An impressive array of Belizean talent was showcased on the seaside stage at the House of Culture in Belize City on Friday night, where 9 finalists in the 3rd annual patriotic song competition performed their entries, ranging from punta to soca to brukdong to country and western and reggae, before a cheerful crowd.
At the end of the event three artists were presented with trophies by Belize City Mayor Zenaida Moya.
Belize’s queen of brukdong, Leela Vernon, captured third place, and the defending champ – Joey Lawrence, was awarded with the second place trophy.
Crowned as the winner for the night’s competition was Alex Noralez, a music teacher at Anglican Cathedral College in Belize City who captured the top spot with his original song – Sweet Belize.
Noralez told Amandala that this is the first time he has entered such a competition.
“Many people were telling me I would win,” said Alex Noralez. “I thought I would be in the top three. It was a shock to get number 1.”
Noralez won $3,000 for his first place patriotic entry, Lawrence won $2,000, and Vernon won $1,000.
Alex said that he wrote the song the weekend before the entries were due, even though he had been brainstorming for a while to come up with ideas.
Noralez’s carnival song, Carnival Again, was also a winning entry in a separate competition. However, the top artist in that contest was Berne Velasquez – popularly known for his Life After Deportation production.
On Friday night, Berne and the other winners of the Carnival Song competition performed. At the climax of the event, Berne put off a highly energized performance of his winning carnival hit – a soca/punta fusion beat titled Jump Up.
Among the performers presenting patriotic entries were Belize’s very own cowboy – Herman Usher, Elroy Martinez – brother of Supa G, Silas Sabal – who had two entries reaching the finals stage, Jude Castillo, and Aaron Cassanova.
Greg Solis, DJ Kwame Scott, and Colville Young, Jr., were the judges for Friday night’s patriotic song competition.
The emcee was the comical Dylan Jones of Sugar City, Orange Walk Town.
The 9 patriotic songs performed on Friday were: Be Proud to be a Belizean – Leela Vernon; I Love Belize – Silas Sabal; September in Belize – Joseph Lawrence; God’s Gift to You and Me – Herman Usher; Belize It – Silas Sabal; Sweet Belize – Alex Noralez; Proud Belizeans – Elroy Martinez; Belizean Paradise – Jude Castillo, and Our Country Belize – Aaron Cassonova.