Accra Organ and Choral Music Institute

August 11-17

Accra Organ and Choral Music Institute is a series of workshops for organists, vocalists, and choral conductors sponsored by Hendricks Chapel of Syracuse University (USA). Participants will have the opportunity to take lessons and workshops throughout the week with distinguished educators Dr. Anne Laver (organ, Syracuse University), Dr. Jose “Peppie” Calvar (choral conducting and voice, Syracuse University), Dr. Malcolm Merriweather (choral conducting and voice, Brooklyn College), Mr. Nathaniel Gumbs (organ, Yale Institute of Sacred Music), and Ms. Jessica Montgomery (voice, Syracuse University), culminating in a festive choral and organ concert featuring participants and guest choirs. Participants will have the opportunity to conduct, accompany, and/or sing with the three guest choirs for the institute: Harmonious Chorale, the Symphonials and the Gramophone Chorus. Institute lessons, workshops, and performances will take place at Christ the King Church and Parish Hall in Accra, Ghana.

The institute and church music workshop is open to organists, vocalists, and conductors of any age or skill level. Participants must be able to read music. Keyboardists who wish to learn how to play the organ are also encouraged to participate. 

Click here to access a tentative schedule.



To register and reserve your spot, fill out the form below and send a non-refundable payment of 500GH₵ to Salt and Light Ministry (P.O. Box AN 15007, Accra North) with the memo “Organ and Choral Music Institute” no later than July 15, 2019. Participants are responsible for their own accommodation.

 One-Day Church Music Workshop

On Saturday, August 17, the institute will hold a morning workshop especially designed for area church musicians. Topics will be: choral rehearsal techniques and conducting tips for church musicians, service playing, study and performance opportunities in the United States, and a discussion with institute faculty on current trends in church music. Institute participants receive complimentary registration to this event, but it is also open to those who for one reason or another can not attend the institute during the week. The registration fee for the workshop for non-institute participants is 150GH₵.

Registration forms and fees

Week-long institute: 500GH₵

One-day Church Music Workshop (included for institute participants, fee for non-institute participants): 150GH₵

For questions and inquiries, contact the coordinator, Mr. Samuel Kuffuor-Afriyie (


Meet the clinicians

Dr. Anne Laver

Dr. Anne Laver performs frequently in the United States and Europe and has been a featured recitalist and clinician at regional and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society, the Society for Seventeenth Century Music, the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative Festival, the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, and the Göteborg International Organ Academy in Goteborg, Sweden. In 2010, she was awarded second prize in the prestigious American Guild of Organists’ National Young Artist Competition in Organ Performance (NYACOP). Anne’s performances have been aired on radio programs including  The Organ Loft on the Pacific Northwest’s Classic KING FM, American Public Media’s Pipedreams, and Nebraska Public Radio’s Nebraska Concerts series. Her debut recording, “Reflections of Light” will be released on the Loft label in March 2019.

Anne is Assistant Professor of Organ and University Organist at Syracuse University’s Setnor School of Music.  In this role, she teaches organ lessons and classes, serves as artistic director for the Malmgren Concert Series, accompanies the Hendricks Chapel Choir, and plays for chapel worship services and special university events. Prior to her appointment at Syracuse, Anne served as Instructor of Healthy Keyboard Technique and Organ Repertoire, and Coordinator of Organ Outreach Programs at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. She has over fifteen years of experience in church music, having led volunteer and professional choir programs in a variety of parishes in upstate New York, Wisconsin, and The Netherlands.

Anne is passionate about advocacy for the organ and the encouragement of young organists. To that end, she has served as director for various youth programs in the Rochester area, including a Pipe Organ Encounter Advanced in 2013, the Eastman Summer Organ Academy in 2014, and a Summer of Opportunity youth employment program in 2014. She also hosts frequent organ demonstrations on the Syracuse University campus and surrounding community. Anne is active on a number of national and local organizations in the organ field. She is chair of the Editorial Resources Committee of the American Guild of Organists, member of the Board of Directors of the Organ Historical Society, secretary of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, and coordinator for the annual Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition in Organ Performance.

Anne Laver studied organ with Mark Steinbach as an undergraduate student at Brown University and spent a year in The Netherlands studying with Jacques van Oortmerssen at the Conservatory of Amsterdam.  While pursuing masters and doctoral degrees at the Eastman School of Music, she studied with Hans Davidsson, William Porter, and David Higgs.

Dr. Jose "Peppie" Calvar

Dr. José “Peppie” Calvar is in his sixth year as Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of Choral Activities at the Setnor School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University and serves as director of the Hendricks Chapel Choir and Artistic Director of Holidays at Hendricks, which appears annually on public television stations throughout New York State. Dr. Calvar also directs the  University Concert Choir, and teaches conducting, graduate and upper-class choral literature and choral arranging. Calvar also serves on the cantorial team at the Diocesan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse. Prior to working at Syracuse, Calvar taught high school and middle school chorus and AP Music Theory in Charlotte, North Carolina. A frequent guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator, he has recently conducted several regional high school honor choirs, and given adjudications and master classes at major festivals across North America. Many of his compositions are published by Colla Voce publications, and he recently published an article in the Choral Journal, the premiere professional journal for choral directors in the world. He annually serves as a reader for the AP exam in Music Theory, and serves as Repertoire Specific R&R Chair the NY American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) chapter. Dr. Calvar has worked throughout North and Central America; he was a 2017 International Choral Exchange Program (ICEP) fellow through ACDA interfacing with Guatemala and Costa Rica. 


Nathaniel Gumbs

Nathaniel Gumbs is a native of the Bronx, NY and is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree, studying with David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. He received the Master of Music Degree in Organ Performance from Yale University and Bachelor of Music Degree in Organ Performance from Shenandoah Conservatory. His former teachers include Martin Jean and Steven Cooksey. As a young artist, Gumbs has performed recitals throughout the United States and has played on many historic instruments in Paris and Rome with Shenandoah Conservatory and Berlin, Munich, and Leipzig with Yale Institute of Sacred Music. His playing has been described by music critics as “mature, lyrical, accurate and energetic.” Nathaniel was recently mentioned in the New York Times for playing with “deft and feeling” on his duo recording with bass-baritone, Dashon Burton. Recently, he was featured on the American Public Radio broadcasting, Pipedreams Live.  He is also a recipient of the Service Playing and Colleague Certificates from the American Guild of Organists'.  The Diapason (organ) Journal nominated Nathaniel as one of 20 organists under 30 years old for outstanding achievement in organ performance and church music in their May 2017 issue. Nathaniel served as the Director of Music and Arts and Church Organist at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC from 2012-2017 and has been recently appointed the director of Chapel Music at Yale University in New Haven, CT.


Jessica Montgomery

Jessica Dominique Montgomery is a native of Pompano Beach, FL. She received her Bachelors of Arts degree at Florida State University. During her undergraduate studies, Jessica was a part of the choral ensemble Florida State University Singers; having the opportunity to travel overseas in Europe as one of the ensemble’s soloist performing A City Called Heaven by Josephine Poelinitz.

Jessica is currently pursuing her Masters of Music degree in Vocal Performance at Syracuse University. As Jessica continues to build her craft, she’s had the privilege to perform within the community at The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, St. Paul’s Syracuse, the Downtown Episcopal Church, and Syracuse Opera. Recently, Jessica has performed with Syracuse University’s Oratorio’s Society in the Maurice Durufé Requiem, Pie Jesu. Outside of Jessica’s studies, she serves as the Eta B Province Officer for Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity. Jessica is thrilled to be a part of this amazing opportunity to perform in Accra, Ghana; sharing this experience with individuals who have a passion for music.


Dr. Malcolm J. Merriweather

Dr. Malcolm J. Merriweather, Conductor, is Music Director of New York City’s The Dessoff Choirs, known for their performances of great choral works from the pre-Baroque era through the 21st century. He is an Assistant Professor, Director of Choral Studies and Voice Department Coordinator at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Artist in Residence at Union Theological Seminary, and the Artistic Director of “Voices of Haiti,” a 60-member children’s choir in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, operated by the Andrea Bocelli Foundation.

Merriweather has been featured as a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Dessoff Choirs, the New York Choral Society, and Bach Vespers Choir and Orchestra at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New York City. The baritone has premiered contemporary solo works by Eve Beglarian, John Liberatore, Ju Ri Seo, Douglas Fisk, and James Adler. He has been a fellowship recipient at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and at the Tanglewood Music Center.

Merriweather holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting from the studio of Kent Tritle at the Manhattan School of Music, where his doctoral dissertation “Now I walk in Beauty, Gregg Smith: A Biography and Complete Works Catalog” constituted the first complete works list for the composer and conductor. He received Master of Music degrees in Choral Conducting and in Vocal Performance from the studio of Rita Shane at the Eastman School of Music, as well as his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Syracuse University, summa cum laude.

His professional affiliations include membership in Pi Kappa Lambda, the American Choral Directors Association, and Chorus America.

Please visit for more information. Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @maestroweather.


Meet the coordinator

Samuel Kuffuor-Afriyie '20

Samuel Kuffuor-Afriyie is a rising organist and a native of Brooklyn, New York. In 2016 he was a recipient of the Brooklyn chapter American Guild of Organist scholarship award and an E. Power Biggs Organ fellow in 2017. He currently studies organ performance with Dr.Anne Laver at Syracuse University. He is the organist at Grace Episcopal Church in Syracuse, NY, the director of music for the Syracuse University Catholic Campus Ministry as well as the assistant organist at Ghana Wesley United Methodist Church. In 2019, Sam was awarded a grant through Syracuse University’s THE SOURCE foundation to conduct research of Ghanaian traditional music to be later adapted as new compositions for the Organ. Among his other projects is a workshop for Organ and choral music in Accra, Ghana with invited clinicians from the US that Sam has coordinated. Sam hopes to inspire others with his talent and encourage young people, especially minorities, in music. Sam’s devotion to Christ and the music ministry is what keeps him motivated. 



Harmonious Chorale Ghana

Harmonious Chorale Ghana, is a multiple award winning non - denominational choir established in the capital Accra in 2005 as a quartet and later transforming into a full-fledged choir in October 2007. Through dedication and hard-work, Harmonious Chorale has carved for itself a niche and an identity which has provided mentoring opportunity for many choral groups in and outside Ghana.

Harmonious Chorale was crowned Champion of the World Choir Games (Category C28) in its maiden participation in 2018 in South Africa.  The choir has also won many awards including “Choir of the Year” at the GHYouth Choir Choral Festival and Awards for three Consecutive years; 2015 to 2017.  The choir also received the prestigious Best Choral Group award at the Shine Awards 2018.

Harmonious Chorale identifies itself as a Christian organisation and serves as the resident choir of Salt and Light Music Ministry, an arm of Salt and Light Ministries; a para-church organisation with the aim of motivating and encouraging the body of Christ to live productive Christian lives.

The choir is under the directorship of James Varrick Armaah, a prolific composer who has several compositions including the multiple award winning song “Oye” aka “Asem papa bia m’ate”). Rev. Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee serves as the Executive Chairman of the choir. 

More choirs TBA


Thank you to our Sponsors

Hendricks Chapel at Syracuse University

Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University

Ghana Wesley United Methodist Church

American Guild of Organists, Syracuse Chapter

American Guild of Organists, Brooklyn Chapter