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Great night of gospel

John Sealy

Great night of gospel

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It was a sold-out crowd. And some who came to the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre had to go back home unfulfilled because they did not have a ticket to get past the gate for the National Cultural Foundation’s Praise Is What We Do – the 2013 Crop Over gospel concert last Thursday night.
The event, produced by gospel singer Sheldon Hope, attracted a number of names, some known beyond the walls of the gospel music fraternity and others hoping to become household names in years to come.
But when the curtain came down on the almost three-hour show, the crowd seemed satisfied with the ministry that was offered in song, dance and instrument.
Allison Norville-Forde, who has created a niche as an accomplished and well loved gospel act, proclaimed her faith in two numbers I Am A Winner and God Alone, while unknown act Shamar Watson of the Dunscombe Moravian Church signalled his step-out on the big stage with a vocally complex treatment of Let Go And Let God.
John Yarde, who described himself as “old school”, appears not to be afraid to push the envelope in the name of creativity and it seemed to have worked, especially his fusion of soca and old school stylings in I Just Wanna.
One cannot say the name Paula Hinds without saying excellence. She exhibited class and confidence in what could be considered a short stay on stage, doing only two songs, High And Lifted Up and God’s Love, the latter given the spouge treatment to the delight of the audience and band members, who seemed to enjoy accompanying Hinds.
There is nobody like gospel singer Sister Margrita Marshall who can bring a crowd to their feet. Marshall, in her mid-70s, still carries a voice strong enough to endear her to fans across all ages.
She did not have much to do, as the crowd responded to her every call for participation as she sang Jesus Is All I Have, Goodbye World and a medley that included Jesus Is My Deliverer and Walk Holy.
The latter part of the show featured the instrumental band Healing Hands; singers Neesha Woodz, James Leacock, Gozzy and the Warrior, who closed the concert; the Dimensions, and comedienne Jennifer Walker.
Walker was exceptionally funny as she gave the audience a demonstration of how to cope with life’s daily challenges by using the various worship songs.
Warrior, once known in the entertainment circles as Daddy I Roy, wascharismatic and connected with the audience but went on a bit too long.
It would have been nice to see Gozzy sharing half of the time that was given to the Warrior, since he seems to have a role in the gospel music scene.
Leacock, a premier act who goes by the name of Slim Jim, won the respect of the audience, while Woodz, cut in the mould of “a high energy performer”, is a delight to watch on stage. 
The New Dimension Dancers kept the vein of the production alive with dance and praise.