The Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc. (GMWA),  a not-for-profit organization, was founded in 1967 by the late Reverend James Cleveland.  Reverend Cleveland has been celebrated for his contributions to gospel music and is undeniably one of the most significant gospel artists of our time.  Since its founding, the GMWA has become the largest gospel music convention in the world.  The Northern California Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America was founded by  Helen J. H. Stephens, Chapter Representative and National Executive Board Member. 

An interdenominational organization, the Northern California Chapter is open to and comprised of members from all religious faiths:  Baptists, Catholics, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jewish, Protestant, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Lutheran.  Our  goals are:

  • To benefit the public in the perpetuation of gospel music as an original American art form.

  • The promotion of gospel music to the world through:


     Workshops to teach and improve all aspects of the art: vocal techniques, instrumental accompaniment, conducting/directing, the dynamics of music, liturgical dance, harmony, music theory.

    B. Seminars to instruct on choir and group decorum, leadership, evangelism, organization, event planning, business affairs.
    C. To offer churches, choirs, directors and composers an opportunity to perfect their natural talents.
    D. To enable gospel music to be exemplified at the highest level.


  • To provide education regarding the history of gospel music: chronicling the changes in the art form, various types (traditional, hip hop, contemporary, rap, classical), and identification of the fore-fathers and founders though to present-day notables.

  • Promotion of gospel music as an alternative and inspirational outlet for today’s youth and young adults, exemplifying the positive aspects of life.

  • To reinforce homes by encouraging family structure, allowing families to train together; to benefit the community by promoting values and commitment.

  • To record music to inspire and uplift, thereby reflecting a brighter, more serene lifestyle paving the way for hope and faith.

  • To train individuals who will be able to share by teaching and being examples to others.