History of the DC. Chapter

The Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop ofAmerica, inc. was organized in October 1970 by Joan Hillsman, Shirley Berkeley, Elder Theodore King, Rev. John Fullard, Alton Morris, Edmond Gerald, Dr. Henry Thomas and Robert Fiyson. We have represented the Washington, D.C. area at the National Convention in Dallas, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio; New York City, New York; Kansas City, Missouri; Detroit, Michigan; New Orleans, Louisiana; Washington, D.C. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Houston, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia;
Miami, Florida; and the 20th Anniversaiy GMWA, Detroit, Michigan, just to name a few.

The general ofthe Chapter is for its representatives to serve as coordinators and mediators for the Gospel Music Workshop of America (the late Rev. James Cleveland, Founder and President) and to make more persons aware of the educational benefits in gospel music. Also, the workshop is to improve the standard of sacred music, directors, musicians and choir members.

The theme of the D.C. Chapter has been:
1976-1977 “Where Jesus is always the featured attraction”
1978-1979 “Love is contagious, let’s start an epidemic”
1979-1980 “Trust God enough to try Him, try God enough to trustHim”
1981-1982 “The name ofthe game is Praise”
1982-1983 “Reaching the worldfor Jesus, through music”
1983-1984 “When we pause to think; we ‘II have cause to thank”
1984-1985 “A centerfor worship and study”
1985-1986 “Pray, grow and go”
1986-1987 “Will Godfind us working on His return?”
1987-1988 “Winning souls, the highest goal”
1988-1990 “Strivingfor Excellence”

The massed choir is composed of an unlimited number of dependable, dedicated volunteer singers. The choir has appeared on television and radio and has produced three albums with Savoy Recording label: Blessed is the Man; I’m Free; and Lord, from the Depths ofMyHeart, recorded live with Rev. James Cleveland. In 1975 and 1976, the choir was nominated for the Ebony Hall of Fame. They have performed on the campuses ofHoward University, the University of Maryland, the University of Toledo (Ohio), and Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.). Other performances have been at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (1972, 1973, 1974, and 1975), the Smithsonian Institution’s Festival of Arts (1973), the National Shrine ofthe Immaculate Conception (Martin Luther King Day, 1975), the Washington Monument Grounds (for the Bicentennial, 1975), and at many area churches. Among their awards are the “Best Performing Choir” form the GMWA, 1972; and the “Best Performing Choir” from the local Gospel Music Academy, 1977. Appearances for Black History Month (February, 1978 and 1979) have been sponsored by the Department of the Army, Walter Reed Medical Center, the U.S. Coast Guard (1980), the U.S. Treasuiy, and (1984) Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2nd Annual Kentucky Fried Chicken Gospel Competition, and (1985) National Council for Traditional Arts.

The D.C. Chapter is an interdenominational and interracial organization. The chapter was named “The Best Organized Chapter” at the Gospel Music Workshop Convention in 1974 and 1975.

The Gospel Music Workshop ofAmerica’s motto is “Where Everybody is somebody.” Our goal is to establish an institution which will facilitate careers in all fields of sacred music effectively to open enrollment to all persons; that is interdenominational, interracial, regardless of cultural and/or economic background.

Scroll to Top