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National gospel competition graces the Bay Area

on October 22, 2009

Powerful gospel performances lifted the spirits of audiences during “How Sweet the Sound,” the search for America’s best church choir. The 11-city tour stopped at the Oracle Arena in Oakland Oct. 10 and featured eight local choirs, singing for the title of Best Regional Choir. The winning choir will go on to Detroit for the tour’s finale Nov. 7.

Tina Bradford-Landry's gospel choir performed at last year's "How Sweet the Sound" competition.

Tina Bradford-Landry's gospel choir performed at last year's "How Sweet the Sound" competition.

Richmond’s Independent Community Church won the People’s Choice Award during last year’s competition. Although no Richmond choirs were selected to participate this year, Independent Community’s choir director, Tina Bradford-Landry attended the show to experience the audience’s perspective.

“This [event] is important because it brings the community, the churches and all cultures together,” said Bradford-Landry. “The energy [is] in here and the spirit of God is in here, so I’m being blessed here just looking on.”

East Oakland Faith Deliverance Center was the evening’s big winner, earning the title of Best Regional Choir, as well as Best Large Choir and the People’s Choice Award. The Best Small Choir Award was given to Apostolic Community Life Center from Salinas.

The other participating choirs were Mt. Zion Assemblies from Fresno; Abundant Life Ministries, the East Bay Church of Religious Science, Genesis Worship Center and Jubilee Christian Center, all from Oakland; and the Pentecostals of the Bay Area from Pittsburg.

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