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MUSON Comes Of Age

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MUSON Comes Of Age

OrchestraAs activities are in top gear for this year’s edition of the MUSON festival, the festival committee has rolled out the activities lined up for the celebration. In a statement issued by the committee, Kitoyi Ibare-Akinsan, chairman, 2014 Festival Planning Committee says the festival is designed to reflect the theme: “MUSON, Coming of Age” as it will showcase the significant progress that the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) has made since it was founded in 1983.
According to him, the festival will kick off on Thursday, October 16, 2014 with one of the festival’s favourites, ‘My Kind of Music’, a personality programme where a select few eminent Nigerians, provide a rare glimpse of their persona to an invited audience. They will discuss their favourite music, including their musical preferences and how they relate to aspects of their lives, personal beliefs, philosophies and more. Some of the expected dignitaries include: former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku; Scion of the Awolowo family and former Nigerian Ambassador, Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu; former University of Ibadan Vice-Chancellor,  Ayo Banjo and former Federal Minister of Housing, Lands and Urban Development, Mobolaji Osomo.
This year’s Festival Drama follows on Saturday, October 18, 2014.  It features Jagua Nana – the Musical, Cyprian Ekwesi’s famous novel produced and directed by Nigeria’s intrepid drama producer, Wole Oguntokun.
“Lovers of Visual Arts would undoubtedly welcome the return of the Visual ArtsExhibition to this year’s Festival programme,” says Ibare-Akinsan. “The opening ceremony starts at 4.00 p.m. on Sunday, October 19, 2014 and the Exhibition will run until Wednesday, October 22.  The event is organised in collaboration with the Visual Arts Society of Nigeria.”
Also, a Classical Concert comes up on Sunday, October 19, 2014 featuring the MUSON Symphony Orchestra conducted by MUSON’s new Artistic Director, Composer, Cellist and Kora player, Tunde Jegede.  The Orchestra will perform the very popular Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin and other works by renowned international and Nigerian composers. 
MUSON Festival devotees will be treated to a new and exciting Festival offering on Monday, October 20, 2014.  The Society of the Performing Arts in Nigeria (SPAN) an esteemed partner of MUSON is contributing to this year’s Festival programme a Dance Workshop and Concert.  The workshop, which is free for all interested participants, will take place at 2.00 p.m. on that day and it will focus on Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary and Latin.  The Dance Concert which will follow at 6.00 p.m. on the same day, will feature “IO” a mini production described as “a non-stop, breath-taking theatrical production, a merging of different genres of Arts, ranging from drama, to dance music, to spoken words and singing, to live painting” It promises, according to SPAN, to be “an entertaining, innovative, and crafted production that will keep the audience smiling and applauding through the night”
The Grand Finale of the MUSIQuest, the annual talent competition for Youths, will feature the best candidates from the earlier stages of the competition in a Concert. The event is scheduled for Thursday, October 23, 2014. 
This year’s Jazz Night which comes up on Friday, October 24, 2014 is designed to showcase two young promising Nigerian Jazz Artistes. The opening act will feature a MUSON alumnus, Jazz Saxophonist, composer and arranger, Imoleayo Balogun.  Imoleayo Balogun and his Big Band will perform Jazz music “blended with African philosophy”.  The main act will feature Bez whose music has been described as an “unusual hybrid of Soul, Rock, Jazz and R&B music that sets him apart from mainstream Afro hip-hop movement”.  His debut album Super Sun was listed on the Boston Globe as one of the Top 10 “World Music albums of 2011”. 
Furthermore, the MUSON Day Concert and Cocktails come up on Saturday, October 25, 2014.  Ibare-Akinsan explains that “to underline the Festival’s theme: MUSON, Coming of Age, members of MUSON and their friends attending the event will be entertained to music provided by artistes who are all alumni of MUSON’s Diploma School.”
The Festival will close with the traditional Gala Choral Concert on Sunday, October 26, 2014.  The Concert is in two parts.  Part 1 described as “Pop Choral Music” will feature the works of Andrew Lloyd Weber, E di Capuo, Andre Van Der Merwe among others.  Part 2, described as “Nigerian Choral Music” will feature the works of Laz Ekwueme, Ayo Bankole, David Aina, among others. 
While speaking on the theme for this year’s festival, Gboyega Banjo, general manager/chief executive, MUSON, says  since the establishment of the MUSON Symphony Orchestra in 2005,  The MUSON Orchestra, together with the MUSON Choir, have since become platforms for training and grooming promising young artistes for performance on their instruments at the highest level.
“The orchestra’s establishment has also contributed to the frequency and improved quality of the concerts organised by MUSON.  Above all, MUSON’s School of Music, founded in 1989 as a modest effort at providing training for children interested in playing musical instruments, has now grown into a Diploma-awarding professional School of Music whose alumni now contribute significantly to the pool of teachers in public and private music schools in Nigeria and form an increasing proportion of players in the MUSON Choir and MUSON Symphony Orchestra and other choirs and orchestras now springing up in key Nigerian cities. After reviewing these developments, the Festival Planning Committee decided that the 18th year of the MUSON Festival is an appropriate occasion to announce MUSON’s Coming of Age.”

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