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Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound™ is bigger than ever in 2010 with the expansion to three new cities, including Charlotte, N.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Cleveland, and of course a stop in Atlanta! The national gospel choir competition gives church choirs across the country a chance to win the title of “The Best Church Choir in America” and up to $50,000 in cash and prizes. CeCe Winans, gospel industry legend and winner of numerous GRAMMY® and Stellar Awards, will join co-host and GRAMMY-winning songwriter, producer, arranger and music director Donald Lawrence as the tour emcee at each of the 14 regional competitions and the finale. Marvin Sapp, Hezekiah Walker, Byron Cage, James Fortune, Dorinda Clark Cole, Fred Hammond, Kurt Carr, Richard Smallwood and more will join the competition as judges.

“I am thrilled to co-host Verizon’s 2010 How Sweet the Sound competition. Gospel music is the foundation of American popular music and is a celebration of community. Gospel is part of my soul, and I look forward to experiencing it with people from across the country,” said CeCe Winans.

“We are so proud that this event has become a marquee event in the gospel community, and we are eager to bring it to more of our customers and their communities,” said Marquett Smith, vice president, corporate communications, Verizon Wireless. “Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound is just one program of a much larger commitment to communities for Verizon.”

Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound will kick off Sept. 9 in Houston and will visit the following cities:

Houston, TX (Sept. 9, Toyota Center)

Jacksonville, Fla. (Sept. 11, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena)

Memphis, Tenn. (Sept. 14, FedEx Forum)

Philadelphia (Sept. 17, Wachovia Center)

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 18, Verizon Center)

Newark, N.J. (Sept. 22, Prudential Center)

Cleveland (Sept. 24, Quicken Loans Arena)

Detroit (Sept. 25, Joe Louis Arena)

Chicago (Sept. 27, United Center)

Charlotte, N.C. (Sept. 30, Time Warner Cable Arena)

Atlanta (Oct. 2, Philips Arena)

St. Louis (Oct. 5, Scottrade Center)

Oakland, Calif. (Oct. 9, ORACLE Arena)

Los Angeles (Oct. 11, STAPLES Center)

How Sweet the Sound Information

Choirs selected from each city will move on to the regional competitions to compete for a chance to earn the title of “The Best Church Choir in America” and to win up to $16,000 in cash and prizes plus the opportunity to represent their cities in the grand finale of How Sweet the Sound in Washington, D.C., on November 13, 2010. Tickets for regional events are on sale now. Floor seats at each regional show are $7, and lower- and upper-tier seats are available for $5.

In 2009, Atlanta’s West Pentecostal Church Choir was named the overall winner of How Sweet the Sound. According to the choir’s music director, Brandon Frazier, the choir used its prize money to record its first album.

Details about Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound, including schedules, online voting, judging criteria, tickets and official rules, are available online at

Courtesy of