1972, Rev. James Cleveland had a desire to broaden the
general membership’s musical awareness through exposure to another perspective
of Church music. Rev. Cleveland’s intent was to display to the world that the
Gospel Music Workshop of America was a diverse musical organization that
encompassed more than the typical African-American music genre.
The members of the GMWA faculty were organized to establish
the Alumni Chorale, a musical ensemble whose purpose was to perform compositions
from the various styles of classical choral literature.
In 1973, the Alumni Chorale expanded to include all members of
the GMWA family who could read and\or sing structured music, and who had a
genuine interest in the artistic performance of the classical idiom.
In 1974, the Alumni Chorale was renamed the Thurston G. Frazier
Memorial Chorale by Rev. Cleveland as a tribute to his close friend, who died
tragically in 1974. Thurston G. Frazier was one of the founding group of
musicians whom Rev. Cleveland called together in 1968 at the inception of the
Gospel Music Workshop of America.
Today, the Thurston G. Frazier Chorale has a roster of over 250
musicians from all over the U.S., the Bahamas, and Japan, who come together at
the annual Gospel Music Workshop of America to share their musical ideas and
composition, and finally, the presentation of effective performance.