Verizon's 'How Sweet the Sound' Returns to D.C.

6/15/2012, 3:06 p.m.

Local Choirs Perform to Win Prizes, Advance to National Finale

(Tickets Go On Sale 10 a.m., June 22)

WASHINGTON, DC - Critics from coast to coast have called it everything from "Fierce" and "Uplifting" to "Authentic" and "Emphasizes Worship." No matter how you view it, one thing for sure is the fact that Verizon's How Sweet the Sound is a musical celebration unlike any other. It is the ultimate gospel music experience that pays tribute to gospel music and provides choirs a platform to showcase their talent. For the fifth year in a row, gospel music fans and enthusiasts from coast to coast will witness the country's premiere and most prestigious gospel choirs and have a chance to see first-hand what critics have been raving about.

Registration is currently open for the 2012 Verizon's How Sweet the Sound Gospel Celebration and interested choir representatives can visit www.HowSweetTheSound.com until Saturday, June 30 to sign up to be part of the How Sweet the Sound community. By registering, choirs will have the chance to rejoice in song and praise; sing in front of gospel greats and fans; and compete for a chance to win up to $50,000 in cash and prizes. After registering, choirs will be judged for their chance to advance to the regional competition.

This year, one of seven power-packed regional finals and musical celebrations will be held in Washington, D.C., 7:30 p.m., Sept. 12 at Verizon Center. Tickets are $20.99, $16, $11. Tickets are available at the Verizon Center box office, all TicketMaster locations and online at ticketmaster.com

Other cities hosting the competition, as part of the 2012 Verizon How Sweet the Sound tour, are Dallas, Atlanta, Newark, Detroit and Los Angeles. Competing choirs will vie for their chance to advance to the finale in New York scheduled for November 4 at the Barclays Center, where they will compete for a chance to win cash and prizes and the title of "The Best Gospel Choir in America."

GRAMMY award-winning, songwriter, producer, arranger and music director Donald Lawrence will serve as host and be joined by GRAMMY award-winning entertainer, producer, author and syndicated radio host Yolanda Adams. In addition, Erica Campbell of Mary Mary, Fred Hammond, Bishop Hezekiah Walker and CeCe Winans will serve as resident judges for this year's competition and also perform on stage, alongside Lawrence and Adams.

Last year, Tarboro, N.C.-based Salvation and Deliverance Church Choir won the grand prize and the title "Best Gospel Choir in America." The choir used their prize money to support "Weight On The Lord" - a program designed to help people in their community make healthier lifestyle choices. They were also able to kick off their "How Sweet The Tidings" program just in time for the holidays. The program afforded them the chance to adopt five families for the holidays, giving them food and gifts.

"Anyone would love to have the bragging rights of calling themselves "the best church choir" in the nation," said Kristian Herring, director of Salvation and Deliverance Church Choir. "How Sweet the Sound truly helped change our lives."