The Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc. (GMWA
) is one of the staples in the Gospel music industry. Its goal is to preserve the history and legacy that makes Gospel music great; all while educating and advancing the genre to still make it relevant in today’s music world.
Rev. James Cleveland
, a pioneer and legend in Gospel music, founded GMWA in 1967. He realized there was a gap between talent and knowledge for Gospel artists. The Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc.’s goal was to bridge that gap and provide opportunities for musicians and artists to advance their skill set and respect the artistry and tradition of the genre.
The GMWA is one of the largest artistic organizations. It has over 75,000 active members and 185 chapters internationally. They hold an annual convention that is acknowledged as the “go-to” event for the Gospel music industry. This annual event is held in various cities throughout the country in order to provide equal access to the various chapter locations. The 2014 convention will be held in Atlanta, Georgia.
Several musicians have made their career start with the GMWA annual convention. Most notable is Gospel mega-star, Kirk Franklin
, who was discovered while participating with this event. Franklin has gone on to be the top selling artist in Gospel music. The annual convention holds various artists showcases that provides musicians with opportunities to be noticed and critiqued in hopes of improving their craft. The convention also provides classes on several topics that are essential to the execution of Gospel music such as vocal training, church etiquette and worship experience.
Having an organization such as the GMWA is very important for so many reasons. It helps to continue the tradition of Gospel music by providing education of the genre. But, it also gives way for new talent and opportunity for emerging artists. This organization is a prime example of how Gospel music is designed to empower and help all those who are willing to work together in a spirit of excellence … and, that is the power of Gospel music.