The first thing you realize about the Verizon How Sweet The Sound competition is it’s big… no, really big. Like Staples Center, American Airlines Center, United Center big across nine major cities. At each regional stop, church choirs vie to ultimately be called The Best Gospel Church Choir In America. But they have their work cut out for them as all of those taking the stage are chosen from hundreds and hundreds of talented groups.
Gospel music is an inspiring American art form that’s been around for centuries and our talented team here at AMS Pictures is fortunate enough to be crafting a two-hour program documenting this journey which airs on GMC November 26th. Our host, former Destiny’s Child singer, Michelle Williams gives viewers a behind-the-scenes, city-by-city look at what goes on backstage before the choirs take to the stage in front of a packed house. Gospel superstars Donald Lawrence and CeCe Winans act as the live event emcees and the panel of judges include Marvin Sapp, Byron Cage, and Fred Hammond.
Working with Michelle Williams was a real treat as she is a true professional. Not only was she fantastic on camera, she also truly connected with the choirs and their stories in a way that was 100% authentic. And there’s good reason: she was a choir director in Rockford, IL before joining Beyonce and Kelly Rowland to form Destiny’s Child.
I remember telling the crew before we left that regardless of what you currently know about gospel music, by the end of the first night you’ll be singing and clapping your hands. Sure enough, our gaffer Israel “Izzy” Pedraza was singing all the way home. Our team has captured so many amazing choral performances and heart-lifting back stories – more than 90 hours worth – it’ll be tough condensing those inspiring moments down to just two hours. Yes, being on the road for almost a month shooting 17-hr days was grueling, but the people we met along the way made it all worthwhile and have me asking… when do we do it again?
Verizon Road to The Finals, airing on Gospel Music Channel (GMC), November 26th.
Finale in early December.
You can watch GMC on DISH Network channel 188, DIRECTV channel 338 and on local cable.