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AN EVENING OF WHOLESOME ENTERTAINMENT

By NBF News
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A BOND of love enveloped the main auditorium, University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos, as Glowing Channels celebrated its 12th yearly charity concert recently. A palpable feeling of joy and gaiety pervaded the atmosphere, as artists after artist, group after group came forward to give the audience, mostly a group of families numbering about 600 persons, something to cheer about. Generally, it was an evening of classical, choral, hymnal, instrumental and highlife music, as well as drama and poetry.

The concert, which took place under the theme Sparkling Joy in Gratitude, brought together a motley assemblage of experienced and budding talents of varying age groups, some of whom were performing at a Glowing Channels event for the first time.

Though the attendance was poor, compared to last year's owing to the fact that the concert took place in the midst of the yuletide festivities, the 2010 edition was unique in the sense that it was the first time, since the concert series came into being in 1998, that it was staged after Christmas. Hitherto, it usually takes place on the second Sunday in December; just before Christmas. It was also the first concert that was put together by Glowing Channels Foundation, which was inaugurated late 2009 to ensure that the yearly charity concert outlives Motunlayo Adefunke Sofowote, the woman who has been the prime mover behind it.

'Many, many things fizzle out the moment the arrowhead is no longer there; I don't want that to happen to Glowing Channels,' she noted. From now on, she added, 'Glowing Channels Foundation is going to run the show. If you notice anything wrong, hold them responsible.'

The performing artists spiced up the outing as they held audience spellbound. Intermittently, they raked in wide applause from the appreciative audience. Cobhams Asuquo, the lawyer turned musician who was making his debut at the concert, for instance, was simply electrifying. He held the audience captive for about 15 minutes, with his soulful tunes and melodies.

Asuquo appeared very passionate about what he does; as he performed with his entire being. The solo effort of Olumide Dada, another debutant, was also well appreciated. To the delight of the audience, Dada's baritone voice boomed intermittently in the large auditorium, as he did three numbers in quick succession.

Another debutant, Charles Adeyemi, a youth who is finding outlet in poetry, as well as prose, spiced the occasion with a poetry recital titled 'The Call'.

Blessing Gam-Dede, a delightful tenor soloist who has an incredible way of modulating her voice as she performs, was one of the regulars that thrilled the audience during the last concert. Listening to Gam-Dede render 'O Holy Night' originally by Adolf Adam is quite a moving experience; her features get completely transfigured once she starts singing. An all-male choir backed her during the last concert. Other regulars that participated at the concert include Iyalla Lemuel, another tenor soloist; Footprints, a group made up of talented children between the ages of four to 12; as well as Strings Ensemble, a group made up of Amakor, Abayomi Kafaru, Kolade Kafaru, Kemi Tiamiyu and Mowasefeoluwa and Ibukun Kafaru. Strings Ensemble, for instance, rendered three classical pieces, two originally by Handel and the other by Puccini.

Like previous concerts, the Sofowote family featured prominently throughout the 2010 event. Each member of the family is known to be talented artist(e) and the yearly concert provides them with ready outlet for expression. At the moment, the size of the family has reduced to three, father, mother and the youngest child, Bibisanmi, as the three other siblings are now based abroad. From his performance, there were indications that Bibisanmi, simply known as Bibi, who has been there over the years, has matured musically. Bibi, 21, has been very innovative; no one can predict what he has up his sleeves until he comes on stage.

For instance, unlike the 2009 concert, when he was almost a reincarnation of Michael Jackson, he was a bit sober during the last concert; he executed three cool numbers: The Unreachable Stars, originally by Johnny Nash, with Julius Amakor on piano; Eye of the Storm, with Ibukun Kafaru on piano and Abayomi Kafaru on vocals; and Numbers of Love, a love song, with two choreographers to drive home the message.

By the time Segun Sofowote, the maestro himself, came on stage towards the end of the show, it was obvious that it was going to be a case of 'like father like son'. The elder Sofowote re-enacted some numbers from his repertoire of songs, including a dirge for his mother, who left the flesh recently. At 71, the multi-talented Sofowote works, creates and lives in the arts. He is a delight to behold on stage any day, whether he is acting, singing or dancing. This time, the audience were not disappointed; his highlife pieces received the loudest ovation and attracted a number of people of the older generation to the dance floor. Earlier, husband and wife had rendered the welcome song, 'Earthmen Rejoice', a song composed by the former for Notes and Tones, a musical group he lead for years.

Over the years, the likes of Kayode Olajide, Pa Benjamin Aderounmu (a.k.a. Kokoro), Bright Chimezie (a.k.a. Okoro Junior), Therese D'Avila, superior soprano from Cote D'Ivoire, and groups like Notes and Tones, Seye Aluko's Sound Foundation and Professor Mosun Obidike's Symphonic Voice from Ibadan have featured at the concert.

Glowing Channels, a humanitarian organisation, was established in March 1998, inspired by the memory of the late Adeyemi Olusola Lawson, to revamp wholesome entertainment for the spiritual upliftment of people, as well as a vehicle to raise funds to provide succour for the needy in society.

As it has done since 2004, the organisation honoured 10 persons, which Motunlayo Sofowote described as iconic personalities, for their contribution towards upliftment of the society in various areas of human endeavour.

The awardees, including a couple, are: Ambrose and Nkechi Iwuchukwu, Cobhams Asuquo, Adewale Oludotun , Idowu Sonubi, Kolawole Raheem, Blessing Gam-Dede, Olanrewaju Oluwole, Modupe Ogunwale and Joseph Omotoye, a.k.a. Jojo. 'They are embodiments of genuine, noble direction and human excellence,' she remarked.

Right from inception in 1998, the proceeds from the concert have always been used to support one charity project or the one. Proceeds from the last concert is going to be used to support the blind, under the auspices of the Anglo-Nigerian Welfare Association for the Blind, ANWAB, a non-governmental organisation floated by Danlami Basharu, himself sight-impaired from age three. This is a follow up. Glowing Channels first lifted up ANWAB with the proceeds of the 2001 concert. Glowing Channels' charity project to be financed from the gate-takings, as well as the proceeds from sale of raffle tickets from the last concert would also include provision of scholarships for three undergraduates, as well as support for three widows and the indigent.