Wilette Blakely Alford, of South Bend, auditioned in March on the singing show and today she is waiting to hear if she will be one of the people chosen to sing in the final rounds in Atlanta.
On each season, the show and its judges look to discover the best undiscovered gospel singers in America. Finalists compete each week until a winner is crowned. Judges say they are looking for a combination of musical talent, grace, passion and style in selecting singers.
Last week I sat down to talk Alford about her experience auditioning for the show at the New Faith Baptist Church in Matterson, III.
About 2,500 people auditioned and the field was narrowed to 100 contestants who are waiting now to see if they will get one of the 25 slots.
Alford is one of those 100 contestants.
“I had to sing a portion of the song, ‘I Need Thee Every Hour’ for about 15 seconds,” said Alford.
“I really didn’t have a lot of time to do anything but through my singing I wanted God to use me and allow me to do his work though song. I just let it go and let God work and began to sing. After a brief moment of prayer, I sang from my heart and got three thumbs up (from the judges). It was an amazing feeling.”
“I learned about (the) auditions from a friend of mine from years ago.
“I had tried out 20 years ago for Sounds of Blackness, a well-known singing group in Chicago, but I didn’t make the tryout. My friend, who is now working for ‘Sunday Best,’ encouraged me to try out, and I did. Now, all I can do is wait and see. I got three thumbs up,” Alford said.
“Donnie McClurkin gave me some pointers and the other two judges, CeCe Winans and Kim Burrell, said nothing but gave me two thumbs up. Right now, I’m just waiting to see if I will move on to Atlanta and sing at the next level.”
Alford’s husband, Donald Alford Jr., watched closely as she stepped on the stage. He said he sent her his love and best wishes.
The Alfords, of South Bend, and the Blakelys had known each other for years.
When asked where her gift of song comes from, she said her family. The Blakelys are well-known for their singing in the Church of God in Christ in South Bend, Gary and Chicago areas.
Alford said singing is a part of who she is.
“My mother was a singer and singing was just in my blood,” Alford said.
“I grew up in the Church of God in Christ, and I remember singing my first solo, ‘I’m Satisfied,’ at Faith Temple Church of God in Christ in East Chicago. I knew then that my voice could help bring about a kind of anointing so I turned my life over to Christ, and I have never looked back.”
“Now, I try to tell young people, as well as anyone, anywhere on their lives’ spiritual journey just give Christ a chance and don’t be afraid to follow your dreams because anything is possible if you only believe.”
To hear Alford
Wilette Blakely Alford will present a concert titled “Simply Redeemed” at 6 p.m. April 21 at the Pentecostal Cathedral Church of God in Christ, 1025 W. Western Avenue, South Bend. Tickets $10 and are available at the Pentecostal Book Store by calling 574- 232-4253.