The talent at the Frederick Smith Secondary School has been so impressive this year, that organisers of the annual talent competition have broadened the field of finalists from 10 to 14.
Organiser Shawn Holder told Bajan Vibes this was the fourth year for the school and they had seen an impressive development over that time.
“I think this is one of our best years actually because normally we have 10 finalists, but this year we have 14 and that is because there are some singers here, so it is even too close to call at this point.
“In previous years I would have a good idea of who the eventual winner would be, but this year it is going to come down to the actual night of the performance, it is that close,” he said.
He added that the school uses this competition as a spring board for the youth, especially in preparations for the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts.
“What is encouraging about this year is that a lot of these singers are in first, second and third form. We have some in fifth and I think one in upper fifth, but the others will be coming back which augurs well for us for the future…
“This is basically a stage to get these children prepared for a life as a musician or entertainer. From here they go on to NIFCA, so by the time they leave here they are so accustomed to the rules and regulations because we operate under those same guidelines here, so when they go they can excel at NIFCA and possibly go further,” he added.
The 14 contestants, including reigning king …, spent this week going through a number of sessions with noted entertainers and musicians which Holder hopes will benefit them on Saturday night when the competition comes off at the school at 7 p.m.
Yesterday they had sessions with teacher and musician Mark Husbands on professional development and attitude, and were to meet Stephen Brathwaite in the afternoon for a presentation on vocal techniques.
Today they were to see John Burnett for a lesson on preparing for the performance, along with sessions by other presenters on the band experience, stage presence, performance, dress and other areas.
The contestants are: Kaysha Springer, 11; Johan Goddard, 12; Shacora Boyce, 13; Shauna Richards, 14; Drewanja Herbert, 14; Nakeisha Lavia, 14; Deanna Belle, 15; Akila Sandy, 15; Leah Goddard, 16; Jalita Wickham, 16; Khadisha Baker, 16; Kervin Athanase, 16; Chad Montplaisir, 15 and Cherese Richards.
These are the profiles: Missing is Cherese Richards.
Kaysha is 11 years old and began singing whilst still at her former primary school Hillaby/ Turner’s Hall. She was featured on the 92.9 Kids Choice and her principal at the time was quite impressed with her singing. Since entering the Frederick Smith Secondary School her music teacher entered her as a competitor in the Anderson Griffith Memorial Competition under the auspice of the Royal Barbados Police Force Band and she came 2nd in that competition.
Shacora is 13 years old and is presently in third form. She is the daughter of local songstress Sherry Boyce who has been a major influence. She is quite passionate about her music and along with singing she is also a pianist and will display both aspects of her talents when she performs on Saturday night.
Nekeisha started singing from Primary School where she was a member of the schools’ choir. She first entered the Talent Competition in 2012 and was a finalist. Her goal this year to win the competition as her goal is to become a Grammy award winner someday.
Drewanja is presently in 3rd form and started singing like most, at primary school. She was a member of a trio which entered NIFCA in 2012. Her desire is to win the Talent Competition and earn her way to the NIFCA stage.
Jalita is a member of the Inter-School Christian Fellowship and is a born again Christian. She began singing at a young age and uses her voice to minister to others and does this by actively participating in her church services.
Kervin is a very shy student but quite explosive on the stage. Having started singing at five years old he has finally decided to enter the Talent Competition after being encouraged to do so by his form teacher Sandra Gilkes. This is his first competition but will surely not be his last.
Chad is the defending champion of the Talent Completion having won last year with the song You raise me up. He is currently receiving vocal training from renowned vocal coach Evelyn McClean. Chad has been involved with NIFCA and won two bronze medals in 2011 and 2012. He has a deep love for the Arts and is also a graduate of Operation Triple Threat.
Leah is an upper fifth student who just loves to sing. She first entered the Talent Competition in 2012 and was a finalist and finished in third position. She competed in NIFCA in 2012 and despite not medalling she is determined to succeed.
Johan is a shy first form student who comes from a musical family and this is clearly seen in his singing. He started his singing whilst at primary school and has continued since then. He is singing a Michael Jackson selection for the Finals and some say he is a carbon copy.
Shauna is a shy 3rd form student who is small but powerful. This is her second year in the competition having made it to the finals in 2012. She has a deep love for singing and expresses her feelings in her singing. She is aiming to be the winner of the show as she climbs the ladder of success.
Deanna is a fourth form student and was one of the first persons to audition for the first Talent Competition in 2010. Deanna has a great love for music has a powerful mellow voice. She was known at her primary school as a singer and she has continued this at Frederick G Smith Secondary.
Akila started singing at age five years and was a member of her primary school choir. She was a finalist in the Talent Competition in 2010 and 2011. She is quite expressive on stage and her song for the finals is Saving all my love for you.
Khadisha is no stranger to public performances as she is an avid debater. She is a strong Christian and loves to minister in song. She is also quite creative and has written her own selection for the finals and the music was arranged by Dale Husbands.