Tue | Jun 2, 2020

UCAFEST: a frenzy of praise

Published:Wednesday | March 11, 2020 | 12:00 AMMarcia Rowe/Gleaner Writer
The lead singer of the Gospel Refuge Choir lifts her voice in praise.
With their unique voices and name, the Gr8tr Praiise rock the congregation at UCAFEST, held at Ardenne High School, last Saturday.
The audience rush to stage front as The Anointed Ones perform.
The Triumphant Sisters in performance.
The audience dances and chants at UCAFEST.
There was a full house at UCAFEST.
Nicole is reverent in worship.
Kadijah Ricketts is feeling the spirit.
The UCAM Choir shares its joyful noise with the audience.
Members of the audience bow their heads for the First Prayer Session.

A large turnout of predominantly college-based apostles journeyed to the Ardenne High School Auditorium last Saturday to support the Universities and Colleges Apostolic Ministry (UCAM) UCAFEST 2020. In one accord, audience and performers illustrated King David’s proclamation, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” and to “come before his presence with singing”. Sing they did, with vigour, for most of the event.

Not surprisingly, University of Technology (UTech) student Lilliandra McKen, also a member of the Apostolic denomination, thought the concert was excellent. It was her first visit to the annual event.

“Well, I felt the presence of God and, you know, there was genuineness.”

The first-year student also loved the praise-and-worship experience, she told The Gleaner.

The unorthodox concert began with the norm – the audience being ushered in with pre-recorded music, followed by praise and worship. Subsequently, an eclectic wave of ‘praise fest’ followed, and continued throughout the evening.

MC Darian Kelly played a pivotal role in nourishing the wave. In place of the anticipated witty remarks, along with announcing the acts, he engaged the church with the singing of popular songs between each item.

The items came from choirs, as well as small groups affiliated with UCAM. The vocalists were stylishly costumed, with a number of females completing their attire with fashionable fascinators.

The UCAM Choir was the first to perform. They began with the upbeat Glorify the Lord. The group also closed UCAFEST 2020.

Gospel Refuge was next, and closed their set with a hand-clapping, foot-stomping rendition of Jesus, Power in Your Name. Triumphant Sisters continued the praise with a medley of songs in revival beats, while one of the small groups, Gr8TR Praiise, had the congregation reflecting with My Soul is Thirsty, before having them bouncing in their seats with Great I Am.

The song was a good segue to the Anointed Ones, who delivered an stirring rendition of Jesus You Love Me Too Much Oh. The group ended their set with a medley of choruses, such as The Holy Ghost Power, Moving Like a Magnet. And a heartfelt rendition of You Deserve It came from the group Khorus.

Benjamin Fraser of UCAM told The Gleaner the event “usually came in the form of a praise-and-worship concert that brings together groups from across Jamaica: from across campuses, where there is campus ministry; and we invite local groups to sing praise and worship. But this year, we decided to reduce the number of invited groups, and to put in pockets of prayers.”

He stated that the over-20-year-old event started out as a fundraiser for the ministry to pay for their various activities throughout the year. But this year, part of the gate receipt will be donated to a cause.

“This year, we decided we want to make a donation towards helping children who have been affected by domestic violence, particularly those who have lost parents through domestic violence.”

He also promised a bigger venue for UCAFEST 2021.