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 Kelvin Yeboah Acheampong and Alberta Opata in a joint performance, with Kwaku Boakye-Frimpong, pianist at the post-COVID performance
 Kelvin Yeboah Acheampong and Alberta Opata in a joint performance, with Kwaku Boakye-Frimpong, pianist at the post-COVID performance

In search of alternative adult entertainment: Classical Music the option

Classical music certainly has a place in the Ghanaian musical setting, it is just a matter of time. Popular in other parts of the world, classical music and opera remain ‘novelties’ in

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Ghana and lovers of the genre yearn for opportunities to enjoy it.

Admittedly, there had been various individual/solo/duet/trio/quartet performances of the genre in the country.

The first and major one was in 2007 by the famous La Scala from Italy at the National Theatre, as part of the jubilee anniversary of Ghana.

Formation of association

However, in 2017, the Classical Music Association of Ghana (CMAG) was formed to champion a crusade to promote classical music as an alternative adult entertainment.

Even though there had been some performances of classical music in the past, the formation of the association in the country has institutionalised the genre.

With some enthusiastic individuals, the association seeks to provide a platform for Ghanaian classical music lovers to interact, increase listenership and mainstream it in Ghana.

As part of its objective, the association will organise concerts for world-class symphony orchestras to play in Ghana, and facilitate collaboration between local and foreign symphony orchestras to develop local talents.   

Performances

The association invited the Opera Mauritius in 2018 to perform alongside the Ghanaian folkloric performance and the Kyeremateng & Adinkra Dance Company fame. It was a classic performance with the two groups blending well.

The CMAG is looking at putting Ghana on the world stage and so, in 2018, the association under the Chairmanship of Lawyer Alex Osei Owusu, in partnership with the Opera Mauritius, with support from the Ministry of Arts and Culture of Mauritius, staged a two-hour exhilarating and refreshing performance.

From the repertoire of evergreen and contemporary pieces, such as the Hallelujah, Ave Maria, Agnus Dei, Panis Angelicus, O Holy City, O Sole Mio, Granada and Casta Diva, the Opera Mauritius treated classical music lovers to real executive entertainment, which was attended by some members of the diplomatic community, business executives within the local and expatriate community in the country and music lovers.

That singular performance aroused the love for classical music in most of the first-timers who attended. 

COVID-19

However, the move to blend the international with local performers in classical music, such as the Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras in 2020, was rudely cut off by the ravaging COVID-19, which took the world by storm. So the association had to hasten slowly in accordance with the protocols that came with it.

The pandemic truncated all short-term future plans, including the grand rollout of classical music in the country.

Post-COVID

However, on May 20, 2023, the association put together an-all local performers, the first post-COVID-19 performance with the pandemic over and life back to normal, and it was an experience for attendees.

It was a night to remember for classical music lovers with Pianists Constant Ahadzivia and Kwaku Boakye-Frempong, partnering with the melodious voices of Alberta Opata, Mitchelle Ajeigbe, Bernice Wilma, Guy Bertrand K. to treat the audience to the renditions from the repertoire of William Mo William Roy, S. Louiguy, Frederick Loewe, Ennio Morricone, Wolfgang A. Mozart, Jacques Offenbach and famous singers.

The second post-COVID-19 performance took place on July 29, 2023, and that gave a clear-cut indication that classical music is clearly here to stay.

In no time, the venue for the performance would be moved from the British Council Hall to a more spacious place, with the National Theatre as the most convenient place.

Alternative music

For members of the CMAG, Ghanaians deserve an alternative type of music away from contemporary songs laden with profanity, violence and gangsterism.

Classical music is that alternative, particularly so for children, because science has proven that “classical music helps in developing the ‘left’ brain that controls intuition and imagination and improves concentration, especially in children”.

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Classical music is a sought-for entertainment in the developed world, where patrons for a session are required to secure tickets weeks, or even in some cases, months ahead of the performance.

The good thing about the move by the association to internalise classical music in the country is its plan to get schoolchildren to develop an interest in it. 

Post-COVID performances witnessed pupils from selected schools in Accra, including the Alcyd Academy, the International Community School, the Christ The King and Ghana International School, in attendance.

A performance by any of these, the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, etc., is set to pull one of the largest entertainment crowds.

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