The Wheaton College Gospel Choir has been selected to compete in “How Sweet the Sound,” a competition for gospel choirs sponsored by Verizon Wireless.
The competition, one of the largest choir competitions in the nation, identifies the top choirs in seven regions. Those choirs then perform before the local community and are assessed by a panel of judges including gospel greats Donald Lawrence, Yolanda Adams, Erica Campbell of Mary Mary, Fred Hammond, Bishop Hezekiah Walker, and CeCe Winans. The contest offers the opportunity to win $50,000 in cash and prizes.
Wheaton's choir is the first non-church-affiliated gospel choir to advance to regional competition in the five-year history of the competition.
The Wheaton College Gospel Choir will perform at 7:30 p.m. September 17 at United Center in Chicago. If the choir advances in the competition, members will perform in a finale event in New York November 4.
In advance of Monday's competition, members of the choir are scheduled to be interviewed by Yolanda Adams and to perform during the 7 a.m. hour of WGN-TV's morning news show. The show airs locally on Channel 9, and can be viewed through the station's livestream at wgntv.com/news/livestreaming.
Choir director Tanya Egler says the choir members see the competition not only as an opportunity to perform for a large audience, but also as a chance to celebrate their faith.
“It’s already a blessing to be recognized among the top choirs in Chicago,” Egler says. “We’re looking forward to this opportunity to proclaim God’s awesome power and who he is to more than 20,000 people and the whole nation by competing in Verizon’s contest.”
Founded in 1986 with 6 members, the Wheaton College Gospel Choir has had as many as 120 students participating in musical worship and ministry, and has performed throughout the U.S. and internationally. The choir celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this year with the release of a CD titled “Legacy.”
More information, and a link to purchase tickets, can be found on howsweetthesound.com.
September 17 Update:
Here's a link to view the choir's performance on the WGN-TV morning news show.