‘Grande’ performance at ENCORE national finals
SANDALS Grande Riviera produced two of the six winners in the national finals of ENCORE Jamaica 2014 held at its Ocho Rios, St Ann location, on Friday evening.
The talent and modelling competition — featuring Sandals and Beaches employees — saw Best Male and Female Vocalist titles going to Andre Palmer and Taneisha Thompson, both of the beach and villa resort, respectively.
Jolon Jones, Best Instrumentalist (Sandals Royal Caribbean - Montego Bay); Scion Derby, Best Dance Performance (Sandals Montego Bay); Junior Brown, Best Male Model (Beaches Boscobel - Ocho Rios) and Shadeky Mitchell, Best Female Model (Beaches Negril) rounded out the field.
Palmer, who did a rousing rendition of Ben E King's I Who Have Nothing, earned himself the evening's sole standing ovation.
"All my life I have dreamt of moments like this. I'm excited to know my dream is coming to fruition, that is, doing music and people accepting it," said Palmer, who is an entertainment coordinator at the resort.
He was also optimistic about going up against his regional rivals at the grand finals scheduled for Sandals Whitehouse in Montego Bay on September 20.
"They can expect a world-class performance from me," he said.
Thompson, clad in black, did a powerful rendition of Jennifer Hudson's One Night Only which struck a chord with the audience and judges.
The grand finals will see the local winners facing off with their regional colleagues from The Bahamas, Antigua,
St Lucia, Turks and Caicos, and Grenada.
Joel Ryan, group manager of entertainment at Sandals, was pleased with the evening's production and performances.
"It was stellar... pure brilliance. It's obvious, this year, the managers spent time nurturing the talent. Each year, we see the evolution of the product, and how fluid and dynamic it has become," Ryan said of the 11-year-old ENCORE (Entertainment Now Creates Opportunity Rewarding Excellence).
According to Ryan, the grand-prize winners would be awarded contracts to perform at the resort chain for a year.
"Sandals has had a history of inspiring its team members and we continue on that tradition to create life-long opportunities while having fun," he continued.
Started in 2003, ENCORE is the brainchild of Sandals' creative director Weston Haughton, to showcase the vast array of talent present in the company.