(April 3, 2023)Filling every corner of the Church hall with resounding music, the Tema Choir performed a Festival of Easter, Ten Lessons and Choruses, at the First United Presbyterian Church of Dale City. With its roots in Ghana, the Choir was directed by the inspiring and skillful conductor, Mr. Ebenezer Allotey, who relocated from his beloved Ghana to the US. 

The Tema Choir was equally electrifying in their rendition of the traditional Messiah of George Frederich Handel as it was in their rendition of choral hymns by Ghanaian composers. Joined by a remarkable orchestral ensemble, the Choir’s rich and powerful voices connected with the audience.

After a warm welcome by Rachel Parham, the Ten Lessons were read by selected members of the community, including the Pa/Pa’s Associate Director, Lisa McFarren-Polgar; Rev. Dr. John Oben, Pastor International Methodist Church in Fairfax; Deacon Lisa Grant, Deputy Clerk, US House of Representatives; Rev. Cozy Bailey, President of the PW NAACP; Dr. Charles Osei Dankwah; Rev. Celal J. Kamran and Priscilla Addison Graham.

Mr. Ebenezer Allotey is also the founder and conductor of the Tema Youth Choir in Ghana. He is an organist and founder of the Presbyterian Senior Secondary School Choir in Tema  Ghana, as well as the recipient  of the Ceval Gospel Award. The Choir’s mission is to “bring emotional and spiritual healing through music” which also includes assisting underserved schools in Ghana with educational materials. Mr. Allotey has served as music director of the Ghana Calvary United Methodist Church in New Jersey, St. Catherine of Genoa Catholic Church in Brooklyn NY, and the Ghana Wesley United Methodist Church, Woodbridge Va. 
The Easter Observance concert featured such composers as George Mensah Essilfie with the work entitled “Hosannna, to the Son of David,” as a depiction of Jesus entering Jerusalem. Mensah Essilfie is a leading Ghanaian composer from Agona Swedu who follows a long generational family of organists. He has enjoyed a musical career, in Ghana, England, and the USA (as Director of Music for the North American Association of Methodist Church Choirs). 

Amongst those featured in the ecclectic program were English composer Samuel Reay (1828-1905) performing “What Means this Eager Anxious Throng;” Ghanaian composer JY Sekyie, Founder of the Ghana Association of Methodist and Church Choirs; Scottish composer Sir Hugh Robertson (1874-1952); Edward Miller (1735-1807) from Norwich, England (for a time a flautist in George Frederic Handel’s orchestra); and many other composers from around the world reflecting the Christian choral tradition.

Conductor Allotey was able to bring a very talented group of musicians to join the choir, including saxophonist John Kennedy Ntumy and the accompanist Shadrach Ofori-Acquah.


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