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Petersburg, VA — The Virginia State University Gospel Chorale has been selected to compete in How Sweet the Sound, a Verizon experience.  “How Sweet the Sound” is a nationwide search for the best gospel choir in America. The goal of the program is to celebrate music and create a lasting impact on churches and communities across the

country. This year marks the first time in its five year history that community choirs have been afforded the opportunity to participate.

The VSU Gospel Chorale is one of the most requested performance groups on the campus of Virginia State University. Its primary mission is to provide gospel music for the University and surrounding community.

Annually, the choir performs for a variety of commitments, to include University ceremonies, public concerts, church events (e.g., revivals, anniversaries, installations, etc.), weddings, and recording sessions.

In support of music education, the choir performs at music conventions, gospel festivals, primary and secondary schools, and other colleges and universities across the country. The choir has competed in many competitions – the most notable being the National Black Music Caucus Choir Competition in New York, where they’ve won first place multiple times and usually win about half of the competition categories. In 2003, the choir made history by not only winning first place but sweeping wins in 11 of 13 categories (Most Outstanding Choir, Most Outstanding Processional and Recessional, Most Outstanding Chorale Attire, Most Outstanding Choreography, Most Outstanding Soprano Soloist, Most Outstanding Alto, Most Outstanding Tenor Soloist, Most Outstanding Student Director, Most Outstanding Keyboardist, Most Outstanding Percussionist, and Best Coordinated Dance Ensemble).

The VSU Gospel Chorale has shared the stage with the likes of Kim Burrell, Mary Mary, Cheryl “CoCo”Clemons, Tye Tribbett, Hezekiah Walker, and Earnest Pugh. The choir has toured extensively across the country, as well as Canada, the Virgin Islands, Italy, Hungary, and France. Currently, the choir is listed under the word “choir” in the Britannica Online Encyclopedia and is included in two music textbooks in the Gospel music sections.

This year’s “How Sweet the Sound” is co-hosted by Donald Lawrence and Yolanda Adams.  This years judges will include CeCe Winans, Erica Campbell, and Hezekiah Walker. The VSU Gospel Chorale will compete for $10,000 at the regional competition on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. Doors open and pre-show activities begin at 6:30 p.m., and the competition begins at 7:30 p.m. The winners of the seven regional competitions will advance to the grand finale at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on Sunday, November 4, 2012 to compete for $25,000 and the title of “Best Gospel Choir in America.”

To purchase tickets to the regional competition, visit or For more information regarding the VSU Gospel Chorale, please email Mr. Michael Rainey, Business Manager, at or Mr. James Holden Jr., Faculty Advisor and Director, at