News Release

New Direction Christian Church Wins Verizon Wireless' How Sweet The Sound Contest And Named Best Church Choir In Memphis For Second Consecutive Year

Award-Winning Gospel Artists Donald Lawrence, Marvin Sapp and Hezekiah Walker Hosted and Judged the Event New Direction Now Qualified to Compete in National How Sweet The Sound Tour Finale in Atlanta for Up to $30,000 and Best Choir in America Title

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October 2, 2008

Sheryl Sellaway
Sheryl.Sellaway@VerizonWireless.com
678-339-5564

MEMPHIS, TN — New Direction Christian Church was named overall best church choir in Memphis during the regional competition of Verizon Wireless’ How Sweet The Sound(SM) tour, held on Oct. 2 at the FedExForum. New Direction will advance to perform in the grand finale on Nov. 8 in Atlanta to compete for a cash prize of up to $30,000 and the title of best church choir in America.

Pictured above, New Direction Christian Church celebrates in Memphis, Tenn., at the regional semi-final round of Verizon Wireless’ How Sweet The SoundSM tour, held on Oct. 2 at the FedExForum. For the second consecutive year, New Direction Christian Church was named the region's overall best church choir and will advance to perform in the grand finale on Nov. 8 in Atlanta to compete for a cash prize of up to $30,000 and the title of best church choir in America.
Photo credit: Gregory Campbell, Getty Images

The Memphis semi-finalist winners include:

  • V CAST People’s Choice Award: New Direction Christian Church
  • Small Category Winner: Mount Vernon Baptist Church
  • Large Category Winner: New Direction Christian Church

In an effort to celebrate the genre of gospel and church choir music, Verizon Wireless hosted the country’s first How Sweet The Sound event in Memphis in 2007, with New Direction Christian Church earning the top prize as “Best Large Congregation” and “Overall Grand Prize” winner at the inaugural event. Verizon Wireless decided to expand the How Sweet The Sound event in 2008 into 10 additional cities (Atlanta; Chicago; Detroit; Houston; Los Angeles; Newark, N.J.; Oakland, Calif.; Philadelphia; St. Louis and Washington, D.C.). Semi-finalists in each city will perform live on stage for the chance to win $10,000 for their congregation and the title of the best church choir in each city. Winners from each market will then compete in a national grand finale on Nov. 8 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta for a cash prize of up to $30,000 and the title of best church choir in America.

Memphis is the eighth stop along the How Sweet The Sound tour. At the grand finale event in Atlanta, the overall semi-finalist winners from 11 cities will compete for the grand prize. GRAMMY®-winning songwriter, producer, arranger and music director, Donald Lawrence, serves as tour emcee and, at the finale, he will be joined by Marvin Sapp, Hezekiah Walker and other guest celebrity judges.

Verizon Wireless’ How Sweet The Sound tour continues in the following U.S. cities:

  • October 6: Houston (Toyota Center)
  • October 10: Oakland, Calif. (ORACLE Arena)
  • October 13: Los Angeles (LA Memorial Sports Arena)
  • November 8: How Sweet The Sound Finale Concert in Atlanta (Philips Arena)

Music fans planning to watch their favorite choirs compete during this event are encouraged to bring their no-longer-used wireless phones and donate them to the Verizon Wireless HopeLine® program. Phones will be collected at booths set up at different locations throughout the concert venues.

HopeLine is Verizon Wireless’ exclusive phone recycling and reuse program that collects no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries and accessories in any condition from any wireless service provider to benefit victims of domestic violence. Proceeds from the HopeLine program are used to provide wireless phones and cash grants to local shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention and awareness. Since 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 5.3 million phones and awarded more than $5.6 million in cash grants to domestic violence agencies and organizations throughout the country.

Those who cannot make it to the show can drop off their used wireless phones, batteries and accessories at any Verizon Wireless Communications Store at any time of the year.

For more information about Verizon Wireless and the HopeLine program, visit www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline. For more information about How Sweet The Sound, visit www.howsweetthesound.com.

(EDITORS NOTE: Broadcast-quality B-Roll featuring 2008 How Sweet The Sound coverage is available online. Log on to Verizon Wireless’ Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia to preview and request video segments, which can be received in newsrooms digitally or by tape.)

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 68.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 70,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

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