Having anticipated so much for the maiden edition of Women In Worship event, about a month, since the promo intensified, I’m pretty sure patrons came in with bags full of expectations.
With the immense publicity and media exposure – I must say one of the most visible and much advertised “new events” in recent times, one was not far from right if they expected an “A Class” event.
I remember asking myself at the press launch some two months ago, if these people are really sure they are bringing all these acts plus women of God they mentioned… not because it was impossible, but because i in particular had witnessed quite a number of events that just put “big names” on event bills just to pull crowd
So fast forward into the D-Day what exactly happened…
At this moment in our event attending lives, I think this particular subheading is quite a cliché, that’s if you get what I mean. So I’d rather not write much about this, but what i gathered from a member of the Genet Services team was that, after setting up, i think on Friday, the church gave a red light for the set up to be brought down because they had church service Yesterday.
The gentleman told me that they (Team Genet) even suggested the church could use their setup for service yesterday but efforts still proved futile and setup had to be dismantled and redone on the event day AFTER CHURCH SERVICE.
Now if you are an ardent event attendee and your memory serves you right, then this story rings a bell… about 3years ago with Em’Praise… My brother Quesi Boate can best narrate that incident to you, that’s if it doesn’t bring tears to his eyes.
The question I asked was “ah so why do these guys keep doing that? Why wait or allow people to perhaps finish setting up then come back to ask them to dismantle it for service”….. ah, well, it’s their premise and there probably could be more to this repeating incident so let’s just leave that here.
I must commend the various acts, Becky Bonny, Cynthia McCauley, Tagoe Sisters, Diana Hamilton, et-al for having pulled spectacular performances in time, such that no MC had to come up stage and say “thank you, thank you, thank you….” before they left the stage.
So it was quite interesting to realize that the event still dragged and the artistes weren’t causing it.
I believe what caused the drag was the inclusion of too many other activities. It was great to have the various women of God come share a word or two with us, BUT it seemed they, unlike the artistes were not timed. I tried keeping the time for each of them, to see if I could realize exactly how many minutes each was given and my results were inconsistent. Thus either they were all given different times to spend, or that some of them exceeded their time massively.
One major reason for the drag also was what happened with the Royal House ladies choir. I mean it was great and all, that Mama Rita decided to give them her allocated time to also perform, but I still think organizers should have stamped their foot strong to prevent it, by explaining to her that they couldn’t perform because of the plan.
GUEST OVERRULES ORGANIZERS PLAN
From all indications, no arrangements were made for the Royal House ladies choir to come upstage and even perform. I believe the plan was for Mama Rita to probably lead a prayer session and/or help raise funds for the projects that organizers had outlined (as she did).
However upon getting up-stage she said “I don’t mind giving my slot out, I don’t mind….” and with that called on the all-female choir from Royal House to come perform.
Meanwhile I noticed at the time Ntokozo’s band was setting up on stage behind Mama Rita. So my best bet is that, per the plan of organizers, Mama Rita would come raise funds while Ntokozo’s band sets up simultaneously, and by the time she would have finished her assignment, the band would also be 90% done setting up, even if not done.
However, after she called her choir, Ntokozo’s band had to stop and exit and make way for the unplanned session setup (back to square one) while organizers just watched on. After about 5-10mins when they were called, the choir was still not set… with arrangements and instruments on stage and we had no option than to just sit and watch too.
After a while, Mama Rita came back to start her assignment, and we thought well it’s not bad if they just stood behind and gave moral support… but no… they eventually got their setup done and still performed all the same… and that session alone, I could tell from faces on organizers, took about 2 or 3 times more the actual time slot allocated for Mama Rita.
Calling her choir to take her slot in itself was really not a bad thing, but then for the choir to take her slot and she still gets another slot (like she ate her cake and still had it) dragged the show further.
SO WHAT HAPPENED TO NTOKOZO?
“…Now all the way from South Africa, ladies and gentleman, with a round of applause shall we welcome Ntokooozo Mbambooo….” was somewhat the way she was finally introduced upstage.
Ntokozo came and after saying her hellos was left standing on stage for the technical guys to finish up.
After about 5mins, MC Jeremie (not on the stage) took the opportunity to mention sponsors and call out some cars that were blocking others….. (just filling in the time gap I presume)
About 10mins passed and still not set, now Jeremie stepped upstage to help save the boring situation…. so she started a rather interesting interview session with Ntokozo, asking her about the first time she came to Ghana, what she liked about Ghana, Jollof… then on to teaching her how to exchange pleasantries in twi language and even an unplanned but very lovely a capella of Ntokozo’s all-time favorite song.
At a point (about 20 mins after Ntokozo had stepped upstage) Jeremie asked “so are we ready now” then the team probably in a bid to salvage the situation (cos it was quite obvious they still needed some time) seem to have given her green light and she left… but even that it still took some extra minutes of setting up then Ntokozo finally started engaging the audience….
Because everything was not quite set, she started (kind of her sound check) with the only Ghanaian song she knows, “Yii Nay3” which was killed beautifully!!
After this song, her sound was better and then she started the real deal…. she sang just 2 songs and then the shocker, which probably led you here in the first place.
So what has brought about the whole fuss you probably keep seeing on social media, to me, is really not the number of minutes or songs she performed but the manner at which she was, should I say “sacked” or “pushed” off the stage.
Now picture this, you step upstage, and after a frustrating 20 – 25 minutes of technical challenges which even included swapping of keyboards and all on stage, you finally start grooving and after your second song (say 10mins of stage time) about to start your third song, MC walks upstage to credit sponsors and then right in your face, as you still stand on stage, with nothing said to you, goes on to call the next act upstage when you have absolutely no idea what’s going on.
In a split second of thoughts, in that very uncomfortable situation, I just felt there was probably going to be some collaboration or some surprise from the organizers or just something with Ohemaa and Ntokozo both on stage.
The question that kept buzzing in the heads of patrons was, so why fly a musician and band from S.A (I know, I know it’s still in Africa) all the way up here to give them about 10 minutes on stage?
No! Not that I’m saying prominence be given to foreign acts than ours, but….why? Did she come for free? Or did organizers pay some amount so insignificant they could afford to do that….. Was it some glitch in communication, was it sudden change in plans, what exactly happened right there?
The moment was so embarrassing even I who was not on stage could feel goose bumps… with my mouth wide open.
I remember seeing Nqubeko (Ntokozo’s husband) look sharply to the left and right, and turning to all directions possible in wonderment, simply looking for answers…, throwing his hands left and right in a bid to ask for any, just any, sort of clarification or message on what was happening… I could literally see him asking with signs, “is our time up….? Are we done….? Should we go…? What’s up….?”
Ntokozo standing on stage with opened eyes and the “seen a ghost” kind of look, just had to “pack herself” off the stage as Ohemaa started speaking…. cos at the point reality was clear.
Their band, having heard the voice of another act (whom they obviously were not there to play for) now caught up with the flow and started packing too, giving way to Ohemaa’s band.
I even missed exactly what direction Ntokozo used to get off stage but obviously it was not the same direction all other acts that came upstage used.
So yes, Ohemaa Mercy came and FIRED the place up till the end.
Let me add that her band was just AMAZING!
AWESOME TURN OUT!
I must really commend Genet-Services, though, for a very good start of this initiative, certainly there’s a lot to be learnt from yesterday.
I was really surprised at the turn out… seriously! I remember telling a colleague before the event that I wasn’t sure the attendance would be that much, because yesterday happened to also be one of those days with several events around…. but I ended up with a shocker. With great personalities like, Joyce Aryee, Yolanda Zoleka Cuba (Vodafone Ghana C.E.O), Mrs. Rita Korankye Ankrah, Rev. Dr. Christie Doh Tetteh and many others.
And to think people actually had the notion that the event was for just females; hence 90% of attendance were female…, then if the men had attended in those same numbers, am sure it would have been the Adom Praiz kind of audience.
The event branding on day of event was also great! Where to get your tickets, the red carpet, I mean the aesthetic appeal was really good and I pray with this start it should only get better.
Though with a lot of hitches, if we are to use the technical eye, they did well and for a start, I think at least they’ll get 50% if anyone was marking.
I asked some ladies how the event went for them and they were quite happy and should I say fulfilled that’s if they were not exaggerating with their words.
Moving forward, I think organizers should beef up their communications to make it clearer that the event is NOT FOR ONLY WOMEN to attend. Yes a number of men came but it was totally a girls-girls thing.
A patron I spoke to outside, shared how she saw most of the women being dropped by their husbands yet the husbands didn’t stay for the event. If an event like MEN OF WORSHIP, notwithstanding its name, is still able to pull quite a balanced audience of both male and female, then it is definitely possible for WOMEN IN WORSHIP too.
Anyway, so with enough said about what has passed, can we start looking forward to Tasha Cobbs in the coming years…. LOL