Gospel legends including CeCe Winans, Donald Lawrence, Marvin Sapp and Fred Hammond will headline this national celebration of gospel music and praise.
Winning choirs representing 14 cities around the country will come together for an unforgettable night of joy and praise as they vie for the title of "The Best Church Choir in America" at Verizon's How Sweet the Sound grand finale. The event will be held at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 13. The evening will be hosted by GRAMMY® Award-winning artists CeCe Winans and Donald Lawrence along with award-winning artists Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark Sheard and Fred Hammond, who will serve as judges.
More than 120,000 people attended the regional competitions across the country, enjoying incredible testimonies of music and community spirit. The regional finalists who will compete in the Washington, D.C., finale include:
- Houston: Royalwood Sanctuary Choir of The Pentecostals of Royalwood (Houston, Texas)
- Jacksonville, Fla.: Love and Faith Community Church Mass Choir of Love and Faith Community Outreach Development Corporation (Tallahassee, Fla.)
- Memphis, Tenn.: St. Mark Sanctuary Choir of St. Mark Baptist Church (Little Rock, Ark.)
- Philadelphia: The Sounds of Life Giving Word Family Worship Center (Willingboro, N.J.)
- Washington, D.C.: Greater Mount Calvary Men of Valor of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church (Washington, D.C.)
- Newark, N.J.: Marble Community Gospel Choir of Marble Collegiate Church (New York, N.Y.)
- Cleveland: Calvary Sanctuary Choir of United Pentecostal Church International (Cincinnati, Ohio)
- Detroit: Burning Bush International Ministries Mass Choir of Burning Bush International Ministries (Ypsilanti, Mich.)
- Chicago: GFC Chorale of Greater First Church (East Chicago, Ind.)
- Charlotte, N.C.: Salvation and Deliverance Church Choir (Tarboro, N.C.)
- Atlanta: All Nations Life and Praise Church Choir (Stockbridge, Ga.)
- St. Louis: New Sunny Mount Missionary Baptist Church of New Sunny Mount Missionary Baptist Church (St. Louis, Mo.)
- Oakland, Calif.: Apostolic Community Life Choir "A.C.L.C." of Apostolic Community Life Center (Salinas, Calif.)
- Los Angeles: Voices of Destiny of Greater Zion Church Family (Compton, Calif.)
"Verizon's How Sweet the Sound is a wonderful event for the whole family and is just one example of Verizon's commitment to give back to the community," said Richard Williams, executive director, multicultural marketing, Verizon. "We are proud of the tremendous positive effect the program has had on those who have been involved and look forward to the finale, which will continue to inspire and uplift everyone it reaches."
During the regional competitions, choirs were encouraged to collect and donate no-longer used cell phones to HopeLine® from Verizon. HopeLine from Verizon puts the nation's most reliable wireless network to work in the community by turning no-longer-used wireless phones into support for victims and survivors of domestic violence. Proceeds from the HopeLine program are used to provide wireless phones and airtime to victims of domestic violence and cash grants to local shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention, awareness and advocacy. More than 11,200 phones were collected across the country, and to demonstrate Verizon's commitment to fund organizations that are making a positive impact in the community, a $50,000 donation will be presented to Dr. Oliver J. Williams, executive director of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community at the grand finale. For more information about HopeLine from Verizon and to learn how to organize a HopeLine drive, visit www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline.
Details about Verizon's How Sweet the Sound, including videos of competing choirs, judging criteria, and the official rules, are available online at www.HowSweetTheSound.com.
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