Hello readers! Whilst waiting for the plane to take us to Paris, I shall account my experience at the Ghanian version of our 4th of July.

My choir of about 26 has prepared itself well. I have one of the students leading, another playing recorder which is a real novelty here as I have never seen any other than the ones I have brought. I also have taught one student to play a bit of the trombone. The trombone actually can be heard at national level football games (soccer games to us) playing over and over the same chanting song along with other brass instruments. Again thanks to Lindy Wunn and Portland Public School for allowing me to take a much repaired trombone to be used here. I use the trombone as the only accompaniment for the choir; It serves us well ; No one or at least few have heard an acoustic piano around here and I never seen one. But alas …….. I digress.

The choir and about 40 marchers ( no instruments, just marching) jump on a bus that more resembles a cattle truck with racks on the side at 7 A.M. to travel for 40 minutes on the bumpy unpaved road to the regional education headquarters at Tongo. We arrive in the heat of a normal March day to do what Ghanians have learned how to do without complaint ………………. wait. I take in the large crowd of school marchers assembled around the marching field, and sellers in the shade, and the dignitaries under the awnings. The chief of cheives arrives in colorful splendor and with traditional drumming. There are speeches about preventing AIDS and other health issues. The army and police each have a small marching group on the marching ground at “parade rest”. The remain this way for one hour in the hot sun. I am convinced most Portland marchers could never do this!

Finally it is announced that they wish the choir to sing. They give me just enough time to gather the choir and get my trombone out and tune to the recorder. Nonetheless, we do quite well! We sing three selection just in front of all the dignitaries. We are about to start our last song when they say we are our of time! Oh well ….. my trombone girl does not play this time but we did record her at an earlier performance when we sang at the local chief’s compound. I did videotape this performance.

They have done well, and I shall miss them and, in fact, all the students that I had the pleasure to teach these last three months.