Harcourt, led by Mr. Victor Opuada Hart. Other conductors include Sir Patrick Asei, Samuel Dienye, Engr. Jolly Nnodi, Ibim Amachree and Wilcox Abbey.