THE WINNERS OF THE “SPARKLE SINGING CHALLENGE”
AND THE INAUGURAL
“NEW GOSPEL TALENT SEARCH”
Winners to Perform Live on Knight Concert Hall Stage,
Opening the FREE GOSPEL SUNDAYS Concert on September 16, 2012
Grammy-Nominated Urban Gospel Superstar
MIAMI, FL August 15, 2012 – The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, in partnership with Sony Pictures and Myspace, is proud to announce Miami native Bianca Sirgany-Castro as the national winner of the “Sparkle Singing Challenge,” a singing contest held on behalf of the soon-to-be-released film Sparkle starring Jordin Sparks and the late Whitney Houston. In addition, the Arsht Center is also excited to announce local gospel group S.I.G.N. (Singing In God’s Name) as the winner of its inaugural “New Gospel Talent Search,” a local singing contest set to discover Miami’s next top gospel artists. Both winners will perform as the FREE GOSPEL SUNDAYS opening acts on September 16, 2012, headlined by Grammy-nominated contemporary gospel superstar J MOSS.
The Arsht Center’s “New Gospel Talent Search” is supported by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami gospel radio station WMBM 1490 AM, and Beverly and Bill Parker.
During last month’s “Sparkle Singing Challenge,” music industry judges voted 18-year-old Bianca Sirgany-Castro as the local winner of the national singing competition. She received numerous prizes including the opportunity to perform in front of thousands of people on the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall stage and a chance to compete nationally for the contest’s grand prize. On August 7, Sirgany-Castro won the overall challenge by attaining the most amount of public votes collected through a Myspace Sparkle homepage. As winner of the grand prize, she travelled to New York City to record a song with the Punch Monkeys, Jordin Sparks’ production and writing team. On August 16, Sirgany-Castro will appear on BET’s highly-rated “106 & Park” show to reveal her new song during an exclusive interview.
As a proud Miamian, she is thrilled to perform at Arsht Center this upcoming fall. “It’s definitely going to be the biggest and most exciting performance for me. I used to go to the Arsht with my school for field trips and now I will actually be on the stage. This is going to be an amazing experience!” says Sirgany-Castro.
Sirgany-Castro attended Miami Arts Charter School where she studied jazz vocal and choral music and will be attending Miami Dade College this fall. She was trained by Miami-based Grammy Award-winning R&B artist, Betty Wright, and performed locally at her school’s Relay For Life event, Tobacco Road and the national anthem at various Miami Marlins baseball games. She was part of a non-profit touring group, Voices United, and once performed on NBC 6’s live morning program. A great deal of her musical flair comes from the folk, gospel, and jazz music stylings of Aretha Franklin. Yet, Sirgany-Castro is also inspired by the vocals of Amy Winehouse, Adele, Coldplay and Yolanda Adams who was featured in the Arsht Center’s FREE GOSPEL SUNDAYS 2011-2012 concert series.
S.I.G.N. was founded in 2001 by locals Jespert Powell and Evron Stewart and since then has made its mark in the world of gospel, jazz and R&B. Powell, who is originally from Jamaica, says the group uses Jamaican-inspired rhythms in their music, in addition to a combination of other musical genres ranging from a cappella numbers to R&B to reggae. They also gain inspiration from various harmonic groups such as Real Group, Straight Company and Naturally Seven.
S.I.G.N. group members are looking forward to their upcoming Arsht Center debut and hope to please audience members with their unique sound as they open for J MOSS at FREE GOSPEL SUNDAYS this fall. “When we sing we make sure we reach a wide range, so that there is something for everyone, the young and the old. We try to bridge the generation gap,” explains Powell.
Admission to FREE GOSPEL SUNDAYS is FREE. However, First Access Passes for the FREE GOSPEL SUNDAYS performance on September 16, 2012, featuring J MOSS, Miami Mass Choir and the winners of the “Sparkle Singing Challenge” and “New Gospel Talent Search” have been reserved.
STAND-BY LINE: Patrons who do not have a First Access Pass may join the Stand-by Line beginning at 3 p.m. outside the theater. Seating, if available, will be opened at 3:45 p.m. to patrons in the stand-by line.
Sign up for the Adrienne Arsht Center email list at www.arshtcenter.org to be notified when FREE First Access Passes become available for each of the FREE GOSPEL SUNDAYS concerts.
Born and raised in Detroit, J MOSS hails from gospel music royalty as the nephew of gospel’s legendary Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, the cousin of her daughters – the inimitable Clark Sisters – and the son of Bill Moss, Sr., founder of the popular ‘70s gospel act Bill Moss & the Celestials. In his youth, MOSS spent time most of his time touring as a part-time singer with the Celestials, and later with the Clark Sisters, as well as with his brother, Bill Jr., in a singing duo called The Moss Brothers. More recently, he has toured the country opening for the illustrious CeCe Winans on the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour, and served as a judge on the Gospel Music Channel’s Gospel Dream program. Combining traditional spiritual messages with modern arrangements and hip hop beats, J MOSS has performed groundbreaking work with Trin-i-Tee 5:7, Hezekiah Walker, Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child) and helped bring an accessible style of gospel music to a new generation of general urban audiences. As a partner in urban contemporary’s powerhouse production company — PAJAM, J MOSS has been the co-writer and author behind some of the biggest artists in both gospel and secular music. PAJAM produced gospel music’s most prolific hit-makers and J MOSS subsequently attained increasing recognition within the industry. His recording J MOSS Project was released in 2004, and he received a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Gospel Album in 2006. His third album release, Just James, spawned two gospel hits, including Restored/I Gave It Up and Rebuild and its 2010 remix single.
The Adrienne Arsht Center’s extraordinarily popular FREE GOSPEL SUNDAYS series has been supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation since the 2008-2009 season. Knight Foundation recently awarded the Center a three-year grant to continue the series into the 2013-2014 season. A generous donation from Beverly and Bill Parker and a grant from the Funding Arts Network also supported the 2011-2012 season.
“Free Gospel Sundays is proof positive of the undeniable power of song to bring people together,” said Dennis Scholl, Vice President/Arts for Knight Foundation. “The event is a must for all South Florida residents.”
Adrienne Arsht Center and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation present
FREE GOSPEL SUNDAYS
Featuring the Miami Mass Choir and contest winners S.I.G.N. and Bianca Sirgany-Castro
Hosted by WPLG Channel 10 ABC Anchor Calvin Hughes
September 16, 2012 at 4pm
Knight Concert Hall
The ever-popular FREE GOSPEL SUNDAYS concert series continues to soar in September with headliner J MOSS, a Grammy-nominated contemporary gospel artist who has become one of the most powerful forces in urban gospel music by combining traditional spiritual messages with modern arrangements and hip-hop beats. This concert will also spotlight the series’ phenomenal resident ensemble, MIAMI MASS CHOIR, and rising talents BIANCA SIRGANY-CASTRO, winner of the national “Sparkle Singing Challenge,” and S.I.G.N., winner of the Arsht Center’s inaugural “New Gospel Talent Search.”
All programs, artists, ticket prices, availability, dates and times are subject to change without notice. Visit www.arshtcenter.org for up-to-date information for details and schedules.