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Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir

For over 25 years, Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel (COTG) Choir has celebrated the heritage of gospel music and nurtured aspiring musicians while bringing messages of hope to the most prominent stages in the region. Ranging from ages 9 to 18, young vocalists from Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia are selected through a competitive audition process and commit to participating in a year of choral training, team-building, and crowd-pleasing performances. Under the leadership of artistic director, Michele Fowlin, COTG has shared the stage with an array of renowned gospel and popular artists including Richard Smallwood, Y’Anna Crawley, Sara Bareilles, Matthew Morrison, Kathleen Battle, and Sweet Honey in the Rock. The choir has also made appearances at The White House; Washington National Cathedral, the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Services for former President Barack Obama, and on NBC’s Today Show.

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Michele Fowlin attended Howard University and earned her Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Vocal Performance/Pedagogy with a piano minor. While at Howard, she studied with renowned opera singers Regina McConnell, Carmen Balthrop and Charlotte Holloman. Under the tutelage of Dr. James Weldon Norris she was introduced to conducting. Ms. Fowlin eventually became the Assistant to the Conductor for the Howard University Choirs. Upon traveling with the choir nationally and internationally, Ms. Fowlin conducted many concerts and eventually became one of the lead soloists. These opportunities led her to performances in Russia, England, Spain, and the US Virgin Islands. After Howard, Ms. Fowlin continued her vocal career while expanding her skills as a music teacher in surrounding public school systems. Her desire to motivate students musically has extended from the classroom into the community. Ms. Fowlin has also worked with COTG as music director and vocal coach; is choir director for Eleanor Roosevelt High School (MD) and has conducted various church youth choirs in the area. She continues to hold clinics for vocal health and wellness, voice and piano master classes, and guest directorships for gospel music workshops. Ms. Fowlin has been recognized with awards including the Mayor’s Award and Certificate of Recognition from DC Commission on the Arts.

Washington Performing Arts Men and Women of the Gospel Choir have celebrated the traditions of gospel music and its related genres with vibrant, dynamic performances in venues across the nation’s capital for 25 years. Under the leadership of Theodore Thorpe III, the choir is dedicated to cultivating and showcasing the talents of its members while presenting this American art form at its highest artistic level in distinctive performances that thrill audiences throughout the D.C. metropolitan region. The Men and Women of the Gospel Choir performs contemporary and classic works of African American heritage, including gospel standards, hymns, anthems, and other choral repertoire. As a resident ensemble of Washington Performing Arts, the Choir has shared the stage with a wide array of artists, including Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Edwin Hawkins, the late Walter Hawkins, Ramsey Lewis, Sweet Honey In The Rock, and others. In 2018, the Choir presented a Thanksgiving Concert at Duke Ellington School of the Arts Theatre featuring Thomas Allen and local artists, Patrick Lundy and Roderick Giles. They have also been featured in Of Thee We Sing: The Marian Anderson 75th Anniversary Celebration, alongside members of other D.C. choral ensembles, performing with internationally renowned artists including Jessye Norman, Dionne Warwick, the Winans Brothers, and Allison Cambridge under the direction of Stanley J. Thurston, Artistic Director, Emeritus.

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR A native of Brooklyn, NY, Theodore Thorpe, III, received his Bachelor of Arts degree in music and voice from Oakwood University, in Huntsville, AL and a Master of Arts in music with emphasis in choral and orchestral conducting from Morgan State University. A conductor, pianist, organist, vocalist, composer, and arranger, Mr. Thorpe’s musical talents have been recognized for exemplifying musical excellence throughout the years. He was the former music director for the Washington Youth Choir, a nonprofit music program which served all high school students in the D.C. metropolitan area. He has been Artistic Director for public performances of Handel’s “Messiah”, Faure’s “Requiem”, Dvorak’s “Te Deum”, and Christianson and Anderson’s “Too Hot to Handel”, and McElroy and Joubert’s “Great Joy” with full orchestra and chorus. He serves as assistant director in the “Kennedy Center Honors”, and “Christmas In Washington” televised productions on CBS-TV and TNT-cable respectively; music director at Alfred Street Baptist Church and Director of Choral Activities at TC Williams High School, in Alexandria, Virginia. Mr. Thorpe believes strongly in excellence without excuses. He continues to look to make a difference in education, in the lives young people, while blazing a trail for upcoming musicians. Mr. Thorpe is serving as Artistic Director, Men and Women of the Gospel Choir.

My Featured Artists Sessions

Sunday, September 15

3:00pm EDT