A HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE GHANA POLICE BAND
Initially known as the Gold Coast Police Band, the Police Band is the oldest professional musical organization in Ghana. The Police Band is also popularly known as “The State Ceremonial Band” because of its historic connection with the first President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
It presently consists of:
- Military or Ceremonial Band
- Brass Band
Dance or Pop Band
Establishment and Leadership
The Band was established with musically talented men selected from the 700 men brought from Northern Nigeria by the British government, to start “policing” in the Gold Coast. The Band was first based at the Accra Central Police Barracks but was later relocated to the vast compound of the National Police Academy and Training School (Police Depot) at Tesano in Accra. This was spearheaded by a British Bandmaster, G.T. Marsh, whose official appointment is dated as 1923. The Bandsmen did not have secular education at the earlier stage. However, they were augmented by retired army Bandsmen from the Royal West African Frontier Force (Gold Coast Division) who during their career underwent a short course at the Royal Military School of Music (Kneller Hall) in Britain.
A little while after G.T. Marsh had retired in 1942, another British Bandmaster, Capt. Thomas Stenning, was appointed as the Director of Music. Thomas Stenning was enlisted into the seven (7) Dragoon Guards in 1905. He was commissioned as Lieutenant in the 2nd Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment in 1917. He studied Band mastership at the Royal Military School of Music in 1922. He was the Bandmaster of the 11th Hussars from 1923-1936, and also Bandmaster of the Royal Military College (Sand Hurst) in 1936.Capt. Stenning led the Gold Coast Police Band on a tour to the United Kingdom for four months in 1947 by Her Majesty the Queen.
Apart from the captain, a Ghanaian Chief Inspector Annan was the most senior personnel on the tour. After Captain Stenning’s retirement, S.T. Vinnecombe took over as the Director of Music, but unfortunately, died shortly thereafter in1950. J.H. Hempstead came after him but retired when Ghana attained independence in 1957.
When Ghana attained independence in 1957, most of the practices of the British including that of the Police and Military were maintained. The name of the Police Band automatically became Ghana Police Band also popularly known as the State Ceremonial Band. Due to the State formation of Regional Police Bands, the Accra Band, being the pioneer band was named the Police Central Band.
It is worth noting that, one of the Bandsmen with the name Agadia Kanjaga was also appointed as the first Ghanaian Drum Major. Chronologically, the following are Ghanaians who took over from the British as Music Directors of the Band till date.
- DSP/Mr. J.K. Tawiah 1959-1964
- ASP/Mr. N.S. Aryee 1964-1971
- Supt/Mr Okra 1971-1982
- Supt/Mr. C.V.K. Tuadzra 1982-1987
- Supt/Mr. S.R. Techie-Menson (Ag)
- Supt/Mr. C.V.K. Tuadzra 1988-1990
- Supt/Mr. Hope Ziorklui 1990-1995
- Supt/Mr. C.K. Nimako 1995-1997
- DSP/Mr. J.B. Pinkrah 1997-1999 (Ag)
- ACP/Mr. C.K. Nimako 1999-2005
- DSP/Mr. Frank Hukporti 2006-2010
- DSP/Mr. G.A. Tawiah 2010-2014 (Ag)
Director of Bands
In August 2018, C/Supt Dr. Frank Hukporti was appointed to oversee activities of the Bands Nationwide; hence the title Director of Bands (DoBs). He is a trained Ethnomusicologist from the University of Ghana and the University of Bayreuth in Germany.
The Band attained one hundredth (100th) year of its formation in 2018 and as part of its centenary celebration, an ensemble of thirty-five (35) Musicians (males and females) from the Central Band were invited to take part in an African Music Festival and a workshop in Germany. As a matter of fact, the Band has a good relationship with both local and international Musicians as many National and international music icons do visit the Band for workshops and music seminars.
Currently, 85% of the Musicians Acquired Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Certificates and are now using their acquired professional knowledge to the benefit of the Service.
The Band performs with local and international musicians at approximately 2000 events every year including state funerals, state dinners, banquet, parades, concerts and other social events.
Recruitment into the Band
The State Ceremonial Band recruits experienced musicians selected through a rigorous audition procedure. They must also satisfy security and physical requirements to be eligible for selection and recruitment as Police Officers. Just like any other Police Officer, they undergo general recruit training, after which they serve probation, performing general Police duties to acquire practical police knowledge for not less than 18 months. Thereafter, musicians are brought back to the Central Band to undergo 6 months “Foundation Course” in Musicianship and later reposted to an assigned Band; Central or Regional. Branches of the Band can be found in ten (10) regions namely: Accra (the Central Band) in the Greater Accra Region, Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, Koforidua in the Eastern Region,, Winneba in the Central Region, Ho in the Volta Region, Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region, Takoradi in the Western Region, Wa in the Upper West Region and Tamale in the Northern Region. Plans are underway to extend branches of the Band in the six (6) remaining regions.
The Band’s schedule is coordinated by the Director of Bands in collaboration with the State Protocol and the Director -General Welfare at the National Police Headquarters. The Band is supported by personnel with various profession such as ICT, Library, Recording Laboratory, Administration, Public Affairs and logistics.
Major Functions of the Police Band
The Band plays various roles including the following:
- Crime Prevention:
Music as a tool for crime prevention is fascinating. The Police Service provides music at events held to inform, educate, or interact with the public on one security issue or the other, such that the attention created by the band do make audiences relax and enjoy such events.
- Presidential Inaugurations and State Functions:
The Police Band participates in every presidential inauguration and performs for celebrations after the official ceremony. Such celebrations are often held at the Jubilee House, State House, the Black Star/Independence Square, Parliament House, Embassies of Diplomatic Missions etc.
The Police Band takes care of the musical aspect of State Funerals in collaboration with the State Chaplaincy. The Band provides music during each phase of the function occasionally with other Bands of the Security Services and some choral and dance ensembles.
The Band sometimes performs at educational institutions (to serve as a resource Band for teaching and learning) where music is practiced, such as the School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, Legon; University of Education, Winneba; University of Cape Coast; Methodist University College of Ghana, and second cycle institutions
- Hiring Services
The Band is available for hiring by individuals and groups for their social events.
The Police Band as a Resource Hub
The Band has been of huge benefit to the Service and the Nation at large, especially fighting crime by educating the public through music. Several students from tertiary, secondary and even basic institutions that offer music find the band to be a resource hub, as there are constant visit and educational tour to its premises. In order to disseminate the musical knowledge, performance dexterity and stagecraft, the Director of Bands, C/Supt Dr. Frank Hukporti with the support of the Director of Music/Central Band and the Regional Band Leaders started some music tutorials that was later upgraded into a music school due to high patronage. In order to provide a more conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning, a 2-storey edifice is under construction at the Central Band premises.
Regional Bands, Commanders and their Locations.
|Supt/Mr. Kofi Agyemang-Badu – Director of Music||Central Band, Accra||Greater Accra|
|Supt/Mr. Godfred A. Tawiah – Director of Music||Regional Band, Kumasi||Ashanti Region|
|DSP/Mr Doe Hanyabui- Director||Regional Band, Koforidua||Eastern Region|
|ASP/Mr.Samuel Ntiamoah Nyante – Director||Regional Band, Winneba||Central Region|
|C/Inspr Eric Frimpong – Bandmaster||Regional Band, Takoradi||Western Region|
|C/Inspr Alexander Adjei – Bandmaster||Regional Band, Sunyani||Brong Ahafo|
|C/Inspr Ebenezer Amanor – Bandmaster||Regional Band, Wa||Upper West Region|
|C/Inspr Abraham Osabutey – Bandmaster||Regional Band, Bolga||Upper East Region|
|C/Inspr Paul Edeke- Bandmaster||Regional Band, Ho||Volta Region|
|Inspr Emmanuel Amoakwah – Bandmaster||Regional Band, Tamale||Northern Region|