What an amazing array of talent, was all one guest could utter as he sat stage side, totally absorbed in the performances at the Negril Regional Sandals and Beaches Resorts Festival of the Arts Talent and Model Competition staged at Sandals South Coast Resort on Thursday night.
The talents from Sandals Negril, Beaches Negril, Grand Pineapple and Sandals South Coast left the judges and a very receptive audience of visitors, staffers and specially invited guests star-struck and yearning for more as they vied for a spot in the National competition and parlayed their talents into nine distinct categories, namely; Male and Female Vocalist and Model, Dance Duo, Solo Dance, DJ Spin-off, Musical Instrumentalist and Spoken Word.
With all talents vowing to bring their A game and especially fierce competition for the female vocalists, Sherion Muir from Sandals South Coast delivered the performance of the night to cop the Best Female Vocalist spot. Jennifer Holliday’s 1982 classic and I am telling you I’m not going was literally Muir’s declaration and amidst the screams of a frenzied audience, her outstanding vocal range and gritty showmanship hit the judges table like a bullet.
There were several outstanding performances in the Male Vocalist category as well but when Sejeon Williams from Sandals South Coast took the stage a change most definitely came. Williams rendition of Sam Cooke’s a change is gonna come had patrons eating from the palm of his hands.
Sakae Brooks from Beaches Negril who won the Best Spoken Word category was yet another outstanding performer of the night. Her gripping piece entitled “I quit” was a tall glass of lemonade for thirsty souls and a motivational chant of liberation and self-love.
The DJ Clash segment was dominated by Sandals Negril’s Nicholas Mairs who kept the crowd going with an impressive variety of mixes, punctuated with old classics from popular genres as well as a number of current hits.
A crowd favourite from the moment he stepped out on stage in his orange speedos, Triston Irvin from Sandals South Coast was the Best Male Model and had the ladies swooning with his taut, well-toned body and stage tactics. Aculia Nembhard, also from Sandals South Coast was a show-stopper, gracefully gliding her way into the Best Female Model spot.
The Musical Instrumentalist Category belonged to the talented Jemarie Richards from Sandals Negril who performed uncontested.
Glenroy Walker and Owen Brown from Sandals South Coast emerged Group Dance winners with their hilarious dancehall set, while Javonne Richards from Beaches Negril took the Solo Dance category to a different level with a deeply artistic and intricate modern dance piece that had the Judges falling in love with dance all over again.
Beaches Negril Entertainment Manager, Nicholas Nelson, said he was very pleased with the night’s presentation overall. “It is obvious that the Negril and South Coast properties have put more effort and time into this year’s presentations,” he said. A sentiment shared by the Judges. He added that the region is expecting a good showing at the Nationals.
For Sandals South Coast Entertainment Divisions Manager, Garett Bailey whose team nabbed five of the nine spots, the excitement has just begun. He noted that while he’s excited for his own Entertainment team members who secured spots in the Nationals, he was confident in their abilities going into the competition and would have expected nothing less.
“I am more ecstatic however for the top Female Vocalist and top Male Model,” he noted. “Sherion and Triston epitomize what the Festival of the Arts is all about, while it’s an outlet to showcase what the entertainment division can do, it’s more so an opportunity to find and develop new talents. This year our region went out and searched for that talent and based on some of the performances we’ve seen thus far, I feel like we’ve definitely struck gold.”
The Negril/South Coast winners will face off against winners from the Montego Bay and Ocho Rios Regions in the National competition scheduled for June 15 at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort.