Beginnings

Pilgrim Baptist Church

Pilgrim Baptist Church

As Professor Dorsey traveled, the popularity of the Gospel choir or chorus began to spread. It was through this that Professor Dorsey saw a need to organize these choirs collectively into unions. The first Gospel choral union was organized in Chicago on August 17, 1932 and Professor Dorsey was elected president.

The success of the union gave rise to the organization of a convention. Professor Dorsey made contacts with the directors of the out of town Gospel choirs. With the help of others, plans were made for a convention of singers. Professor Dorsey along with Professor Theodore Frye, Magnolia Butts, Sallie Martin and Henry J. Carruthers were the five organizers of the convention.
On August 30, 1933, at the Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago, the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses was organized and held its first session ending September 1, 1933. It went down in history as the first convention of its kind. Its formal initial name was the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses and Smaller Musical Groups, Inc.
Every feature of the annual National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses was designed for the betterment of the Christian singer, instrumentalist, educator or leader; geared toward enabling the prepared Gospel ambassador; and purposed for the individual to be spiritually motivated to live the message of the Gospel song.