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Registration Open For Verizon Wireless’ How Sweet The Sound Competition To Find “The Best Church Choir In America” For 2010

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BASKING RIDGE, NJ — Registration is now open for How Sweet the Sound™, which is back in 2010 and bigger than ever with the expansion to three new communities. Now in its third year, How Sweet the Sound – a national competition created by Verizon Wireless – gives church choirs nationwide a chance to win the title of “The Best Church Choir in America” and up to $50,000 in cash and prizes.

How Sweet the Sound is much more than a singing competition for choirs – it is an opportunity to celebrate the unique ways that music connects people within their communities. Interested choir representatives can visit www.HowSweetTheSound.com or select Verizon Wireless retail locations for more information and to register for a chance to compete at concerts that will take place in the following cities:

  • Houston
  • St. Louis
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Philadelphia
  • New York
  • Detroit
  • Chicago
  • Atlanta
  • Memphis, Tenn.
  • Los Angeles
  • Oakland, Calif.
  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Cleveland
  • Charlotte, N.C.

“We are excited to expand How Sweet the Sound to add Jacksonville, Cleveland and Charlotte and to bring the joy of Gospel music to a new audience,” said Joe Saracino, vice president of marketing for Verizon Wireless. “Gospel is a genre that attracts people from all walks of life, and we are proud to have created a program that celebrates music and recognizes the many volunteers who make church choirs such an important part of the community.”

Last year, Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir was named the overall winner for the How Sweet the Sound tour. According to choir director Brandon Frazier, the choir is using its prize money to record its first Gospel music album.

Entry and Selection Process
How Sweet the Sound invites choirs affiliated with a church or other church organizations (as defined by the organization’s tax-exempt ID number) within one of the 14 tour regions to enter (visit www.HowSweetTheSound.com for specific geography). Choirs interested in a chance to perform onstage in their cities must submit an application and audition video of no longer than three minutes. All registration forms and audition videos must be received by May 17, 2010. To register online, visit www.HowSweetTheSound.com. The audition video may be submitted by mail, uploaded online, or dropped off at participating Verizon Wireless Communications Stores. To enter by mail, send tapes to How Sweet the Sound, 125 E. Broad Street, Greenville, SC 29601.

Small and large choirs are eligible to enter the competition. The Few Voices category is for choirs consisting of six to 35 participants, while the Many Voices category is for choirs with 36 to 100 participants. Audition videos will be reviewed by professional music producers, music executives and Gospel radio personalities from each city. The judges will select up to 16 choirs – eight from each category – from each stop of the tour. The video submissions of the 16 choirs will be posted on www.HowSweetTheSound.com where members of the community can vote for their favorite choirs.

Once the online voting is complete, four choirs from each category will be selected to perform onstage in the regional event and two winners, one from each category, will win $10,000 for their choir. One overall winner will be selected at each regional concert, and each choir member from the overall winning choir will also receive a Verizon Wireless phone and a $50 gift card. The overall winning choir from each city will also advance to the grand finale where they will compete to win more than $25,000 in cash and prizes.

In addition, the Verizon Wireless V CAST People’s Choice Award will be given to the choir that captures the heart of the audience at each regional performance and at the grand finale performance. The V CAST People’s Choice Award winners will each receive $5,000.

Verizon Wireless will select a local artist in each of the 14 cities to represent their city during the How Sweet the Sound 2010 tour. The selected artists will create a custom fine art piece that pays tribute to the event in their hometowns.

HopeLine®
Verizon Wireless will collect no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries and accessories – in any condition and from any provider – at stores nationwide and in bins onsite at every How Sweet the Sound event as part of the company’s ongoing HopeLine program which raises awareness of domestic violence. The phones are either refurbished for reuse or recycled, and the proceeds from the program provide wireless phones and cash grants to local shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention and awareness. In 2009, more than 7,500 phones were collected during How Sweet the Sound, and at the grand finale, Verizon Wireless donated $25,000 to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) to support its Women of Color Leadership Initiative.

Additional details will be announced as the selection process gets underway. All details about the entry and selection process and the official rules can be found by visiting www.HowSweetTheSound.com or by calling 800-230-0053.