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Inside the Event | Musical Rhapsody to assist 140-y-o church

Published:Friday | May 5, 2017 | 12:16 AMMel Cooke
Jodian Pantry
Judy Mowatt
Freddie McGregor
George Nooks

Sunday’s Musical Rhapsody at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, is the first concert with that title being put on by The Church of St John the Evangelist. Although the name is new, though, the event is not, and the name reflects its roots.

Dr Audley Betton, who chairs the committee planning the event, said “we had five years of Rhapsody in Steel at th Karram Speid Auditorium (Merl Grove High School).” Steelpan music was central to those events, but Betton said there were always guest vocalists, such as Boris Gardiner and Maria Myrie.

As the church is celebrating its 140th anniversary this year, it was decided to expand the event and move it from its accustomed July staging to May, when more standout vocalists were available. So the line-up is Freddie McGregor, Ken Boothe, Boris Gardiner, Judy Mowatt, George Nooks and Jodian Pantry.

Betton said that they are performing for free or at reduced rates. He said that stagings of Rhapsody in Steel attracted up to 800 persons and the hope is that Music in Rhapsody will attract an audience into four figures. With rain falling intermittently, Betton is happy that Musical Rhapsody, which starts at 5 p.m., is indoors.

Some of the money raised will go towards the church’s structure. Not only does the church building need attention, but with a significant number of persons in the approximately 200-strong congregation into pensionable age depending on them for money is untenable. Still, Betton said there is a church building fund collection at every service.

In addition, there are outreach programmes to be funded. The church runs programmes for people in need of food, health clinics and provides scholarships for young people. Each November there is a major health clinic.

Well before the concert on Sunday evening The Church of St John the Evangelist will have an anniversary service at 7 a.m.

The church is doing a 140th anniversary magazine and ticket holders will be given one. They will also be automatically entered for a raffle, the prizes being a family vacation at FDR Resort and a stay for two at El Greco.

“It is the week before Mother’s Day. It is clean entertainment, it is Sunday afternoon,” Betton said, looking forward to a strong turnout.