On Sunday, September 29th, the Verizon Theatre came alive with the sound of Gospel. The sixth annual How Sweet The Sound: A Verizon Experience featured six choirs from across Texas and Oklahoma competing for the grand prize of $10,000. The bar was set mighty high by Montrae Tisdale-Johnson & The Friends Chorale from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, but Dallas’ own God’s Tabernacle of Deliverance United Voices matched their competitors with their vocals one upped the visual representation competition by having all the female members wear their hair in the same style. Representing Houston, the Royalwood Sanctuary Choir packed the rafters with their large roster of vocalists and impressed with their choreographed moves while performing.

The intermission between choirs was the opportunity for the audience to enjoy the sweet sounds of the acclaimed judges and hosts. Yolanda Adams and David Lawrence were the master of ceremonies while Vashawn Mitchell, Hezekiah Walker, Israel Houghton, who also revealed a preview of his upcoming theatrical release, I’m In Love With A Church Girl, and Tamela Mann judged the contestants on their performance and presentation. All performed well, but it was Mann’s stirring performance of her hit single, “Take Me To The King” that was the biggest moment of the night that was not part of the competition.
Grand Prairie’s St. John Church Music Ministry reminded everyone in the building that this was a competition with their powerful performance. The grand finale with Dallas, Texas own, Marquinn Middleton & the Miracle Chorale was thought-provoking as an appearance from Black Jesus concluded their time on stage. Surprisingly, it was the fifth entry of the night that was able to bring the energy to its highest after several rousing renditions. From the judges’ table to the nosebleeds, the spirit was alive and loud as Little Rock, Arkansas’s St. Marks Sanctuary Choir took the stage and performed, “Now.” It was an unanimous decision for them to win the people’s choice award of $5,000, that was determined by the texts of the audience, and the grand prize of $10,000. The St. Marks Sanctuary Choir will go on to compete in the finale at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, California on November 2 to win over $50,000 in cash and prizes and the opportunity to record with How Sweet The Sound / eOne Music.

By: Terrance Porter

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