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Gospel artists sing at SVG airport fundraiser

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Award-winning Caribbean gospel music diva Bridget Blucher last Saturday night gave a full-throat performance in mesmerizing legions of fans and patrons at another fundraiser in Brooklyn, New York for the Argyle International Airport.

The effervescent, popular New Grounds native belched out hypnotic hits from her wide repertoire in the 3 ½-hour, “Land of My Birth, I Pledge to Thee” gospel concert at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn.

The event – organized by the Brooklyn-based Friends of Argyle International Airport, New York, in collaboration with the New York-headquartered Consulate General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, U.S.A. – attracted a large number of Vincentians, from all walks of life, as well as Caribbean nationals.

Blucher, also known as Evangelist Blucher, pulverized the packed house, as patrons “got down” with rhapsodic numbers, such as “Burdens are Lifted,” “I Will Bless The Lord,” “Oh, How Marvelous,” “My God,” “Greatly Blessed,” “Send a Light,” and “God’s Not Dead.”

In interspersing her performance, Blucher, who trekked from her residence in Port St. Lucie, Fl. for the fundraiser, noted the all-too-familiar hardships that most nationals and visitors encounter in transit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Once you get to a certain place, they tell you that you are ‘overweight,’ so you have to get into your spending money,” she lamented.

“At this gospel concert, we not only need to sing, we need to pray [for completion of the international airport],” she added.

Blucher’s enthralling performance was augmented with gospel renditions by former calypsonians, now Born-Again Christians, Angus “Brigo” Lynch and Ellsworth “Lifeboy” Quammie.

Brooklyn Minister Anndean Charles and Garfield Bowen provided more variety; cousins Azuree and LaFleur Durrant; and the Brooklyn-based United Worshippers Gospel Band, with Minister Edron Olive.

Lynch sought to provide “Peace” while noting “How Great is Our God,” as Quammie underscored that “St. Vincent and the Grenadines [is] Land of Love”, telling patrons to “Hold On, Don’t Give Up.”

Lynch reflected on the “problems” he, his colleagues and tourists underwent while he was a taxi driver at home for 20 years, stating that the international airport will significantly help in resolving many of these issues.

“It’s [will be] a blessing that, one day, we’ll go direct to St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

Quammie later told patrons: “[If] you’re looking to have the airport completed, hold on. Bless the Lord!”

Charles sang that the Argyle International Airport is “In the Hands of Sweet Deliverance” and “What Didn’t Kill You Will Make You Stronger”.

As the airport nears completion, Bowen urged to “Ride Out the Storm” and “Don’t Lose Your Focus”, after which “I am [will be] Free”.

In the interim, Azuree, 16, noted the “Amazing Grace” of God, urging patrons to “Praise God in the Most Humble Way.”

While “Holding My [Our] Hand,” LaFleur admitted that “I Need Thee Every Hour”, appealing to the “Savior [to] Hear My Humble Cry.”

Jamaican-born poet Kimberle Thompson – adjutant to Mistress of Ceremony Dr. Roxie Irish, a former Vincentian national netball star – also noted air transport difficulties in connecting to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Thompson, who had accompanied the United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn – of which Irish, a Born-Again Christian, is the founder and president – to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, during its medical mission in 2010, read a poem at the gospel concert, dubbed “Non-Stop to SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines).”

It read in part: “So tell your friends, tell your neighbors/forget about the politics/ and fly non-stop to SVG.”

The event, coordinated by Deputy New York Consul General Edson Augustus, was the third gospel concert that the Friends of Argyle International Airport, New York has conducted since its formation two years ago to help raise funds for the airport, according to Chairman Godfrey Pitt, a former police officer in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Pitt said his group has also conducted a bus ride and BBQ in raising US$35,000 to date, excluding the latest event, for the airport cause.

“We will keep raising funds,” he told Caribbean Life during the intermission last Saturday night. “The turn-out tonight is excellent. I’m very pleased.

“It’s an excellent group,” added Pitt about the Friends of Argyle International Airport, New York, disclosing that the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ex-Teachers Association has recently joined the fundraising initiative.

“We’re very focused on our country,” he continued. “We’re very strong on nation-building. We can’t wait for the airport to be completed.”

The government of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has said that construction of the airport will be completed on time for the opening ceremony in October next year.

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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