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.
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.