Celebrity judges Tamela Mann, Hezekiah Walker, VaShawn Mitchell and Erica Campbell of Mary Mary selected the 2013 national winner, the St. Mark Sanctuary Choir of Little Rock, Ark. who won the regional competition in Dallas. The choir delivered a powerful rendition of J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise’s song, ‘Now.’
The St. Mark Sanctuary Choir beat out the other six choirs that advanced from the regional rounds, including Joshua Kagler & Harmonistic Praise (New Orleans), Gentle Giant Music Ministries of Hyattsville, MD. (Baltimore), The St. Thomas Gospel Choir of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas of Philadelphia (New York City), Carlos Whitlow & Generation Praise (Detroit), Souls of Salvation: SOS (Chicago), and Darryl Izzard & Christ-N-U of Columbia, S.C. (Atlanta).
The St. Mark Sanctuary Choir won a recording contract with How Sweet the Sound/eOne Music, $25,000 in cash and prizes and the title of “America’s Best Gospel Choir.”
The night included a special performance by Shirley Caesar, who sang ‘God Will Make A Way’ before being presented with the Living Legend Award for being an industry icon.
Jason McGee and PSALMS Choir of Bishop Noel Jones’ City of Refuge Church was the house choir for the evening and provided background vocals for each of the judges, who all performed their latest singles.
Jazz extraordinaire Lalah Hathaway, actress Anna Maria Horsford (“Amen”), YouTube sensations The Playmakers, and a who’s who of industry power players were in attendance for the finale. (Photos courtesy of W&W Public Relations for Verizon/credit: Gilles Mingasson)