Mon | Mar 30, 2020

JDF carolling for the season

Published:Friday | December 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarcia Rowe/Gleaner Writer
Christine Nevers-McDonald (centre) performing at Tuesday's carol service.
The National Chorale.

It was a very large audience that attended the annual Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) annual carol service, on Tuesday. Through familiar and unfamiliar carols, lively musical selections, and well-read passages from the Bible, they were reminded of the spirit and meaning of Christmas.

Fittingly, Chief of Defence Staff Major General Rocky Meade, in his closing remarks, told the gathering, "After this musical experience of fellowship, I am sure that no member of tonight's audience will walk away without the Christmas spirit being fully awakened."

He continued, "Spreading joy and good cheer are things that come to us naturally as Jamaicans. It is, in fact, one of our most Jamaican qualities. Let us take some Christmas joy and cheer that we have received at this evening's carol service and share."

The festivities unfolded in the open air at Up Park Camp, Kingston, against the spectacle of brightly arranged overhead lights and the flickering flames from candles placed atop makeshift shelves. The event's theme, 'Reclaiming The Kingdom Standards: Exercising Justice, Hope and Love', was intricately woven throughout the items on the programme and communicated with the help of sign language interpreters.

Selections came from the JDF Mass Band, which delivered an entertaining medley of Christmas songs and carols; the National Chorale of Jamaica, which gave a great rendition of Christmas is Coming; and Christine McDonald-Nevers who beautifully sang, Oh Holy Night arranged by J. Williams.

Governor General Sir Patrick Allen was among those who read scriptures taken from both the Old and New Testaments. The high points of the readings came with the fourth and fifth lessons. Both came from the Patois version of the Bible, and the audience could not help laughing at words such as 'pickney'.

Creativity and impact were the hallmarks of the introductory reading by SLt K. Brown.

Brown's reading was more purposeful with the JDF Mass Band providing musical accompaniment. Alas, in spite of its spiritual power, the disciplined congregation had to yield to the 'no applause' instruction printed on the programme.

The reflective service ended in a powerful and dramatic fashion. Shortly after the congregation started the closing carol, Silent Night, the overhead lights were turned off, highlighting a brightly lit star affixed to the roof of the JDF headquarters and the flames of the candles to reinforce the spirit and meaning of Christmas.