Posted by News Express | 6 June 2013 | 6,819 times
A university don and respected music expert has made a strong case for the new generation to embrace the music of late iconic composer Harcourt Whyte, saying that “his music is very nourishing to both the body and the soul.”
Mr. Jude Osy Nwankwo, of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), described tomorrow’s “An Evening with Harcourt Whyte” at Abuja Sheraton Hotel & Towers, as a welcome development, saying: “This is a giant step in reviving Ikoli Harcourt Whyte and his music.”
The university don who obtained a First Class honours Bachelors of Arts degree in Music from the UNN and currently leads a fast-rising musical group known as J. Clef Chorale, commended the Abuja-based Harcourt Whyte Foundation for taking steps to revive the music of the legendary artiste.
He told News Express: “Kudos to the Harcourt Whyte Foundation for taking this very great step toward bringing back Harcourt Whyte and his music to our present generation.”
The university don promised all those who attend “An Evening with Harcourt Whyte” an unforgettable experience.
A composer/arranger who teaches tonal harmony at the UNN, Nwankwo has many compositions and arrangements for both vocal and instrumental genres to his credit. Two of his compositions won the National Catholic Festival of Arts and Culture (NACAFAC) award in August 2008. He is also a singer (tenor) and has played lead roles in different operas and oratorios like Bach’s “St. John’s Passion”, Sullivan’s “Trial by Jury”, and Ekwueme’s “A Night in Bethlehem.”
The J. Clef Chorale which he founded on September 7, 2010 consists of some of the best singers/choir directors in Nsukka including staff and students of the UNN. Notable about the membership of the Chorale is an assemblage of young enthusiasts of Harcourt Whyte and his music.
The Chorale has performed for individuals and corporate bodies in different parts of the country. It has also performed with other notable chorales like the Laz Ekwueme Chorale, Lagos; City Chorale, Lagos; Sam Ojukwu Chorale, Owerri; and Anambra Royal Chorale, Awka.
Meanwhile, News Express has learnt that all arrangements needed for the successful holding of “An Evening with Harcourt Whyte” have been put in place by the organisers.
Confirming this, Mrs. Ezinwa N. Okoroafor, Coordinator of the Harcourt Whyte Foundation, said that the event would be “memorable and refreshing.”
Ikoli Harcourt Whyte was born in Abonema in Rivers State in 1905 but spent the greater part of his life at Uzuakoli Leprosy Colony in the present Abia State of Nigeria, where he raised a choir that regularly performed his compositions at the Methodist Church Lohum, Uzuakoli.
Before his death in 1977, Harcourt Whyte composed over 300 sacred hymns used in Methodist Church of Nigeria in the then Eastern Nigeria and beyond. Over time, these sacred songs spread and became very popular that it could no longer be compartmentalised or classified as Methodist Church songs as they were widely used in Christian worships across different Christian denominations.
•Photo shows Jude Nwankwo, whose J. Clef Chorale is one of the celebrated groups performing tomorrow night at “An Evening with Harcourt Whyte.”
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