Top recording artists Fred Hammond and Vashawn Mitchell headline Verizon’s 2012 ‘How Sweet the Sound’ regional show set for Friday, September 21, at 7:30 p.m., at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Both entertainers will serve as resident judges and perform during the competition to designate the ‘best choir in America.’ Choirs have the chance to win up to $50,000 in cash and prizes.
Local participants include DaNell Daymon and the Greater Works Chorale, Capital City Singers, Celestial Voices Chorale, Greater Los Angeles Cathedral Choir, Gospel Gators of San Francisco State University and The Porter Brothers and Genesis.
Recording artist Donald Lawrence returns to host with award-winning singer Yolanda Adams. In addition, Erica Campbell of Mary Mary and Bishop Hezekiah Walker will serve as judges.
“It will be exciting. There’s nothing like choir music. The choir is the foundation of the gospel music industry. They get the least amount of play on the charts, but it is the foundation of what we do and ‘How Sweet the Sound’ is a great platform to display the local choirs,” said Hammond, a multiple award winner and 32-year veteran in the industry.
“It’s great when the world embraces our sacred music of gospel and I think it’s good for world to still see choirs. I believe this year, the competition will be really great because not only church choirs are involved, but community choirs are able to enter as well. I’m sure we’ll see great competition in the LA area,” noted Mitchell, who sold 180,000 copies of his album, ‘Nobody Greater.’
The increased talent of the competitors will lead to more intensive judging, said Hammond. “Before, it was keeping everything positive, but they’ve stepped up the game a little bit with judging being a little more crucial.
“We’ll be looking at pitch, how the choir connected with the audience, choreography to a degree, and did the choir accomplish the songwriter’s vision.”
Mitchell added, “We’ll be looking at choir decorum, oneness, sound, vocal ability, how the director communicates to the choir and vice versa. I believe some of the critiquing will be good for advancement as well. Some people just need another ear to help them as they develop their choirs.”
Urging the community to attend, Mitchell said, “Los Angeles has some of the greatest choirs on this side of heaven. This is the only competition where choirs can come together and spread such a big sound of gospel choir music and we should all be a part to keep it alive.”
Hammond declared, “You don’t want to miss it. Come on out, you’re going to love it!”
‘How Sweet the Sound’ tickets are $10, $15 and $20 and currently on sale at the Staples Center box office, online at www.ticketmaster.com or via phone (800) 745-3000.