There was an unusual gospel concert at the John A. Cumber Primary school Hall on Saturday night. Organised as a fund-raiser, it had no admission fee. Benefitting the West Bay Assembly of God, it featured acts from various denominations whose congregations gather in other districts.
And it netted between $3,500 and $4,000.
Pastor Trevor Ebanks estimated that total on Monday morning, when final figures were not yet available. The money came from dinner sales and a free-will offering midway in the evening’s programme.
The West Bay Assembly of God needs $60,000 to put a roof on the church being built on Finch Drive, off Stadium Road. The decision to offer the concert free was not taken lightly. ‘Since we were selling food, we wanted to give people a treat and at the same time sensitize them to our need,’ Pastor Ebanks said.
Hopefully people were sensitized. Certainly they were treated.
Gospel concerts are almost always happy events: the audience has comfortable expectations, the music is uplifting and, as often as not, there is one performance that is truly inspirational.
On Saturday night the inspiration flowed. It started with the energized Nina Orrett and Jamie Thomas serving as emcees. It continued with the West Bay Assembly of God Praise Team and youth group dancers.
Then participants from other churches took over. The Soldiers for Christ, from the First Assembly of God in George Town, awed viewers with the drama of dance. Young men in black with mime faces vividly portrayed the searching soul, while young women in white provided complement.
Carol Shaw and the Puppet Ministry enthralled all ages with the liveliness of the characters. Twenty-eight young people were responsible not only for animating the puppets but also for setting up the stage beforehand and efficiently packing it away afterwards.
Another group of young people who impressed came from the Frank Sound Church of God Praise Team. Strung across the stage they were in fact a team, not just clusters of individuals singing together. Three of the young men — Dalmond, Mason and James — formed the rap group Pulse Entertainment and ably demonstrated that God’s glory can be celebrated in many art forms.
Dalmond Bodden showed further talent by blending his percussion skills with the melodies of keyboard artiste Noel Wallace. The duo played during the offering and should have motivated the audience to be generous.
The JA1 (Jesus Anointed One) Filipinos Church singers and musicians had people standing, clapping and singing along.
Solos and small groups represented the Adventist Church, the West Bay Chapel Praise Team, the Community Video Ministry and United Pentecostal Church. Also on the programme were solos by jewel Ebanks, Nina herself, her son Rico, Kessia Peart and Brother Millwood. Pastor Alex Gomez and the Embajadores de Dios (Ambassadors of God) Church provided a fitting finale to a joyous evening.
The fund-raising committee of the West Bay Assembly of God no doubt worked hard to put together such a diverse and dynamic series of performances. Their next effort is eagerly awaited.