Sold-Out Audiences Flock To Verizon Wireless' Contest For The Best Church Choir In America

DETROIT — Verizon Wireless' How Sweet the Sound™ competition is about halfway through its 11-city tour, giving local church choirs the chance to perform in front of sold-out crowds of 10,000-plus in the search for "The Best Church Choir in America." The next stops of the singing competition are Detroit; Chicago; Atlanta; Memphis, Tenn.; Los Angeles; and Oakland, Calif. The winning choirs from each city will advance to perform in the grand finale on Nov. 7 in Detroit at the Joe Louis Arena to compete for cash prizes of up to $25,000 and the title of "The Best Church Choir in America."

During the first five stops of the tour, choirs from Houston; St. Louis; Washington, D.C.; Newark, N.J.; and Philadelphia performed at some of the nation's most well-known venues, including Toyota Center, Scottrade Center, Verizon Center, Prudential Center and Wachovia Center respectively. During each regional show, Donald Lawrence, GRAMMY®-winning songwriter, producer, arranger and music director, emcees for a second year, and award-winning gospel artist Marvin Sapp returns as a judge and performer. Singer, songwriter, producer and actress, Lisa Kimmey-Winans joins the tour this year and co-hosts the show with Donald Lawrence.

Verizon Wireless' How Sweet the Sound tour concludes its regional tour over the next two weeks in the following U.S. cities:

  • Sept. 28: Detroit, Joe Louis Arena

  • Sept. 30: Chicago, United Center

  • Oct. 2: Atlanta, Philips Arena

  • Oct. 5: Memphis, Tenn., FedExForum

  • Oct. 8: Los Angeles, The Forum

  • Oct. 10: Oakland, Calif., ORACLE Arena

How Sweet the Sound is much more than a singing competition; it is an opportunity to celebrate the unique ways that music connects people within their communities. Other activities during each show include:

  • Gospel Karaoke, where attendees will have an opportunity to perform their favorite gospel music in front of a green screen and get a copy of their superstar moment via their mobile phones or the Web to share with friends and family

  • Artwork displays from local artists who created a fine art piece to reflect the competition in their home city

  • HopeLine® donation drives where Verizon Wireless will collect no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries and accessories in any condition and from any provider that can be refurbished are sold for reuse, with the proceeds providing wireless phones and cash grants to local shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention and awareness

Details about How Sweet the Sound, including schedules, judging criteria, tickets and the official rules, are available online at Tickets are $7 for floor seats, and lower- and upper-tier seats are available for $5.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Broadcast-quality B-Roll featuring 2009 How Sweet the Sound coverage is available online. Log on to Verizon Wireless' Multimedia Library at to preview and request video segments, which can be received in newsrooms digitally or by tape.)

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable and largest wireless voice and data network, serving 87.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with more than 87,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, visit 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

*Local Verizon Wireless media relations contacts by contest city

HoustonGretchen LeJeuneVerizon

St. Louis Erica SevillaVerizon

Washington, D.C. Melanie OrtelVerizon Wireless240-568-1429

Newark, N.J.David SambergVerizon Wireless845-365-7212

Philadelphia Sheldon JonesVerizon Wireless215-638-5668

Detroit Erica SevillaVerizon

Chicago Erica SevillaVerizon

Atlanta Caran SmithVerizon

Memphis, Tenn. Karen SchulzVerizon

Los Angeles Ken MucheVerizon

Oakland, Calif.Heidi FlatoVerizon