BASKING RIDGE, NJ — Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir from Atlanta West Pentecostal Church won Verizon Wireless' How Sweet the Sound competition and has earned the title of "The Best Church Choir in America." During the grand finale, held on Nov. 7 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir walked away with not only the title, but a cash prize of $30,000.
The second annual How Sweet the Sound finale brought together the best church choirs from 11 cities across the nation. Gospel music celebrities, who added performances to the night's entertainment, judged and hosted the event. Returning for a second year, GRAMMY®-winning music legend Marvin Sapp helped judge the choirs along with GRAMMY Award-winning Gospel artist Dorinda Clark Cole and Gospel music legend Byron Cage. GRAMMY Award-winning songwriter, producer, arranger and music director Donald Lawrence served as emcee, and singer, songwriter, producer and actress Lisa Kimmey-Winans joined the How Sweet the Sound veterans as a co-host. The evening also featured special performances by the legendary Clark Sisters, Brother Hahz, Kurt Carr and special guest James Fortune. The Remnant Concert Choir from Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., was named runner-up and received a cash prize of $15,000.
"Now in its second year, How Sweet the Sound has been an opportunity to celebrate the unique ways music connects people within the community. We congratulate Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir and recognize the tremendous talent of all of the choirs that participated in this competition," said Sikita Grayson, director of customer service for Verizon Wireless. "We are delighted to be able to bring to the community such an uplifting event, and we have been inspired by the energy of the churches throughout the competition."
Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir plans to use the prize money to record a live CD in 2010. This will be their first recording. Brandon Frazier, music director for Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir said, "How Sweet the Sound does everything first class. It's been a once-in-a-lifetime experience participating and to win I'm still taking it in. It's an amazing feeling and has already opened so many doors for our choir."
Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir from Atlanta West Pentecostal Church additionally won the V CAST People's Choice Award and a $5,000 cash prize. During the grand finale, audience members were asked to text their votes for their favorite choir to help decide the Verizon Wireless V CAST People's Choice Award.
Verizon Wireless customers can download and watch video clips from the grand finale performances in the Music category on their V CAST-capable phones. For more information about the competition, visit www.howsweetthesound.com.
(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 www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia 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 3G data network, serving 89 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 85,000 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.####