Gospel legend CeCe Winans and GRAMMY® Award-winning artist, songwriter and producer, Donald Lawrence, will return in 2011 to co-host Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound™ – the country’s largest Gospel music celebration.  Marvin Sapp will serve as the tour’s resident judge.  Joining him on the judging panel is a who’s who of Gospel music, including Fred Hammond, Ricky Dillard, Mary Mary, Dorinda Clark Cole, Richard Smallwood, James Fortune, Byron Cage, Shirley Caesar and more.

Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound tour provides a platform for church choirs to share and celebrate their faith and talent with people across the country.

Participating choirs will perform in front of gospel legends and fans and have the chance to win up to $50,000.  This year’s tour will travel to nine cities including:

*Dallas – Sept. 15 at American Airlines Center

*Atlanta – Sept. 17 at Philips Arena

*Charlotte, N.C. – Sept. 19 at Time Warner Cable Arena

*Washington, D.C. – Sept. 21 at Verizon Center

*Detroit – Sept. 24 at Joe Louis Arena

*St. Louis – Sept. 26 at Scottrade Center

*Chicago – Sept. 27 at United Center

*Los Angeles – Oct. 1 at STAPLES Center

*Oakland, Calif. – Oct. 4 at Oracle Arena

“It is an honor to return as resident judge for this joyous event that honors the foundation of our community – the church choir,” said Marvin Sapp. “How Sweet the Sound has become a second family for me, and I can’t wait to see our family grow in 2011.”

“Verizon is pleased to welcome this year’s star-studded lineup of judges and hosts who are joining us for what is sure to be another memorable How Sweet the Sound experience,” said Marquett Smith, vice president, corporate communications, Verizon Wireless.  “As a way of giving back to the community, Verizon is partnering with the country’s most beloved gospel talent to provide an opportunity for individuals to enjoy and celebrate the power of music.”

Tickets to Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound tour go on sale in July. For more details about Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound, including video content, judging criteria, ticket sales information and official rules, please visit

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