The nearly 80-year-old Ambassador Theatre on Collie Smith Drive, Trench Town, came alive on Saturday (March 25) with the sounds of music, ministry and testimonies at the Joy Town Community Development Foundation’s inaugural Easter Joy in the Bass.
Among the performers were: Carlene Davis, Kevin Downswell, Goddy Goddy, saxophonist Verlando Small, Ronika Treleven of the Praise City International Transformation Church (PCITC) in Trench Town and singer Jason Davidson, with the Word from Pastor Nikita Williams, a resident of Trench Town and a member of PCITC.
Founder and President of the Joy Town Community Development Foundation, Major Richard Cooke, said: “We were pleased with the turnout at the event, which showed a mixed audience of mature residents, as well as children and young people, including males. The performances were well received by all, with the artistes also ministering in prayer and testimony.”
The event was produced by Glory Music, led by Tommy Cowan.
“The final planning began five days before the event because of unforeseen circumstances, so it was a challenging time. But we know all things are possible with Christ. Little is much when God is in it and with all the challenges, there has never been anything like what we experienced,” Tommy said.
Shikisha Cowan, of Glory Music, said it was exceptional experience. “It was the ministry to the audience that was outstanding, where each performer ushered in another move of God, leaving the audience enveloped in worship. I am glad God has allowed me to be a part of His work in Trench Town, a community in which I lived as a child.”
SR Music ushered in the start of Easter Joy in the Bass with popular gospel songs, followed by prayer and Tommy Cowan’s opening remarks. He then introduced his co-host Shannondale of Suncity Radio.
The opening act featured duo musicians Dave ‘Prime Time’ Green on drums and Gregory Palmer on keyboards. Then the crowd erupted when the popular town crier DP Coombs was introduced. Known by the community over the past 20 years for his event promotional duties, he performed an original song ‘Jesus I Love You’ to everyone’s surprise and delight.
Next on stage was dancer Ronika Treleven, followed by singer Jason Davidson. Winner of the 2013 Digicel Rising Stars, saxophonist, Verlando Small was up next and kept his audience engaged with renditions of Jireh, Above All and Goodness of God, at the end of which the audience called for more.
In his welcoming address, Major Richard Cooke recognised sponsors of the event: CHASE Fund, Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Best Dressed Chicken; Phoenix Printery; Pepsi and Tropicana, as well as SR Music. He thanked the Jamaica Broilers Group Foundation for its continued support of the projects which Joy Town Community Development Foundation has been carrying out in Trench Town for the past 22 years. He expressed his pleasure that Joy Town was once again, after the COVID-19 pandemic, able to treat the community to another free Joy in the Bass gospel concert, as the six concerts previously held during the Christmas season helped change the atmosphere, lift spirits and keep Christ at the centre of the season. Major Cooke was particularly pleased that the Easter Joy in the Bass concert focused attendee on the death and resurrection Jesus Christ, while providing outstanding and uplifting entertainment.
Dr. Carlene Davis had the audience on their feet with her set including ‘Handful of Salt’, ‘Nothing But the Blood Anthem’ and ‘One Day At A Time’. An impromptu new version of ‘My Forever Friend’ was created live on stage, with the backing of Dave Green and Gregory Palmer. She also performed ‘Days of Elijah’, ‘This Island Needs Jesus’, ‘Jah Shall Wipe Away All Tears’, and others which led to the audience rising to their feet in worship.
The booming voice of high energy Goddy Goddy singing ‘Brimstone’, backed by two singers, was enough to stir the audience into dancing. His other popular songs: ‘When Now,’ ‘Let’s Go Forward For God’, ‘Chaka Chi’, ‘Bring the Money’, ‘Fill My Truck’, and ‘Sin’ saw the performer jumping from the stage into the audience, where he was surrounded by patrons taking snaps of him and recording his performance.
Pastor Nikita Williams brought some reflection and solemnity to the occasion through her sermonette which challenged her audience to seek purpose and faith and to look to the cross for a new beginning.
One of the island’s top gospel artistes, Kevin Downswell, a regular supporter of the Joy in the Bass concerts, spoke about his days growing up in an inner-city community, which resonated with the young audience in particular. Then his unique voice rang out with renditions of Already Done, Carry Me, Grace and Way Maker, which had everyone singing along. He then brought on stage Johnmark Wiggan, who Kevin singled out as a performer of promise.
The gospel artiste encouraged the youth to trust God, not wait for help to start moving forward with their lives and to never give up, as he too had grown up in a community not far from the Ambassador Theatre. Kevn then announced that he and Joy Town were committed to donating laptops to two young men of Trench Town, so they could pursue their purpose.
To close his set, Kevin was joined on stage by Pastor Nikita Williams for an altar call.
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