An evening with Michael Bolton, the Issa Trust Foundation for the Children Charity Concert, ended on a high in the wee hours of Sunday morning after raising in excess of $US350,000 — surpassing the original US$300,000 goal for the construction of the Mary Issa Health Centre near Richmond, St Ann.
The announcement was made by hosts Tami and Wayne Mitchell following a thrilling night of performances by Ky-Mani Marley and the children from the Bob Marley Primary and Junior High School, Tarrus Riley, and Grammy Award-winning singer Michael Bolton inside the Couples Sans Souci, Ocho Rios, St Ann, venue.
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer, Paul Issa, chairman of the Issa Trust Foundation, was beaming with pride.
"I'm very pleased. It's a great turnout; everyone seemed to have a great time [and] the music was good," he said.
Issa further noted that work on the health centre should begin in a matter of weeks, as he and his team continue to work out the logistics.
"We hope [construction will begin] before the end of the summer. We're all set to go with the plans, but what we need now is the approval," Issa said.
The chairman also said that the Issa Trust Foundation will be hosting other charity concerts intermittently for worthy causes. In the same breath, he is encouraging more philanthropic efforts by other organisations and foundations.
"I think we're gonna do it every other year, and in the alternate year we do a fund-raiser in New York to get the Diaspora involved.
I think there's a lot people can do. A lot of companies now have foundations and they're doing good work because you know the Government can't do everything, and I think if a company can find a way to meaningfully contribute something. I think it's a good thing to do," he said.
The night's proceedings came to a climax at exactly 11:51 pm on Saturday night when Michael Bolton's band members — all clad in black — sounded his introduction.
Once he walked onstage, all the patrons who were seated for the earlier portions of the show sprang to their feet and transformed into amateur photographers and videographers to capture the moment on their cellular phones.
"I wanna thank everyone at the Issa Foundation for all the incredible work they're doing [for] children and families. I'm very happy to be a part of it. Thanks so much for having me back again," Bolton expressed after rendering the opening item, Go The Distance.
It would have been remiss of him not to perform When A Man Loves A Woman, To Love Somebody, Said I Loved You…But I Lied and How Am I Supposed To Live Without You. He brought down the curtains with Soul Provider, but not before giving his saxophonist a moment to show off his incredible talent. Bolton, alongside one of his backup singers also performed a duet of Make You Feel My Love.
Earlier that night, Tarrus Riley had the crowd grooving to a slew of his hits. He even invited his daughter "Pepsi" to perform Lighter (originally recorded with Shenseea) with him. Of course, the highlight of his set was the performance of the ever-popular anthem She's Royal.
Ky-Mani Marley also delivered and the fans sang along. He honoured his father, Bob, during his very interactive set.
Attendees were pleased to see the incorporation of schoolchildren on the programme and should appreciation in their applause.
The Observer caught up with Kirk Hammond and his wife Titanya as they enjoy a scrumptious bites in unlimited supply at the concert: "I'm so happy to be here tonight because I fully support the fact that the funds raised from the event will be used to build a hospital. I think the children in the country are underserved when it comes to health care so I support this cause 150 per cent," Titanya shared.
"We know of Jamaica's struggle with health care so to take on something like this is so thoughtful and I'm happy to be of support," shared Kirk.
Paulette Robinson travelled for hours to the venue. For her part, "The performances were breathtaking and the setup of the venue and all was just beautiful. But most importantly I'm happy to be a part of charity, because charity is love and this is for a worthy cause," she said.
It was charity made fun, according to chief executive officer of Sealand Foods, Christopher Lewis.
"As a patriotic Jamaican I'm really happy that I'm able to participate and support this initiative that is going for a worthy cause. Also, besides being here tonight I also plan to make a special pledge to the foundation," he told the Observer.
Additional reporting by Akera Davis