Category: Choral News

Yes Jesus Loves Me – Garrison Children’s Choir

Yes Jesus Loves Me – Garrison Children’s Voices

It’s a new month and we excited to kick start August choral blog with the Garrison Children’s Choir.

GH Choral Music had an interview with their Director Edward Opare Addo in preparation for the Children’s Choral Festival on August 3rd, 2019

Interview Session:

Who is Garrison Children’s Choir?

We’re a children’s choir of the Garrison Methodist Presbyterian church, Burma Camp. We were set up in 2016 to enrich, engage and inspire a life-long love for sacred music and sacred arts in children.

How long have you been in existence?

We’ll be 3 years this September.

Why Yes Jesus Loves Me?
The love of Jesus is an undeniable truth to every Christian who has a personal walk with God.

The objective of this children’s choral Festival is to provide our children, from ages 6 to 14, the enjoyment, personal pride and development of talent and camaraderie through the sharing of gospel songs of praise and inspiration, which are not normally available to them.
There will be a music workshop for the choristers and their teachers. Each participating choir will share two of their most loved songs or hymns either in unison or harmony and all the choirs will perform together, Jesus Loves Me, This I Know ” a very popular children’s hymn.

It’s a non-competitive choral program. However, there are adjudicators who will assess each choir and give positive feedback on the performances mainly on basic choral disciplines and étiquettes to help the music teachers know which areas to develop in their choirs.

We name the children’s choral Festival “Yes Jesus Loves Me” because that’s the theme of our gathering. Little singers know this truth and singing and sharing their favourite songs about Jesus’ love is going to be a true evangelistic experience for them and their music teachers as well as their audience.

What edition of the program is this?

This is the first edition. And our main vision was to engage the existing children’s choirs in the sister military churches and encourage the forming up of children’s choirs in churches that don’t have resident children’s choirs. Hopefully, we’ll extend it to other children’s choirs who will be interested in participating in the next edition.

Where and when is the event happening?

Church Auditorium of Garrison Methodist Presbyterian church, Burma Camp.
Pick a public transport to Burma Camp either at Tema Station, Circle or 37 Station, or drive to Burma Camp and drop off at Supply bus stop.

What are some of the repertoire to be performed?

We’re having a wide range of repertoire from the 7 participating choirs. Besides, they’re rather child-friendly pitched gospel songs and hymns we trust everyone will easily identify with.

What should your audience expect from you?

We’re giving our audience the delight of music enjoyment made by children. They should expect to see the expression of God’s love and His praise through the lips of talented children from 7 institutions. We promise a memorable afternoon they’ll look forward to in the years to come.

Event Details

  • Saturday 3rd August 2018
  • 12 pm



Emmanuel Owusu, a renouned musician and composer of choral music has added his voice to the recent discussions on feminism. GH Choral Music chanced on his Facebook timline and this is what he had to say.
“This is my problem: Are we seeking to support women or patronize them? If Kwaku Manu and Yaa Mansa both had Aggregate 12 in WASSE, and in the name of affirmative action, the latter is to be given priority in university admissions, where do we want the former to go?

When the Ursula Owusus were being insulted for their involvement in front line politics, where were those who comfortably chose to be in armchair feminism?

Let me be frank with the feminists out there. You are not going to get the opportunities to ascend to decision making positions on a silver platter. Realists like us will rather support you than patronize you. The latter is a huge insult to the dignity of every precious being called woman”.

Harmonious Chorale Represents Africa In Poland

Harmonious Chorale Represents Africa In Poland

The International Festival of Orthodox Church Music „Hajnówka” has been organized every year since 1982. The Festival’s organizer is the „Orthodox Church Music” Foundation in Hajnówka.

The aim of the International Festival of Orthodox Church Music „Hajnówka” is to present the great artistic and spiritual values of Orthodox Church music. The Festival’s program also creates an opportunity for discussions, meetings, an exchange of experiences, and establishing new relationships between participants coming from different environments — thus, it becomes enriched with aesthetic and educational objectives. The repertoire presented during the Festival is a historical cross-section of music ranging from the beginnings of Christianity to contemporary compositions — including those by Polish composers (S. Moniuszko, J. Kozlowski, K. Szymanowski, K. Gorski, M. Rogowski, P. Jańczak, P. Lukaszewski, R. Twardowski, K. Penderecki).

The Festival is organized as a competition, with participation from amateur and professional choirs from around the world, including leading Polish choirs. It includes choirs regardless of their nationality and religion: Catholics, Greek Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Old Believers, as well as Muslims, Buddhists and Jews. This year features the World Champions of the World Choir Games 2018 Harmonious Chorale, which happens to be the only African choir participating in the event. Harmonious Chorale will be performing on 18.05.2019 (Saturday)  3.00 p.m  at The Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic in Białystok, 2 Podleśna Street

The Festival’s openness, as well as the variety of repertoire and culture on display, is an example of mutual respect and tolerance, affirming the idea of this event being the Musical Forum for the East and West. By 2013, 726 choirs from 35 countries (from Europe, Asia, North America and Africa) participated in this event, which is also known as the „The Festival of the Singing Soul”.

The Festival is organized under the Patronage of the President of Poland as well as the Patronage of the Polish Minister of Culture, under the Artistic Patronage of prof. K. Penderecki and under the Patronage of the President of Bialystok.

The Phantom of the Opera Auditions


Are you a choral singer? Are you an Orchestral string, woodwind or Brass instrumentalist?

Are you looking for an avenue to showcase and express your talent whilst simultaneously building your resume as a performer? Then this is the opportunity you need!

A leading Orchestra announces an opening for auditions for Choral singers and Orchestral instrumentalists for the Rehearsals, production and performance of a Broadway musical, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.

DATE: 13th and 14th of May, 2019 for singers; 15th to 16th of May, 2019 for instrumentalists
TIME: 9:00am

Interested persons should apply to the email address to receive further details on roles and audition requirements.


Profile Of The Week – George Mensah Essilfie



George Mensah Essilfie grew out of a family that was blessed with a bunch of musicians including his grandfather who played the harmonium, and his mother Mrs. Isabella Essilfie who was a singer. Besides, his uncles, Dr. George Alex Sam Amuasi and Prof. John Humphery Amuasi were already pianists and organists by the time Essilfie was growing up. Dr. George Amuasi had already been playing the Hammond Organ at the Winneba Methodist Cathedral. It is indeed not surprising seeing Mensah and his two brothers making the Essilfie’s home in Agona Swedru the home of music. Mensah Essilfie is the last of the eight children born to his parents.

He began his primary education at the age of four (4) at the Swedru International School. Mensah benefited immensely from Kwesi Agyapong’s music lessons, their family music teacher who had been engaged to take every child in the house through music lessons. At nine, Mensah wrote his first song based on the biblical story of the prodigal son and gladly taught it to Hilary Voices, a group formed by his elderly siblings. By age ten (10) Mensah had started his secondary education at the then Winneba Secondary School now Winneba Senior High School. Undoubtedly, Mensah was the school organist where both tutors and students including his parents and siblings were amazed at the manner in which he was displaying his dexterity at the keyboard and in music compositions at that tender age. All his siblings and parents were convinced that he should be given all the encouragement and resources he needed to continue his education solely in music instead of havingit as a second vocation as in the case of his two siblings Rexford and Harvey. This brilliant thought from the family inspired Mensah to take a giant step into the music scene by first enrolling at the Erstwhile National Academy of Music to do a general Diploma in Music, and later Bachelor of Education (Music Education) to, as it were, develop his knowledge and skill in music.

George Mensah Essilfie’s Yɛdze Wo Kɛseyɛ Maw’ (We Ascribe to your Greatness) In Perspective Mensah commenced his music career as a professional music educator imparting knowledge and skills to both young and old, and the following were are some of his achievements:

In Ghana, Essilfie Founded the Famous and the award winning Winneba Youth Choir in 1989. Before then he was serving the Ebenezer Methodist Church, Winneba as the Organist.

He also served the Wesley Methodist Koforidua, and Ebenezer Methodist Church Bantama-Kumasi as organist and at the St. Louis College of Education in Kumasi Essilfie taught music.

In Europe, he was the Director of Music of the Osagyefo Theatre Company in Luton – London, and performed at the Verdi Music Festival in Berlin, Germany. He attended the Easter Music School for music educators in the U.K. under the auspices in the British Council Institute.

In the United States of America Essilfie exposed his art competency as he exhibited some of his digitally created West African symbols at the McConnel Arts Centre in Worthington, Ohio, USA in February, 2011 as part of the Black history month. He was also Director of Music for the North American Association of Methodist Church Choirs, comprising the USA and Canada.

Mensah Essilfie has made tremendous contribution to the development of choral music in Ghana. Some of his compositions include Ayɛ a mman nsuro (be not afraid), Open me The Gates, Christ bits you come, Otomfo (the great one –folksong arr.), ɔdomankoma Egya (eternal Father), Mede asedabɛ ma Yehowa (I will render thanks unto Jehovah), O Zamena, mena (military Cadence arr.), Nyimpa nnkotum atse Nyame ase (God is unpredictable) among others

GH Choral Music
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Handel’s Messiah was Originally an Easter Offering

George Frideric Handel’s Messiah was originally an Easter offering. It burst onto the stage of Musick Hall in Dublin on April 13, 1742. The audience swelled to a record 700, as ladies had heeded pleas by management to wear dresses “without Hoops” in order to make “Room for more company.” Handel’s superstar status was not the only draw; many also came to glimpse the contralto, Susannah Cibber, then embroiled in a scandalous divorce.

The men and women in attendance sat mesmerized from the moment the tenor followed the mournful string overture with his piercing opening line: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.” Soloists alternated with wave upon wave of chorus, until, near the midway point, Cibber intoned: “He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” So moved was the Rev. Patrick Delany that he leapt to his feet and cried out: “Woman, for this be all thy sins forgiven thee!”

Now, of course, Messiah is a fixture of the Christmas season. Woe to the concert hall in the United States or Britain that fails to schedule the piece around the holiday, when, as well, CD sales and Web downloads of the oratorio soar. For many amateur choirs, the work is the heart of their repertoire and the high point of the year. In most of Handel’s oratorios, the soloists dominate and the choir sings only brief choruses. But in Messiah, says Laurence Cummings, director of the London Handel Orchestra, “the chorus propels the work forward with great emotional impact and uplifting messages.”

This year, the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death, has been a boon to the Baroque composer and his best-known work. The commemoration has centered in London, where Handel lived for 49 years, until his death in 1759 at age 74. The BBC has broadcast all of his operas, more than 40 in total, and every one of the composer’s keyboard suites and cantatas was performed during the annual London Handel Festival, which included concerts at St. George’s Hanover Square church, where Handel worshiped, and at the Handel House Museum (“See Handel Slept Here,”), longtime residence of the man that Ludwig van Beethoven himself, citing Messiah, said was the “greatest composer that ever lived.”

He was born in Halle, Germany, into a religious, affluent household. His father, Georg Händel, a celebrated surgeon in northern Germany, wanted his son to study the law. But an acquaintance, the Duke of Weissenfels, heard the prodigy, then barely 11, playing the organ. The nobleman’s recognition of the boy’s genius likely influenced the doctor’s decision to allow his son to become a musician. By 18, Handel had composed his first opera, Almira, initially performed in Hamburg in 1705. During the next five years, he was employed as a musician, composer and conductor at courts and churches in Rome, Florence, Naples and Venice, as well as in Germany, where the Elector of Hanover, the future King George I of England, was briefly his patron.

Handel’s restless independence contrasted him with the other great composer of the age, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), whom he did not meet. “Bach never moved out of the cocoon of court patronage or church employment,” says Harry Bicket, a conductor, harpsichordist and London-based director of The English Concert chamber orchestra. Handel, on the other hand, rarely attached himself to any benefactor for long, although he would compose court music when asked. He wrote The Water Music (1717), one of the few of his pieces other than Messiah recognizable to the average concertgoer, for George I, to be performed for the monarch as His Majesty’s barge navigated through a London canal on a summer evening. “But [Handel] didn’t hang around palace antechambers waiting for his lordship or royal highness,” says Jonathan Keates, author of Handel: The Man and his Music.

Such free-spirited musical entrepreneurship was more than possible in London, to which Handel moved permanently in 1710. A commercial boom underpinned by overseas trade had created a thriving new merchant and professional class that broke the monopoly on cultural patronage by the nobility. Adding zest to the London music scene were rivalries that split the audience into two broad musical camps. On one side were defenders of the more conventional Italian opera style, who idolized the composer Giovanni Bononcini (1670-1747) and brought him to London. Enthusiasts of Handel’s new Italian operas cast their lot with the German-born composer. The partisanship was captured in a 1725 verse by poet John Byrom:
Some say compared to Bononcini,
That Mynheer Handel’s but a Ninny;
Others aver, that he to Handel
Is scarcely fit to hold a Candle

Increasingly elaborate opera productions led to rising costs due, in part, to hiring musicians and singers from Italy. “It was generally agreed Italian singers were better trained and more talented than local products,” notes Christopher Hogwood, a Handel biographer and founder of the Academy of Ancient Music, the London period-instrument orchestra he directs. But beautiful voices were often accompanied by mercurial temperaments. At a 1727 opera performance, Handel’s leading sopranos, Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni, actually came to blows onstage, with their partisans cheering them on. “Shame that two such well-bred ladies should call [each other] Bitch and Whore, should scold and fight,” John Arbuthnot (1667-1735), the mathematician and satirist, wrote in a pamphlet describing the increasing hysteria of London’s opera world.
In the 1730s, the emotional and financial toll of producing operas, as well as changing audience tastes, contributed to Handel’s growing interest in sacred oratorios—which required neither elaborate scenery nor foreign stars—including, eventually, Messiah. “With oratorios, Handel could be more his own master,” says Keates.

Despite his fame, Handel’s inner life remains enigmatic. “We know far more about the environment in which he lived and the sort of people he knew than about his private life,” Keates adds. Part of the explanation lies in the dearth of personal letters. We must rely on contradictory descriptions of Handel by admirers and detractors, whose opinions were colored by the musical rivalries of 1700s London.

Although he neither married nor was known to have had a long-lasting romantic relationship, Handel was pursued by various young women and a leading Italian soprano, Vittoria Tarquini, according to accounts by his contemporaries. Intensely loyal to friends and colleagues, he was capable of appalling temper outbursts. Because of a dispute over seating in an orchestra pit, he fought a near-fatal duel with a fellow composer and musician, Johann Mattheson, whose sword thrust was blunted by a metal button on Handel’s coat. Yet the two remained close friends for years afterward. During rehearsals at a London opera house with Francesca Cuzzoni, Handel grew so infuriated by her refusal to follow his every instruction that he grabbed her by the waist and threatened to hurl her out an open window. “I know well that you are a real she-devil, but I will have you know that I am Beelzebub!” he screamed at the terrified soprano.
Handel, who grew increasingly obese over the years, certainly had an intimidating physique. “He paid more attention to [food] than is becoming to any man,” wrote Handel’s earliest biographer, John Mainwaring, in 1760. Artist Joseph Goupy, who designed scenery for Handel operas, complained that he was served a meager dinner at the composer’s home in 1745; only afterward did he discover his host in the next room, secretly gorging on “claret and French dishes.” The irate Goupy produced a caricature of Handel at an organ keyboard, his face contorted into a pig snout, surrounded by fowl, wine bottles and oysters strewn at his feet.

“He may have been mean with food, but not with money,” says Keates. Amassing a fortune through his music and shrewd investments in London’s burgeoning stock market, Handel donated munificently to orphans, retired musicians and the ill. (He gave his portion of his Messiah debut proceeds to a debtors’ prison and hospital in Dublin.) A sense of humanity imbues his music as well—a point often made by conductors who compare Handel with Bach. But where Bach’s oratorios exalted God, Handel was more concerned with the feelings of mortals. “Even when the subject of his work is religious, Handel is writing about the human response to the divine,” says conductor Bicket. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Messiah. “The feelings of joy you get from the Hallelujah choruses are second to none,” says conductor Cummings. “And how can anybody resist the Amen chorus at the end? It will always lift your spirits if you are feeling down.”

Handel composed Messiah in an astounding interlude, somewhere between three and four weeks in August and September 1741. “He would literally write from morning to night,” says Sarah Bardwell of the Handel House Museum in London. The text was prepared in July by the prominent librettist, Charles Jennens, and was intended for an Easter performance the following year. “I hope [Handel] will lay out his whole Genius & Skill upon it, that the Composition may excel all his former Compositions, as the Subject excels every other Subject,” Jennens wrote to a friend.

There were several reasons for the choice of Dublin for Messiah’s debut. Handel had been downcast by the apathetic reception that London audiences had given his works the previous season. He did not want to risk another critical failure, especially with such an unorthodox piece. Other Handel oratorios had strong plots anchored by dramatic confrontations between leading characters. But Messiah offered the loosest of narratives: the first part prophesied the birth of Jesus Christ; the second exalted his sacrifice for humankind; and the final section heralded his Resurrection.

Dublin was one of the fastest-growing, most prosperous cities in Europe, with a wealthy elite eager to display its sophistication and the economic clout to stage a major cultural event. “So it was a great advantage for Handel to make the voyage to Dublin to try out his new work, and then bring it back to London,” says Keates, comparing the composer to Broadway producers who tried out plays in New Haven before staging them in New York City.

Messiah’s success in Dublin was in fact quickly repeated in London. It took time for Messiah to find its niche as a Christmas favorite. “There is so much fine Easter music—Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, most especially—and so little great sacral music written for Christmas,” says Cummings. “But the whole first part of Messiah is about the birth of Christ.” By the early 19th century, performances of Messiah had become an even stronger Yuletide tradition in the United States than in Britain.
There is little doubt about Handel’s own fondness for the work. His annual benefit concerts for his favorite charity—London’s Foundling Hospital, a home for abandoned and orphaned children—always included Messiah. And, in 1759, when he was blind and in failing health, he insisted on attending an April 6 performance of Messiah at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden. Eight days later, Handel died at home.

His total estate was assessed at 20,000 pounds, which made him a millionaire by modern standards. He left the bulk of his fortune to charities and much of the remainder to friends, servants and his family in Germany. His one posthumous present to himself was £600 for his own monument at Westminster Abbey, final resting place for British monarchs and their most accomplished subjects. Three years after Handel’s death, the monument by French sculptor Louis François Roubillac, was installed.

Abroad, Handel’s reputation—and that of his best-known composition—only continued to grow. Mozart paid Handel the supreme compliment of reorchestrating Messiah in 1789. Even Mozart, however, confessed himself to be humble in the face of Handel’s genius. He insisted that any alterations to Handel’s score should not be interpreted as an effort to improve the music. “Handel knows better than any of us what will make an effect,” Mozart said. “When he chooses, he strikes like a thunderbolt.”

Classical music aficionado Jonathan Kandell is based in New York City.

The chills you get when you listen to Music


The chills you get when you listen to music, is mostly caused by the brain releasing dopamine while anticipating the peak moment of a song.

Dopamine is a feel-good chemical released by the brain. This chemical is directly involved in motivation, as well as addiction. These studies found a biological explanation for why music always has been such a huge part of emotional events around the world since the beginning of human history.