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The JCDC Jamaica Children’s Gospel competition got underway last Sunday (May 20), with colourful presentations from over 200 young performers ranging from ages six to fifteen. The programme began at 7 p.m. sharp with the playing of the National Anthem and prayer to bless the proceedings. Under the theme “Jubilee: First Fruit of Harvest”, the finalists made their entrance on stage performing Father Holung’s version of This Is the Year of Jubilee, much to the amazement of the gospel community who represented in their numbers at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre.

While most of the performances were outstanding in the choir categories, it was Hagley Park Preparatory School from Kingston who claimed the title, with their version of Mighty God in the six to ten years choir category whilst first timers Corinaldi Avenue Primary School from St. James, placed second with their number Jesus Will Welcome Me. As defending champions since 2010, Hagley Park Preparatory is the only school on record to have won the same class and category consecutively in the history of the competition. Ardenne High School was placed first ahead of Oracabessa High in the 11-15 categories.

The Melody Sisters from St. Catherine are seasoned performers in the competition having won the six to ten choir categories in 2010. However, the group entered the competition this year in the ensemble six to ten section and was placed second to the Singing Jewels out of St. James, who are returning champions from 2010. For the senior ensemble categories, it was Sisters in Harmony who placed second to Fern Court High duet Abbie-Gaye and Justin.

The event was at its peak when the highly competitive solo category for juniors and seniors entered the stage. In the six to ten categories, Ashleigh Cummings from the Willowdene Group of Schools was placed second, while eight year old Remone Watson was placed first for his beautiful take on Four Days Late. For the eleven to fifteen categories, seventh grader Alex Anderson from the Ardenne High School won to Charles Blythe, who is a self taught pianist and drummer hailing from the parish of Hanover.

Participants from schools, churches and community groups across the country competed in the solo, choir and ensemble categories for the six to ten and eleven to 15 categories. The first and second place winners of the competition walked away with various prizes including scholarship awards, gift packages, trophies and cash incentives. The event was sponsored by Grace Tropical Rhythms, Tastee Cheese, Yummy Bakery, Grace Frankfurters, Grace Cock Soup Mix, Kirk Distributors, PBCJ, Promobiz and Love 101.

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