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Boulevard Baptist Celebrates With Festival of Choirs

Published:Thursday | February 18, 2016 | 8:53 PMMarcia Rowe
The Cari-Folk Singers in performance.
Brothers of the Poor.
Boulevard Baptist Church Children’s Choir.

The recent staging of the Boulevard Baptist Church's (BBC) Festival of Choirs saw a variety of groups ministering through song. And, like their song selections, the groups, drawn from other denominations as well as non-denominations, reinforced the theme, 'O Lord Jesus, Cum Dung to All ah Wi'.

Promptly at the scheduled starting time, the senior choir of the host church got the festival going.

"It is now five o'clock," the BBC choir director announced to the congregation, "let us begin." He then turned and faced the choir, already in position on stage. After their rendition of Oh Praise Ye the Lord, Deacon Joseph McIntyre, once again, faced the large gathering to declare the festival open before redirecting his attention to his chorale for the opening prayer, The Lord's Prayer, in song.

They later returned with Psalm 23 and a lovely delivery of Jah Is My Keeper, and was part of the combined choirs for the closing song, The Right Hand of God.

congregation rocking

BBC's initial exit brought on the entertaining and passionate Brothers of the Poor. The 10 members, consisting of four vocalists and six musicians, had the congregation rocking to the Father Ho Lung-penned lyrics, Friendship is Forever and A Father's Love. They closed their ministry with the feet-tapping version of The Lord's My Shepherd.

The Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church was also represented at the Boulevard Baptist Church 46th closing anniversary party. They were the talented group of vocalists from the Andrews SDA, who delivered two well-harmonised presentations that included Hold Out Your Light. The group, Kings Men (also SDA), later mesmerised the congregation with their distinct a cappella performance of What A Mighty God We Serve.

The non-denominational affiliated choirs were just as effective with their ministry in songs.

Third place, All Together Sing contestants St Andrew Technical High School, lifted the lull created by the BBC Youth Choir with a fine delivery of Wade in the Water, before lifting the tempo with a Negro spiritual-sounding Ain't Got Time to Die.

The Nexus Performing Arts Company gave an uplifting performance of Precious Lord, before closing with Break Every Chain. But the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Choir and the Cari-Folk Singers deviated from straight gospel to sing songs of hope and inspiration.

Colourfully costumed and very dramatic, the Cari-Folk Singers closed their set with Dip Dem Bedward, while the JCF ended their spirited performance with Trouble Inna Dis World.

At the closing of the feast of choirs, a rather satisfied McIntyre informed The Gleaner that the Festival of Choirs, now in its seventh staging, was the brainchild of the Rev Devon Dick.


"Some years ago, we (BBC) celebrated 40 years of ministry, and as a result, we had planned a yearlong celebration and much of the activities in the year were paid activities. All members could not participate in them so he (Rev Dick) decided to come up with an activity that was free of cost, so that every member could benefit from it."

The 'it' turned out to be the Festival of Choirs and McIntyre was asked to organise the event. Interestingly, at the end of each staging, the Reverend would provide the theme for the following year, thus allowing McIntyre time to research not only songs pertaining to the theme but also the choirs, allowing for the inclusion of "some of Jamaica's finest chorale pieces".