2010 How Sweet The Sound Comes To Florida To Find "The Best Church Choir In America"

JACKSONVILLE, FL — The How Sweet the Sound™ 2010 competition is coming to Florida, which could mean a sweet $25,000 for a local church choir.

The event, created by Verizon Wireless three years ago, is a national competition that gives church choirs a chance to win the title of “The Best Church Choir in America” and a grand prize of $25,000 in cash and gifts. The competition awards a total of $50,000, including prizes for regional winners and other categories.

This year, Jacksonville joins 13 other host cities nationwide to be represented in the competition. Others include Houston, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, Memphis, Los Angeles, Oakland, Cleveland and Charlotte, N.C.

Choirs within an approximate four-hour drive of Jacksonville are eligible to enter, opening the competition to Gospel groups in most of North Florida and the Panhandle, south to the Space Coast, Orlando area and parts of Tampa Bay. A list of eligible zip codes can be found at www.HowSweetTheSound.com.  

“How Sweet the Sound is much more than a singing competition for choirs – it is an opportunity to celebrate the unique ways that music connects people from all walks of life,” said Pam Tope, Florida region president for Verizon Wireless. “Many cities and towns in Florida have a great tradition of Gospel music and we’re proud to welcome area choirs into this celebration and competition.”

Small and large choirs, which are judged in separate categories, are eligible to enter the competition by first submitting an audition video of no longer than three minutes. Videos will be reviewed by professional music producers, music executives and Gospel radio personalities from each host city. The judges will select up to 16 choirs – eight from each category – from each stop of the tour. The videos of the 16 choirs will be posted on the How Sweet the Sound Web site where members of the community can vote for their favorite choirs.

Once the online voting is complete, four choirs from each category will be selected to perform onstage in the regional event. Two winners, one from each category, will win $10,000 for their choir. One overall winner will be selected at each regional concert, and each choir member from the overall winning choir will also receive a Verizon Wireless phone and a $50 gift card. The overall winning choir from each city will also advance to the grand finale (in a city to be determined) where they will compete to win more than $25,000 in cash and prizes.

In addition, the Verizon Wireless V CAST People’s Choice Award will be given to the choir that captures the heart of the audience at each regional performance and at the grand finale performance. The V CAST People’s Choice Award winners will each receive $5,000.

To be eligible to enter the competition, all registration forms and audition videos must be received by May 17, 2010. Interested choir representatives can visit a Verizon Wireless retail location, call 800-230-0053 or go to www.HowSweetTheSound.com for more information.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Broadcast-quality B-Roll and high-resolution images from previous How Sweet the Sound tours are 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 and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving more than 91 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 83,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: 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.####