Formed in 1993 to celebrate the tradition and inspirational root of gospel music on America’s main stages, Washington Performing Arts Society’s Children of the Gospel Choir showcases uniquely talented young voices in their own distinctive style of high energy performances featuring works by local and national composers. The choir works with some the area’s noted choral directors who enhance the choir’s training, performance quality and disciplinary skills and has shared the stage with an array of artists including Richard Smallwood, Dr. Bobby Jones, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Y’Anna Crawley, Kathleen Battle, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and others. Under the direction of artistic director, Stanley J. Thurston and music director, Michele Fowlin, WPAS Children of the Gospel choir has been featured at The White House, the Inaugural Prayer Services for President Barack Obama at the National Cathedral; the State Department; National Archives; National Cherry Blossom Parade; the Smithsonian Museums; the Harman Center for the Arts; Kennedy Center Millennium Stage; NBC's Today; and other special events. In addition, the WPAS gospel program promotes an environment of self-confidence, teamwork, and respect; offers performance opportunities; and provides life learning tools to aid in personal and artistic growth through work with the performance choir and the annual two-week vocal music intensive workshop.
Michele Fowlin (Music Director) has cultivated her love and passion of music from a young age. She attended Howard University and earned her Bachelor and Master’s Degree 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 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 the public school system. Her desire to motivate students musically has extended from the classroom into the community. Ms. Fowlin has worked with the Washington Performing Arts Society’s Children of the Gospel Summer Music Camp, for the past several years as a vocal coach and director 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 various awards including the Mayor’s Award (Washington, DC) and Certificate of Recognition from DC Commission on the Arts. Currently, Ms. Fowlin is the Director of Choirs at Eleanor Roosevelt High School and the Co-founder of HerSanctuary™.