Ordinarily, 12-year-old Reginald Nii Ayi Quaye dexterity on the organ should not be news, because he was born into a family of organists.
Reginaldâ€™s grandfather, father and uncles are all organists, who play the organ in their respective churches.
But what makes Nii Ayi, as he is popularly called, so extraordinary is the fact that at the tender age of five, he began to play the organ in church.
His exceptional talent has shot him to stardom. At nine, Reginald could have easily entered the university to read music, if he had the then Senior Secondary School (SSS) passes.
This is because Reginald was able to take private lessons to enable him to sit for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), United Kingdom (UK) exams, to qualify him as a professional organist.
Nii Ayi sat for the exams and not only passed, but also came out with a distinction in Grade 5, instead of Grade 3, which should have been his actual level.
Nii Ayi started reading and playing church music at six years. Surprisingly, he was never mentored by any tutor, but rather went straight to playing anthems from Handelâ€™s Messiah, a music book.
â€œAs my father was practising the Hallelujah chorus one day, I went to him and told him that I wanted to learn that piece.â€
With some guidance, he was able to play the entire piece; that was the first piece he played reading from a music book.
At six and seven, he performed six times at the National Theatre, playing the gospel music with his combo organ and singers. From then, he started receiving invitations to perform at various churches and functions.
At age nine, Nii Ayi played â€˜The first part of the Messiahâ€™ at the British Council on a British Council sponsored programme in which he performed many pieces from the Messiah.
â€œIt was at that concert that some organists, who attended the programme, advised me to sit for the ABRSM exams to enable me to get a qualification in the fieldâ€.
Nii Ayi, who spoke to the Junior Graphic in the presence of his father, Mr Isaac Quaye, and sister, said his greatest asset in his musical career was the attention and support he got from his parents.
One of his greatest moments was when he performed at the Late Ga Mantseâ€™s funeral. Within a time frame of about two years, Nii Ayi had performed in many churches and is currently the regular organist of the Accra Diocesan Choir of the Association of Anglican Churches.
Asked how he is able to combine playing the organ and school work, Nii Ayi, a Junior High School Form One student of Bishop Bowers School at Laterbiokorshie, said he apportioned time for both his academic work and the piano practice effectively.
According to him, almost everyday, he wakes up very early and practises for about 30 minutes before going to school.
After school and after he has finished his home work and studies, he again practises for about an hour before going to bed.
He has a private teacher who helps him with his school work and a piano teacher who teaches him once a week. He says he takes his piano lessons very seriously, â€œhence 30 minutes on the piano is enough for me.â€
Nii Ayiâ€™s dream is to be a pilot. â€œWhat I want to do the most is to fly a plane from Accra to New York and also perform in any of the biggest auditoriums in Europe and I am determined to work hard to achieve this dream.â€
But for now, he wants to perform at one of the piano competitions in the UK before he enters Senior High School.
He is currently the organist at the St. Georgeâ€™s Anglican Church who plays for the choir and the band. Nii Ayiâ€™s advice to all kids is to try their hands on any musical instrument they come across, and also to take their lessons seriously.
â€œI should say this is a great gift from God and I owe Him so much for this talent,â€ he said. He is also thankful to his parents, Miss Joyce Aryee, Mr Acquaah Harrison and Mr Richter who are his role models for their support.
And to his fans and numerous admirers, he says, â€œyou couldnâ€™t have urged me on better by the encouragement you give me to carry on doing what I do best.â€
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