Tag Archives: Good News Choir

Donning of the Robes

Joining Good News choir was the easy part. Actually singing is the challenge. First, other than a pass/fail Gospel Choir course I took in college, I have no singing experience. I don’t even sing in the shower. However, one thing I learned in my Gospel Choir course is that it is really easy to blend into the crowd, so as long as I don’t have any solos I should be okay. Second, I didn’t know any of the songs and they are all in Ewe, making for a very steep learning curve. So I bought a song book and a few CDs and tried to learn the songs.

We practice three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Recently we’ve been combining practice with Church Choir and have invited a choirmaster to come lead the practices. This has helped me, because the practices are more organized and focused on one or two songs.

On Sunday Good News Choir held a ceremony for the donning of our choir robes. Wearing the robes is a big deal for the choir and the church as a whole. In fact, many people came to the ceremony, including the Abutia paramount chief and professionals who are from Abutia, but live outside the community. Someone made a very generous donation to purchase the robes. Each robe costs 100 Ghana Cedis and we bought about 30 of them. The women’s robes look like graduation gowns, because of the graduation type cap they wear and the men’s robes look like judge robes. Many people said I look good in a robe, so maybe I’ll consider a career as a judge.

My choir putting on the robes for the first time.

My choir putting on the robes for the first time.

I’m very happy with my decision to become a member of Abutia Teti E.P. church and Good News choir. It’s typical for Peace Corps volunteers to stay away from churches for different reasons and I might be the only one to have joined a choir.  However, being part of a group with so much tradition that many people in the community care about makes me feel part of my community.

Good News Choir after the robe ceremony.

Good News Choir after the robe ceremony.

Maybe I'll go for a career as a judge after the Peace Corps.

Maybe I’ll go for a career as a judge after the Peace Corps.

 

Advertisements

Good News Choir

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.

Good News Choir drumming.

Good News Choir drumming.

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.