Musician Neville Peter performing on stage during the concert.

 

A scene during the concert.

 EUSTATIUS--A large number of persons attended the benefit concert held at the Community Centre on Monday in aid of victims of the Old School building fire and to raise funds for furnishings for the new Lynch Plantation/Seventh-Day Adventist School.

Visually impaired international gospel musician Neville Peter headlined the concert. Many local performers also graced the stage. The school coordinated the event.

Deputy Government Commissioner Mervyn Stegers said in remarks at the event that it was heart-warming to see so many people come together for the wonderful cause. “The fact that you all have contributed something to the victims of this fire and to help them out a little [is commendable – Ed.], as many of the victims lost most of their belongings, and it’s great to see you all give a little to get these victims up and going again, and I thank you for that,” Stegers said.

Melinda Thomas served as Master of Ceremonies for the event. She said Peter had been diagnosed with glaucoma at a very young age and had been completely blind by the age of 12. He developed his talent as a musician and singer over the years and today he shines as one of the bright emerging talents in the gospel music industry.

While in college, Peter was named National College Jazz Male Vocalist of the Year by DownBeat magazine. He has written more than 100 gospel songs, which have been featured in gospel projects of the legendary Gladys Knight, and his music videos have been featured on Black Entertainment Network’s (BET’s) video gospel programme.

He has shared the ministry with notables such as Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams, BeBe Winans and many more recognisable performers. Peter has performed at the Carnegie Hall and the White House, and has appeared on various television programmes, including Bobby Jones Gospel show, Trinity Broadcasting Network’s (TBN’s) “Praise the Lord” programme and many other programmes.

When Peter was asked whether he would use a new technology to give him back his sight, if one were developed, he responded, “Yes and no.”

Yes, he would use the technology to be able to see you again, so that he could be independent to drive himself wherever he would like to go and not depend on others, but “no” he would remain blind because the first face he wanted to see was Jesus.

Lynch Plantation/SDA School Principal LaVerne David-Duggins said the school was humbled and grateful to everyone who attended the event. “We thank you for coming out and we thank you for your compassion for supporting the school in this fundraising venture through the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) under the leadership of Mrs. Camelia Berkel-Dembrook,” David-Duggins said.

For the past two months the school has been placing emphasis on rendering service to those in need. For instance, in October US $4,800 was raised in a walk-a-thon held for aid to the Bahamas.

“Our concert is in aid of the fire victims in our community through ADRA and for purchasing furniture for our new school. I want to thank everyone here from the bottom of my heart for supporting our various ventures,” David-Duggins said.

She thanked everyone who was involved in the initiative in one way or another, as well as all performers.