An audience at Christ Church Bradford-on-Avon had the privilege of hearing an excellent concert performed by Garth Hewitt on Friday 21st September, the day observed by the United Nations as the International Day of Peace. It was organised by the Town’s Churches Together, and Friends’ of Palestine, Groups.
The Mayor, Cllr Alex Kay spoke and said : ‘People working together enable peace to flourish in a community, and this is a fitting prelude to the Town Council’s ‘Countdown to Peace’ events from 1-10 November to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.’
The title of Garth’s concert was ‘Against the Grain’, songs of peace, protest, poetry and prayer. This was also the title of his recently published autobiography. His songs were his own compositions and were accompanied by Garth playing guitar and harmonica. The song he started with appropriately included the words, ‘something for the soul with a little rock and roll’.
Garth describes himself as a gospel singer with the important extra of a profound sense of social justice and human rights which clearly have influenced his Christian faith. Garth has enjoyed a successful musical career spanning many years, but that is only a part of his life. Back in 1985 Garth founded the Amos Trust which is based at St Clement Eastcheap in the City of London. It seeks to promote justice and hope for some forgotten communities. Amos works alongside grass-roots partners in Nicaragua, South Africa, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in Palestine, Burundi, India and Tanzania. Garth is an Anglican priest and has close links with St George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem where he is an honorary canon.
Choruses were put up on a large screen which the audience joined in. Scenes were shown from different parts of the world corresponding to the songs he was singing. One was of Martin Luther King delivering a speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Close to him was the gospel singer Mahaliah Jackson urging him to include the part of his speech now so famous: ‘I have a dream’ -otherwise it might well have been left out! Garth’s song ,‘Tell ‘em about the dream’ was certainly memorable’.
Above all, his songs truly inspired us to go ‘against the grain’ for the sake of campaigning for peace and justice. The concert was a triumph!
David Driscoll BACT Sept 2018