March 31 is the date set for the staging of the inaugural Grenada Gospel Festival, which will feature one of the leading international gospel singers, GRAMMY award winner, William Mc Dowell.
Mc Dowell, who is one of the world’s leading gospel worship ministers, will share the big stage at the National Stadium alongside a line-up of locals the likes of Loxton Mitchell, Touch of Grace, Trinity Gospel Ministry, Every Praise Choir. Spice Worship and Dexter Bartholomew.
The highly anticipated event is of major significance in the calendar of activities of a Canadian-based gospel marketing and production company, “Gospel Connection Canada,” which was founded in July 2004, by Grenadian-born Devon Wells, originally from the parish of St. Andrew.
Wells, who currently resides in Toronto, Canada, is the producer/director of Gospel Connection Canada, and has assumed the same role with the Grenada Gospel Festival.
Having launched his company, which is now recognised as one of Canada’s top in the gospel industry and having worked on a major scale with some international GRAMMY award winning artistes like the legendary Kirk Franklin and Tasha Cobbs, among many others; he saw it fitting to use his experience to enhance the gospel landscape locally.
“Returning to Grenada with all the experiences and being introduced to some of the extraordinary talents that we have here within the gospel and Christian community…I decided that we should do something that would give them an exposure not just here locally but internationally,” Wells told reporters during the launch of the gospel festival last week at the Excel Plaza in Grand Anse.
“And therefore we joined in partnership with GBN Gospel Challenge and every year we profile the grand prize as an all inclusive church tour in Toronto, Canada for an entire weekend…but what brings us here today is this bigger and better idea of an annual Grenada Gospel Festival,” he said.
According to Wells, all proceeds from the festival will go towards the funding of the “Smile Kids Grenada” Free Breakfast pilot programme, which will be launched in September at an undisclosed school on the island.
The free breakfast initiative targets children 3 -8 years old and will be implemented with the assistance of some significant sponsors locally and internationally along with support from the Ministry of Education in terms of identifying children who are actually in need of the support.
Commenting on the initiative, Executive Officer for the Free Breakfast programme, Kenroy Baptiste said the intention is to run the pilot as a test to determine the long term structure of the programme.
“Once the pilot is completed we will broaden the programme to cater for the rest of the primary schools on the island… we want it to be broad as possible”, he explained.
“Breakfast is a critical part of a child’s development…and so we at the Grenada Gospel Festival believe that we can provide that support (to) assist parents with that important meal of the day and that essentially, would be one less worry in our book,” he said.
The gospel initiative which was first adopted in 2013, is geared at seeking out the hidden talents within the Christian community in order to help them build and to share the stage with top international gospel artists.
The first event featured Marvia Providence from Canada, the second was held in 2014 with the top act being Atta Boafo and in 2015 it was Kevin Downswell of Jamaica.