Music has been offered in worship since Biblical times; its offering is vitally important, for though it cannot illustrate words, it can transcend them; it can inspire, excite, soothe, and heal; it can unite people of different backgrounds and nationalities, it can speak to people of all faiths and of none, and most importantly, it can be used to point the way to God.
The musical tradition of the Cathedral Church of Christ Marina Lagos is one of its greatest glories and is something very special indeed, since it is so vibrant and it encompasses both the ancient and the modern methods. It is an important heritage and tradition, one which is admired from all over Nigeria, and we are dedicated to maintaining and enhancing it.
Singing has always been an integral part of Christ Church’s worship since its inception in 1869. It is believed, in fact it is so recorded, that the first organist of Christ Church - Mr. R. A. Coker, at the beginning of his career, and just before his appointment as Organist, was sent to England to improve his knowledge of music in order to form a good choir suitable for Christ's Church and which would be able to sing in a manner worthy of being regarded as a model by the other churches.
The initial Choir he started comprised of ladies and men. It was later re-organized during the ministry of Rev. Hamlyn in who withdrew the young ladies and replaced them with boys and young men. He provided them with surplices and erected choir stalls at the East-end of the Church and ever since, that tradition of singing has never left the cathedral till date. Today, the present Cathedral choir's, 21 boy choristers , together with the gentlemen of the choir who sing the alto, tenor and bass parts, continue this beautiful tradition of singing into the 21st century, providing music at the Cathedrals worship services and many other special occasions throughout the year. They also reach a wider audience by singing in live broadcasts on radio during Easter and Christmas and also through their recordings.
The basis of the choir's work is the regular singing of cathedral services, but there are other exciting activities, including Outings, picnics as well as frequent concert appearances here in the cathedral.
The Cathedral Church of Christ’s Choir Lagos is one of the most respected in the West Africa, is particularly noted for its wide-ranging liturgical repertoire, which forms the backbone of weekly worship here in the beautiful acoustics of the Cathedral. The repertoire here, is not much different from that of any typical English Cathedral Choir in the UK-It primarily reflects the seasons of the liturgical year, with plainsong antiphons and office hymns, large festal anthems and more grandiose Eucharistic settings (such as Alan Wilson's Mass Of Light and Mozart's Mass In B flat) sitting alongside the daily music that riches and enhances the worship of all who visit the cathedral.
Their Repertoire is one, which encompasses a broad range of styles and compositions ranging from Plainchant to Classical, Negro Spirituals and to present-day Contemporaries and even Nigerian Indigenous music.
The Choir has also incorporated the works of some Indigenous Nigerian composers many of which are home grown composers of the cathedral itself. Amongst such home-grown composers whose music still enriches their repertoire are the likes of T.K.E. Philips whose indigenous Sacred Yoruba Compositions we still hear often here in the cathedral and also Fela Sowande who’s Responses in English are still sung regularly at Mattins& Evensong. And also some other home-grown composers like Ayo Bankole, Akin Euba and Samuel Akpabot. Some other composers that feature regularly on Christ Church's music lists include C.V Stanford, H. Howells, Bairstow, Charles Wood and John Rutter -which are some of the mainstays of choral repertoire throughout Europe.
The choir performs works in Foreign Languages as well as in the Yoruba Dialect and in recent years has given a few performances of some Major works here in the Cathedral. Of such recent performances are -Joseph Haydn's “THEPASCHAL VICTOR “_April 2007-Handel‟s" OLIVETH TO CALVARY " _ Easter 2008-Felix Mendelssohn’s "ST.PAUL" _ November 2008 at its 90th Anniversary Concert held here in the Cathedral and conducted by M rSina Ojemuiwa. As well as Handel's “THE MESSIAH “ in December.
Some other works the Cathedral Choir also performed in time past include G.F. Handel's "JUDDAS MACCABAEUS" in 1998 at the Musical Society Of Nigeria (MUSON Lagos), at the marking of its 80th Joseph Haydn's " ELIJAH " April 2001 amongst many others It has also given performances of excerpts from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and some other Major Compositions