Ever since I arrived in my community almost 16 months ago, I’ve made an effort to attend church every Sunday. Not only does it help my language skills (most services are conducted in Ewe) and help me meet new people, but it also demonstrates to the people in my community that I am interested in their way of life. As I mentioned in a previous post there are 14 churches in my community of 4,000+ people, so it was a bit tricky deciding on one to attend regularly, especially since every church wants to be that one church the white person is attending.
After attending a half dozen churches I settled on the Evangelical Presbyterian (E.P.) church in my community. A huge factor in this decision was the music/worship. Almost every church I’ve attended in Ghana worships by playing the same beat on westernized instruments (usually drums and bass guitar) with death metal like “singing” into a filtered microphone. Moreover, the volume is typically increased to an obnoxious level, making the “music” unbearable to listen to. However, music in the E.P. church is different. They literally don’t use anything modern, just good old fashion instruments – African drums, cowbells, shakers and sticks. The music they make is soothing and it even makes 5-hour church sessions almost bearable.
In my church, Abutia Teti E.P. church, there are a number of groups referred to as “choirs” that make music and sing during church service. Some of the choirs are Church Choir, Good News Choir, Great Choir, Israel Group and C.Y.B. (Church Youth Band). During the course of a church service each choir, which sits together, sings a few songs. You might think that there would be some form of competition between the choirs. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s common for one choir to drum for another choir during its time to sing and some choirs even practice together!
The choirs are almost like clubs or church groups, as they do much more than singing and making music. Choir members fellowship with one another, work odd jobs to raise money for the choir’s bank account and attend church rallies together. So, naturally, once I decided to regularly attend Abutia Teti E.P. church, I then had to decide which choir to join. Fortunately, my decision was somewhat easy to make, because my barber is the leader of Good News Choir and they were accepting new members. So I joined Good News Choir.