The choir made its debut performance on Palm Sunday, March 25, 1979, at the 11:00 a.m. service. Andrew Rowe, a noted church musician and gospel artist in the Washington, DC area, was the Choir’s first director/pianist. He composed and arranged the group’s debut selection, I Gave Up Everything to Follow Him.
By April 1979, the membership had grown to thirty-three, and these dedicated singers became the nucleus of the Shiloh Gospel Choir. Officers were selected and a prayer written by Melanie Clark was adopted as the choir’s official prayer. The Choir was financially self-sustaining and for the first four years, salaries and expenses were paid through numerous fund raising activities and generous gifts from individuals who believed in the need for the gospel message in song.
Upon the retirement of Andrew Rowe in January 1983, the mantle of musical leadership passed to Everett P. Williams, Jr., who continued to strive for quality performances and sincere commitment in his music ministry. Under Mr. Williams’ leadership, the Choir’s repertoire expanded to include standard and contemporary gospel music as well as anthems.
In 1986, the Choir’s leadership was broadened with the addition of Shiloh’s own Mark Prioleau, as assistant director/pianist. Mr. Prioleau was committed to the Choir’s spiritual well-being and furthered the diversity of gospel music.
The Choir is an integral part of the total music ministry of Shiloh and renders music every first, second, and fourth Sunday services. The Choir has performed throughout the Washington Metropolitan area and in other locations: Montclair, NJ; Charlotte, NC; Salem, VA; Kingwood, WV; St. Michaels, MD; New York City; Oakland, California; Atlanta, Georgia; and in London, England.
The Choir has performed for community, corporate, and national celebrations. Some of those performances have included the NAACP Convention, NBC’s annual Christmas in Washington, the Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., National Birthday Celebration at the John F. Kennedy Center, President William Jefferson Clinton’s Inaugural Prayer Service, The American Baptist Churches Biennial meetings in Syracuse, NY, and Indianapolis, IN and The Allstate Insurance Corporation Convention in Washington, DC.
Thomas Dixon Tyler, our present director is a multi-talented musician who adds to the Choir’s range of music offerings through his expertise in many musical genres. The Choir is blessed to have so many members who give their time and talent spreading God’s word through music. Through God’s grace and mercy, the Choir will continue in God’s service.