Church choirs can compete for a spot in the How Sweet the Sound Tour

Church choirs can compete in the nation-wide How Sweet the Sound Gospel Choir Competition.

The winning choirs in 11 cities will compete in the national grand finale for a cash prize of $50,000 and the title of the best church choir in America.

Grammy Award-winning songwriter, producer, arranger and music director Donald Lawrence will be the tour emcee. Marvin Sapp, Hezekiah Walker and other gospel artists will be the judges.

The Atlanta competition is Sept. 15 in Philips Arena. Other cities are St. Louis, Sept. 13; Newark, Sept. 18; Detroit, Sept. 20; Philadelphia, Sept. 23; Washington, D.C., Sept. 26; Chicago, Sept. 29; Memphis, Oct. 2; Houston, Oct. 6; Oakland, Oct. 10 and Los Angeles, Oct. 13. The finale concert is Nov. 8 in Atlanta.

The competition begins at 7:30 p.m. in each city. Tickets are $5-$7. To buy tickets, go to www.ticketmaster.com Locally, tickets are available at Publix grocery stores or the Columbus Civic Center box office.

Choirs will be in two categories. The small/medium choirs have six-35 singers; the large choirs have 36-100 singers.

Choirs who want to perform onstage must submit an application and a five-minute performance audition video. Applications may be sent online at www.howsweetthesound.com The deadline is midnight Wednesday.

Selected choirs will be voted on by the general public by going to the Web site. The dates to vote are Aug. 17-23.

For more information, go to the Web site, or call 800-230-0053.