Onitsha (Anambra) – The Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, has called on parents to enroll their children in music classes to facilitate the development of their intellectual capacity.
Speaking at the 2015 Music Cantata of the Archbishop Valerian Okeke Music Academy in Onitsha, Anambra on Monday, Okeke noted that music developed the innate ability of children to have “photographic memory’’.
He said that music commanded optimal concentration through the learning and mastery of the rhythms and instruments.
“When you are engaged in music, whether as a singer or playing the instruments, you must put all your concentration in it for you to bring out the best as well as master the art in due time.
“And while you are doing this, anytime you remove your concentration from it, automatically you start making mistakes.
“So, musical classes help so much to build and develop the innate notion of human concentration needed for academics and other intellectual up-bringing, especially in children.
“Today, the music academy is open to all children free of charge. And I am calling on parent to encourage their children to enroll and learn all about music, especially in this holiday period instead of whiling away their time at home,’’ he said.
The archbishop said that it would not be long before children in the music academy started going to London, Paris, U.S. and Rome to perform.
“Personally, I won’t want any child to be left out. The church will continue to give support to children since they are our future when most of us must have gone,’’ he added.
A special guest at the cantata, the Bishop of Antwerpen in Belgium, Most Rev. Jozef Bonny, described the presentations as the best he had witnessed for some years and extolled the mastery of the musical instruments by the children.
“I am very much impressed with the songs and music instruments today from these children.
And I must say also that it is with the highest quality with what I witnessed in some years now,’’ Bonny noted.
Also speaking, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha, Most Rev. Denis Isizoh, said that it was so sweet listening to the children as well as beholding their mastery of the musical instruments.
The Director of the academy, Rev. Fr. Stephen Ifeanyi, said it had been growing in numbers since three years ago when the archbishop came up with the idea to keep children busy during the holidays through musical classes.
“We started with less than 25 children three years ago but today, the number is beyond 150 children ranging from age five to 15,’’ Ifeanyi said.
The director appealed to philanthropists to assist the academy by donating musical instruments as one of its greatest challenges was having sufficient instruments for the children.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the academy has more than 40 instruments, including drums, guitars, pianos, flutes, trumpets, saxophones and violins. (NAN)