BASKING RIDGE, NJ — Verizon Wireless will name the best church choir in America on Nov. 8 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta during the grand finale of How Sweet The Sound(SM). The best choirs, culled from an 11-city How Sweet The Sound competition, will go head to head for $45,000 in cash prizes in the finale concert, emceed by GRAMMY®-winning songwriter, producer, arranger and music director, Donald Lawrence. GRAMMY-winning legends Marvin Sapp and Hezekiah Walker will both have special performances and serve as judges during the show along with award-winning actress, Gabrielle Union.
To participate in the regional competition, choirs from each city submitted audition videos that were reviewed by a panel of local judges, who posted the top videos from each city on the official How Sweet The Sound Web site (www.howsweetthesound.com) where the public could vote for their favorite choir. The choirs with the most votes from each city were invited to perform in concert at some of the hottest venues across the country, including the United Center in Chicago; the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.; and the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.
More than 70,000 people attended the regional competitions across the country to cheer for and support their local choirs. Following are the winners from each regional competition that will compete in the Atlanta finale:
- Atlanta – Atlanta West Pentecostal Church (Lithia Springs, Ga.)
- Chicago – Acme Missionary Baptist Church (Chicago)
- Detroit – Burning Bush International Ministries (Ypsilanti, Mich.)
- Houston – The Church of Bethel’s Family (Houston)
- Los Angeles – Mt. Rubidoux SDA Church (Riverside, Calif.)
- Memphis, Tenn. – New Direction Christian Church (Memphis, Tenn.)
- Newark, N.J. – Grace Baptist Church (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.)
- Oakland, Calif. – Jubilee Christian Center (San Jose, Calif.)
- Philadelphia – Mount Pleasant Baptist Church (Twin Oaks, Pa.)
- St. Louis – New Sunny Mount Missionary Baptist Church (St. Louis)
- Washington, D.C. – Southern Baptist Church Praise and Worship Center (Washington)
Based on the judges’ scoring, the overall winner of How Sweet The Sound will receive $25,000 and the runner-up will receive $15,000. In addition, members of the audience will decide the Verizon Wireless V CAST People’s Choice Award winner by texting their votes for their favorite choir during the finale. The Verizon Wireless V CAST People’s Choice Award winner will receive $5,000, meaning one choir could win up to $30,000 in prizes if awarded both the overall prize and the V CAST People’s Choice Award.
Doors to the Philips Arena will open at 5:00 p.m. ET on Nov. 8, and the show will start at 7:00 p.m. ET. Tickets are available for $7 for floor seats and $5 for lower and upper tier seats at the Philips Arena Box Office, Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com, www.PhilipsArena.com or Ticketmaster charge by phone at 404-249-6400. For more information, visit www.howsweetthesound.com.
(EDITORS NOTE: Broadcast-quality B-Roll featuring performances during the 2007 and 2008 How Sweet The Sound regional events is available online. Log on to Verizon Wireless’ Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia to preview and request video segments, which can be received in newsrooms digitally or by tape.)
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 70.8 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 71,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.