Give me excess of it, that, suffering, The appetite may sicken, and so die.
Twelfth Night – William Shakespeare.
The convivialities that marked this 2018 Ashanti Bar Dinner and Dance came to an end, short of one protocolic item – the closing doxology.
The serene atmosphere at the Sunset Hotel at Danyame, Kumasi provided the environmentally correct (if not politically or otherwise correct) ambience for the occasion.
It was scheduled to start at sunset at Sunset Hotel–and 'sunset' is a time in the evening when daylight fades; it is a period around 6:00 post meridian or 18 hours Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). With important guests like Justice Amedahe seated, the lawyers for whom the “alonte-party” was organized, began trickling in well after 8:00pm. The usually regular attendees may excuse us for being dumped together with the late-goers (or comers). No excuses were given, and indeed none were expected. Francis Koffie, the President of the Ashanti Bar and the Senior's Representative, Oppong Esquire, were at the ready to marshal people to their seats relieving the high-heeled ladies to chatter and blather. The show began with an opening prayer led by Professor Frank Yeboah, the medical doctor – turned – lawyer. He understood the possible reaction if he gave a long prayer; hence, this one was short and solid.
Then, the APSO Band started the ball rolling by rendering Jose Feliciano's 'Feliz Navidad'. The Band sang the song consummately and masterfully: Feliz Navidad (3X) Prospero ano y felicidad… I wanna wish you a merry Christmas (3X)… From the bottom of my heart. Those not so familiar with the Spanish verbiage could comfortably hum 'prospero ano y felicidad' and then, like Mr Bean, blurt out a long 'I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas'!
Happening in the forenoon of the Christmas festivities, one expected a lot of songs in the Christmas mood and mould and the APSO Band essayed to make these available. When the band played Bob Marley's 'Three Little Birds', all the oldies who were young at the time it was first sung joined in the chorus, and it was a joy to listen to them. Of course, all the songs were either chilling or scintillating.
The function saw the award of prizes to key personalities: Egblogbe Anaglate Esquire won the A. K. Mmieh's Award for significant contribution to the development of the Bar, while Justice Dennis Dominic Adjei took the T. A. Totoe Award, for an advancement of the legal profession. “And for the first time in the annals of the Bar, and in keeping with our status as a turn-key Regional Bar, we … acknowledge(d), as a motivation gesture, the innate and incipient potential of a junior member of the Bar relative to his / her demonstrated commitment, dedication and enthusiasm to the cause of the Bar”. This Award, dubbed the 'Regional President's Award' went to Douglas Obeng Jnr. Opoku Agyemang Esq was not complaining about the meal served, nor about the songs being chanted, but he was still complaining about something which he alone could understand and appreciate.
The acceptance speech by Egblogbe Anaglate Esq. was inspiring and educative. Inspiring to those not too young to be respectful to the system; the judges and lawyers. Educative to the young lawyers, to emulate the good examples of the leaders. When Her Ladyship Mrs. Homiah-Mensah and Justice Abodakpi were given a special mention it was not surprising to those lawyers who had ever appeared before them. In a word, they were simply business-like, but very friendly; not intimidating and hardly ostentatious.
It was not clear who had prepared the meals, but the taste was as good as the occasion. Despite the time (9:30pm) the gluttony displayed by the members could be pardoned. The connoisseurs had the beers and wines a-plenty to select from.
That was not the time for oration and peroration. The President was very sensitive to this, and so his Address was terse and apposite. He reminded members about their social responsibilities: “As we celebrate and savour this festive season with our friends and families, we must not lose sight of the teeming number of disadvantaged people who need to be livened up by our benevolence. Let us open up and extend a hand to them for the grace and blessings of the Lord to be experienced by them through us.”
Being the precursor to the 'big' affair -Christmas- in our individual homes and hovels, the President hinted: “Let us all enjoy ourselves and discard our woes, challenges and disappointments, in order to have a clean positive slate to 'write' on in the coming year, 2019.”
The Master of Ceremonies for the occasion, Solomon Panford, was spot-on with his antics and anecdotes. He was ably assisted by Ms Akua Serwaa Ampong. Indeed, when it came to frolicking, one could hardly match the exposition of the duo.
Ivy was to be found at every nook and cranny, attending to everyone else's request. The exhilarating joy permeated the atmosphere, and people could forget the humdrum nature of a similar occasion the year before (2017).
All protocol seemed to have been observed – introductions, speeches, awards, responses, meal time, dancing and what-have-you. If one was waiting for a closing remark or a vote of thanks, one would have had to search for them like a search for water in the desert. Those omissions could be pardoned, but what about the “Greater Doxology”: Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the Highest)? Lawyers are said to be sticklers to protocol, but this one seemed to have escaped the majority of us: one protocolic item was missing- and that was the closing doxology! Let us hope each attendee was singing a song of praise to the Almighty as they took to the wheels before the clock struck 12.
We are told that one could hear the crooning of the Gregorian version of 'Gloria in Excelsis Deo' on the air: Angels we have heard on high, singing sweetly o'er the plains, And the mountains in reply Echoing their joyous strains, Gloria in excelsis Deo, Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Africanus Owusu – Ansah
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