Teenage Expressions Tour: Happy Grove rocks
NESTLED on a hill overlooking the sea, right on the border of Portland and St Thomas was our latest stop on the TEENage Expressions Tour, Happy Grove High School.
The institution gave the Expressions team the warmest welcome we have received so far this season.
The tour began with Happy Grove Principal Bevar Moodie giving the Expressions Team and sponsors Flow and Seprod an official welcome to an afternoon the school had dubbed 'Culture and Creativity'.
The microphone was then passed to emcee for the afternoon, teacher Nicole Wynter-Henry, and so our ride on the Happy Grove show began.
The first performer to touch the stage was Sashanique Beckford, who recited her original dub poem about being satisfied with what life throws you way, entitled What A Bam Bam. Soloist Jurica Sinclair followed her with a rendition of Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You, which hit a note with the audience.
Next up was gospel singer Tharme Holson singing How Great Is Our God. His soulful performance humbled the crowd and left them in a somber mood. Then Owen Dixon brought the mood right back up with his rendition of Chronixx's Behind Curtain, which had the crowd screaming and singing along.
Shanna-Kay Richards' rendition Louise Bennett's Hear Soh followed, leaving the audience in fits of laughter.
The first break in the competition was for the question-and-answer segment, which saw students Natalia Myrie, Shanay Collington and Hopia Henry all winning prizes from our sponsors Flow and Seprod.
Following the break, Jameel Chilsolm continued the mood with her lively storytelling of Anancy and Fire. Traleisha Browning followed her, picking up the pace with Joan Andrea Hutchinson's hilarious school day tracing-match poem entitled Playhouse.
Shamera Rowe then took to the stage showing the audience what she was made of with her rendition of Beyonce's Listen. After that, Shanteil Reid performed the popular primary school poem Mi Hungry.
Following them, Tony-Ann Hawkins gave a spirit-lifting performance of the gospel song Take Away.
Rapper-in-the-making Shantanna Oakley was next on stage, and had the crowd up out of their seats with her original swagged-out piece entitled School Swag. Then songbird Natalia Myrie wooed the crowd with Adele's Someone Like You.
Kashae Forbes and Jevaun Robinson of the dance group Global Entertainers upped the pace, dancing to popular songs like Justin Beiber's As Long as You Love Me and Psy's Gangnam Style. The boys had the crowd cheering and screaming with their well-choreographed routine and their fast-paced antics.
Global Entertainers then passed the dance baton on to the Dance Club, who wowed the crowd with their "bruckins" and traditional African instruments in a cultural piece entitled Kumina.
Wrapping up the performances before the second break was Allia Johnson, who sang her heart out, with Whitney Houston's I Look To You.
The stage was then cleared for the Cool Fruit Drink-Off.
Six contestants entered the Cool Fruit competition, raring to guzzle down the two box drinks and a bag juice placed before them. At the final whistle, only Oshane McPherson, the Happy Grove Cool Fruit Champ, could hold all three empty containers upside down in victory.
Coming out of the break, Lisa Hall reminded us of the culture in the concert's title with her dub piece Pow Pow Pow Pow, which she performed wearing the national bandana.
Then singer Donique Reid then took to the stage performing Tesanne Chin's Hide Away. Following her was Marlene Brown with a concise, but upbeat version of Justin Beiber's That Should Be Me.
The next performers, the Non-Ambitious Girls, performed a skit of the same name, which had the audience roaring with laughter at their classroom antics. Following the skit were Natanyce and Kemesha, who made a duet of Foreigner's I Wanna Know What Love Is.
The Spanish Club then stirred up the programme with two performances of Ricky Martin's Maria. First, was a sweet latina choir singing the latin-pop song, then a group in latin-dance outfits did the rumba.
Following them, a few members of the School Choir did an uptempo song about the benefits of the PATH programme set to the tune of Christopher Martin's Cheater's Prayer.
The final performance for the afternoon came from The Grade 11 Literature Group, which did an impressive group dub piece entitled Schoolaz Ride. The class turned the stage into a Happy Grove school bus, with each student doing a few lines about their daily bus journey.
After the last of the performers had left the stage, the mic was handed over to the first guest artiste, 2011 Digicel Rising Stars first runner-up, Latty J.
This soulful diva brought the stage and the audience back to life with songs like Bob Marley's Redemption Song, Sizzla Kalonji's Dry Cry, Ceelo Green's Forget You and Diana King's L-L-L-Lies. As a special treat to the Happy Grove High audience Latty J also launched her newest song Set A Way, which was also well received by the audience.
Though it is usually very hard to follow raw talent like Latty J, the next set of guest performers, the ANG Dancers, held their own on stage, with dance moves, tricks and flips that got the audience up out of their seats to get a better look.
When the smoke had cleared from the guest performances, it was announced that the judges had finished tallying up the scores, and the winners had been chosen.
In third place was the Spanish Club, while second place went to the Global Entertainers dancers. Winning first place, and a chance to perform at the Expressions tour finals in June was the Dance Club with their cultural and creative Kumina piece.