By Ikenna Nwokedi
A book volume in honour of Professor Young-Sook Onyiuke was on Tuesday, 27th March 2023 made public and launched by the Department of Music, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State.
The book titled: “The Music Maestra”, was launched on the occasion of a festschrift in honour of a musicologist and scholar who stands out as the prime example of a pianist and violinist ascribing a feminine ideal to teaching of music at the tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
In his remarks during the event, UNIZIK Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, eulogized Prof. Onyiuke for her immense contributions to the music discipline both in practice and in the teaching profession. Esimone commended her mentorship and tutelage for her students as well as the excellent spirit displayed during her active years.
Esimone highlighted the essence of the book presentation and launching as a way of appreciating the celebrant, authors and contributors. The Vice-Chancellor drawing inspiration from the motto of Nigeria’s first generation tertiary institution, UNN which is ‘To restore Dignity of Man’ emphasized that man as a whole is central to every development and should be encouraged and appreciated for good deeds especially in the academia. He also informed that at UNIZIK, the staff members are focused on teaching, research and community service all in a bid to showcase academic excellence.
On his part, Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Hillary Onyiuke described Prof. Young-Sook as a workaholic, a music teacher and an inspiration to many. Onyiuke commended the celebrant for her hardwork noting that her contributions speak volume of her love and passion for her career. Prof. Onyiuke stated that the book would be useful to the public as it contains all the celebrant stood for during her years in active service.
The book reviewer who is the current President of National Association of Nigerian Musicologists, Prof. Christian Onyeji thanked the organizers for putting up the task of the book presentation and launching. Onyeji emphasized that the subject of the book gave so much toward development of those in the music profession and discipline.
The former Dean Faculty of Arts at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) revealed that the book which has 57 chapters was arranged in 7 thematic sessions. The scholar pointed out how music is integrated in every sphere of human endeavour and how music contributes to every area of life. He also explained that the title “Music Maestra” simply means a music teacher showing the positive effects of her tutelage on her students.
Onyeji opined that the book is composed of great selection of articles addressing critical national issues and providing answers as well as the role a conscious teacher plays in moulding upcoming acts of the next generation. He recommended the book to readers, scholars, enthusiasts and many others as they will be enriched by the content which is innovative, informative, educative and comprehensive.
Reacting also, the Vice-Chancellor of Peter University Achina, Rev. Fr. Prof. Emmanuel Umezinwa stated that it was a nostalgic moment for him as Prof. Onyiuke’s contributions to music was immense both as an instrumentalist and a teacher. Umezinwa thanked her for her contributions to the profession while urging the sttudents to emulate Prof. Onyiuke for her outstanding qualities.
The Dean Faculty of Art UNIZIK, Prof. Alvan-Ikoku Nwamara was not left out in the eulogies as he highlighted the role Prof. Onyiuke played in the formative stage of his career. Prof. Nwamara described Prof. Onyiuke as a teacher extraordinary and a great administrator.
Others who lend their voice and support at the colourful occasion was the Chairman, Dozzy Group of Companies, Sir Dr. Daniel Chukwudozie, OON who was represented by the General Manager (Administration) Dozzy Group, Mr. Chima Akuchie. Unveiling and launching of the book, music presentation by students of Music Department and Master Nnaeto Onyiuke formed the high points of the occasion.