An exciting mix of young acts and seasoned guest performers made Child Month Youth Fest a night to remember.
Put on by the Department of Children and Family Services and the Child Month Committee, the competition saw 16 performers take to the stage to sing, dance or battle other bands.
The evening (Friday, 28 May) began with formalities including remarks by Child Month Chairperson Cassandra Parchment and Minister of Community Affairs and Housing the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE who encouraged the youngsters to do their best.
"I welcome Youth Fest because it allows your peers, teachers and parents to see how gifted you are and the potential you have. More importantly, this event will help you to build your confidence, so you can go on to even more exciting performances in the future," he said.
Guest performers warmed up the crowd for the competitors, The Pauz Entertainment group opened the show, rocking the audience with their gospel rap number, followed by a graceful ballet by the George Town Primary dance troupe.
The energy level went up when James Geary worked his magic playing popular tunes on his keyboard accompanied by his band. Then the energy level climbed higher as Gucci Bodden and his Main Stream Crew, joined by a number of other dancers, somersaulted across the stage in a series of nerve-racking break dance moves, which at times they took off stage.
The tempo came down a notch when youngsters and guest performers Ted Patua and Denise Abbott from George Town Primary School delivered a beautiful soul number.
Then the stage belonged to the competitors. Seven year-old Aidan Connolly was first up and the only one in the 5 to 10 age category, but he was at ease.
Wearing a blue and white stripe sports shirt, and in a confident style belying his age, he belted out well known Gospel song Why me Lord, written by Kris Kristofferson.
The competition proceeded briskly with performances in the 11 to 14 song category; Tishay Heath with Listen by Beyonce; Daniele and Jaide with an energetic delivery of We are the World for which they received the top prize in this category, and Kianda Parchmont with her poignant Hannah Montana song I Miss You which gave her second place.
Kianda segued from song into dance competition where she was the sole entrant. Dressed in animal print she performed an African dance and earned the prize.
Rico Orrett's soulful singing of Jason Mraz's I'm Yours in the 15 to 18 category put him ahead of his competitors and Kenroy Millwood took second.
The Battle of the Bands turned into all out war among the Five Star Band; Class of 3 and the Undiscovered Band.
Five Star went first, setting the bar high with a rendition of Viva La Vida by Cold Play, followed by Class of 3 with hard rock piece Are You Gonna be My Girl by Jet. But in the end it was the Undiscovered Band that gave the award winning performance, adding a Caribbean/jazz twist to Maroon 5's Sunday Morning.
Another high point of the night was a guest performance by Cayman's Nina Orrett who brought the house down with Sarah McLaughlin's Angel, and Gospel numbers Soon and Very Soon and Amen. At the end of her performance Ms Orrett was presented with a bouquet by Minister of Community Affairs and Housing the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, JP.
From the beginning the audience sang along, clapped and made noise to indicate to the judges their favourite performers. A number of children got in on the act, dancing up a storm in the aisles.
In a fun gesture, masters of ceremony Andrel Harris and Kimberly Carlos of Youth Flex were voted Youth Fest's Best Dressed King and Queen for their many outfit changes throughout the night.
The performances were punctuated by prizes and giveaways courtesy of LIME, including three cell phones. Natalie Williams of Cayman Academy was the proud winner of LIME's grand prize, a Lenovo notebook.
Child Month Sub-committee chair for Youth Fest Wendy Quinland said she was pleased with the event, in particular the quality and level of participation.
"We will certainly look forward to making this an annual event to discover and develop the talent of our young people," she said.
For further information contact: Prudence Barnes