On October 25, 1983, the Nigerian entertainment scene recorded a huge milestone with the unveiling of the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Centre, an outfit that offers several platforms for musical, theatrical performances and event hosting.
Since then, the centre has grown into a multipurpose centre, with focus on entertainment and music education.
The enabling facilities have been attracting and still woo many to the centre today. From the Shell Nigeria Hall, the Agip Recital Hall, green rooms, rehearsal room stage, La Scala Patio, Muson Garden, function room, board room, among others, there are enough spaces for any kind of outing.
Since the 40 years of inception, MUSON has developed two schools of music; the Basic School, which provides musical education in the theory of performance of musical instruments for Nigerians of all ages, and the Diploma School, which runs a two-year course in theory and instrumental performance and has an annual intake of 30 advanced students who are all granted scholarships by the MTN Foundation.
So far, the Music School has produced over 400 Diploma graduates, many of whom have continued their musical education in Europe, South Africa and America and attained international recognition.
Of course, the MUSON Choir is one of the feats of the centre in its 40 years of establishment.
The award-winning choir has been performing at international competitions and performed to a distinguished audience.
The Symphony Orchestra, which is conducted in regular concerts by Walter-Michael Vollhardt, MUSON’s visiting German maestro and an opera department are also part of the feats.
These are the reasons MUSON is rolling out its biggest and most colorful drums in celebration of the 40 years milestone this October.
According to Louis Mbanefo, chairman, MUSON has done well in its 40 years existence, lifting entertainment, theatrical performances and music education to much higher levels, while exposing discovered talents to global stages.
Speaking at a media conference heralding the 40th anniversary celebration at the centre on Wednesday, Mbanefo, a senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), noted that MUSON was formed by a group of friends, including; Akintola Williams, Ayo Rosiji, Francesca Emanuel and Rasheed Gbadamosi (all deceased) and himself in 1983, with the main objective of promoting the performance, understanding and enjoyment of serious music.
“We tackled our objectives in two ways. First, we held concerts with regularity from1984, with performances of the highest quality by Nigerian and expatriate performers. And second, we have developed two Schools of Music-the Basic School which provides musical education in the theory of performance of musical instruments for Nigerians of all ages, and the Diploma School,” Mbanefo said during the media parley.
This year’s festival, which is the 27th edition of the annual MUSON Festival, according to him, will hold on the theme ‘Resilience’, reflecting on the doggedness of the centre at serving the public in the entertainment and music education spaces in the last 40 years and counting.
It promises to be as exciting as ever, amid some innovations. It will also follow the usual pattern of drama presentation, operatic performance, art exhibition, musical brunch, My Kind of Music, MUSON Day celebration concert, gala classical and contemporary concert and closing gala concert.
The closing gala, according to Mbanefo, will feature a complete performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ with the MUSON choir and orchestra conducted by Emeka Nwokedi, while the main innovation in the festival will be ‘Collabo – Music Meets Technology’.
Explaining the innovation, the MUSON chairman said that the old and new genres are pitched together in concerts, the digital space and the internet, resulting in a fusion that is termed “Collabo”.
“At the end of the event, we hope to have created the requisite awareness of hidden gems in the confluence of music and technology,” the chairman concluded.
The festival starts on Friday October 20, 2023 with Efunsetan Iyalode Ibadan, a Chevron Festival Drama, which runs until October 21st with three shows at Agip Recital Hall, MUSON brunch and art exhibition anchored by Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation and Folio Department from October 22-29, 2023, T.Y Danjuma’s Opera on October 22, Music Meet Technology, and MUSON Day Concert on October 25th, where MUSON artistes will be on hand to entertain guests.
There is also My Kind of Music, featuring four distinguished guests, TotalEnergies EP Gala recitals and concerts, among other exciting events.
With all set for a remarkable anniversary, Ayo Jafojo, CEO, MUSON, invites the public to visit to enjoy some of the best curated events in entertainment, art and theatre in the festival this October.