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Christmas Tree Lighting concert prevails despite rains

Published:Sunday | December 7, 2014 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle

Heavy rains on Wednesday afternoon threatened to put a halt to 'Christmas in the City' plans as the highly anticipated KSAC Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Concert was almost postponed. Scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at the Saint William Grant Park in downtown Kingston, the event was pushed back by almost an hour as officials wrestled with the decision to postpone or go on as scheduled. However, that decision was made clear when despite the rains, hundreds of Jamaicans converged on to the park and waited patiently for the concert to begin.

Among those who turned up for the event were the Mayor of Kingston Angela Brown-Burke; former Kingston Mayor Desmond McKenzie; Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Anjell Bryan; and Digicel's CEO, Barry O'Brien.

As the annual event got under way, the rains subsided and the crowd swelled inside the venue. After a brief civic ceremony, which saw O'Brien and other officials addressing the audience, wishing them a Merry Christmas and encouraging them to spread love and cheer throughout the season, the big Christmas tree in the centre of the park was lit, sending the audience into loud cheers and applause. Just in case the beautifully decorated tree had not ignited the Christmas spirit, the artistes who later took to the stage tried their best to do so.

Following dance performances by the Tivoli Dance Troupe, past Digicel Rising Star winners Dalton Harris and Verlando Small brought joy to the hearts of patrons as they each delivered performances that included a number of popular Christmas carols, including Joy to the World, Silent Night, and This Christmas. They followed on the pace set by a talented young singer known as the Singing Xylophone, who thrilled the audience with her rendition of The First Noel.

Though Christmas carols were the popular selections on the night, the event would not have been complete without a little gospel, and singers Sandra Brooks, Sister Scully, Lubert Levy, Omari, and Chozen delivered a fair dosage. They reminded the audience of the reason behind Christmas as they sang praises, sending the huge crowd into worship mode. Veterans Brooks, Scully, and Levy served up some 'good ole Sunday Gospel', belting out the lyrics to some of their most popular songs before making way for Tessanne Chin. Clearly devoted to Digicel's Christmas Mission, agent Songbird kept the 'feel good' momentum going with performances of Pink's Try and Everything Reminds Me of You before delivering an abbreviated, altered version of her hit song, Hideaway.

Although Jamaican-born Voice contestant Anita Antoinette was advertised as one of the guest performers, the singer could not make the event due to further obligations with The Voice. Antoinette said that while she would have loved to be part of the event, she was called back to participate in the wild card rounds of the United States singing competition, which begins this week. A suitable replacement was found in Tarrus Riley, and as soon as he sang the first few notes from his hit, Lion Paw, Mr Singy Singy had the audience hooked. He led the crowd into a singalong as he performed a few more of his most popular hits and brought the curtains down on another successful staging of the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.