Wed | Dec 12, 2018

Church members not disappointed with Festival Song results

Published:Wednesday | July 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Shorn Hector/Photographer The Escarpment Road New Testament Church of God choir, made history by being the largest group to ever reach the finals of the JCDC Festival Song Competition.

The recurring question on Sunday night the reason for the Escarpment Road New Testament Church entering the JCDC's Festival Song Competition instead of utilising the platform of the Gospel Song Competition.

The group stood out with 47 out of a total 63 performers on stage and for their unconventional way of using the competition to minister. Their song, Strong Jamaican, written by Patrick Kitson, includes messages about core Christian values of unity, faith, integrity, peace and love.

Tony Rebel told The Gleaner that the crowd support was remarkable, especially for the church group; however, the selection had to incorporate all the components that make for the song representing Jamaica's cultural landscape.

"A lot of the lyrics shared some similarities; while the group was different and got a good response, the vocals were hard to detect," he said. "The group went a little off the rhythm, which also played a part in the scores I gave them."

The 2018 winner, Nazzle Man, told The Gleaner that at one point he thought the church would be the top choice. "During the road show, when we performed in Port Antonio Square, Escarpment give me a run for my money," he said.

One of the performing members, Abigail Hall, added: "We set out to make an impact and were able to do so by reaching out to a bigger audience outside of our usual platform." Pastor Reverend Stevenson Samuels, who led the group, added, "It was good exposure so we cannot be disappointed, and we were still able to leave with prizes."

The $500,000 that Escarpment Road New Testament Church received will go towards the church's development and outreach programmes.