Hundreds of Vincentians attended a recent fundraiser in Brooklyn for the largest project in St. Vincent’s history: the construction of an international airport.
Some came from as far away as Massachussettes for the four and one half-hour gospel concert in a zealous bid to see the airport completed.
Vincentian Gospel diva Bridgettte Blucher paid a surprise visit, bursting through the side entrance of the massive hall, creating a frenzy among effervescent patrons and instantly warmed up with “Calvary,” followed by the rapturous “Rivers of Babylon,” bringing the audience to their feet.
Blucher then returned at show’s end, bringing the house down and setting it on fire, with “Send the Light,” “God’s not Dead,” and “I’m Saved.”
In between, the throng of other entertainers kept patrons bubbling. Trinidadian Gerard Placide, a McDonald’s Gospel Fest winner, who served with the U.S. Army during the Iraq War, cried and received a standing ovation after belching out “How Great Thou Art” and “A Perfect Play” from Broadway’s “Phantom of the Opera.”
Placide’s compatriot, Kemba Lodescar, rendered “I Look to You;” and Evangelist Ellsworth Quammie, who had carried the calypso sobriquet “Lifeboy,” gave an encore and convulsed patrons into waving patriotically to “St. Vincent and the Grenadines – Islands of Love.”
He then returned with “Hold on, Don’t Give Up,” telling the audience: “We’ve got to get the airport done, so hold on to Jesus.”
Other performers included: Praise International; Kingdom Life Ministries; Brooklyn for Jesus Youth Group; Beulah Church of the Nazarene; Trinity Gospel Apostolic Church; Garfield Bowen; Andean Charles; and Firstman “Bardo” Hills, his wife Joan and daughter Kathleen.
In addition, the popular United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn (UVCGOB) performed very short skits on the salience of constructing the Argyle International Airport; recited the poem, “Fish Fo’ So”; and executed nostalgic, folkloric songs, “Mawning Neighbor;” “I’m a Better Woman Than You;” “Brown Skin Girl”; “Dance, Dance”; “Sammy Plant Piece Ah Yam”; “Mr. Anansi, O”; and “Nah Eat Dah Fish.”
“I really feel it (international airport) is a need simply because trying to get home to get anything done is always an issue with air transportation, especially during our last two mission trips home,” UVCGOB president Roxie Irish, a former national netball star, told Caribbean Life.
Last year, during its annual cultural showcase in Brooklyn, UVCGOB collected almost US$800, then added the remainder in presenting US$2,000 towards the international airport, Irish said.
Godfrey Pitt, chairman of the Friends of Argyle International Airport, U.S.A., said the second gospel concert was the third fundraiser the group has held, aimed at raising funds for the airport, since its formation in November 2011. The other was a bus ride to Atlantic City casinos in nearby New Jersey. a , effervescent patrons went into a
Pitt, an ex-police officer in his homeland, said the group, which has already presented US$20,000 to airport construction authorities, also plans a “Wine and Cheese” fundraiser shortly.
“Vincentians (in the U.S.) are getting on board (in supporting construction of the international airport),” he told Caribbean Life. “Our goal is to raise more money.”