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Reconnect with the true meaning of Christmas at concert

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Many believe that gospel music has the power to touch and heal people's lives.

Marvin Pitcher was amazed to learn of the impact the Inter-Island Communications Gospel Concert had on one woman last year.

“[Event organiser] Gwen Blakeney got a call from a lady who came out who was dealing will an illness. She had cancer,” he explained.

“And somewhere along the night, obviously based on the size of her faith, there was a healing involved.

“I was told about this later and was so moved.

“It amazed me that someone could show up with that much faith and tap into the Holy Spirit for healing.”

Mr Pitcher said it was amazing to play even a small part in such a miracle.

He's gearing up to take part in the Christmas concert again this year, playing the stacked keyboard for Agape Faith Kingdom Ministries' Praise Team.

Next Saturday's event will also feature performances by Olivia Hamilton, Calvin Busby, Janice Pearman and Tricray Astwood. Praise teams from Vernon Temple, Richard Allen AME and Restoration Ministries will also take to the stage.

Mr Pitcher is hoping the concert will attract those who want to hear good quality music and be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas.

“I think in a time where marketing and commercials and everything else seems to have done everything it can to remove Jesus from the season. This is an event where you can reconnect,” he said.

“You will hear every one of your Christmas favourites; all the traditional songs you grew up hearing as well as new variations of those songs done in a different way.”

People will also get to support local talent, he said.

“It's eye opening in terms of the talent in our Country.

“We discover talent at events like these — people who you didn't know were there and even those familiar faces who you didn't realise were singers and musicians.”

Mr Pitcher has been playing church music since he was a boy.

His late mother, Betty Tucker, was certain he would become a pianist. He took lessons from the age of seven to 13.

Once she saw he had an ear for music and was able to play a song after hearing it a few times, the formal lessons stopped. However both his mom and dad, Larry, remained extremely supportive of his craft.

Mr Pitcher said he honed his technique with help from local musician Owen Simons.

As a youngster he was an avid gospel music listener and would often play the songs on repeat.

“There were some points in my life where I didn't even own an instrument,” Mr Pitcher said. “But God blessed me with the ability to listen to songs, practice it in my head and execute it.

“That's not my doing. It really is the gift and talent that He saw fit to bless me with.”

Mr Pitcher went off to study music business at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama.

He had his heart set on not returning to Bermuda, however, God made it clear He wanted him back here.

“Coming back to Bermuda wasn't part of my plan,” he said. “At the time the churches in the States didn't need musicians.

“I questioned God and give him a test. I said, ‘If you want me back in Bermuda, I am going to pick a friend of mine, but he has to call me on a specific day and we have to have a conversation longer than two minutes.

“I even picked a friend who only sent me messages and never really called.

“But sure enough that night the phone rang and it was the person I was thinking of on the other end. That's what led me to return home a month or so later.”

He didn't have employment prospects on the Island.

But once again he prayed.

“I didn't know where jobs would come from at this point, but I said if God could sustain me financially I would never use my musical gift anywhere else but in the church.

“Long story short, I had maybe three jobs three months later and I was quite comfortable for my first year back to Bermuda.”

Mr Pitcher said he had an incredible love for music.

“It's a release for me,” he said. “I feel better after I have played the Hammond organ and if I haven't played it for a while I begin to get antsy.

“It's my way of getting things out, and the fact that when I play ministry is involved and Jesus is always lifted up, that's a bonus.

“I consider myself to be one of the most fortunate musicians around because I have a passion where God gets to be exhausted every time I play. I count myself very fortunate that He decided to trust me with this gift.”

You can hear Mr Pitcher and the rest of the line-up play at next Saturday's Christmas Gospel Concert at Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts. Tickets, $50, are available at 27th Century Boutique, Music Box and the HOTT/Magic radio stations.

Keyboardist and organ player, Marvin Pitcher, is one of the local talents who will take the stage next Saturday for the Inter-Island Communications Christmas Gospel Concert.
Keyboardist and organ player Marvin Pitcher is one of the local talents who will take the stage next Saturday for the Inter-Island Communications Christmas Gospel Concert.

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Published December 13, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 13, 2014 at 1:03 am)

Reconnect with the true meaning of Christmas at concert

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