The Detroit Chapter



The Detroit Chapter

  In ł968, our founder Rev. James Cleveland gathered musicians from across the United States in an effort to brainstorm his idea of creating a venue to exhibit gospel music. The results of these discussions brought into existence the Gospel Music Workshop of America. The Motor City was selected for the first Board meeting, held in March of 1968; with the inaugural national convention convening at historic King Solomon Church the summer of 1968. Local affiliate chapters-- including the Detroit Chapter soon followed. Officials of this newly formed chapter established a solid foundation for others to follow that is consistent with the national organization’s motto, “GMWA: Where Everybody Is Somebody.” Soon musicians, directors, singers and other fans of gospel music joined and participated with the Detroit Chapter and its choir.

The Detroit Chapter has been and continues to be a strong unit within the national body. In the past fifty years, the Detroit Chapter has had nine local leaders and from its membership has held twelve national leadership positions. An expanded and recommitted GMWA Detroit Mass Choir released three recordings: Detroit Remembers Volume 1 (2001), Volume 2 (2006) and Tribute to the King. These releases were produced to serve as a lasting tribute to the music legacies of several gospel music pioneers who had roots in the Detroit Chapter.

The choir has developed several kindred fellowships. In 2011, the GMWA Detroit Mass Choir began a spirit-filled fellowship with its sister choir, the Gospel Music According to Chicago (GMAC). Through this ongoing connection, the GMWA Detroit Mass Choir travels biennially to Chicago, Ill., and vice versa, with a shared mission to preserve and proclaim each city’s great heritage in gospel music.

The GMWA Detroit Mass Choir, now under the general leadership of Iris A. Taylor, Ph.D. in partnership with its’ capable Board of Directors, remains committed to the preservation of quality gospel and religious music in our churches and community. We also engage in providing support to programs for girls and a nursing home ministry. The choir remains open to anyone interested in participating. Current membership includes professionals and enthusiasts who are vocalists, instrumentalists, composers, directors and those who just love good church music. Consistent with the national GMWA organization, membership in the GMWA Detroit Mass Choir affords individuals an opportunity to learn, train and exhibit excellence in various genres of gospel and religious music. As instilled by its founding leaders, today’s GMWA Detroit Mass Choir endeavors to perpetuate and promote excellence in gospel and religious music. We stand strong, embedded in our community, committed to our legacy and in full support of GMWA.

Detroit Chapter Board of Directors

Chapter Rep / Board Chairman
 Iris Taylor, Ph.D.
 Asst. Chapter Rep / Minister of Music
 Dr. Michael E. Fletcher
 Asst. Chapter Rep / Administrator
 Evang. Sandra Rose, MAOM
 Asst. Chapter Rep
 Dr. Gregory Troy 
 Dr. Kirk Walker
 Financial Secretary
 Mr. George Fowler
 Deacon Steve Johnson
 Board Members at Large
 Mrs. Regina Gambrell-Smith, MA
 Mr. Stanley Waldon, Ed.D 
 Mr. Sidney McBride, Esq.

Dr. Dorgan Needom - Emeritus 

GMWA National

The Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc.,  was organized in 1968 by the late Rev. James Cleveland.  the GMWA is the largest organization of its kind in the world with 75,000 members in more than 185 chapters in the U.S., United Kingdom, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.  Membership consists of professional and non-professional gospel vocalists, instrumentalists, composers, arrangers, didectors and producers.  The first convrention was held in Detroit in 1968 at King Solomon Baptist church where over 3,000 delegates attended.

The annual convention now held in July, attracts over 12,000 delegates. In addition to the delegates, 3,000 to 5,000 local gospel lovers attend the workshop and musical services that are held during the convention week.   

Each year during the week the National Mass Choir, consisting of vocalists from around the world, produces a new recording.  There are also recordings produced by the GMWA Women of Worship, Men of Praise and the Youth Choir. 

Approximately 75% of the recordings listed on Billboard Magazine's 
gospel charts are written, produced, arranged and/or performed by members of the GMWA.

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