About the Gospel Music Programs
Founded by former Director of Gospel Programming, Eric Torain, in partnership with President Emeritus Doug Wheeler, our resident gospel choirs– Men and Women of the Gospel (MWOTG) and Children of the Gospel (COTG)– have inspired audiences and nurtured both aspiring and experienced vocalists while bringing powerful messages of hope to the most prominent stages in the region for more than 30 years.
Men & Women of the Gospel Choir
Washington Performing Arts Men and Women of the Gospel Choir (MWOTG) has celebrated the heritage of gospel music and its related genres with vibrant, dynamic performances in venues across the nation’s capital for 30 years. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Theodore Thorpe III, the choir is dedicated to presenting this American art form at its highest artistic level, performing 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 Richard Smallwood, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the late Edwin Hawkins, the late Walter Hawkins, Ramsey Lewis, and Sweet Honey In The Rock. In 2018, the choir presented a special holiday concert—“With a Grateful Heart: A Gospel Thanksgiving” at Duke Ellington School of the Arts Theater, featuring G. Thomas Allen and local artists Patrick Lundy and Roderick Giles.
In addition to annual performances on Washington Performing Arts’s season, the choir performs regularly throughout the community. Past events have included the 10th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, annual Gospel Brunches at the University of Maryland; Christmas concerts at the Washington National Cathedral; as well as featured performances at the historic Howard Theatre; Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Mayor’s Arts Awards; The Hamilton; and on Sirius XM Radio.
Children of the Gospel Choir
Formed in 1993, Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir (COTG) is one of Washington Performing Arts’s resident ensembles. COTG has become a destination choir for local students who look to develop excellence in artistry and technique as a performance ensemble. Chosen through a competitive audition process, choir members from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia commit to participating in a year of choral training, intensive workshops, and a variety of performances on Washington Performing Arts’s main stage and through community events. The COTG program provides opportunities for youth in grades four through 12 and promotes an environment of self-confidence, teamwork, and respect.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michele Fowlin, the Children of the Gospel Choir has been featured at the White House (with Sara Bareilles at the Canadian State Dinner honoring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau); the Inaugural Prayer Services for President Barack Obama and the National Memorial Service for Nelson Mandela, both at The Washington National Cathedral; with Matthew Whitaker in concert; the Washington Performing Arts Gala with Broadway star Matthew Morrison; the historic Howard Theatre; the U.S. Department of State; and on NBC’s Today.
Children of the Gospel Alumni
Check out Washington Performing Arts’s Children of the Gospel Choir Alumni Group on Facebook. The group is meant to provide a forum and space of connection for COTG Alumni—an essential part of our community. We invite you to network, collaborate, share opportunities, and reminisce.
“We are a choir, but we are also so much more than that. We are a family that cares for and loves one another unconditionally. We are all joined by music and each other’s spirits. Nothing compares to the experience you would have with COTG.”
– COTG Member
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Book the Choirs
The Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir and Men and Women of the Gospel Choir are available for special events in the community. An appearance will include choir, director, and musicians.