Verizon’s How Sweet The Sound Gospel Celebration touched down in Detroit on September 15th at Joe Louis Arena. The crowd was great, the choirs were stellar and our judges and hosts were at their best for the 5th year in the D. It was a homecoming for two of our judges. Hometown hero Fred Hammond got a huge ovation from the crowd when he was introduced. He shouted out his high school as well as a couple local eateries, which further endeared him to his hometown family. This was also the first night our alternate judge and Detroit native, VaShawn Mitchell joined the show. The first choir up was HIghest Praise Community Gospel Choir directed by Jeremiah Towner. They sang a very original rendition of “For Every Mountain.” Their performance started off kind of slow but when they let loose with the vocals the crowd reacted favorably. Their look was very intact with all of the female singers wearing the same hairstyle. Albert Strickland & Cho’zen were up next, they sang, “The Lord Is Blessing Me.” They kept it classic with stark red robes, tambourines and washboards. Their band was very good and kept the crowd involved and on their feet. Judge Hezekiah Walker was summed it up best when he stated ” It was tremendous, when you came out I looked at those robes and said, we getting ready to go to church.” Anointed Voices of Higher Ground sang, “God is in Control.” They had a lot of energy, great choreography and strong voices. Their performance was theatrical almost like a play. Their soloist took it over the top for the choir. Pleasant Green Choir sang “When The Saint Go To Worship.” They separated themselves appearance wise by wearing very nice purple dresses and suits with purple ties. Their choreography was very controlled. Midway thru they got into their groove and the crowd reacted well. Their blend was impeccable and they exhibited a lot of vocal power. The final choir The Apostolic Church Sanctuary Choir was the last choir of the evening singing “Hallelujah Anyhow.” They were the first multi-cultural choir of the evening and they had a very talented female choir director. They immediately got the crowd involved and never let go. Their soloist controlled the performance. They were one of the most impressive choirs we’ve seen on the tour. Their performance even prompted a 10-minute plus praise session. The Detroit Region Runner-Up was Pleasant Green Choir The 2012 Detroit Region Winner and Verizon People’s Choice Award Winner Was The Apostolic Church Sanctuary Choir Thank you to everyone who came out and supported the choirs, talent and our sponsors, Verizon Wireless and United Healthcare.
On September 10th Verizon’s How Sweet The Sound returned to Atlanta, GA for the fifth consecutive year to a captive audience. There were several notable Gospel figures in the building including Dottie Peoples, VaShawn Mitchell, Taffi Dollar, Joann Rosario and BET Sunday Best winner Joshua Rogers, proviing that Phillips Arena was the place to be on Monday for America’s premier Gospel showcase. As always the audience was treated to performances from our judges and hosts. Bishop Hezekiah Walker and our house choir (Kevin Lemons and Higher Calling) started the festivities off right with a stirring performance of “Souled Out.” Our hosts Donald Lawrence and Yolanda Adams then introduced our esteemed judges who were all happy to be in the beautiful city of Atlanta. The first choir of the evening was Robert Weaver and The Weaver Chorale performing “Do You Know Him.” They kept it traditional with no leads, which the judges felt would have helped their performance. However, their energy was great and they the audience could tell that the choir was enjoying themselves on stage. Their band was also really good. Next up was Voices of Life of the Life Center Church, directed by Elder V. Lamar Wilson. They sang “I’ve Got a Reason” and they sang it with conviction. They immediately impressed with a strong acapella opening and they didn’t let off of the gas from that point on. Both of their soloists wowed with powerful voices. They were clearly a crowd and judge favorite prompting Bishop Hezekiah Walker to proclaim that Voices of Life had his vote. We were honored to have Cedric Sesley and Out for Souls as How Sweet The Sound’s first Community Choir. The Nashville outfit, sang God Wants A Yes.” They set the bar very high for any community choirs to follow, not only with their stage presence and costumes but most importantly with their immensely powerful voices. Judge CeCe Winans did an amazing job of performing her hit single “He’s Concerned,” which warmed the audience up nicely for Fred Hammond a spirit filled performance of his hits medley. Our beautiful co-host Yolanda Adams brought us back from intermission with her hit “Be Still.” Oakwood University gospel choir, Dynamic Praise kicked off the second half of the show with an amazing performance of “Lift the Savior Up.” They are the first college choir to perform at How Sweet The Sound. The Bruce Bean led choir had a lot of Oakwood alumni in the building cheering them on and they did not disappoint. Each section held their own and they exuded a quiet, mellow confidence as judge Fred Hammond put it. The next choir was another local favorite Anointed Voices directed by Micah Meredith. They performed “I Opened My Mouth Unto The Lord.” They really took the crowd to church with various takes on a classic song. This choir can vocally do it all. AV touched the spirit of the judges with their performance. ”You were so precise, the voices were powerful. Puts you in the mind of the old spirituals,” said judge CeCe Winans. The final choir for the evening was last but certainly not least. Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir and their director Brandon Frazier are former HSTS champions. It was clear that the crowd was ready to jump on their feet as soon as AWPC hit the stage. Their performance of “Let Everything That Hath Breath” was something to behold. They returned better than before. Their performance was just about perfect. Before the winners were announced, the Phillip’s crowd were blessed with two more performances. Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell donned the stage in her beautiful gown and sang Walter Hawkins’ classic record changed. Bishop Walker followed her with Higher Calling to perform his hit “You’re All I Need.” After awarding Anointed Voices with the Verizon HopeLine award for most phones donated to the program, our judges announced the winner of the Verizon People’s Choice Award. The choir that received the most text votes was crowd favorite Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir. As the winner, they received a $5000 check. Next up, Yolanda and Donald asked Cedric Sesley and Out for Souls to the stage to join AWPC as the top vote getters of the night. The place was electric in anticipation of the regional champion. And the winner was… Returning champions AWPC. They won another $10,000 and will go on to represent the Atlanta region at the How Sweet The Sound finale in Brooklyn, NY at the Barclay’s Center on November 4th. The night concluded with all of the talent joining on stage to perform Donald Lawrence’s “Giants.” A great time was had by all. Thanks so much to our wonderful sponsors, Verizon and United Healthcare, as well as the choirs and most of all the people who supported by coming to the show. We love you Atlanta!
The moment you’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. After an arduous process, Verizon’s How Sweet The Sound judges have selected the choirs that will participate in America’s premiere gospel singing competition. This is a very exciting year for How Sweet The Sound because we have several returning champions as well as the addition of four college choirs–a first for HSTS. These great regional and community choirs will rejoice in song and praise; singing in front of gospel greats and fans and competing for a chance to win up to $50,000 in cash and prizes. The winning choir from Verizon’s How Sweet The Sound regional competition will then have an opportunity to represent their region at the grand finale event in New York city on November, 4, 2012 and compete for the title “Best Gospel Choir in America.” After reviewing all of the audition videos submitted by the bet choirs in the U.S.A., the top choirs selected by a panel of judges include the following: Dallas
- Marquinn Middleton & The Miracle Chorale
- Carnel Davis & Incorporated To Praise
- St. Mark Sanctuary Choir
- St. John Church Music Ministry
- God’s Tabernacle of Deliverance Bishop’s Choir
- Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir (Returning Champion)
- The Voices of Life of the Life Center Church
- Robert Weaver & The Weaver Chorale
- Cedric Sesley and Out For Souls
- Anointed Voices
- Dynamic Praise (Oakwood University)
- 4 The Caz of Christ
- Harvest Life Changers Church Choir
- The Virginia State University Gospel Chorale
- 100 Men In Black Male Chorus
- Gentle Giant Music Ministries
- Elder Patrick Riddick and D’vyne Worship
- Power In Praise Mass Choir
- Sill & The Truth
- Sean Tillery and CHANGED
- Kergyma Community Choir
- Zak Williams & 1/AKORD
- Powerfied Youth Choir
- Larry Callahan & Selected of God
- Anointed Voices of Higher Ground
- Albert Strickland & CHO’ZEN
- Highest Praise Community Gospel Choir
- The Apostolic Church Sanctuary Choir
- Pleasant Green Choir
- Dexter Walker and Zion Movement
- Voices of St. James
- The Wheaton College Gospel Choir
- Andre Crittenden & the L.A.W. (Living Anointed Warriors)
- Anthony McGahee and Praise Motivated
- Gregg and F.R.I.E.N.D.S Choir
- DaNell Daymon & The Greater Works Chorale
- The Capital City Singers
- The Celestial Voices Chorale
- Greater Los Angeles Cathedral Choir
- Gospel Gators of San Francisco State University
- The Porter Brothers and Genesis
Donald Lawrence, our talented and venerable host will be conducting the Verizon How Sweet The Sound® “Master Class.” A truly inspiring evening, Donald will share his experiences in the music business and provide insights to Choir Directors and Ministers of Music on how to take their choir to the next level.
Be sure to check for Donald on the road in a How Sweet the Sound® market near you.
Be sure to check for Donald on the road in a How Sweet the Sound® market near you.
Who’s ready for some amazing gospel music? We’re very pleased to announce the return of gospel music legend and GRAMMY® winner, Donald Lawrence as our host! Verizon’s How Sweet The Sound® just wouldn’t have the same sparkle without him. And joining Donald on the stage is none other than the impeccable, Yolanda Adams. Featured gospel greats gracing the stage and judging the event will be CeCe Winans, Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Fred Hammond and Erica Campbell of Mary Mary. We’re so thrilled to have such wonderful a roster of talent join us on tour this year. 2012 is about to shine brighter than ever!