GOSPELflava.com was on site and backstage getting a closer look into the excitement and anticipation of this portion of the competition. With hosts like the incomparable Donald Lawrence and the legendary CeCe Winans and Gospel music giants: Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, and Kurt Carr, as judges, the night was nothing short of amazing.
There was energy in the air and all choirs in both categories (small choirs, large choirs) offered soul-stirring performances.
The winner of the Best Large and Best Overall Choir was the Marble Gospel Community Choir. They delivered an amazing performance on all fronts. The choir director, musical direction, lead vocalist, and arrangement of the classic hymn "It Is Well With My Soul" created a wonderful formula for success. The audience truly felt the presence of God as they sang and thereafter. It took about 10-15 minutes to get back on schedule as a result of the ministry of this choir. The judges all expressed how much they enjoyed their performance and Marvin Sapp expressed how their ministry touched his heart.
The choir explained to GOSPELflava.com that this is their 2nd year participating in the competition, and their 2nd year winning regionally. They expressed excitement, a sense of gratitude, and a desire to raise their performance to the next level in order to win during their opportunity to compete in Washington, DC for the Grand Finale.
The night would not have been complete without the outstanding individual performances from the judges Marvin Sapp, Kurt Carr, and Fred Hammond as well as co-host CeCe Winans. These Gospel veterans had the entire stadium on their feet including Ms. Cissy Houston (mother of Whitney Houston) who was also in attendance.
One of the highlights of the night was Fred Hammond's Jamaican- inspired accent, that he would randomly infuse in his commentary throughout the night. The finale featured all choirs, judges, and hosts singing "Back To Eden", penned by co-host Donald Lawrence.
The Newark stop of Verizon's How Sweet The Sound proved to be a noteworthy event full of praise, laughs, and wonderful musical artistry. A number of the choirs that participated were from Brooklyn, New York. Brooklyn is known for its amazing choirs and is the home for gospel legends such as Bishop Hezekiah Walker and James Hall, who was attendance. It was a wonderful experience! Catch it in your nearest city!!
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