Christian Popstars

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Sunday 1st July 2001

Youth For Christ launch pop group Oxygen

CHRISTENDOM'S answer to the television Popstars phenomenon was launched recently. Following two rounds of auditions, filmed by ITV for their Sunday Morning religious programme, Youth For Christ announced the four young people who will front "Britain's first ever Christian Popstars band." Chosen from over 50 applicants to be "a face of Christianity in the pop world of Generation Y," the group have been named Oxygen.

The band's manager, Damian Wharton, of Youth For Christ, said, "Oxygen is the air that we breathe and we need it for everything we do, every minute of every day. Oxygen is the essence of life and we have chosen the name for that very reason, because our message is what we live and breathe, God's recipe for life." Oxygen consists of Pete Cant, Heather Allcott, Claire Blakemore and David Barker. Pete, 24, who lives in Reading, will exchange his job on a farm for the media spotlight. In 2000, Pete recorded an album of contemporary Christian music, songs he wrote and performed. He described the opportunity to join a band where he can use his musical ability to communicate his faith as "a dream" and he hopes that "large numbers of people will be impacted by the message we (the band) bring."

Heather Allcott and Claire Blakemore are both former members of Activate, YFC's touring drama group, and share a common vision for combining creative arts with their faith. The fourth member of the band is David Barker, 22, from Towcester in Northamptonshire. Having grown up in a Christian home David made his stage debut at the Fairfield Hall in Croydon, South London at the age of 10.

The Christian Popstars project is a joint initiative between YFC and Eastbourne based record company International Christian Communications (ICC). Together they have recruited, created and plan to manage and produce the new band. The band are now entering the studio to start work recording songs for their debut record, which will include music written by Paul Field, the composer of Cliff Richard's chart topping single "Millennium Prayer". CR

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