Talent in the north

Bringing together an untapped wealth of quality singing talent in the Seventh Day Adventist Churches in the north of the island and forming an extraordinary group, unlike any other, was the inspiration behind the establishment of the 20 member Endless Praise choir.

That was how the group’s musical director, vocal coach and arranger, the sensational saxophonist, Ricky Niles, put it to High Note.

Niles, known in gospel music circles for his “out-of-the-box” saxophone playing, said that initially, the idea was to hone the talents of those young people from the various branches of the Adventist Churches in St. Lucy, St. Peter, St. James and so on, but later, St. Michael was added.

“Recognising that there was so much quality talent in the north of the island, I wanted to see what it would be like to bring together the very best of that talent and establish an extraordinary group, unlike any other,” declared the group leader.

Endless Praise, set up in 2001, does not limit itself †to any one genre of music.

“We do contemporary gospel, jazz, classical, any type of music, once it sounds good,” Niles pointed out.

The choir’s director noted that while they had been performing at various concerts and churches, the group was not that well known, even in its own Adventist circles.

“Our aim is to reach out to people all across Barbados, the region and the world. We have the kind of talent and music which is unlike any other and we want to share it. We are not just about entertaining, but mainly to change the lives of all people who hear our music,” declared the popular musician.

One memorable moment in the group’s existence was performing background vocals seven years ago during a concert in Barbados for Grammy award winning gospel artiste Larnell Harris.

Endless Praise also held its debut concert some six years ago and Niles told this newspaper, that since then, the demand for another one, had been overwhelming.

That concert, he boasted, was a sell-out and people had to be turned back. That is why, a second major concert is among the group’s plans for next year.

“We have discussed it and is in our plans for next year. We also plan to go on tour outside of Barbados — the farther afield, the better, because we have a product which we want to share with the world,” he submitted.

Niles revealed that the choir had never toured before and its planned trip was something to look forward to.

“We also have recordings on our plans, but we want more people to hear us first. Many people have not heard us in Barbados, not even in our home circles. However, if we had the opportunity before then to do a recording, we would take it,” he added.

Even though Endless Praise comprises 20 male and female young people, its leader explained that, on average, 15 would be on stage at any given time.

He attributed this to the fact that some may be overseas or studying from time to time. Niles drew the example of one young woman who left for Canada this month to study music.

“Quite a few,” he continued, “are at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill and the Barbados Community College.”

One unusual aspect of Endless Praise is the origins of its name.

“We put a number of names in a hat and picked one. Endless Praise came about as a result of the kind of music we liked. We like a lot of praise music,” Niles reported. emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb†††

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