Sparkling performances at Arts in the Park - Gospel Edition
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
Heavy rains forced a delay from its scheduled midday start, but when Arts in the Park - Gospel Edition finally got under way after 5 p.m. at Turtle River Park in Ocho Rios recently, the performances justified the long wait.
The Arts in the Park series is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment designed to develop the entertainment industry, with the first two editions featuring roots-reggae revival band, and literary arts and spoken word.
The Gospel Edition was staged by the ministry, in association with the organisers of Fun in the Son. The event brought in a small group of international booking agents, talent scouts and media reps from the United States to network with the artistes, give advice and basically watch performances.
Among those who were present were Liz Black of 107.5 WBLS and 1109 WLIB in New York; Johnny Sanders of WORD Cable Network TV; and Clive Ennis of CAnthony Entertainment Agency.
KICKING OFF THE SHOW
With a long list of performers and reduced performance time, Jermaine Gordon opened the show on a high with a smooth, professional presentation. He closed with You Are God, which won the Worship Song of the Year in New York last year.
"It was beautiful," Gordon told The Gleaner after the performance.
Standout performances came from the sibling trio Levy's Heritage, along with Keneisha Smith, aka J Sparks - both acts setting the stage ablaze.
In a short stint, Levy's Heritage delivered Missions for Souls and One Touch, while in her performance, Smith did Prayer Warrior, both acts drawing huge responses from the crowd.
Levy's Heritage (Oneil, Oshin and Ovando Levy) hailed the opportunity that Arts in the Park presented.
"It's an opportunity for us as emerging and young gospel artistes to be exposed to the international market and to learn about the business," said Ovando. "It's not only about ministry; it's also about establishing yourself as a young artiste to spread the word all over the world, not only in your own country, but throughout the world."
Two-time entrant in the JCDC Gospel Festival Omar Douglas also expressed optimism about the opportunities the show might bring.
"The fact that you have the JTB (Jamaica Tourist Board) and JCDC (Jamaica Cultural Development Commission) on board, Glory Ministry Music and the persons from overseas, I'm praying that after this you will hear about Omar Douglas more," he said.
"In spite of the weather and a lot of persons not being here, it was good. I prayed and did my best. If it wasn't for the rain, it would have been a tremendous concert," Douglas added.
Other performers included Adrian Dell, Chozenn, Ian Spencer, Howard Brown, Damion Bell, Jerome Welch, JCee, and others.