Ghana: If I Were The Producer Of The MTN Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols

An invitation to the MTN Carols Night puts you straight into the Christmas mood. If you attended the event, I believe you enjoyed yours...


An invitation to the MTN Carols Night puts you straight into the Christmas mood. If you attended the event, I believe you enjoyed yourself. The MTN Carols can be described as an all-round blockbuster. It brings together a rich mix of audience and performers who represent their own world yet having a melting point of enjoyment.
It’s quite an amazing way of celebrating the birth of Christ each year.
The country just came out of a fiercely contested election.
It was so uplifting to see the hall packed with people of different orientations who had come to enjoy themselves.
The programme started at exactly 6:30 pm as advertised, not a minute late. This is really commendable and I would like to applaud MTN and the producers for starting right on time.
The timely start of the programme came as a huge relief. This is because two companies, Gelis and TLC, had this year launched a Timekeeping Initiative and the media had resolved that they will start naming and shaming companies who start events late. I was anxiously praying that the programme will start early. That shoots the programme’s rating to a straight A.
The programme was strictly by invitation and invites were sent digitally through SMS. The guests, who were eager to grab good seats, meandered through the city’s traffic to arrive early. They had their phones scanned on arrival. The SMS ticketing worked smoothly with the power of the mobile phone.
The preliminary act was done by Joe Mettle. The lessons started with Mrs Margaret Ohene of the Australian High Commission closed and ended gracefully with KSM, the satirist and entertainer. The readers representing different sessions of the public – the young, old, corporate, traditional, social – did a nice job. The readings were very smooth and what touched me was the one that was done by a student from the Mampong School of Deaf.
This inclusiveness of the hearing impaired is unique. Last year the reading was done by a blind student and this is highly commendable.
The choice of artistes was exceptional. There was a rich blend of traditional music, choral, orchestra, gospel, highlife, hip life etc. Joe Mettle and Cece Twum were both great.
It was a delight to see Naana Frimpong mount the stage with Carlos Sakyi around to support her. It’s been a while since I saw them perform and Naana did a good job with her rich silky voice. Another surprise and beautiful act I enjoyed was Emmanuel Immanuel who put up an outstanding performance, shuffling through the song with his versatile voice which spans two or three octaves. It was amazing and I really loved that unique Christian rock/ Black American gospel style. Of course, MTN also featured its own staff Nana Perbi, Boadiwaa and the Viva Voices, who all performed beautifully. They really added a lot of excitement to the event.
This year, one of the surprising things that happened coincidentally was how some of the artistes cleverly roped in their friends.
Paulina Oduro’s collaboration with Bessa Simons; MzVee and Adjetey Anang alias ‘Pusher’ of “Things  We Do For Love” fame and Kwaw Kesse and Lydia Forson.
I always wonder why MTN keeps on bringing back Kwaw Kesse but the thunderous applause that welcomes him anytime he shows up tells me how much the audience loves him. Perhaps MTN cannot do without him on stage because he brings some appeal which is magical and enigmatic.
Kwaw Kesse’s singing voice may not be the best but he certainly knows how to drive excitement. Every year he comes with a surprise. In 2012, he came on stage with a live fowl with diapers on. In 2013, he was accompanied by a bulldog and last year he came with a sheep. This year he surfaced like Jesus in Galilee sitting on a horse. I wonder what he will do next year.
There were some exciting additions; Article Wan and the Accra Symphony Orchestra (ASO). They were both fantastic. I just wish ASO will not stop their music delivered in Opera style. They really ‘wowed’ the audience.
My best time I had was with the Daughters of Glorious Jesus who looked ravishing in their traditional dresses and yellow headgears. They did exactly what people were expecting –non-stop praise which kept the MTN CEO and his executives and other guests on their feet.
The MC for the night, Lexis Bill of Joy FM Drive Time did a fantastic job steering affairs. He was able to steer the programme in his usual corporate, fun, cool and engaging style. During the programme, he went round asking people to sing their favorite Christmas songs. Wrapped under the instant unprepared songs were surprises. All those who were called unprepared were given phones. Also MTN customers who were celebrating their birthdays on that day were presented with cakes and high-end mobile phones. Isn’t that lovely?
The MTN Carols event was produced by Farm House. It was spot on. The rich mix of artistes was very nicely done – there was something in it for everyone and the stage d├ęcor was great. Although the Dansoman Youth choir did a good job I still missed El – Dunamis Minstrels, I think they are one in a million.
As far as I am concerned, the MTN Carols event is the best Christmas programme in Ghana. I love Christmas and every good thing associated with it.  Maybe not all Christmas related events are exciting.
The excitement often comes from the event itself, the person/company behind it and how well it is organized.
The way in which MTN interacts with its audience is amazing and this event certainly brings the telecoms operator closer to its customers.


By: Georgina Asare Fiagbenu / www.dailyguideafrica.com

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