Maranatha Choir strikes gold
Bassy - Love Vine
December 23, 2022

Maranatha Choir strikes gold

I thoroughly N-joyed last Sunday Night’s Christmas Concert hosted by de Gospel Hall Maranatha Choir. After ah two-year no-pay Sabbatical, due to
de Pan-dem-ache, dey return dis year, refined and rejuvenated to celebrate dey Golden Anniversary wid ah presentation of “Carols of Christmas.”

This treasured choir, led by Robert Cumberbatch at inception, started back in 1972 with about 25 youths of de Kingstown Gospel Hall Assembly. Most of the foundation members, including de leader, would have migrated to de die-us-poorer, in search of Greener Pastures. Then Sister Elsa Velox, de musical corner stone of Gospel Hall, held de Fort before passing de baton over to de able and competent hands of Bro Sam Veira and his dear wife Judy Gunsam, who incidentally, were de only two active original members present.

De choir is down to half its original strength with nine females doubly outnumbering de four males (blessed art dem amongst women), De group remains vibrant and committed, small yes, but it is not de size of de choir, is de quality of those beautiful voices of de Maranatha Choir dat matters (half de size but twice as melodious and sweet).

Church was full on Sunday evening and members of de usually conservative audience, shouted to de top when Maranatha Choir rendered one ah de more challenging Christmas Carols, de Hallelujah Chorus. Ah know good music when ah hear it, trust me it was an excellent presentation!

It has been ah good 50 Golden Years, wid 90 % over the age of 50 years (mek dat 60 years) young or ole, wid only 12 on stage, dey may be among de smallest, but dey are de Baddest of de Best! Dey made my Christmas.


Christ-Mas is my time ah year, and dat has been so ever since ah was ah Lickle Sunday School Youth in Murray Village. “My Yard.” Dey was, “Sing Out” way ‘Big and Small’, ‘Ole’n’Young’, all went from “ Door to Door” singing Christ-Mas Carols and serenading foh we lickle penny and half-penny dat we shared among our group on Christmas Eve. Dey was always Nine Mornings way some went to Novena Church Service, some went walking, window shopping, bi-cycle riding, street Jump-up and Dance Hall Fetes.

And den dey was nothing! Nine Mornings went to bed until 1991, before it was awaken and revitalized in Kingstown by El Grupo Amistad. De original slogan den was “Christmas is Christ-Mas,” today it is promoted as ah “Unique Vincy Festival,”. Historian Doc Fraser say Nine Mornings is over two hundred years ole.

In Kingstown de Festival format was balanced with Devotions, Drama, Dance, Carol singing, Steel Bands, Fun Games. But in de rural districts de organizers opted for more indigenous material. People ah come-plain dat de Festival, our Cultural Gold Mind- oops Mine struggling foh want ah help. Nine Mornings and Carnival are not part and parcel of de vision of de Ministries of Eddy-care-shun and Culture as ah major player in creating big revenue thru Tour-is-him. Would it be crazy to suggest dat our Great Big Nah-shun-all In-deep-and-dence Exhibition at Geest Shed, should be part of Vincy Mas, remain open thru to Emancipation, to In-de-pen-dance, den thru-out de Tourist Season dat includes Christmas wid de Nine Mornings. Lie-Za say ah mad, de folks want a nice trip back to Dough-boy opps, Do-buy!


And foh all those who come-plain how Kingstown Nine Mornings boring, how Bagga, Stubbs and Richland Park have all de act-shun wid goat races and so on, well Lie-Za has ah suggestion foh Kingstown, during de Keep Fit slot: get two pairs ah boxing gloves, and ask Jomo and Dr. Tromp-son to give ah blow-by-blow exhibition of Shadow Boxing, Tromp-son reported he landed three Thomps pon Jomo who said he received none!
Lie-Za say after COVID-19, she will need ah pinch ah salt to swallow Thomp-son’s count. Really, are we serious in SVG?
Ah Blessed and Peaceful Christ-Mas to all. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.