Noranda unearths talent
The massive audiences that turned out for the Noranda Community Concert series in Discovery Bay, St Ann this year were thoroughly entertained with a weekly presentation of dancehall, reggae, gospel and dance acts.
The show started on April 16 with 19 contestants from communities in Noranda's operating area vying for prizes worth more than $300,000.
What started as an amateur talent parade turned out to be a blockbuster of high-class performances, ending with the finals on June 12, which saw the Mad Vibes dance group from Brown's Town winning the $75,000 first prize.
First runner-up was Clive 'Pepper' Carradice from Old Folly and second runner-up was Samric 'Sammy T' Thorpe, from Liberty Hill.
The Thursday-night concerts were staged at the Port Rhoades Sports Club (Noranda) in Discovery Bay, climaxing with a packed arena of about 3,000 persons on the cricket field for the final night.
With the contestants whittled down to six for the finals, judges Mark Brown, Marjorie McIntosh, and Maurice Bryson, as well as emcees Pretty Boy Floyd and Seymour Green, were kept busy. The artistes served up their versions of Shaggy's Boombastic, Kartel's Box Lunch, Marley's Redemption Song and Buju Banton's It's Not an Easy Road, among other songs.
In the latter section, Pepper gave it all he had with Octane's Wine and Jiggle, and for moments had the crowd cheering him on as he added a few lyrics of his own in an energetic burst, which brought him close to the tape.
Sammy T closed the show with Popcaan's Dream. However, after a full assessment of the series' performances, the judges gave the win to the popular Mad Vibes, a promising group of young dancers with creative flair and a different set of moves each night.
Noranda's industrial relations manager, Nathan Thompson, said the series was designed in 2011 to provide recreation for communities around the plant, as well as expose the talents of the area's residents on the big stage.
It is managed by the Noranda Community Council and has received support from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, as well as sponsorship from the local business community.
"It has become an established community-relations event for the company, with enthusiastic support of wide sections of St Ann, from Ocho Rios to Discovery Bay," Thompson said.