Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Worthy cause brings out the best in reggae, gospel, blues

Published:Wednesday | May 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Chris McDonald raises his hands towards the heavens.
Guests at the Reggae, Jazz and Blues Go Gospel Concert show their appreciation for the performances.
Ernie Smith gets animated during his performance. - photos by Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
DiMario McDowell performs during St Luke's Anglican Church's presentation of Reggae, Jazz and Blues Go Gospel at the church on Sunday.

Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer

Before Sunday's inaugural staging of Reggae, Jazz and Blues Go Gospel, it is hardly likely that the auditorium at the St Luke's Anglican Church would have played host to the delivery of that kind of music.

By the end of the concert, there was nothing but plaudits for those who made the performances worthwhile.

"Let me tell you, it was wonderful from start to finish," said Elaine Jennings, a senior member of the church,

"Anybody who missed this has missed a wonderful show," she said.

For her, the music was uplifting.

"I was happy with it. It was praising God, because God never said you must walk around with a long face. Read the Psalm, it says "make a joyful noise". It might have been with a different beat, but it keeps people happy. And that is what you want. You have to show that you are happy so that others may ask why you are so happy."

Another member of the audience, Evadne Cohen, like Jennings, thoroughly enjoyed the show, especially the performance from Ernie Smith, who she had not seen for quite some time.

The ladies were also impressed with the performances of young Leondre Sadler and Javier White. They had good reason for the appreciation.

Both boys, looking like seasoned performers with strong stage presence and fine vocals, gave commanding performances.

Sadler's rendition of Whitney Houston's I Look to You was exceptional. White, however, still managed to take his performance of Lord I believe in You a notch higher, resulting in a standing ovation from the audience.

Like a man on a mission, Ernie Smith took over the small stage toward the end of part two of the concert, pausing to provide background information on a few songs, as well as throwing in some humour.

Dove into his repertoire

Attired in a pair of burgundy pants and jacket with a sporty, looking undershirt, the Jamaican vocalist dove into his repertoire to deliver songs such as Lord Help Me Jesus, I see You in My Dream, Duppy or a Gunman, before ending his gratifying set with All For Jesus.

Winston 'Sparrow' Martin and his band Ska Rebirth was also in on the act. The seven-member band sent powerful musical waves throughout the church.

As the name implies, ska was their main offering, with a little rocksteady for brawta.

On a programme that saw plenty of reggae, some ska, a sprinkling of blues from Charmaine Limonious with an original titled Moments, there was no jazz, in spite of the show's title.

But the entertaining Maurice Henry, the enigmatic Chris McDonald, the spiritual warrior Yanni Righteous, the soft-spoken Limonius, and DiMario McDowell who closed the show, ensured the audience did not notice that absence.

Mary Isaac, who wore three hats for the event, opened the vocal category of the show. With the late arrival of the official emcee, Markland Edwards, Isaac stood in, and after her introduction of the backing band Pon Fire, she returned to minister with a fantastic rendition of The Lord's Prayer.

She followed it up with three more songs, including Bob Marley's Who the Cap Fit.

Later, wearing the hat of concert organiser, Isaac explained that the idea to stage Reggae, Jazz and Blues Go Gospel was borne out of a desire to raise funds. The committee welcomed the idea, and with the help of friends, the show became a reality.

In his vote of thanks, Archdeacon Patrick Cunningham said the funds from the concert would go towards the Church's breakfast-feeding programme, as well as funding for a basic school in Rollington Town.

"There is a serious challenge in terms of funding and you all made it possible today," said Cunningham, promising part two.