ARTISTE OF THE WEEK – Sir ‘Emeka Nwokedi
If this man were to be an Athlete, Football Coach or Politician, by now he would have been honoured with the highest national honors there is in Nigeria. The people who have been honored with MFR, OFR, MON, etc, have done well in their various fields of endeavors, compared to this man who has done more with little and against all odds… let me reiterate here that these odds are rather very harsh ones.
Whilst studying Music at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he majored in Choral Conducting and Piano, he started the Kedi Voices, a choral group that thrilled audiences on campus. Upon graduation in 1982, he already knew what he wanted to achieve.
Sir ‘Emeka Nwokedi in Performance
I first met him long time ago, just as a little boy, who wanted to be like him. A very close friend to my father who was an assistant Organist to him and whom he also influenced greatly Musically. As kids we called him “Uncle Solo” a short form for his name – Solomon. He drafted me into the adult choir at a very tender age and the rest is history.
It is indeed sad, that with all his efforts, he often goes unnoticed, he has won virtually everything that there is to win in International Choral Competitions having picked Gold and Silver Medals for Nigeria at the World Choir Games, Cincinnati USA in 2012 (Participating for the first time) winning Silver Medals, European Choir Games in Graz, Austria 2013, Silver at the World Choir Games, in Riga, Latvia 2014 and most recently European Choir Games in Magdeburg, Germany 2015 where he won Gold Medals.
Competing at the WCG in Riga, Latvia in 2014
For ‘Emeka Nwokedi, winning laurels did not start today. Though I was just a child, I remember All Saints Anglican Church (Surulere) Choir was barred from competing at the Diocesan Choral Competition, after wining it for 5 years back to back in the late 90’s. He graciously backed out to allow other Choir directors enjoy the taste of Victory.
They must have thought “Haba! Oga, Na only you”?
Funny as it seems, before he came to All Saints Surulere, he won several competitions with St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church, Aguda, in 1988. Call him a winner, and you won’t be wrong.
LCC in concert at the WCG in Cincinnati, USA
In recognition of his contributions to Music globally, Sir Nwokedi was elected as a member of the World Choir Council by INTERKULTUR, but it’s quite surprising that, in his own country, he is not celebrated. For those who do not understand, what this implies is that, he is part of those who make decisions when it comes to Choral Music in the world. With no sponsorship from any organization, he embarks on these international contests in far away Europe on a yearly basis and shocks the world with jaw dropping performances, as he returns home with Medals.
Lagos City Chorale, Nigeria’s Contingent to the ECG in Magdeburg, Germany 2015
In 2014, when The Lagos City Chorale represented Nigeria at the World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia, the world was left stunned at our performance, as they only knew us for Football, and some other things I rather not mention. But the world began to see Nigeria in a different light after we had performed. On the streets, we became the toast of everyone, they wanted to know more about Nigeria. As it stands now, the world eagerly yearns to listen to Nigeria perform at every international competition. That’s putting Nigeria on the world map, that’s re-branding Nigeria like no other, if you ask me.
The next competition will be the World Choir Games 2016, which will hold in Sochi, Russia. One would only hope that he gets the necessary support needed to thrive, especially from the Federal Government.
The crowd eagerly waiting to listen to LCC perform, as Sir ‘Emeka Nwokedi introduces the song.
LCC on the streets of Graz, Austria
He has managed to bring up so many Classical Musicians who are Masters in their own right today. This writer is one of them.
He is the director of Lagos City Chorale, Muson Choir, and the Diocesan Music Director/Organist Lagos Mainland (Anglican Communion).
My father, who used to be his assistant called him “Solo”, I grew up calling him MD (Music Director), same with so many young people. Some call him Mr. Nwokedi, his students at the Muson School of music, crown it all with a rousing and thunderous ovation of IGWEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, a standing Ovation for this Teacher, Conductor, Vocal Instructor, Musician. The uncelebrated Nigerian HERO, Sir Chukwuemeka Solomon Nwokedi
I CELEBRATE YOU TODAY.
Ifediora, Obinna Maurice
Musical Society of Nigeria
8/9 Marina, Onikan Lagos.