Dressed in her wedding gown, she gracefully walked through the audience to the Wedding March and made her way onto the stage to take top honours at this year’s finals of South Central Island Production’s (SCIP) Talent Competition. Veteran performer, Lystra Nurse, also called Lady Lystra stole the competition and the hearts of many. Soulfully singing, Etta James’ popular 1950’s rendition, At Last, Nurse brought romance and excitement on a cold Saturday night. With glowing confidence, she introduced her selection with a brief wedding ceremony and burst into song at the point where she was supposed to say her vows. The 48-year-old who hails from Point Fortin is no stranger to competition, as her story spans back to her primary school days when she achieved numerous accolades. So it was no surprise when she delivered with such force.
But until Nurse’s performance, the night belonged to gospel artiste Khasi Ann Alleyne, who had the audience elated with her spirit moving rendition. Singing Helen Baylor’s Lord You’re Holy, she filled the house with praise. And in a deserving third place was the passionate Roger Johnson with his rendition of I Want to Be Free. His presentation was innovative as he utilised props to paint an image of the torments of slavery. Changing the tempo of the show, the Demolition Warriors Tassa Group brought diversity to the show a new vibrant style to tassa playing.
But despite the vast amount of talent being showcased at the competition, which is in its fifth year, it continues to struggle with sponsorship issues. Chairman of SCIP, Carey Stephens lamented the unwillingness of corporate T&T to assist in the growth of the show, which despite the small prizes, continues to attract more and more participants from around the country, each year.
Stephens described the show as the biggest medium for talent since the days of Holly Betaudier’s, Scouting for Talent.
He is hopeful one day the competition will gain such prominence. Meanwhile, he encourages young talents to come out share their gifts with the world.