With four regional choirs returning to the How Sweet the Sound Dallas regional, it was sure to be phenomenal. The expectancy was in the air along with tension. Smiles quickly faded as the lights came down inside the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie Sunday evening.
Finally, the judges were seated and the evening's hosts Donald Lawrence and Yolanda Adams had done their final crowd prep before the first choir took the stage. With that, the nation's premiere choir competition was underway in Dallas.
The night was pure magic and with each choir the night went higher and higher! In between the choir performances, the judges and hosts performed their latest hits. Bishop Hezekiah Walker opened the evening with his latest smash "Every Praise".
The night reached its zenith with the St. Mark Sanctuary Choir and the competition phase all but ended with their performance. The judges were not only moved at their seats, they joined the performance. As director Darius Nelson gathered himself, Bishop Hezekiah Walker whizzed by him and directed the choir and band into a reprise. Not far behind him, Tamela Mann joined in leading the choir with her soaring vocals. Vashawn Mitchell made sure to get a piece of this worship improv and at the conclusion of the reprise all judges and hosts were on stage with the choir.
Click here for full photo coverage of the How Sweet the Sound Dallas regional
Not even sure if that was allowed, the judges returned to their seats to complete their worship. Donald Lawrence handed Bishop Walker the mic and he exhorted the capacity crowd on his way to his seat.
Never before had this been seen but worshippers know worship and the free spirit flowing through the theatre was tangible in all areas, even backstage.
Congratulations to the St. Mark Sanctuary Choir and their repeat as How Sweet the Sound Dallas Regional winners. The choir swept the competition earning the People Choice prize as well. The choir completed the 2012 season as National Runners Up and People's Choice Champions.
Special congratulations to the St. John Church Music Ministry, the choir earned the Verizon Wireless Hopeline Award, contributing the most used wireless phones to the worthy cause.
View photos from the How Sweet the Sound 2012 Dallas Regional
The St. Mark Sanctuary Choir ministers "Now"
This raw video captures the moment the entire night shifted and went to a higher place of worship, adlibs by Darius Nelson, Tamela Mann, and VaShawn Mitchell.
Each choir was great in their own way and the judges made sure to compliment and highlight their strengths when they shared their remarks. Here's a recap of the night's performances.
Montrae Johnson and the Friends Chorale- "Search Me Lord"
Tamela Mann/ Vashawn Mitchell: "Rocky start, great recovery!"
Israel Houghton: "You closed it like a freight train...!"
God's Tabernacle of Deliverance United Voices- "Omnipotent"
Tamela Mann/Israel Houghton: "Amazing"
Vashawn Mitchell: "Excellent diction and clarity, great tone!"
Bishop Hezekiah Walker: "I am completely out of words, I almost started dancing with y'all!" I noticed the ladies all had the same hair, same color stockings and little ear rings!"
GTOD United Voices wore an orange ribbon in support of their Bishop, Cardell Booker. He is in the hospital, but the choir and the church is believing for a miracle for Bishop Booker.
Royalwood Sanctuary Choir- "Let Everything That Hath Breath"
Donald Lawrence:"Great Control"
Bishop Hezekiah Walker: "Great sound, amazing band!"
Israel Houghton: "Wonderful sound, both leads were great!"
St. John Church Music Ministry- "Because of the Blood"
Israel Houghton: "Flawless performance..."
Vashawn Mitchell: "Amazing"
Tamela Mann: "Great band, I really enjoyed the tenors!"
Bishop Hezekiah Walker: "Great direction and great response to the director. I really enjoyed the lead singer (Chanique Leggins)!"
St. Mark Sanctuary Choir- "NOW"
Israel Houghton: "The song "Now" should be called "WOW" because I just kept hitting Vashawn and saying 'WOW"!
Marquinn Middleton and the Miracle Chorale- "He Touched Me"
Bishop Hezekiah Walker: "Great direction!"
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