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December 6, 2019

Fatima’s gifts of Reggae & Classics for Christ the King

By Laura Ann Phillips

Over the weekend November 22–24, as the Church celebrated St Cecilia, patron saint of music, and the universal kingship of Jesus Christ, Fatima College and Holy Name Convent offered their own tributes in the production ‘Gifts of Blue and Gold XI – Melodies for His Majesty’ (GOBAG XI).

GOBAG XI was largely a nod to Reggae music’s 2018 honour of being inscribed on UNESCO’s ‘Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’. Inspired by the accolade, the concert’s first act was entitled, ‘A Tribute to Reggae!’.

Skilfully weaving the musical form into a storyboard, ‘The Gospel According to Reggae’, this act highlighted the conversions, miracles and teachings of Jesus Christ shortly before His crucifixion.

Bob Marley’s ‘Comin’ in from the Cold’ accompanied Zacchaeus’ extraction from tree and sin, to a life of intimacy with Jesus. His ‘No Woman, No Cry’, also featured after the woman caught in adultery was saved from public stoning and Lazarus raised from the dead.

Lower Sixth student, Dante Gains, the first Fatima student to study Theatre Arts at the CSEC level, was script editor and technical consultant of this segment. His portrayal of a demoniac healed by Christ was sufficiently disturbing to hold the audience in a horrified silence and bring a small child, sitting in at a rehearsal, to tears. The sound and visual effects used to indicate his deliverance were equally effective—simple, yet credible.

The second act, ‘It Is Well Through Christ, The King’, featured a series of religious and secular classics performed by Fatima’s senior and junior choirs, senior and junior steel ensembles and vocalists from the college and Holy Name Convent.

The selections were varied, ranging from the 17th century carol, ‘The First Noel’ to the old and new local favourites, ‘High Mas’ and ‘Savannah Grass’.

GOBAG’s musical and artistic director, Kwasi Noel, extolled the virtue of excellence as he met with cast and crew moments shortly before the curtain rose on opening night.

“No effort, no expense has been spared—time, money,” he said, “to ensure this is a production of excellence. So, we rely on you to produce that excellence, too.”

Noel later reported he was “extremely pleased” overall with the weekend’s performances, singling out Saturday night as one particularly distinctive.

“The children truly went above and beyond in their performance,” he mused, “and I honestly believe that the Holy Spirit took over and allowed both performers and audience to enter into some sort of praise of Christ the King.”

GOBAG XII will be staged during Fatima College’s 75th anniversary celebrations in 2020, the significance of which has not been lost on Noel.

“I am, firstly, grateful and honoured to be a member of staff as we celebrate this major milestone,” said the Fatima old boy. “With … Gifts of Blue & Gold now emerging as part of the history of the college, it is a notion that I lift up in thanksgiving to God with the hope that the Creator will continue to inspire all of us.”