On December 8th, 2012 I had the pleasure of being on a panel of celebrity judges for a Gospel talent competition featuring local artists. The “Building The Kingdom Gospel Talent Showcase” was the brainchild of Min. Quintelle Griggs of the Mt. Olive Church Of Plano. Min. Griggs came up with the idea as the church was seeking ways to raise money to continue funding it’s worldwide Missions ministry. Fondly referred to by it’s members as “MOCOP”, Mt. Olive Church of Plano is dedicated to bringing the good news of salvation to the uttermost parts of the world. Every year members travel to far-away countries around the globe, often bringing the message of Christ to places where Christianity doesn’t exist.
The event owes a great deal of it’s success to Min. Darrell King, who was instrumental in pulling together all of the judges, staff and the more than 18 people who auditioned for a chance to compete in the showcase. The event was a class act from front to back. Min. King, Min. Griggs and the entire staff at MOCOP went to great lengths to make sure all of the judges were not only comfortable and well taken care, but well promoted. MOCOP also had a full camera crew recording both the auditions and the actual showcase.
We narrowed the field down to 8 finalists, who all performed for us on December 8th. We were blessed by each performance in some way. At the end of the night the 8 finalists were narrowed down to only two. After hearing final comments from each of the judges the audience was left to make the final decision via applause. The winner, Rahegene Cherry, was a young man who blessed me at the audience with his stirring rendition of Smokey Norful’s ” I Need You Now”. Rahegene came up to the stage and blew us away with his testimony of how just a few days ago he couldn’t even talk. But he certainly did more than talk that night, as he took a song most male singers avoid and absolutely re-invented it. Rahegene ushered in a sweet spirit of worship that took on an almost organic, free-flowing feel at the end of the song.
Runner-up Tiffini Hall was absolutely fantastic that night as well. She had already won the hearts of many of the judges during her audition when a delay allowed us to spend a few minutes talking to and getting to know this awesome woman of God. Tiffini sang “Happy Birthday” to a staff member and had several of the judges already giving her high scores before she’d even sang her actual audition song. We expected great things from her at the Showcase and she definitely did not disappoint.
At the end of the night I think it came down to who had more supporters in attendance; which is a good thing because had those numbers been the same for both finalists, we could have been there screaming back and forth all night trying to decide between these two anointed vocalists. I know Tiffini will do great things in music ministry, and I believe God will use her in a special way to begin bridging the gap between Gospel and Contemporary Christian music audiences.
Rahegene will fill what I believe to be a void in Gospel music right now, that being a lack of pure male vocalists. It seems most male singers in Gospel music are all about either lots of riffs and runs, or really high range singing. The rest, with very few exceptions, are doing more talking than singing. Rahegene brings to Gospel a fresh new sound that is warm, melodious and just pure in it’s delivery. I can’t wait to hear more from this brother!
I’m hoping Min. King, Min. Griggs and the rest of the MOCOP staff have plans to make this an annual event. It was such a blast. If you’re in the Dallas Ft. Worth area I highly recommend paying a visit to Mt. Olive Church Plano. They’re located at 300 Chisholm Place in Plano Tx, 75075. Pastors Sam and Gloria Fenceroy are the shepherds there. Learn more about MOCOP by visiting their website at MOCOP.ORG