Dr. Abel Gyan is an Assistant Professor of Health Information Systems Technology here at UC Clermont. Dr. Gyan also happens to love singing, and recently he performed with the HarmoniCATS at the Aronoff Center for the ArtsWave Fundraising Campaign.
Dr. Gyan attended many colleges including the University of Science and Technology in Ghana, University of Leicester, NKU, and Nova University, where he obtained his doctorate in Health Science. He has been at UC Clermont for a total of four years, one as a part-time instructor and three years as a full-time teacher. Dr. Gyan moved from the United Kingdom to Cincinnati ten years ago. He has a wife and three children who all enjoy music in their own way. Two of his children sing in choirs; one sings in the Cincinnati Children’s Choir and the other in his church choir. His third child loves to play the drums.
Dr. Gyan was introduced to music when he was eight years old at church. His father was a part of their church’s choir, and Dr. Gyan fell in love with singing. By twelve years old he was yearning to wear a robe and sing with the choir. Soon he was given the robe and was one of the youngest singers in their choir.
He also enjoys listening to country music, but especially loves gospel music, anthems, and hymns. He loves the complexity of the vocal ranges and the modulation seen throughout many hymns and anthems. Dynamic and inspiring songs are some of his favorites, like the song “Glory be to God.” He especially loves this song because he interprets the meaning to be about how God is protecting us and how wonderful he is. He also enjoys this song because it reminds him of a part of his past, since the song has also been interpreted in his first language, Ashanti.
Dr. Gyan and the HarmoniCATS enjoyed the whole process that led up to them singing in the CinySings Finals. CincySings Finals is a fundraiser for the ArtsWave Foundation. Each group of singers was able to raise money from donations, and the number of donations was based upon fans of the group. There was also a panel judges that included John Morris Russell, Cincinnati Pops Conductor; Drew Lachey; Local 12’s Bob Herzog; and Janelle Gelfand, a writer for the Enquirer and the founder and CEO of Learning Through Art. In addition to UC’s HarmoniCATS, many big businesses were competing with them like Duke Energy’s The Power Chords and P&G’s and The P&Gtles.
The HarmoniCATS started with a list of many songs. They listened to the songs to know what they could do with them, modulation-wise. They met every Monday before the competition for practice, with a music doctoral student as their coach. Dr. Gyan loved practicing with the group and getting to know the people in the HarmoniCATS. He said that they started as strangers and grew to become friends.
The song they finally decided to sing for the competition is called “The Storm is Passing Over.” They chose this song because they were able to intertwine their singing styles and eventually come together in wonderful harmony. To Dr. Gyan, “The Storm is Passing Over” is about realizing you’re going through a problem or a tough time, but with courage and confidence you’ll be able to get through it all: “If you have confidence in yourself and your soul, change can happen.”
After the group performed its song, the judges raved about how they loved the dynamics, how their solos added to the performance, and how they eventually came together in perfect harmony. One of the judges said to them, “Thank you for taking me to church,” and another said that the group had five beautiful voices that blended beautifully. Unfortunately for the HarmoniCATS, Christ Hospital’s The 98 Degrees won the overall prize, but The HarmoniCATS won the award for Most Inspirational Song. People have been emailing Dr. Gyan with many congratulations and compliments on their performance—and we at UC Clermont congratulate them as well.