May 16, 2008
Gospel Fest hosts awards ceremony

Last Saturday evening, the curtains came down on the 2008 Digicel Gospel Fest with a grand award ceremony at the Peace Memorial Hall.{{more}}

Under this year’s theme: “Get your praise on”, over 70 participants were nominated in the 19 categories of the Fest including: Music/Song, Dance and Drama.

The Patrice Bascombe Memorial Award for most outstanding performance went to the Holirem Dramatists from the Hope for Life Restoration Ministries. The Award of Excellence for best original composition went to Ronelle Conliffe from the New Testament Church of God in Belair and Joezelle Campbell was awarded for Outstanding Achievement.

The Faith Temple had much to be smile about as they were named the Most Outstanding Church. A much deserved award of Appreciation went to Hazel Thompson of the Sion Hill Methodist Mission. Thompson’s group entered all nineteen categories and took part in 17. Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT, Thompson said that it was not about getting a medal or any award, but it was all about helping the young people in the church build their self-esteem and setting them on the right path in life.

Addressing the ceremony, Minister of Culture René Baptiste reiterated the comments she made at the opening of the Gospel Fest about the number of young men taking part in the festival’s music bands and the comedy. Minister Baptiste said that they are drawing a lot of young people because they in the ministry know that culture has a way of finding expression through the talents of people. “I want them to be drawn away from the crime, guns and drugs,” said Baptiste.

She said it was disheartening to go to the Magistrate’s Court and see three brothers from one family in handcuffs, “How did they get there?” Baptiste asked. She further noted that they have to bring Gospel Fest with more strength. “Let our hearts, mind and soul be in this,” she noted. She also told the audience that they are working hard to get a Gospel music studio by the middle of next year, which will be available to all.

Chairman of the Gospel Fest Fidel Taylor commended all the young people for taking part, not only in the Fest but for serving the Lord.

Taylor threw out a challenge to all the young people to give Jesus a chance in their lives if they don’t know him as their personal saviour. (KW)