Kensington Oval was the place to be on Monday night as the cricket mecca was transformed into a cathedral of praise with Grammy award winning gospel artiste Donnie McClurkin leading the powerful worship session.
The atmosphere was simply electric as thousands gathered for the annual Errol Barrow Sunset Concert, hosted this year by the organizers of Barbados Gospelfest and the St Michael North West Development Programme.
Local gospel artiste John Yarde was warmly greeted as he graced the Oval stage. Belting out a medley of his popular hits, including Release The Soundz, Echo, Anything Too Hard And None Like You, he comfortably and competently lifted the overall spirit of the crowd, which was singing and dancing throughout his performance.
By the time local gospel group Promise took the stage, the audience was already on a high due to the dynamic performance by vocal powerhouse Allison Norville, but it was Promise who delivered a mixture of lively Sunday School hymns such as Stand Up and Tell Me, I Am Under the Rock, Sing Hosanna and I Known Who I Am that really got the worship service rocking.
Out of nowhere rags of all colours, flags, pamphlets, whatever persons had in their hands were seen going left and right in unison as Promise capped their performance with the Christian dancehall song Who Started De Waving Ting. The closing performance left the crowd calling for more and triggered an equally electrifying encore.
This opened the door for McClarkin to take to the stage around 7:33 p.m. to the screams and cheers of the large audience. It was his first time back in Barbados in ten years and the Soul Train award winner did not disappoint.
As he opened with No One Like Jehovah, it was as if a swarm of fireflies had descended on the Oval grounds, as patrons waved from side to side with their cell phone lights piercing through the shallow darkness of the night.
Every song was well received, but it was his performance of How Great is Our God that was met with loud, 30-second applause.
The American gospel artiste went on to sing several of his biggest hits, such as I Call You Faithful, Holy Holy Holy, Only You Are Holy, I Am Walking In Authority, I Need You and Caribbean Medley.
Cognizant that time was against him, McClurkin made sure patrons got a snippet of We Fall Down and In The Blood of the Lamb and before exiting the stage, he used his last 15 minutes to minister in word as he strongly encouraged those gathered to warmly welcome all into the church.
“The church is not meant to condemn people, it is meant to introduce them to Jesus Christ,” he said before closing the concert on a jovial note.
On a night when the stars seemed to be firmly aligned, notable performances also came from rising gospel artiste Trinity Clarke and Kristojay Paul.