In another affirmation of its support for Nigerian music, the United States Consulate General Lagos has assisted the Morehouse College Glee Club in Atlanta, Georgia, to organize music masterclasses and choral performances in the country.
The activities featured more than 1000 secondary and tertiary students and choir directors in Lagos, Enugu, and Akwa Ibom states.
The Glee Club, which is also celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first Nigerian tour, performed American songs, particularly African-American spirituals, which have roots in West African music with more than 30 student choral groups across the three states.
The music masterclasses and choral performances led by the Director of Morehouse Glee Club, Professor David Morrow, Morehouse Glee Club Vocalist, Professor Timothy Miller and Assistant Professor of Music and Director of the Africana Digital Ethnography Project, Dr Aaron Carter-Enyi provided participants with the opportunity to learn and improve their musical skills.
Speaking at the grand finale held at the University of Lagos, U.S. Consul General, Claire Pierangelo, noted that the music masterclasses and choral performances showcased the U.S. Mission’s strong commitment to strengthening cultural relations between the people of Nigeria and the United States.
She underscored the importance of music as a powerful medium for fostering cooperation, dialogue, and promoting cross-cultural collaboration.
“We recognize that we have many common interests, especially in areas as diverse as music, film and the arts through which we create dialogue and exchange. The role of music in diplomacy cannot be overemphasized, especially with its emphasis on free expression, creativity and collaborative teamwork,” Pierangelo said.
She stated that the deep ties between the United States and Nigeria are extended through institutions like Morehouse College and other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States, which have continued to serve as a home for international students seeking education in the United States, including many from Nigeria.
She added that Nigeria currently ranks highest among African countries and 10th largest country in the world with students in U.S. institutions. This has continued to expand U.S. and Nigeria’s international partnership, deepening bilateral ties.
“We are thrilled to see and support this capacity building of emerging music makers. I know that these music masterclasses will enhance our cultural engagement with the people of Nigeria and highlight growing U.S.-Nigeria ties and the vast potential of African-American music to the African continent and beyond,” she said. Fifty years ago, the Morehouse College Glee Club organized its first musical tour to Nigeria with support from the US Department of State and there were song exchanges between both countries. Today, US high school and college choirs including the Morehouse College Glee Club often sing in Nigerian languages, showing the long-term impact of that exchange.