Featured image: A Chicago choir that won a separate choir competition last year. | Austin Weekly News File
Choirs from all across Cook County and even places beyond Illinois will all converge on St. Michael Missionary Baptist Church, 4106 W. Monroe St., on Oct. 7 to compete in the third annual Cook County Wide Gospel Choir Competition hosted by Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) and The Cook County Wide Gospel Choir Competition.
Hosted by Inspiration 1390 AM radio personality Marcella Jones, the competition has five confirmed choirs that will be in attendance, with the hope that another 10 will confirm, according to Anthony Beckham, community outreach coordinator for Commissioner Boykin. The first- through third-place winners of the competition will receive cash prices of $1,000, $750, and $250, respectively.
“We believe it’s necessary to bring people from our communities together and think outside of the box and be very creative,” said Beckham.
“We’re so proud that we’re going to be working with the Dr. Willie Wilson Foundation this event. Each year gets bigger and better; anywhere from 400 to 500 people come out to this event. It’s an awesome event and this year we think it’s going to be our biggest event.”
Boykin said his office looks forward to the competition each year because it offers an afternoon of stress relief for competitors and attendees.
Beckham shared that typically Boykin has taken the reigns for the past three years past to serve as the primary sponsor to allow the public to attend the event free of charge. Boykin guaranteed that this year’s event will be a “standing room only” event. The impact of the competition seems to be greater than just singing.
“We just think that right now there’s a lot of different things going on in our community and gospel music is just one of those things that bring all wide range of people together and we want to preach positivity in our community,” said Beckham.
This year’s non-competition performance will be led by The GMac Mass Choir. Last year’s performance was by Dexter Walker & Zion Movement, according to Beckham. VFP