Have you heard opera music? We are not talking of the music you must have heard on TV where someone sounded like a crying cat dragged through a broken windowpane.
No, we are talking about music in a different language. Music that you can hear in the depth of your soul. We are speaking of music that you can feel in your bones even when you may not understand a single foreign word; it is such evocative music. That is what we heard on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at the MUSON Centre, Onikan Lagos.
The MTN Foundation organized a masterclass for students of the Music Society of Nigeria (MUSON), led by two ‘masters’ – Daniel Taylor and Ellen Mcateer. When the Director of Music, Princess Banke Ademola, read the short biographies of the teachers, we did a double take. So many achievements for just two people?! (No worries, we won’t list it here). Daniel Taylor is a countertenor and a professor of voice at the University of Toronto while Ellen Mcateer is a Canadian soprano and a two-time recipient of the Richard Bradshaw Graduate Fellowship in Opera. Those are the very least of their descriptions.
After a short introduction, the students settled in to listen to the maestros give us the jewels we had waited so long to learn. Students could come up on the stage to sing a piece and they got the unrivalled attention of the teachers who would take their time to correct voice pattern, structure, posture, the tilt of the head, etc. By the time they were done and the students sang the same musical piece minutes later, the difference was very obvious. It was a stunning sight to see the students’ faces light up in pure glee when they hit that tone they did not know they possessed.
When the masterclass ended and we thought it was all over, the grateful students burst into a spontaneous rendition of an African song right outside the hall. Their harmony was out of this world! The teachers grinned appreciatively in reply and Ellen’s hand flew to her throat as she watched the talented students. We never knew classical music could carry so much emotion, so much power!
The masterclass was part of MTN Foundation’s continued support for a wide range of pragmatic initiatives designed to aid youth empowerment and promotion of arts & culture in Nigeria.