Tonight, Thu., Sept. 24, thousands of people will be gathered at the Verizon Center in Northwest to cheer on their favorite choir or group as â€œHow Sweet The Sound: The Search for the Best Church Choir in Americaâ€ makes its tour stop in the District.
Choirs from eight ministries will compete for the title of best church choir in this area with the winner moving on to the national finals.
Donald Lawrence will once again serve as host. Also returning for another year is Pastor Marvin Sapp, serving as a judge and performer. Also expected to be on hand to perform and serve as judges will be Hezekiah Walker and Tye Tibbett.
The eight finalists, selected by Matt Anderson, formerly with WPRS-FM, and Ted Winn, gospel music professional, will perform on stage. The eight include The SNC Chorale of Southern Baptist Church Praise and Worship Center of Washington, D.C.; Brydges from Brydges, Inc. of Upper Marlboro, Md.; Remanufactured Souls representing the Soul Factory Church of Forestville, Md.; and Little Mt. Zion Mass Choir, Little Mt. Zion Church of God in Washington, D.C. in the few voices category (six to 35 performers on stage).
Competing in the many voices category (36 to 100 performers) will be The Remnant Choir of Mt. Ararat Baptist Church from Pittsburgh, Pa.; Aktiv Gospel Chorale from the Assemblies of the Emmanuel Church out of Baltimore, Md.; The Rejoice Choir of Ebenezer AME Church in Clinton, Md., and The Sanctuary Choir of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church of Washington, D.C.
â€œWe had roughly 30 entries with 80 percent of them from the immediate D.C. area,â€ said Anderson, who is owner of Missing Peace Productions. â€œHow Sweet The Sound had a detailed criteria for judging that included articulation, togetherness, originality, appearance, and musical interpretation.â€
Anderson said that it is going to be very difficult this evening â€œbecause there is a lot of tremendous talentâ€ in this area.
Min. Dwayne Fulton, Choir Director at Mt. Ararat, said the church is bringing a busload of members to cheer on their choir. The 55-member group will be performing a special arrangement of the song â€œBlessed Assuranceâ€ by Trinni Massie, who has been a member of the church for eight years.
â€œWe thought we hadnâ€™t made it,â€ Min. Fulton said. â€œSo much time had passed so when we got the call, we were very ecstatic.â€
Massie, who will be directing the choir this evening, said he was shocked to learn of the selection.
â€œThere are so many great choirs. We are very excited to be chosen,â€ he said
The Verizon Center is just one of 11 stops â€œHow Sweet The Soundâ€ will be visiting in their search for the best church choir in America. The winner of each category will win $10,000 for their choir. The overall winner will receive a Verizon Wireless handset and $50 gift card for each choir member and will then perform at the grand finale event where they can win up to $25,000.
The tour started in Houston, Texas on Sat., Sept. 19 and the finale will be held in Detroit, Mich. on Sat., Nov. 7. Other tour stops include Newark, N.J., Philadelphia, Pa., Chicago, Ill., Atlanta, Ga., Memphis, Tenn., Los Angeles, Calif. and Oakland, Calif. For more information, visit www.howsweetthesound.com.