For just about an hour on Saturday night, internationally acclaimed gospel singer William McDowell led thousands gathered at the National Park tarmac in worship. Songs of adoration for his God flowed from his lips and the massive gathering sang along, fully enwrapped.
McDowell isn’t a performer or an entertainer and when he’s on stage, there aren’t many theatrics. He is, however, a gifted singer and his talent lies in his ability to communicate his love for his God. As he sings, he makes people want to sing along, raise their hands, cry out, and praise God. And while he was on stage last Saturday, large sections of the crowd were doing just that.
This was McDowell’s first trip to Guyana, courtesy of the Love and Faith World Outreach Ministries and thousands had gathered in the stands and on the tarmac to be part of the grand worship experience. Yet, the singer was overshadowed for all of the approximately ten minutes President Bharrat Jagdeo spent on stage, first by himself and later in the company of AFC Leader Raphael Trotman. The two politicians recommitted Guyana to God and then apologised for any wrong they had done to the other.
McDowell’s two segments on stage sandwiched the exchange by the politicians, which divided the crowd. Many were touched by the civility of the leaders; many were outright skeptical; and others were just plain angry. But for McDowell, the occurrence was a miracle. “Our eyes just witnessed a miracle which only God can do,” he said.
It could be argued that McDowell’s singing was
Afterward, McDowell commenced his second set and his songs connected even more with the audience. Then it came: “I give myself away,” the opening line to the song that has defined the singer to date. It is an anthem that captures a personal sacrifice to God: “My life is not my own/To you I belong/ I give myself away, I give myself to you.”
But just as McDowell was getting into his full groove, he signaled that he was coming to an end. In his last performance, he led the congregation to a declaration in song: “Never going back to the way it was before.” It was a song focusing on a decision made never to return to the life of the past. The song seemed apt and connected with the audience. And when McDowell ended, it appeared all too abrupt.
Undoubtedly, the tone for the night was set by the local artistes who graced the stage earlier in the evening. These artistes proved to be more than just ‘space fillers’ but persons determined to move the congregation closer to God. They were successful.
Cheryl Maloney displayed why she is among the best local gospel singers. She left her mark on the proceedings. During her time on stage, she worshipped, encouraged and inspired.
But it was the newly formed group called “Legacy” that left quite an impression. The group is made up mainly of a set of young worshippers out of Legacy Management Agency (LMA). Singing two popular worship songs, the group was able to reach the crowd. By the time the group exited, the audience was totally behind them.
Still, a few hours later the talk of the departing audience was not about McDowell or local artistes; it was all about the politicians and their performance.