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COLUMN – Gospelfest –– all go on Sunday!

High-Note-2The waiting is over. The 2015 edition of the Barbados Gospelfest officially opens on Sunday morning with a thanksgiving service at the Bethel Pentecostal Church in Drax Hall, St George, beginning at eight o’clock.

Guest artistes, as well as the Barbados Gospelfest Mass Choir, are special features of this service each year, when the executive team of Barbados Gospelfest joins the congregation of a local church to usher in the festival with a service of Worship & Thanksgiving. This is an important event on the annual festival calendar, providing an opportunity for the planning team to join friends and supporters of the festival in prayer and praise to herald in the “awesome” week of ministry and worship that is the Barbados Gospelfest.

The next major event comes off on Tuesday with the increasingly popular Hymnspeak at St Mary’s Anglican Church from 7 p.m. Hymnspeak continues to develop a strong following among persons of all ages and backgrounds.

Under the direction of the Reverend Mikie Roberts, the Hymnspeak Choir is accompanied by organist John Bryan. Special guest appearances by various talented musicians, as well as dramatizations and testimonies, are a highlight of this event. The theme for 2015 is Face To Face.

The festival continues on Wednesday with the Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union Limited-sponsored Sunset Concert in Independence Square. That gets going at 5:30 p.m.

This concert explores the rich talent of emerging gospel artists from Barbados, the Caribbean, the United States, Canada and Britain, while featuring established guest artistes. Last year’s event maintained the high standards and continued growth being experienced at the concert, and this year promises to be another delightful experience.

Thursday, May 28, ushers in another Joseph Niles Legacy Lecture at the Queen’s Park Steek Shed, commencing at 8 p.m.; and it is free.

The Joseph Niles Legacy Lecture is an annual event to honour the contribution of the Barbadian gospel music icon Joseph Niles to the local, regional and international art form –– a ministry that spanned more than 40 years.

Joseph Niles

Joseph Niles

It is going to be a time of Laughter And Jazz come Friday, May 29, at Divi Southwinds in St Lawrence, Christ Church. The show, which was introduced in 2008, is backed by Capita Financial and marries the comedy of international Christian comedians with the jazz stylings of local regional and international artistes, to deliver an experience quite unlike any other in the Caribbean.

The penultimate event –– Courts Ultimate Gospel –– is expected to explode at the Wildey Gymnasium on Saturday, May 30, from 7 p.m.

Among the headliners for that extravaganza are Israel Houghton, a prolific worship leader, musician, songwriter, producer and recording artist out of the United States. His music ministry has straddled 22 years and includes work on over 50 albums.

Israel Houghton

Israel Houghton

Houghton has won several awards, including five Grammys, 13 Doves, two Stellars and a Soul Train Music Award. Israel & New Breed bring their amazing ministry to Ultimate Gospel.

The curtain comes down with the LIME One Awesome Day, featuring an impressive line-up of local, regional and international artiste-ministers.

The list of top-notch local, regional and international acts who will spread across these final two big musical events include Positive and Sherwin Gardiner from Trinidad and Tobago; Neesha, Promise, Richard Antonio and Julianna Juel Trotman from Barbados; Gershwin Lake & Parables out of Anguilla; Kreyol Gospel Parts from Martinique; saxophonist Curtis Haywood from Brooklyn, New York; and Esther Farinde and Ekklesia out of Britain.

Neesha Woodz

Neesha Woodz

Akintunde, Maquissa Baptiste, Samantha Gooden, FLOW and Pastor Selwyn Brathwaite are also down to perform.

In other news, the new sanctuary for the Berean Bible Church currently under construction at Hothersal Turning in St Michael has got off the ground. But more money is needed to push ahead with the project.

As a result, the church is staging a fund-raising gospel concert on Saturday, May 30, at Solidarity House, headquarters of the Barbados Workers’ Union, stating at 6 p.m.  Performing will be the Berean Choir And Friends, the First Baptist Chorale, Christ Church Parish Church Chorale, the Barbados Defence Force Band and saxophonist Andrew Lokey.

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