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Aborakyire Nkomo

Chicago Ghanaian Community displays Ghanaian Culture

GhanaFest Northernmarch
.... at GhanaFest 2005

“Wow!! Wow!!”, “I’m short of words to express what is happening here today”. Those were the sentiments expressed by some attendees at the 17th Annual GhanaFest in Washington Park on Saturday July 30, 2005.

Excellent organization, good coordination, good communication, hardworking and dedicated executives, a supportive Community and perfect weather produced the biggest and best African Cultural Exposition in North America on Saturday.

Present at the function was Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Fritz-Poku and Mr. J.C Akron, the Counselor for Consular affairs. The Guest Speaker for the occasion was Mr. Samuel Akainyah, an art Professor at Kennedy King College in Chicago and owner of Akainyah Galleries on 357 West Erie Street in Chicago. The Co-Chairs for the occasion were Anita Kontoh-Scott of Kontoh-Scott & Kimble LLC in Bolingbrook, Illinois, Francis Akoto, owner of Ghanaweb, the premier Ghanaian News web site, who came all the way from Finland and Veronica Asante, a Ghanaian Business woman who came all the way from Ghana for the occasion and donated $500.00 toward the Ghana National Council’s Youth program.

The Event was co-sponsored by Western Union, MoneyGram, Kontoh-Scott & Kimble LLC, Annaka Enterprises, Oakley Construction, African Spectrum, PrimeAmerica, the Chicago Mayor’s Office of Special Events, Mmrantie Kuo of Bolingbrook, Illinois and ABN America Network of Minnesota who would be broadcasting the event on satellite Television Channel 79.

Present at the festival were the Liberian Consulate in Chicago, His Excellency Alexander Gbayee, The President of the United Kenyans association, Mr. Mukila Maitha and the Vice President and Treasurer, Ms.Sandra Adubofour and Ms.Adiiza Bacary, both from the Ghana National Council in Florida, and Olivier Kamanzi of JP Morgan Chase Bank.

The Executive Council of the Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago gave a service Honor Award to Professor Samuel Akainya, Black Heritage recognition Award to Mr. Chuck Bowen (former Special Assistant to Major J. Richard Daley0, Service Honor Award to Nana Akwasi Addae, Asantefuohene of Chicago Metropolitan Area and Midwest, Outstanding Achievement Award to Mr. Francis Akoto, owner of Ghanaweb and Black Heritage Recognition Award to Ms. Janet Soliz, Coordinator with the Mayor's Office of Special events in Chicago.

In his speech Ambassador Fritz called on Ghanaians not to lose sight of the true meaning of culture and its importance in national development and international relations in the midst of the festivities. he applauded the theme of GhanaFest 2005 "Passing on our culture to the Youth".

There was a Youth parade and this year there were more sponsors and vendors than ever before.

Ms. Rose Amoonoo sang the national anthems for Ghana and United States.

In his remarks the President of the Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago, Mr. Reuben Hadzide outlined some of the accomplishments of his administration. He informed attendees that the City of Chicago had offered the Ghana National Council a piece of land for the building of the Ghana Cultural Center.

The Guest Speaker, Professor Samuel Akainyah appealed to Ghanaians to say words about our country and about people in general that reflect a compassionate and a kind heart. It is the only true way to cultivate a genuine and an endearing spirit, hence an endearing nation.

This year the Ghana National Council awarded 20 prizes to Raffle winners. The first prize was a 20" flat screen Television set. Other prizes included a microwave oven, 8 DVD players.

Source: GHP

US Based Ghanaian Lecturer Appointed President.

A world renowned arts organization, the Percussive Arts Society has appointed a Ghanaian lecturer and ethnomusicologist based in the US, Mr. Harold Akyeampong as the President of its Ghanaian Chapter.

The Percussive Arts Society is a US based music service organization promoting percussion education, research, performance and appreciation throughout the world.

Mr. Akyeampong’s appointment is the result of hard work and perseverance to found a Ghanaian Chapter following his discussion with Kristen McGuire, the director of percussion at Nazareth College(University), Rochester, who also is a board member of PAS, after a workshop at the university in November, 2003.

Mr. Akyeampong who is a skilful percussionist is also known as Okyerema Akyampon. He is a graduate of the Universities of Ghana’s School of Performing Arts and the State University of New York, Brockport. He is also a lecturer at the Dazzle School of Visual and Performing Arts, Rochester, where he is the Music director of its resident African dance company, Afrikuumba, under the artistic direction of Karen Martino. Mr. Akyeampong is the director of the Kusum Agoro Multicultural Arts Project, an arts in education program in New York City’s public school system. He is also a cultural consultant for a number of arts and folkloric organizations in New York. Among his numerous clients are the Young Audiences, New York, City LORE and the Akan Spiritual United Order. Mr. Akyeampong performs regularly as a guest with two of the US African American Dance companies who are exponents of rich African music and dance  the  unbeatable Asaase Yaa African American Dance Theatre and Harambee.

In his acceptance letter to the PAS, Mr. Akyeampong thanked the PAS executives for the opportunity given Ghanaian drummers and percussionists and promised that the chapter will live up to expectation. In a separate note, Mr. Akyeampong said that whilst Ghanaian performing is suffering neglect and some of the traditional arts face extinction, there is a paradox in the western world as they are paying attention to African folkloric arts especially music. It is for this reason that the formation of such a chapter in the country could not have come at an appropriate time but is long overdue.

Mr.Akyeampong said bringing the drummers and percussionists together would bring mutual benefits including opportunities to share cultural authenticity with foreign audience for multicultural appreciation, global peace and understanding.

Mr. Akyeampong appealed to the government and individual to lend support to the arts especially drumming to sustain the culture and to bring in the needed source of foreign exchange. He said, the interests in African performing arts especially drumming that falls under world music series in most of the Colleges abroad have the need for quality native teachers and instructors and it is about time that Africa meets that demand. Mr. Akyeampong said he is talking to some investors in the US for the possibility of establishing a percussion school in Ghana soon. He quoted a Benin’s proverb to buttress his salient point that " if you practice your culture, it never dies". He also called on all drummers and drum enthusiasts to register and become members.

Mr. Akyeampong said that the maiden national program for the Ghanaian chapter would take place in July and August with guest performers from USA at a venue to be announced later.






Source: ghanamusic.com

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