Christopher Ayodele was born on the 5th of August 1958 at Oye_Ekiti, Ekiti state. He was the only son of four children of the late Canon James Arowolo Ayodele. His father is an Anglican Priest and Racheal Ayodele (nee Ayodele) his mother is a School teacher, both of Isarun in Ifedore Local Government of Ondo State. Ayodele started his singing in his father’s church and developed an interest in organ playing and choral singing at the same time. It is on record that his choice of music as a career received stiff opposition from his father who wanted him to study other courses like Medicine and Engineering in order to become a medical doctor or an engineer.
Christopher Ayodeji Ayodele started his academic career at Saint Andrew’s Anglican Primary School, Idimoge, Ondo from 1965 to 1966. Also, he attended Saint Luke’s Grammar School, Igbara-Oke for his secondary school education. He also attends the Divisional Teacher Training College, Oye-Ekiti from 1975 to 1976. He was at the Polytechnic, Ibadan from 1977 to 1982 where he bagged both Ordinary National Diploma and Higher National Diploma (Music) with Upper credit. However, at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Ayodele was fortunate to meet Pa Kayode Oni (FTCL), his mentor. Pa Kayode Oni is a versatile organist under whose tutelage Ayodele achieved considerable proficiency at the organ. Above all, Ayodele’s expertise on the organ at such an early stage of his career was inspirational.
Ayodele did not stop at Higher Diploma, he also bagged a Master’s degree in Communication Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1995. In his quest for professionalism in his music career, he pursued and was awarded the following certificates by the Association Board, Royal School of Music, London.
|Pianoforte Playing||Grade VI intermediate||1978|
|Theory of Music||Grade VIII Final||1979|
|General Musicianship||Grade VII Final||1980|
|Organ Playing||Grade VII||1985|
He started his civil service career in 1976 to 1977 as a teacher with the Central Board, Ekiti West, Ijero Ekiti, and Moba Grammar School, Otun-Ekiti as a classroom teacher in 1977 while he worked as an adjunct Music producer at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Ibadan from 1980 to 1981. Also In 1981, he served at UMC Teacher Training College, Molete (Music Tutor) as part of his industrial attachment.
He had his one-year mandatory National Youth Service Scheme at the Music Department, The Polytechnic, Ibadan in 1982/83. Thereafter, he was appointed as a Technical Instructor in October 1984 and was a Chief Instructor till his home call on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. In detail, he taught harmony and counterpoint, organ, piano, and choral techniques at the Music Technology Department of the same institution. He also held many talks on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). Of course, Christopher Ayodele excelled in his professional career as Composer, Organist, Pianist, Conductor, and an academician.
Obviously, his exploits took him to the University of Ado-Ekiti, Emmanuel Alayande College of Education Campus, Oyo as a Visiting Instructor. Also, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State as a visiting lecturer. And until his demise, he was the Chief Examiner (Performance Test-Music) for the West African Examination Council in Nigeria and Ghana. In addition, he Trained and Mentored several persons who are distributed across the globe. In fact, he was a father-figure to most of his students.
As an Organist
Christopher Ayodele was a beloved organist who gave joy to everyone who came under the power of his music. Furthermore, Ayodele’s status as an organist bears comparison with notable pioneers like Pa TKE Phillips, FelaSowande, WWC Echezona, Ayo Bankole Snr., Pa Olaolu Omideyi (all of the blessed memory). As well as those ones who still alive and active like Kayode Oni, his mentor, and Sam Ojukwu, just to mention a few.
The organ technique of Christopher Ayodele was admirable and his ability to enthrall his listeners so powerfully was great. So many people do attribute his quality of being an organ phenomenal to his skill to use and configure organ stops effectively. However, the efficient handling of organ stops is just one of his multiple skills. Also, Christopher Ayodele is a sampler and demonstrator of several organ brands, played in multiple churches. Lastly, he has served as a collaborative pianist with prominent singers and diverse choral groups.
He served at different times as the Organist in deference churches across the denomination. Specifically, he served at Emmanuel Anglican Church, Ekotedo, First Baptist Church, Idikan, and Saint Peter Anglican Church, Aremo, all churches are in Ibadan, Oyo state. It is on record that he was a visiting organist to many churches within and outside Nigeria, including the famous Saint Saviours Church, Ikenne-Remo, Ogun state during the life and times of the late sage, Pa Obafemi Awolowo (a prominent figure in Nigeria politics). His final place of service was the All Saints’ Church, Jericho before his home call.
Furthermore, he was an accompanist to several soloists and choral groups. These including the FRCN Ibadan Choir, Lagos City Chorale, Warri Choral Society, University of Ibadan Choir, and Nightingale Voices. He was also an advisor to the Association of Church Musicians Ibadan Anglican Diocese and a member of the Music Committee, Nigeria Baptist convention.
Certainly, his dexterity on both the organ and the piano was fantastic. In fact, he was the organist that every person wanted to play at his/her family weddings and other ceremonies. People normally book Ayodele’s service in advance because of his busy schedule. At his disposal in fulfilling these multiple roles were his impressive professional skills and, most importantly, his amiable personality.
As a Composer and Editor
Dr. Ayodele is a composer who his composition is bi-cultural in nature. In fact, he composes music that showcases elements of African and European in performance and teaching. Specifically, his Bi-musicality was properly demonstrated in a CD recording of his performance, an essential material that he left behind. As a composer, he has the privileged to compose both the lyrics and music of The Polytechnic, Ibadan Anthem (Great Polytes).
Besides, he composed The Polytechnic of Ibadan 40th anniversary anthem. Moreover, he was an editor and had several publications/exhibition and music composition to his credit, including:
- Editor (Music Technocrat) Yoruba Baptist Hymnal (with music) for the Nigeria Baptist Convention (1998)
- Editor, All Saints’ Church Supplementary Hymn and Chorus (with Music), 2010
- Oyo Pacesetter State (An anthem for Oyo State)
- Yoruba council of elders Anthem and Crees (Recorded at Pneuma Studio, Ibadan)
- Inspirational Hymns on the Organ- An audio CD Produced by Ascent studio, Ogba Lagos, 2007
His latest book, Sight, and Sound of Music for Choirs was submitted for publication before his untimely death. In addition, some of his composition are:
- Oluwa l’oluso Agutan Mi
- Kororo Ayo
- Ise Oluwa
- Iberu Kosi
Awards and Honour
Dr. Christopher Ayodele is a man of honor and has received awards and honor in different ways. Firstly, In recognition of his meritorious service to Church Music, Christopher Ayodele was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by SOMAB Seminary. This was at IOWAS State University, the USA incorporated in 2013. Also, Christopher Ayodeji Ayodele was honour as a Consultant to SANUS ORGAN International, the USA base virtual organ company. Likewise, he is an Advisor and Technocrat, Viscount Organ (Nigeria Chapter), the Assistant Choir Director, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Oyo Chapter. Also, he is a member of the following professional bodies:
- Music Society of Nigeria
- The Nigeria Baptist Musicians Fellowship
- Music Circle, University of Ibadan
- Church Organ Project in Nigeria (CHOPIN), among others.
In truth, Christopher Ayodele was humble and gentle to a fault. Despite his musical prowess, he never looked down on anyone that came across his path, he was quite accommodating. Christopher was a dedicated academician who has mentored so many organists and rendered much needed professional guardianship for those who did not have the advantage to study music formally. Also, he exposed so many young organists to significant organ music repertoire.
In the social circle, Christopher Ayodele was not left out. Indeed, he was a man of the people. Dr. Ayodele was always at home wherever he found himself. It was therefore not surprising when he was elected as the President of the Senior Staff Club, The Polytechnic, Ibadan. He served as the chairman, Local Organizing Committee of Entertainment/Hospitality during ASU national convention that held in Ibadan, Oyo State in 2011. Until his death, he was a member of the Organizing Committee, Oyo State Government House Annual Christmas Carol.
Specifically, Christopher Ayodele got married to his heart-throb, Fumilayo Ayodele (nee Okunade) on September 10, 1988. Specifically, the union produced Tolulope Ayodele-Ajayi, Ayodeji, Ayokunle, and Ayotunde. Nevertheless, Christopher was a caring and responsible husband, father, brother, and uncle. In fact, he lived a life of sacrifice and selflessness to God and humanity, caring for others even at his own detriment. Dr. Ayodele was a workaholic, always happy to have people around him. Surely, there was never a dull moment with him; always filled with jokes and laughter.
Above all, Ayodele’s commitment and dedication to the music ministry were total and exceptional. Also, his capability to function in many and various musical roles was noteworthy. And in truth, he passed through a diverse professional field with tremendous productivity and charisma. In fact, he was one of a kind. However, everything that has beginning must have an end. Christopher Ayodeji Ayodele passed away on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 to rest in the blossom of the Lord. May the Almighty God give repose to his gentle soul. (Amen).
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