By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
CHRISTIANS turned out for the Ultimate Gospel Music Experience Concert - a key event in The Bahamas’ ongoing 40th Anniversary of Independence celebrations.
Hosted by Patricia Bazard and the Bahamas Islands of Praise Festival Organisation, the four night event last weekend was at Bahamas Faith Ministries (BFM), Carmichael Road.
Ms Bazard had a 95 per cent turnout and said the feedback had been ‘awesome.’
The event aimed to build strong and effective music ministries in the churches and increase the knowledge and skills of ministers of music, directors and singers and to assist in the development of worship in music.
The organisation also aims to network with local and international artists, and establish The Bahamas as an international gospel music festival destination.
The participants in the festival included: The Final Hour choir, National Boy’s Choir, Five Porches Choir, Bahamas Faith Ministries Praise Singers, SDA Meistersingers, Mount Tabor Full Gospel Choir, Annex Baptist Church Men’s Choir, Wesley Methodist Church Choir, Salem Baptist Church Choir, Golden Gates Praise Team, Mt Tabor Praise Team, Charles Drake and C M E Shabak, Christian Massive, as well as bands and dancers from churches.
Ms Bazard said all the participants had already given their support for next year’s event.
The Masters of Ceremony included Jack Thompson, Eileen Johnson, Sis Claudia Gibson, Min Dwight Armbrister, Min Sheriece Ferguson and Audrey Dean-Wright.
Ms Bazard said a Saturday workshop that was part of the event’s line up received great feedback.
One of the comments included: “The morning workshop was awesome, informative, and well presented. I learnt a lot in so short a time especially the sessions ‘Technicians of Praise’ and ‘The Business of Praise’.”
Ms Bazard said Minister Alfred Dean had told her “This is what the country needs.”
Ms Bazard said: “Audrey Dean wrote ‘the festival is of great value and should be continued. The Bahamas is a singing nation and it is sensible for us to know more about the art form. The festival was a coming together of Bahamians in the field of gospel music. It was a time for sharing of information and networking between singers and musicians and was invaluable, important and enriching.’
Audrey added: “The interaction between presenters provided the ability to know who to call upon for assistance and practical information. This festival is a way to enrich our society with tourism revenue as we share our culture and expertise. The festival will grow into an event that singers, musicians and gospel music lovers will look forward to each year.”
Ms Bazard said the vision of the gospel music experience was given to her by God in 2006.
She said last year she shared the vision with friends who joined her in the ‘faith walk’ as they all worked to produce the first Festival.
“The vision is an International Gospel Music Festival, we already have one international choir confirmed but this first year was in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Independence,” said Ms Bazard.