By Rebecca Ejiofoma
Professional music groups across the country have begun activation on Music for The Catholic Hymn Book, an improvement on the popular Catholic Hymn Book.
Lawyer-cum-music enthusiast, Ikechukwu Albert Eseka, recently published the staff and sol-fa notation version of the book, which had been without “music for choir and organ” for years.
Eseka is the Group Coordinator and Music Director (GCMD) of Chorale de la Magnifique (CDM), which he founded in Lagos in 1993 with his music friends. The group now has Abuja, Port Harcourt, Asaba and Uyo branches, with plans to cover other states of the federation.
CDM Port Harcourt recently set the activation ball rolling by doing a medley of some of the songs in the hymnal. Lagos and Abuja are expected to be the next in line.
In a chat with newsmen in Lagos, Eseka said that choirs’ inability to sing most of the songs in the ‘Catholic Hymn Book’ motivated him to embark on the arduous task, “so that choirmasters and choristers will no longer have any excuse for ignoring majority of hymns in their repertoire.”
The barrister, who reportedly worked for 13 years to compile the choir and organ edition of the hymnal, has permission from St. Augustine Regional Pastoral Institute (SARPI) Committee for Liturgy, with Imprimatur by Bishop Alfred Martins of Lagos.
Though a law student from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), with tutelage under various music greats like Prof. Laz Ekwueme, Emeka Nwokedi, David Aina and the late Steve Rhodes, Eseka has become a versatile musicologist of sorts, coaching church and secular choirs as well as music students.
Beyond the 289 songs in the Catholic hymnal, the compilation also includes music for Missa de Angelis, Missa Pro Defunctis, Three Memorial Acclamations of the Mass and music for the various songs for the Way of the Cross.