Children of the Gospel Choir sing with arms raised

Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir (COTG) Timeline


  • Eric Torain joins Washington Performing Arts staff.


  • Washington Performing Arts presents its first gospel music showcase at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.


  • Children of the Gospel Choir (COTG) is formed following a city-wide audition for the 300-voice choir with Richard Smallwood as Artistic Director, with special guest Daryl Coley.


  • COTG performs at The Kennedy Center Honors with Jessye Norman in tribute to Sidney Poitier.


  • Launch of the COTG Vocal Workshop — led by Dr. Walter Turnbull — with Boys Choir of Harlem at the historic Metropolitan Baptist Church.


  • COTG sings at the President Swearing in Ceremony of William Jefferson Clinton.
  • Children of the Gospel Choir perform at the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
  • COTG performs at the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation’s Unveiling Ceremony of the Spirit of Freedom Memorial Statue.


  • COTG performs at the January 2, 1999, Swearing in Ceremony of Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams.
  • Men and Women of the Gospel (MWOTG) and COTG choirs perform at a star-studded tribute to Washington Performing Arts founder Patrick Hayes.


  • First combined Men, Women, and Children of the Gospel Choir concert at The Kennedy Center Concert Hall, featuring special guest artists Moses Hogan, Donnie McClurkin, and Regina Belle.


  • Washington Performing Arts combined choirs perform at the Paul Robeson Festival at George Mason University.


  • Washington Performing Arts combined choirs perform in a memorial concert in honor of Eric Torain at The Kennedy Center with Evelyn Simpson-Curenton as Artistic Director.


  • Evelyn Simpson-Curenton and Wesley Boyd named Artistic Directors.


  • Dr. Diane White Clayton named Artistic Director.


  • Indaba, written by Sweet Honey in the Rock, commissioned in honor of Doug Wheeler and performed at The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.
  • Stanley J. Thurston named artistic director for Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choirs.


  • COTG performs on NBC Today Show in the Fall with an encore performance in December.
  • COTG performs with Kathleen Battle in a holiday concert at The Kennedy Center.


  • COTG performs at D.C. Mayor’s Arts Awards.
  • COTG performs with Step Afrika!


  • COTG performs for the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service for President Barack Obama at the Washington National Cathedral.
  • COTG performs at the State Department holiday program for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
  • COTG performs with Kiri Te Kanawa at The Kennedy Center.


  • Washington Performing Arts and National Museum of African American History and Culture partner for a community sing concert entitled “Clap Praise” at Baird Auditorium featuring MWOTG and COTG.
  • COTG’s first featured appearance in the holiday window unveiling ceremony at Macy’s Metro Center. Michele Fowlin named Music Director.


  • First co-presentation of Living the Dream… Singing the Dream begins with the Choral Arts Society of Washington.
  • COTG performs the Emancipation Commemoration Ceremony at the National Geographic Museum.


  • COTG performs for Black History Month at The White House.
  • COTG performs with Mary Mary at the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.
  • COTG performs at the Washington National Cathedral for Martin Luther King Day.
  • COTG and StepAfrika! featured at the TEDMED Conference at The Kennedy Center.


  • COTG performs Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service for President Barack Obama at Washington National Cathedral.
  • COTG performs at The White House National Prayer Service for Easter; with Sara Bareilles; and the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
  • COTG performs at the Celebration of Life and Legacy of Nelson Mandela at the Washington National Cathedral.
  • COTG performs at the Washington National Opera’s in the Outfield at Nationals Park.


  • Featured soloists from COTG perform for Women’s Event at The White House.
  • Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choirs perform in the Marian Anderson 75th Anniversary Celebration at DAR Constitution Hall.


  • COTG performs at Anacostia River Festival.
  • COTG performs at South African Embassy celebration in honor of Nelson Mandela.
  • COTG performs on NPR’s From The Top live recording.
  • COTG performs at the historic Howard Theatre holiday concert.
  • COTG performs at Memorial Service for Marion Barry at the Washington Convention Center.


  • Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choirs release first album, Why Do We Sing?
  • COTG performs at The White House at the United States of Women’s Summit and at the State Dinner in honor of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • COTG performs in collaboration with Company E — world premiere piece “Air” at The Kennedy Center.


  • COTG performs at Back-to-School Rally New Frontiers with Nolan Williams, Jr. at The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.
  • COTG attends master class with Denyce Graves.


  • Michele Fowlin is named Artistic Director.
  • COTG performs at Marion Barry statue dedication ceremony.
  • COTG performs at half-time for a Wizards game at Capital One Arena.


  • COTG performs in Take Note! Why Music Education Matters: A Panel Discussion Moderated by Renée Fleming (Kennedy Center Sound Health: Music and Mind).
  • COTG records with Konshens the MC.
  • COTG performs at the Rosa Parks Exhibit at the Library of Congress.
  • COTG performs in Gospel Christmas service at the Washington National Cathedral.
  • COTG performs with Davoné Tines at the Sphinx Award of Excellence event at the Supreme Court.


  • COTG produces “Why Do We Sing” video production during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Following the 2019 Stay Woke: Still Woke student production, “Freedom in the Midst of Bondage” is created and written by COTG members.
  • Choir performs for the 10th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall.
  • Washington Performing Arts combined choirs perform at The Kennedy Center’s 9/11 20th Anniversary event.


  • COTG studio recording for NPR’s From the Top.
  • COTG performs in a PBS recording of Tell Me More with Kelly Corrigan at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
  • Season of Hope holiday concert with the U.S. Air Force Band, at DAR Constitution Hall.
  • COTG and Men and Women of the Gospel Choir perform in Joyfully Together project with Wolf Trap.
  • COTG performs with Matthew Whitaker at the historic Lincoln Theatre.
  • COTG performs at the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting.


  • COTG celebrates 30 years.
  • COTG performs in The Walk with Little Amal at Franklin Square Park.


  • COTG performs at the Onward and Upward program at Washington National Cathedral.
  • COTG Alumni Choir performs at the 30th Anniversary Concert.