Singapore’s first live Christian Contemporary Music band competition crowns its winner.
Contributed By Nicolette Ng
|CN PHOTO: Michael Chan|
It was not business as usual at Love The World Soul Rock Bistro & Bar last Saturday, Aug. 28. The evening saw the final round of Singapore’s first ever live Christian Contemporary Music band competition being held to crown the winning band. With only three bands left standing in the competition, the buzz was evident as supporters filled into the bar as early as two hours before the competition started. After four elimination rounds had taken place in the preceding weeks, three bands made it through to the end, namely Leimusos, Soundgroove and I-Witness.
The organizer of the event, also the owner of the bar, Samuel Seong Koon said, “The importance of this event is to showcase Christian Contemporary Music as a genre of Christian music that does not only comprise the usual hymns, but that it can be contemporary and relevant to the society even with the times.”
The night kick-started with performances by Soundgroove, a band consisting of members from several churches such as Full Gospel Assembly, Church Of Victory and Galilee Presbyterian Church. A standout quality they had was the chemistry among the members, which was all the more evident as they performed a lineup of gospel songs. Despite their diverse backgrounds, they said that it was their passion for music and God that rallied them together to form a band and take part in the competition. Lead singer Aarika Lee’s strong husky vocals and stage presence captured the judges and audience as they belted out “God in Me” by Daniel Doss Band, “My All” by 3PM and “In Wonder” by Newsboys. Lee herself is no amateur performer—she is actually from the popular local band “Sixx”, which has released its own album and performed in large-scale gigs such as Sunburst KL 2009.
The second band to perform was I-Witness, an all-male band which impressed the crowd with their talents on the keyboard, the guitar and even the saxophone. Comprising members from All Saints Church and New Creation Church, among others, I-Witness led the crowd as they crooned popular Christian contemporary hits such as “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban and “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe. The band emerged second runner-up in the competition.
Leimusos brought the house down with their renditions of Starfield’s “Reign In Us”, Newsboys’ “He Reigns” and the upbeat praise song “Shine Like Stars” by True Worshippers. According to the judges, what gave them the edge over their competitors was their unique style and rendition of the song pieces.
All the members of the band are under the age of 19—guitarist Leong Weide is 19 while saxophonist and guitarist Bryan Lim is 16, Verena Schonenberger, the drummer of the band, is 13 and the lead singer Natasha Lim only 15. All the members are from a youth group called LEI zone from City Harvest Church. Their zone supervisor, Leila Rita Tan, had been a faithful supporter throughout every round of the competition.
After the performances, the judges gave constructive comments to each band. The announcement of the winners that followed was accompanied with raucous cheers, the loudest of which was naturally reserved for the winning band, Leimusos, with Soundgroove being crowned the first runner-up.
When asked what the best part of this competition was for him, Leong promptly said, “The best part was to work together as a team to use our talents to express our creativity and serve God while we are still young.”
As the night ended, Seong said, “I am glad that we have found a champion that has very good potential to represent the future of music in Singapore,” adding that the competition was a good platform to popularize the live Christian music scene in Singapore.
Besides walking away with S$2,000 cash prize, the winning band will sign a distribution contract with Integrity Music, which is involved in releasing, publishing and distributing most mainstream worship songs.