'Freedom Fest' surpasses expectations
Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer
It was a gospel concert of large musical proportion. From the opening praise and worship to the mainly musical ministry from organiser and curtain-closer, Prodigal Son, the packed house of the Emanuel Apostolic Church on Slipe Road, reverberated with, at times, over joyful sounds unto the Lord. The event was the LIME Freedom Fest family fun day and health fair held last Saturday.
There was an obvious connectedness between the "home boy" and his predominately youthful congregation. And it was further cemented with an electrifying performance that lasted for over an hour. Shantel Banbury, one of the devotees, summed up the concert and Prodigal's performance at the end of the concert.
"The show was real nice, all the artistes were good, but I came to see my favourite artiste, Prodigal Son, and he way surpassed my expectations," said the senior high-school student.
Prodigal Son's electrifying ministry began with the slow tempo Don't Give up on Jesus. After telling the audience, of whom a large number by then had converged almost at the foot of the stage, "I just feel like worshiping," he then segued into his hit, another slow tempo, Dry Bones. Shortly after selecting songs from his iPod, he had the church hopping, singing, blowing horn instruments to a medley of some of his songs, before igniting them further with Ketcha a Fya. Approximately five hours after the Emanuel Apostolic Dance Troupe got the performing arts ministry going, the perspiration-soaked Prodigal Son exited the stage.
There were other artistes who also made their contribution to the joyful noise unto the Lord. They included Andreen Lewis, Omari, Ryan Mark, Shawn Gideon, a very energetic Dean Murphy and Marlon Christie.
Christie's music came via tracks, but he needed no backup vocals as the audience was there for him. He sang When Jesus Died On The Cross, among others.
Young Murphy was a bundle of energy. He worked the stage like a very experienced minister with songs like Mi Ah Seek God, and when he got off to We Gonna Have a Holy Ghost Party, few would have doubted him. He ended his fire-brand ministry with the chorus Walk All Over You.
Ryan Mark was preceded by Omari, who gave the expected high-quality praise. Omari told the audience, "Mi nah stop praising God." Among the songs he used for his sermon were Why, and Father God Help.
Overall, the lengthy concert, with its colourful electronic backdrop, lots of giveaways, marshalled by MCs Omar Letford, Masilla Barnaby and Nadine Blair, was fulfilling. But the ministry of Freedom Fest concert was not problem-free, the main one being the quality of the sound, which was further compounded by shouting artistes and screaming fans.
However, Freedom Fest was more than a concert; it was also a health fair, where people were given health treatment, including the testing of eyes and free check-up. It was a charitable gesture from Prodigal Son's charity, Radical Reaching Radical.
And Prodigal Son was "very excited to give". While he enjoyed the concert and complimented everyone for doing their best, as well as delivering great ministry, the high point for him was "just watching the people in the health fair receiving health care and medication".