Port of Spain, May 4 2023: The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Trinidad and Tobago Music Company Limited (MusicTT) applaud the CELIAN Group for the execution of its first T&T Gospel Festival. The Gospel Festival took place from 27th – 30th April 2023 with four main events – Music Business Conference; Exalt: The Worship Experience; iRep Christ Concert and the Gospel Music Awards of Trinidad and Tobago (GMATT).
The Festival began with the Opening Ceremony and Music Business Conference on April 27th at the Government Plaza Auditorium. The impressive lineup of panelists and presenters included Curtis Jordan the President-COTT, Afiya Cunningham from Aspire Agency, Mr. Ian Haywood Jr. from Celian Group, Joel ‘Positive’ Murray – International Award-Winning Recording Artiste, Rebekah Fuentes from Heartbeat and Master of Ceremonies Melissa Jiménez, General Manager, MusicTT and Junior Lett from 107.1 fm. Attendees gained valuable knowledge and skills as well as networking opportunities with industry professionals.
Exalt, took place on April 28th. This amazing worship experience saw performances by MusicTT’s Spotlight alum Candice Caton, Radio Host and Gospel Artiste, Marc Isaacs; and many others. Although headliner Kierra Sheard-Kelly was unable to attend due to health issues, she sent her apologies and well wishes via a video which was played during the concert. Sherwin Gardner, who after 6 years was finally able to worship once again in Trinidad, ended the night by introducing songs, both past and present, from his 39 years in ministry. Gardner was overcome with emotion when he expressed his joy at being back home.
iRep was a youth-oriented event to remember. The audience was invited to represent their favourite country’s performer at this Caribbean Gospel Concert Series. Performing were Positive, Sean Daniel, Ezekiel Christopher Gayle and Kiokya Cruickshank, to name a few.
Closing off the Festival on a high note was the Gospel Music Awards. The event opened with a breathtaking rendition of “The Prayer” and had other pore-raising performances throughout the course of the night. In attendance was Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry; Senator the Honorable Donna Cox, Minister of Social Development and Family Services; and Ayleen Alleyne-Ovid, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry, along with many specially invited guests and artistes. Twenty-one (21) awards were distributed, including Song of the Year, Young Artist of the Year, Female and Male Artiste of the Year. Singer and Songwriter Brandon Best dominated the night with 5 awards, including Album of the Year.
Aside from the awards fashion dominated as artistes, patrons and presenters alike donned apparel from local designers. Through FashionTT, Minister Gopee-Scoon was dressed by designer Claudia Pegus and as usual, MusicTT’s General Manager brought colour to the event being paired with designer Diane Carlton.
“MusicTT has been a sponsor of the GMATT since 2019 and continues to be a strong supporter of the gospel music industry and the initiatives that help it to grow and thrive. We are proud of all the work that went into the festival and of its resounding success and look forward to its growth and development for 2024. We’re also happy for the recognition by the Stellar Awards in sharing the GMATT’s content.” – Melissa Jimenez.
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