Young gospel star stays out of trouble using music - Two-time winner runs out of categories

December 11, 2017
Taville Henry (left), winner of the 11-15 year-old solo category, is all smiles as he receives his cash award and trophy from Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange.
The 2017 Jamaica Children's Gospel Song Competition 11 -– 15 Years Age Group winner, Taville Henry.

With support and encouragement from his family and teachers, the emergence of 12 year-old gospel singer Taville Henry on the Jamaican scene is a step in the right direction to nurture his creativity and inspire other up-and-coming child singers.

The two-time winner (the six to 10 year-old and 11-to 15-year-old solo categories in 2016 and 2017, respectively) of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Children’s Gospel Song Competition has expressed his interest in entering again for 2018. He also won the title for Best Overall Performer.

“The competition has exposed me a lot. I want to be a gospel artiste (but not yet), because the music is different and it needs more attention,” Henry told THE STAR.

However, Stephen Davidson, JCDCs director of marketing and public relations, told THE STAR that “the JCDC does not generally allow persons to re-enter in the same category, instead giving them an opportunity to compete in other areas”.

The preliminary deadline for entries passed on December 1, but the JCDC will be conducting regional auditions which are open to individuals, youth clubs, churches and schools.

Henry was attending the St Aloysius Primary School when he won, but is now in first form at Ardenne High School, which has been one of the top schools in the JCDC performing arts competitions. Cannigia Palmer, Ardenne’s Music teacher, said: ”Taville used to come around our chorale to hang out with us before even attending the school; we got to know him from earlier on out.


“Ardenne is known for its vocal consistency and we work hard with all our members to maintain that,” Palmer continued.

Henry is anticipating performing with the group for the gospel competition, but also wants to be a role model for new and young gospel singers entering in 2018 and beyond.

“It was about five times that I entered and my best advice to children is never to take failure as an option. If you are performing, be determined. If you get nervous don’t quit, especially on stage. The trick is to look over the heads of persons in the audience,” Henry said.

His dedication to practice and the amount of time spent finding new gospel music has not gone unnotiuced. Palacia Cross, Taville’s grandmother, said “although I may not have wanted him to take a step towards music as a career, it has kept him out of trouble. We live in Fletcher’s Land and the moment I take my eye off Taville, he’s out the door. He is a well-behaved child, but he loves to play.”

Cross is concerned that without music he will get ‘mixed up’ in other things that could be dangerous or distract him, so she continues to encourage him to participate in gospel-related competitions. 




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