Nobody knew what secret talents Chirano’s employees had until they were given a stage. A talent show, organized as part of the mine’s recent celebrations of its two millionth ounce pour, was such a success that the community is already demanding a repeat.
Gisele Fortin, wife of General Manager Ken Norris, came up with the idea and although most employees weren’t familiar with the televised talent shows like “The X Factor” and “America’s Got Talent” that “Chirano’s Got Swag” was modelled after, they quickly caught on.
A total of 51 people signed up for open-mike auditions, which ran over four consecutive nights. While Gisele had expected an abundance of musical talent, she was astonished by the number of undiscovered comedians on site. There were also impressive displays of soccer ball maneuvers, traditional dance and acrobatics.
The semi-finals, held in a tent, drew almost 600 people, including many guests from local villages. It ended dramatically with torrential rains.
The grand finals took place as part of the Gold Party celebrating Chirano’s two millionth ounce milestone. Audience members were invited to vote by mobile phone, a feature developed by Chirano’s IT department. These votes (and there were over 5000) were combined with the assessments of four non-partisan judges to determine the winners.
First prize was one ounce of gold plus its cash equivalent, provided by Geodrill, the exploration drilling contractor at Chirano, which also generously doubled the cash values of the second through fifth prizes.
The gold, literally, went to Prince Opoku Danquah, a Graduate Trainee with the Health Safety and Environment department, for his compelling original rap performance describing a Christian awakening. Second prize went Sarah Tetteh, eight months pregnant, who performed songs from the gospel and popular Twi repertoires. Tetteh, who works for the on-site catering company was one of several subcontractors to participate in the competition.
Describing the event as “such a hoot”, Gisele thinks it’s “highly likely” that there will be an encore.
From left: Thomas Nyarko-Danquah (HR and CP/R Manager), Steve Robinson (Project Manager, Geodrill), Prince Opoku Danquah (Award Winner), Ken Norris (General Manager and Vice President)
Competition winner Prince Opoku Danquah
Discerning audience members