Greater First Church wins Verizon Wireless local gospel choir competition

Comments:  | Leave A Comment

The Greater First Church Chorale offered a winning sound during the How Sweet the Sound gospel choir competition sponsored by Verizon Wireless. The East Chicago, Ind. choir not only walked away from the event, held Sept. 27, with the title of best choir i

The Greater First Church Chorale offered a winning sound during the How Sweet the Sound gospel choir competition sponsored by Verizon Wireless. The East Chicago, Ind. choir not only walked away from the event, held Sept. 27, with the title of best choir in Chicago, the dynamic singing group also took home $16,000. From the first synchronized note that boomed out of the mouths of the GFC Chorale’s members, the audience was enthralled, cheering and giving GFC a soulful, church-like “go ‘head.” The competition judges had their mouths gapped open in amazement. And when GFC Chorale finished its spirited and animated rendition of the gospel anthem “Holy, Holy, Holy” the packed audience at United Center was on its feet and the judges could not stop heaping praise on the choir. “That is the epitome of gospel music. Y’all preached a story in song,” gospel recording artist and a contest judge Karen Clark-Sheard told the dynamic choir’s director. “Y’all sang with authority.” She told Carl Hearne, the choir director, that his choir, which performed first in the large choir category, had “set the bar” for the night’s competition. The three choirs that followed GFC offered moving versions of traditional anthems and classic gospel songs and most received high praise from the panel of judges – Clark-Sheard, her singing sister Dorinda Clark-Cole and the chart-topping singer Rev. Marvin Sapp. The infusions of jazz and Classical music, as well as liturgical dance, struck a chord with panel of judges. But the audience and the judges were sold on GFC Chorale. It was almost a given when show hosts Donald Lawrence, the uber-gospel producer and songwriter, and CeCe Winans, the iconic gospel recording artist, announced that GFC Chorale were the winners of the Chicago competition. The choir received a $10,000 prize for its first place finish and another $5,000 prize for being the V-cast or audience-choice winner. Additionally, GFC Chorale picked up another $1,000 as part of the wireless giant’s community service effort where it collects used cell phones as part of its domestic violence initiative. GFC Chorale collected the most phones among the competing choirs. “We sing like this every Sunday,” Hearne said. He explained that the choir’s tight performance was a result of a lot of “hard work! Hard work, dedication, commitment, pulling the gift that is within them.” The choir could not close out the night without including their pastor, Bishop Tavis Grant. Hearne said the choir was Grant’s vision, and the pastor was proud of the choir. “They have worked so hard for so long and they have sacrificed and paid the dues. And what’s most important, they remained humbled. There’s something to say about humility and meekness in the midst of competition. As long as God gets the glory that’s what we want,” Grant told the Defender. He added that his choir shows “another thing that God is doing, God is up to.” Hearne and Grant said the prize money would help further the church’s efforts to help “hurting people.” The How Sweet The Sound competition stops in several cities around the nation looking for the best choir in the respective town and region. All of the finalists in each region will go on to compete in a national event to identify the best church choir in America. GFC will represent Chicago in the national grand finale competition in Washington D.C. next month. While GFC was the big winner for the large choir category, the 10-voices of the Redeemed Tabernacle Church Of God In Christ choir took home first prize in the small choir competition. The West Side church took home $10,000. They don’t, however, compete in the national competition. Winans told the Defender she is “blown away” by the choir competition. “The main focus on this event is just focusing on the foundation of gospel music and that is the church choir,” the Dove, Grammy and Stellar Award winning singer said. “This is the event that gives them a platform, a pat on the back.” Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender (Wireless Image for Verizon/Michael Loccisano)

Tags:

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 292 other followers