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Top Three Finishers of Talent Contest Earn Opening Spots At SHOUTfest

Top three finishers of talent contest earn opening spots at SHOUTfest


Monday, August 7, 2006
By Steve Eighinger

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Christine Poage walked onstage, with a cold, wet towel draped around her neck to combat the sweltering conditions in downtown Quincy Sunday afternoon.

The 99-degree heat and accompanying humidity that had turned the Sixth Street area between Maine and Hampshire into an outdoor oven seemed of little hindrance.

Poage, who looked out at a crowd of around 500 that braved the hot, humid weather, broke into a smile and asked, "We're here to worship the Lord, how 'bout you?"

Poage, the lead singer for Redeemed, a group from Tabernacle of Praise in Hannibal, Mo., helped set the tone for a day of praise, rock, metal, adult contemporary and just about every other genre of modern-day Christian music.

Redeemed was one of 11 bands and artists that took part in a second annual talent contest sponsored by radio station WGCA-FM 88.5. The top three acts earned spots opening for next Sunday's "SHOUTfest '06: Let the Walls Fall Down," the day-long Christian music festival on the Mississippi riverfront that drew 7,000 last year.

The top three finishers, according to a local panel of judges, were Release Restraint of Harrisburg and two Quincy bands, Damascus Road and Goat.

The competition actually seemed secondary. The day belonged to the music.

"What makes it hard is that you're never sure what the judges are looking for, but the message of the music is the most important thing," Poage said. "You can't take (the results) personally. We want to see lives changed. We've been together for 3 1/2 years, and we're in it for the long haul."

The Rev. Dennis Amsler, an associate pastor at Riverside Community Church, is one of the lead singers and guitar players for hard-rocking Goat. He agrees with Poage.

"As Christians, we have a job to be the most joyful people on the planet," Amsler said.

Emily DeVoss, a student at Quincy University and lead singer of East to West, was one of those who made an impact with the crowd. DeVoss, whose stage presence and voice is reminiscent of a cross between Natalie Grant and Bethany Dillon, made an especially strong impression with a song she wrote, "I Will Heal You."

Then came the big surprise when she revealed how long the group had been together.

"About two months," said DeVoss, who like the rest of the group that is mostly high school and college-aged, hails from Melrose Chapel United Methodist Church.

DeVoss plans to continue writing songs with "poignant lyrics." And she's also looking forward to the coming weekend.

"SHOUTfest is the most awesome thing," DeVoss said.

Burt Shackleton of Quincy was another huge hit with the crowd. Shackleton, 39, was urged to enter the contest by friends and proved to all he was an outstanding musician (keyboards, guitar, saxophone), singer and comedian.

"All of these bands are getting up here and telling you where they are from," he said. "Well, I'm from east of here about six blocks east of here."

Shackleton, a member of St. Francis Catholic Church, has a long track record of activity with Teens Encounter Christ and playing "all kinds of music."

"The last 10 years or so I have been involved with a lot of the contemporary Christian music, and all the genres (associated with it)," Shackleton said.

The three contest winners will play at 1 p.m. next Sunday at Clat Adams Park, followed by a lineup of major bands and artists led by Superchick, Building 429, Krystal Meyers and Skillet.

For more information about SHOUTfest, go to the www.wgca.org or www.shoutfest.com Web sites.

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