Sounds of praise went up on Sunday from the final venue which hosted the grand finale of the 2019 Saint Lucia Jazz Festival.
Shangri-La Estate in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, was the home to Christians and non-Christians alike who came out to support and enjoy the final show of the six-day festival which began last Tuesday.
From far, some of the elderly came with their walkers, while families brought picnic blankets and chairs to make their time spent "in the house of God" a comfortable one.
The gospel component of the annual festival was included for the time in the 27 years it has been in existence.
Taking to the stage first was Saint Lucia’s own multiple gospel award winner Shirley-Ann Cyril-Mayers, who led the audience in some vintage gospel with the song, “I Will Call Upon The Lord.”
Immediately, one recognised a striking vocal similarity to Caribbean gospel singer Wendy Mitchell. During her stint on stage, Cyril-Myers belted out a number of praise and worship classics–jazzing them up every once in a while. She paused before moving on to the song “I Give You the Praise” to speak to the audience, assuring them that no matter what they may face in life, God will always make a way and will work it out.
In a subsequent interview with Guardian Media, Cyril-Mayers gave God all the praise for inspiring the organisers for including gospel in the festival, as she believes it is a milestone that the church was able to participate in such a major event. She added the festival was now another platform to spread the gospel of God.
Officially bringing down the curtain was international Grammy award-winning American husband and wife jazz duo Marcus Baylor, a former drummer with The Yellow Jackets and Jean Baylor, a former member of the R&B group Zhane, which had great success in the mid-90s.
Jean, the lead vocalist of the band, was the perfect finish with her angelic voice. Of the numbers she performed, her version of Hallejujah was without a doubt the most moving delivery, evident by the hearty applause she received toward the end.
- by Bobie-Lee Dixon. Photo by Abraham Diaz.