Jamaica Gleaner - - EN­TER­TAIN­MENT -

in­cluded the Coke, Lyn­d­hurst Road, Arnold Road, Vine­yard Town, Green­wich Town, Elle­ston Road and Wes­ley Methodist churches. A few of the singers came from Angli­can churches and helped to form one of the lead­ing choirs in the is­land. Some of the orig­i­nal cho­ris­ters are still with the chorale.

“Nearly ev­ery Sun­day, we went out to sing some­where in Ja­maica,” Bai­ley told The Gleaner. In fact, the chorale has not only jour­neyed around the is­land but to The Ba­hamas, the USA, Panama, Belize, the Cay­man Is­lands, and Cu­raçao.

And the cur­rent con­duc­tor, Peter Brown, said that plans are be­ing dis­cussed to take the show, to churches in the ru­ral ar­eas – cer­tainly Manch­ester and St Ann – next year. Mean­while, over the Christ­mas pe­riod, groups from the chorale plan to sing in other churches and in nurs­ing homes. Those au­di­ences are in for a treat.

Con­ducted by Brown, the full choir of about 30 so­pra­nos, al­tos, tenors and basses started the con­cert with a set of six pieces, in­clud­ing well-known hymns like Dear Lord and Fa­ther of Mankind, O For a Closer Walk With God and A Mighty Fortress is Our God. They gave way to a power-filled solo by tenor Orville Man­ning singing To Give Com­mand from Joshua.

Aud­ley David­son took over the con­duct­ing for the first half’s fi­nal three pieces by Men­delssohn (He Watch­ing Over Is­rael and I Waited for the Lord), Brahms (How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings Fair) and Beethoven (Hal­lelu­jah! from his or­a­to­rio Christ on the Mount of Olives).

Robert N. Williams ac­com­pa­nied the singers with great sen­si­tiv­ity for that first half, which was filled with quite for­mal mu­sic. For most of the sec­ond half, how­ever, the cho­ris­ters, dressed in more colourful garb than ear­lier, swayed, bounced and clapped along with con­duc­tor Paul Thor­bourne as they de­liv­ered up­tempo spir­i­tu­als, gospel and folk songs.

Per­haps it was be­cause their voices had warmed up or be­cause the strong male voices took the lead in most of the songs, but the group sounded even bet­ter in the sec­ond half than they did in the first. A spir­ited re­vival med­ley, which in­cluded One Bright Morn­ing and A Come Wi Dis a Come, ended the con­cert.

The MC for the evening was Rev Bos­worth Mullings, su­per­in­ten­dent of the Coke Cir­cuit, who, be­fore for­mally in­tro­duc­ing the chorale, told the story of the “ac­ci­den­tal” found­ing of the Methodist Mis­sions in the West Indies.

In 1786, he said, the ship in which Dr Thomas Coke was be­ing car­ried to Hal­i­fax, Nova Sco­tia, en­coun­tered stormy weather and, blown off course, ended up in An­tigua. Coke started the Mis­sions there.

Kingston’s Coke church, a des­ig­nated na­tional mon­u­ment, was built 175 years ago on a site oc­cu­pied by the Methodists since 1790.


Methodist Chorale con­cert choir in per­for­mance at Coke Methodist re­cently.

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