Thursday, 8 September 2011

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES: New Father HoLung and Friends musical marks group’s 40th anniversary

SERVANT OF THE PEOPLE: Father HoLung at launch for new musical.

Above all else, the highlight of Thursday’s press launch and preview of the latest musical production by Father HoLung and Friends, Acts of the Apostles, was the revelation that some four decades has elapsed since the widely celebrated Christian group began ministering in vibrant song, drama and dance across the island and, indeed, the globe. “It’s been a 40 wonderful years of the singers giving their time and talent free, not unlike the [missionary] brothers,” remarked HoLung during the well-supported mid-morning launch for media and sponsors at New Kingston’s spacious Sagicor Auditorium. “It’s just been tremendous.”

Appearing in reasonable health these days, the beloved “ghetto priest” lauded the large number of sponsors who have come on board to financially boost the upcoming musical, which opens Sep 29 at the National Arena. For HoLung, the outpouring of corporate support, coupled with the tireless dedication of the 50-plus member cast, signals the divine at work. “It’s all about serving and building our society, and the support and success that we continue to attract is a sign that God is with us. And the miracle is that every time we end up with a magnificent production.”

Proceeds from all annual efforts by Father HoLung and Friends is ploughed into the never-ending work of the 30-year-old Missionaries of the Poor to provide for the sick and needy they serve – not only across Jamaica, but in places like Haiti and Uganda and the United States. It’s this sort of selfless service that prompted corporate bigwigs like Grace Kennedy (a sponsor for the last 10 years) and Wisynco, a first-year sponsor, to respond with remarkable zeal. “Our answer was yes before [Father HoLung] even started his proposal,” said Wisynco’s Financial Director Andrew Mahfood, adding that the spiritual appeal of HoLung’s shows is an added bonus. “These kinds of shows deliver spirituality with ‘Wow’, and we are happy to be a part of this.”

A Biblical musical drama telling the story of the disciples after Jesus’ resurrection, Acts of the Apostles (a follow-up to 2009’s award-winning Jam Reggae Opera) will play for a limited run at the Arena from Sep. 29 through Oct. 9. Ticket Hotline: 948-0280/486-2140/585-2263.

TUNEFUL PAIR: Musical director Wynton Williams and Andrea Jarrett of Father HoLung & Friends.

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