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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, March 30, 2023


May 2, 2004 – Saturday and Sunday will bring the 10th annual STARfest talent spectacular at the Reichhold Center for the Arts.
In the years since Reichhold director David Edgecombe produced and directed the first STARfest revue in 1995, the show has become a Mother's Day weekend tradition on St. Thomas.
And now it's about to spin off something that's been on Edgecombe's mind pretty much from the start — a weekly television program showcasing Virgin Islands talent.
Edgecombe is hoping that by September WTJX-TV/Channel 12, the territory's Public Broadcasting System affiliate, will be airing a weekly televised version of STARfest. The Reichhold's Digital Media Institute, which he founded, is partnering with the station to produce the program. "The television show will provide more opportunities for performers and will complement the annual Starfest production," he said.
With a decade of successful shows to its credit, Edgecombe said, Starfest "will continue to create an environment that nurtures artistic expression and spotlights the talent of the Virgin Islands," both on the big Reichhold stage and via the TV program.
For this weekend's production, "we have one of the strongest sets of singers," Edgecombe said. "It will all come together in a really exciting show with more pizzazz than ever before."
The lineup also includes dancers, rappers and — for the first time — a piano soloist, Soyika Richardson, a senior at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, who will play classical and ragtime/swing pieces.
The youngest performer is also the only participant who doesn't live on St. Thomas: 11-year-old Ashley Douglas, a 6th grade high-honor student at Good Hope School on St. Croix, who will be singing pop tunes.
One person who performed at the first STARfest is returning for the 10th anniversary show: gospel singer Vietta Ann Hutchinson, who wowed the audience back then with a rendition of "His Eye Is on the Sparrow."
Other STARfest veterans who'll be back are singers Klint Constantine (STARfests 5-9), Kareem Harrigan (STARfests 5-9) and Attallah Bertrand (STARfest 8); the male vocal ensemble All the Way (STARfest 9) and singer Kmisha Counts, reigning Miss V.I. Talented Teen (STARfest 9).
Making a special guest appearance will be the 2003-04 Crucian Christmas Festival Road March winner, Xtaushun Band. The group is made up of "high-minded and talented teen-agers," Pamela Sanes, Reichhold business manager, said. "The creator of the band, 16-year-old Angel Ventura III, also performed in STARfests 8 and 9."
Denise Humphrey, Reichhold technical director, says the stage and lighting design are "spectacular." Without giving away details, she said the stage will be "more vibrant than usual," and the effect will be "more classy because it's our 10th anniversary."
Fifteen dancers — five of them male — will be featured throughout the show, choreographer and assistant director Malaysia Rabsatt said. The dancers also will perform in their own segment — combining hip-hop, jazz and prayer/worship dances.
"It's going to be something exciting that the audience is going to like," Rabsatt said.
Rehearsals have been ongoing since March 20. "The group met for ensemble rehearsals on Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m.," Sanes said. "Then during the week they met for individual rehearsals with vocal coaches and choreographers." This being count-down week, everyone will be putting in long hours polishing their performances to perfection.
Others involved behind the scenes are Corrinne Lindquist, production manager; Josephine Thomas-Lewis, music director; Vietta Hutchinson, vocal coach; and Princess Penn-Joyce, assistant choreographer.
Thirty-six people will showcase their talents:
– Krystal Edmeade, mistress of ceremonies.
– Dancers Tonia Acosta, Reynita Clarke, Leishar Crawford, Shereena Farrington, Aliya Felix, Zakiya Lescott, Bernesha Liburd, Jessica MacDonna, Cleavia A. McBean, Esonica Veira and the Code Blue dance ensemble — Tony Bongiovi LaBeet, Richard Lloyd, Dominic Martin and Matthew Rogers.
– Singers Attalah Bertrand, Klint Constantine, Kmisha Counts, Ashley Douglas, Scott Fagan, Kareem Harrigan, Nadia Hendrickson, Vietta Hutchinson, Kezia, Besha Liburd, Michael Noble and Shanelle Petersen; the group All the Way – Eustace Bartley, Bernard Douglas, Kyle Francis, Jamal Parris, Michael Stephens; and the rap/chant group No Mercy – Lenea Industrious, Marvin and Me'Kyle Turner.
– Pianist Soyika Richardson.
STARfest 10 has major sponsorship from KFC and grant support from the V.I. Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Showtime is 8 p.m. both nights. Tickets are $25 in the covered section and $18 and $12 in the newly refurbished open-air seats. They're being sold at the Reichhold box office, the University of the Virgin Islands bookstore in the Sports and Fitness Center, Parrot Fish Music, both Modern Music stores and Krystal & Gifts Galore on St. Thomas; and at Connections on St. John.
For more information or to purchase tickets by charge card, call the Reichhold ticketing office at 693-1559.

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