Up Close with Reginald Nii Ayi Quaye; The Piano Wizard

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Talent is an inborn quality within the person. It is often hidden and raw, which needs recognition at the right time. It can be improved over time if efforts are made in the right direction.

Every one of us is born with a special quality; that is talent. Not only in the field of study, a person may possess talent in dancing, singing, cooking, gaming, acting, swimming, counseling, influencing, painting, etc.

If you set a kid free and alone, he will engage in the activity, he likes most, or he is best in. It often happens with many people that their talent remains unspotted because of lack of proper guidance, support and opportunity to showcase it.

EB:ย  Tell us about yourself generally

PW: I am a young man in my early 20โ€™s. I am a working and also a part time student. I love music football and swimming. I am very adventurous and like to do crazy stuff to test if my adrenaline is still working. I love educative documentaries and action movies.

I am calm who loves to lean anything and everything. I am a human lover and very compassionate.

EB: Run us through your days of starting to play the organ.

PW: My Dad tells me on one of his birthdays, when I was 5, he wanted somebody to play the Happy Birthday song whilst he went for the churchโ€™s blessing.

This thought came to him on a Friday preceding the Sunday. He therefore started teaching me the song and within a few minutes I could play the song with an accompanying rhythm. On Sunday I played the song very well. From there he engaged one Emma from St. Monica who took me through the basic chords and then Brother from Ozimzim Band who also continued. The same year I performed at GTV live performance at Afrikiko.

We then became extra serious, and performed 7 times at the national theatre and a host of TV shows and at churches. At 7, my dad started teaching me to read music, the first song I played was the Hallelujah Chorus before I started playing other hymns.

At 8, my dad arranged for a music concert with Nazareth Methodist Junior choir at the British Council where we performed the first part of the Messiah. According to my Dad, the first time the anthem, For unto Us in the Messiah was opened for me I sight played it. One of the interesting things as I was told was that I could then play only Key D,  G and F so at the concert, any song I played which was not in any of the keys above had to be transcribed to any of the keys like, Good King Wenceslas Looked out.

At 8 I repeated the concert at the same place due to request from my patrons, then I added other Anthems which were in the Messiah in other keys, I learned the Anglican  liturgy briefly from my Dad at St. Francis then moved to St. Georges, Chorkor for about 2 years and finally to All saints, Adabraka.

Displaying his skills on the piano during church service at All Saints Adabraka.

EB: what inspired you in playing the organ any secret?

PW: I believe my dad had the inspiration.

EB: Does any of your relatives play the organ

PW: My father plays, my uncles play, my Grandfather played and my cousins play too

EB: At what age did u start playing?

PW:5yrs

EB: who was your organ tutor?

PW: Basically, my father, but I have had the likes of John Annan, Mr. Ritchter and Acquah Harrison all teaching me at a point in time. Nor forgetting Mr. Placka

EB: What was your first piece you played and where?

PW: First song Happy birthday. It was my fatherโ€™s birthday and he was the organist so I had to learn it and play it at church whilst he went for the churches blessing. In the year 2000. 15th June.

EB: Among the various piece which one is your favorite?

PW: The ones I played in church. I liked them all especially; the anthems the adults could not play.

EB: what made you to appreciate that piece any secret

PW: If you understand music, you will understand that, there is something hidden in the song most and non-musicians donโ€™t hear. They are patterns. Listen closely and you will hear them,

EB:  Has there been any competition you have participated in in regards to the organ

PW: In my time, several. I was the first in all with the exception of one. Omo Talent Hunt, I was the second. I won a bicycle an iron and a kettle. I still have the bike. Churches, organizations clubs, a whole lot.

EB: How many choirs have you played with?

PW: Several. Anglican, Methodist, SDA Musama Disco, EP church, Youth Choirs, University and School Choirs, I canโ€™t count. However, I know I havenโ€™t played for the Jehovah Witnesses before. Military, fire service, Parliament choir and all.

EB: Can you tell us more on ABRSM

PW: It is a UK board for the royal school of music. It is a standardization soft for classical musicians.

EB: Your experience in that course

PW: I Wrote the practical exam grade 5. I passed with a distinction. I was 10 by then. I havenโ€™t written any after. But that qualifies me to teach music and do several other things.

EB: haven gone through the various in the ABRSM course it means you can stand the likes of Newlove Annan, James Varick Armah, Alfred Addaquaye and the rest.?

PW: The only difference between us is exposure and compositions. They do music on a full scale, mine is just a hobby I am good at. I will release some compositions soon

EB: Any local and international awards?

PW: Sadly, I have not left the shores of Ghana yet. The Ghanaian classical and Choral industry is not supportive and vibrant. But when I do, I know I will leave a mark anywhere I go. Local awards, best student in music and I received a Bishops badge of honor for my contribution to music in the Anglican church. I received it at the age of 13.

At Saint Andrews Anglican Church Abossey Okai

EB: Your profession?

PW:  I am an Information Technologist by profession.

EB: Have you experience any intimidation as you were growing up in playing the organ.

PW: Several, especially, when I was young. I started playing at 5

EB: How did you handle such intimidation

PW: I will recount an occasions. They were this one time at a big event hosted by the choir and I was to play the Hallelujah Chorus, one of the music masters was against it and I didnโ€™t play. I remember crying after. He later saw me play it elsewhere and came to congratulate me.

We donโ€™t support nor trust our own. Most adult organists didnโ€™t like me because I could play better than them. Some acted up when I was called to play pieces they could not play. But that did not worry me. I did my rest and I left the rest to God.

EB: Wants to know how you combined your academics and the organ tutorials from the basics

PW: I had to at a point in time put music aside and concentrate on my academics thatโ€™s how come I did not continue with ABRSM. It wasnโ€™t my full-time job unlike the others. It did not stop me from playing actively and regularly. I want to obtain a PHD in the not so distant future. Not in music though.

EB: Which of the organist do you take inspiration from

PW: All of ones you know. I donโ€™t want to take sides, but I learn a little something from each of them

EB: Your ambition in life

PW: I want to be an authority in Computer security and IT. I will lecture on the side too. Hopefully start a business.

EB: Your final words to up and coming organist.     

PW: The sky is the limit. Donโ€™t let anything slow you down. Always improve on your skill and do not think Ghana, Think international. Money is not every and most importantly GOD FIRST.

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