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Sweet, sweet sounds coming to Scottrade

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 4, 2010 - St. Louis is known internationally for its contributions to jazz tradition through renowned artists such as Miles Davis, Clark Terry, David Sanborn, Oliver Lake, Lester Bowie and a host of other players.

But St. Louis has a strong tradition in gospel music as well. Anyone who has seen the amazing 1982 film documentary, "Say Amen Somebody," can certainly testify that St. Louis area gospel greats in the film such as Willie Mae Ford Smith and the O'Neal Twins have made a major contribution to gospel music tradition. And that doesn't count the great Martha Bass Peaston, a St. Louis gospel singer, whose daughter, Fontella Bass, and son David Peaston, both went on achieve international fame.

So it's fitting that "How Sweet The Sound," the gospel singing competition sponsored by Verizon, makes a stop in St. Louis at Scottrade Center this Tuesday, Oct. 5.

The 14-city tour, which winds up Oct. 11 in Los Angeles, will choose regional winners at each stop who will compete for the title of Best Church Choir in two categories: "Many Voices" and "Few Voices." The winners of each category will then compete against each other to be named that region's winner. The 14 winners will go on to the National Finals of the competition in Washington, D.C. to be held on Nov. 14.

St Louis is well represented in each category with five of the seven competing choirs coming through the initial video and online voting rounds of the competition to make the regional finals Tuesday night at Scottrade.

In the "Few Voices" category, Voices of Life, Voices of St. Alphonsus and the Tabernacle of Praise Seventh-Day Adventist Church Choir are all based in St. Louis.

The New Sunny Mount Missionary Baptist Church Chancel Choir and the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater St. Louis Choir represent the area in the "Many Voices" category. Other groups competing include the Rezonate Choir from Leawood, Kans., and Voices of praise from Evansville, Ind.

Gospel starts CeCe Winans and Donald Lawrence will host the competition Tuesday at Scottrade, and the judging panel will include gospel artists Marvin Sapp, Hezekiah Walker and St Louis radio personality Dwight Stone. 

Terry Perkins is a freelance writer.

Terry Perkins is a freelance writer based in St. Louis. He has written for the St. Louis Beacon since 2009. Terry's other writing credits in St. Louis include: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis American, the Riverfront Times, and St. Louis magazine. Nationally, Terry writes for DownBeat magazine, OxfordAmerican.org and RollingStone.com, among others.

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