Even the rain couldn’t dampen the excitement for this year’s How Sweet the Sound Celebration. Long lines formed around the Oracle O.co Arena for the last stop of Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound Nine City Tour.
An annual celebration of the best church choirs throughout the country – it has been in existence for 3 years, with both Marvin Sapp and Donald Lawrence from the very start. “This event reminds me of a time that the church choir was the community choir,” says Lawrence.
Once the doors opened, seats quickly filled with over 18,000 gospel music lovers from all over the Bay Area anticipating what would be a glory filled evening.
With countless submissions, eight local choirs and ensembles made the cut to compete for the title of “America’s Best Church Choir”. From start to finish, each choir gave their absolute best in giving God praise. Although only one choir would be represented in the finale at the LA Staple Center – none of the choirs disappointed. With hosts for the evening, Donald Lawrence and Cece Winans the evening’s panel of judges included Award-winners Marvin Sapp, Erica & Tina Campbell of Mary Mary, and Isreal Houghton.
When asked about making a way for the next generation of church choirs to represent the Kingdom, Cece Winans made a powerful statement:
“You prepare the next generation by being an excellent example. Take the time to pour into the person or persons who ask for advice. If the standard is high because those who have done it have done it so well, all of the people that are in line to come they know that they have to be prepared. You can’t come in just to give people goosebumps. You have to represent excellence because we serve an excellent God.”
When the lights dimmed, the crowd erupted in praise, knowing that the best was yet to come.
RECAP OF ALL CHOIRS
(SMALL & MEDIUM CATEGORY)
LARGE CHOIR CATEGORY…The Heavyweights of the Bay!!!!
After the 5 minute praise break, the next song was Kirk Franklin’s “Hosanna” performed by the Jubilee Christian Center Choir (San Jose,Ca) They came amped and ready to give God Praise. They have a great sound for the Kingdom.
If you were there, you know as well as I do that it must have been VERY hard for the judges to decide…I’m just sayin’!
They would later go on to win Overall Regional Winner and represent the Bay Area during the HSTS Finale completion alongside national winners:
- DALLAS REGION: St. John Baptist Church (Grand Prairie, Texas)
- ATLANTA REGION: All Nations Life and Praise Church (Atlanta, Georgia)
- CHARLOTTE REGION: Salvation and Deliverance Church (Tarboro, North Carolina)
- WASHINGTON, D.C. REGION: Refreshing Spring Church of God In Christ (Riverdale, Maryland)
- CHICAGO REGION: The Lighthouse Church of All Nations (Alsip, IL)
- DETROIT REGION: Higher Ground Always Abounding Assemblies (Columbus, Ohio)
- ST LOUIS REGION: Metropolitan Community Church of Greater St. Louis (St. Louis, Missouri)
- LOS ANGELES REGION: Family Life Center Apostolic Church (Whittier, Ca)
The evening ended with a unified presentation of Donald Lawrences’ “Your Righteous Mind”. His empowering words set to song served as the perfect end to a great evening.
Barry Reed Jr., a replanted Bay Area native describes himself as contemporary traditionalist a.k.a the “Last of the Old-School”. Reach him on twitter at @barrysreedjr or by email firstname.lastname@example.org