by Diane Vandyke
Montgomery County Community College student Candace Benson of Pottstown is the runner-up on BET’s Sunday Best gospel-based music competition with Geoffrey Golden of Cleveland, Ohio, taking the top spot.
The results were announced Aug. 31 at the conclusion of a special two-hour finale, during which both finalists performed. After hearing her sing “I Won’t go Back” and “He Heals Me,” judges Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin and Kierra Sheard praised Benson, stating she had “grown by leaps and bounds” through the competition and was “truly gifted” and “multi-faceted.”
The 22-year-old Music major auditioned last April with hundreds of hopeful singers. She was one of 20 contestants selected to sing on the weekly television competition that started in July. Throughout the past several weeks, she successfully made it through each round. After the judges selected the two finalists, the competition was open to the public Aug. 24-30 to vote for their favorite performer via phone, online or mobile app.
Benson will continue her studies this fall to finish her associate’s degree at Montgomery’s Central Campus in Blue Bell. In addition to her classes, she sings in the College Choir and during Music Wednesdays, when students can perform for the campus during the lunch-time hour. Her professors, Andrew Kosciesza and Michael Kelly, among others, have been encouraging her throughout the competition and look forward to having her back in classes and the choir.
Passionate about music, Benson started playing the piano when she was only four years old. She has been singing in choirs and bands at church and with her family for many years. She currently serves as the music director at Bethel A.M.E. Church in West Chester. To see her performances, visit her website at candacebensonmusic.com. For more information about the College’s Music program, visit mc3.edu.