Testimony 2, a gospel song fest
Testimony 2, A Celebration of God's Favour, was a showcase of excellence in technical production. From the fabulously decorated VIP lounge elevated at the back of the house, to the ever-burning pyrotechnic flames on stage, the Ranny Williams Entertainment centre was transformed.
Unfortunately, many of the seats remained unoccupied for the duration of the song-fest that saw a cadre of lively songs and testimonies from some of Jamaica's beloved gospel artistes.
After a prayer, opening remarks and the playing of Jamaica's national anthem, Vennica Nicholson, started the avalanche of gospel songs. Aptly, her testimony commenced with a mento beat to, "Stop and let me tell you what the Lord has done." Still maintaining her high energy and powerful vocals, she carried the congregation All the Way to Calvary and closed with He's Still on Time.
The Nadine Blair-led Perpetual Sounds of Praise, On The Shout Band and Katalys Crew - Agents of Change followed. They, too, were strong in their witness and had the audience raising their hands and voices in acknowledgement. Upon the entrance of a group of five male vocalists, HUMBLE (Hearts United, Minds Bonded in Love for Eternity) the temperature inside Testimony 2 was recharged.
Fresh from performing in the United States, the entertaining group began their set with a mighty delivery of the old gospel chorus, Hurry Up. They had the congregation captivated with Tell Me the Story and ended their fine a capella testimony with a favourite of theirs dubbed, Lord I Need You.
Omari and Jermaine Edwards also ministered in the first half of the programme. Each, with a different backing band, ministered in song. Omari included his signature Why and Sweet Gospel Reggae, while Edwards had the church saying amen to Peace in My Soul, and had them skipping to, It's a Beautiful Day.
The shorter second half opened with Jabez, wearing a full red suit. His song selections included Warrior, and the emotionally charged, Saucer. Judith Gayle, who arrived in Jamaica hours before the show, opened her set with a promise of hope in, The Sun Will Shine Again, followed by, I Know Who I Am. She later told the audience to "Live for the God we glorify, live above expectations of people."
Kevin Downswell brought the curtains of the Saturday-night concert down with a performance that amounted to an altar call and more. He addressed the ailing, disheartened and the young people in particular, with fitting songs and remarks. Among the songs in his ministry were Already Done, Christian Soldier and the powerful If It's Not You.
Testimony 2, A Celebration of God's Favour, was produced by GT Sound. It was in part a fundraiser for Kwezia Wilson, who has an undiagnosed medical condition that has left her unable to walk as well a birthday celebration for Geoffrey 'G. T.' Thomas. Onstage, he was paid tribute in songs, gifts and brief speeches. In return, Thomas thanked everyone and sang a part of his favourite song, Great Is Thy Faithfulness. But the concert "is not about my birthday, really," he said. "It was held on my birthday this year because it is my 60th and also 30 years since the inception of Golden Touch, which is now GT Sound," Thomas told The Gleaner.
MCs for Testimony 2 were Arnold Kelly and Kiki, and according to Thomas, the event is expected to become an annual one.