Calling all aspiring Christian musical artists! Have you heard about the world’s only premier music awards dedicated to aspiring Christian artists? Firstfruits Music Competition was first launched in July 2022 in an effort to address the lack of recognition and support aspiring Christian artists receive.
Former Excelsia Music lecturer Jay Laga’aia is one of the six judges, along with other international judges Dave Thompson, Muyiwa Olarewaju, Alvin Taylor, Graeme Press and another to be announced. All judges were selected as they affirm the values, ethics and music standards statement and honour God. Applicants can enter up to five different songs, and the song submission evaluation criteria include originality (covers are not accepted), Scriptural content, song lyrics, song melody, song arrangement, performance, and commercial viability. The song’s purpose must be to both bless the Lord and edify the listener. It must also accurately reflect biblical content, being of a godly nature. ‘A cappella songs’ without instrumental accompaniment are also welcome.
Global submissions are limited to 5,000 artists and the top 24 highest scoring songs will receive public exposure. Artists in the top 12 may also be able to network with industry professionals in the music business.
The Grand Prize winner will receive £25,000 in cash (approximately AU$43,000) and the prestigious winner’s Firstfruits Music Awards trophy. The finalist will receive £5,000 in cash (approximately AU$8,500) together with the prestigious finalist trophy. For non-UK entrants, the equivalent is paid in the artist’s local currency. On top of this, £5,000 (approximately AU$8,500) will be donated towards Gospel-led missions, generated by the proceeds of the event. As Colossians 3:17 says, ‘And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’
The competition deadline is 31 July 2023 or whenever 5,000 song submissions have been reached! The entry fee is £25 (approximately AU$40) per song regardless of multiple submissions and there is no maximum time limit placed on songs. To enter, head to the following link https://www.firstfruits.co/enter
At Excelsia College, we are thankful to have a number of staff among us who started their journey with the College as a student. Take Rollan Verzosa as an example, who will celebrate his fourth year of working with Excelsia as a staff member this year but first began his association with the College in 2010 as a Bachelor of Music student. Rollan can thank the College for not only attaining a degree but also a wife! Since transitioning from student to staff member, Rollan has experienced special milestones including completing his studies, marrying his beautiful wife Jess and becoming a father to two children under four.
Rollan has been working with the College since 2018, firstly in the marketing department and now with the student acquisition team. You’ll generally see him around campus at student events, with his team at open days, or on the road representing the College at a career expo, graduation ceremony or other College-wide events, always with a smile on his face and occasionally a guitar in hand. Rollan and his student acquisition team are busy preparing for open days and career expos all year round and successfully adapted to a virtual open day during last year’s COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown period. Despite these strange times, Rollan saw compassion and generosity demonstrated in action by Excelsia staff and students. ‘This was exemplified by the community at Excelsia who sacrificed time and resources outside their working hours to aid students who were in need of groceries. I feel really blessed to be a part of this community,’ he reflects.
With a down-to-earth attitude and desire to help others, Rollan is a natural fit for our Excellent Personalities series, embodying Excelsia’s attitudes of Christian service and striving for self-improvement. Rollan thrives working in a team and collaborating with the different schools and departments for various events. ‘I’m reminded of an African proverb by family nurse practitioner in global healthcare Martha Goedert who says, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”. I really value team and the relationships made on the journey and finding ways to help make the journeys we are on worthwhile,’ he says.
Everyday interactions with staff and students can help individuals to feel connected and a sense of belonging, something Rollan believes in allowing space for in amongst his work life. ‘Many conversations I’ve had over a meal, on campus social events or the random bump in the hallways from staff and students have added so much meaning and purpose in my faith,’ he says. It is this community that he goes on to describe as ‘nurturing, diverse, creative and empowering.’
Throughout his time at Excelsia, Rollan has learned and continues to learn to leave the outcomes in God’s hands. ‘It’s easy to get worked up and be anxious about things we cannot control or things that have not yet happened. God is sovereign and rich in mercy and as we do our best, God will do the rest.’ It is God’s sovereignty that Rollan reflects on through his favourite Bible verse Colossians 1:6 which says, ‘For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.’
Outside of work, Rollan lives an active lifestyle and enjoys shooting hoops, working out with friends, going on adventures with his family and serving at his local church.
If you want to find out more about Excelsia College, why not visit our website? With a range of courses including counselling, social work, business, creative and performing arts and education, you too like Rollan could go on to study and work at the College!