SLICE OF LIFE – Birthday girls host concert
A birthday is usually a special occasion to be celebrated in some memorable fashion.
For Althea Simmons and her daughters Natasha and Kathrin, that celebration took the form of a gospel concert at the Western Light Church of the Nazarene in Oxnards, St James, last Saturday.
Kathrin turned 26 on November 4, Althea 51 on the 7th and Natasha 31 on the 9th – making it a grand joint celebration.
To give thanks for reaching 50 last year, Althea had celebrated with a gospel concert at her resident church, St John The Baptist Anglican, in Hoyte’s Village, St James, so she thought it fitting to do it again – this time at the nearby Western Light Church of the Nazarene.
“I love birthdays,” she told us as she stood at the entrance welcoming her guests to the concert.
As they gathered the relatives and friends of the birthday girls, along with other guests, brought an air of friendliness, peace and community spirit to the occasion.
Reverend Carlyle Isaac, the pastor of the church, took on the role of master of ceremonies. Noting he had never played that role before, he nevertheless rose to the occasion, even essaying a joke or two.
“Emceeing is not a part of me. I am accustomed to preaching so don’t be surprised if I find myself preaching in between,” he told the congregation.
It was therefore not surprising that Isaac referred to the recent passing of Tropical Storm Tomas and, in making comparison to Pentecost, he declared: “On the day of Pentecost there was a sound of a mighty rushing wind . . . When the Holy Ghost comes, it uproots something and plants something more beautiful.
“In the midst of the storm we have something to praise God for.
Maybe God wants to do something in our lives.
Let us give God praise this evening.”
The audience responded with spontaneous and rapturous applause.
The talent at the concert came from a mix of the youth and the mature – there was dance, drama and singing.
Natasha, one of the birthday trio, was a fine example of determination. Having faced one or two technical difficulties initially, she triumphed and executed an impressive, impeccable dance which addressed the theme of triumph and resilience.
St John The Baptist Sunday School Dancers were a picture of beauty and precision and thrilled the audience with their graceful manoeuvres.
In similar vein, St Leonard’s Boys’ Choir captured the hearts of appreciative members of the audience as they demonstrated exquisite artistry in their two selections, Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring and Every Time I Feel The Spirit.
Choir director and teacher Andrew Lokey, immaculately dressed for the occasion, was just as refined in his speech as he interacted with the audience, saying: “We are here to have a good time in the Lord. That is what Althea told me.”
The mature groups – the Western Light Choir, St John The Baptist Choir and Alleluia Voices – all brought traditional flair to the celebration and were a good reflection of the dedication to choral music that is still evident.
The guests were not to be left out. They joined in singing How Great Is Our God.
The lyrics from the chorus seemed quite appropriate:
How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, How great is our God.
For Althea and her daughters, the celebration was tremendous.