PowerUp Gospel Music Workshop 2024


"Reach! Teach! Preach!": An Introduction to Gospel Ad-Libbing

In this workshop, attendees will learn about the power of ad-libbing in Gospel music and how to use it in their own singing. We will take a look at a few of the masters of ad-libbing and break down their musical and liturgical choices. You will learn how to use their example to compliment your existing skills as a singer and inspire your audience or congregation.

'ROOTS' - Stories from the Toronto Gospel Community

You won't want to miss out on this discussion between the most important figures in the development of Toronto's gospel music scene as they reflect upon their incredible experiences in gospel music.

Becoming An Effective Worship Leader

This session will provide you with tips on how to improve your role as a worship leader. Learn how to go about your preparation to lead worship and your approach to how you practice. Find your unique way to flow between songs to create a cohesive setlist.In addition, we will discuss how you can become an efficient communicator through your worship. Improve how you choose songs to improve the worship service flow and the time following the message.

Beginner's Gospel Bass Guitar

JT Kim invites all bass players to this intro to Gospel Bass guitar. The intense use of the number system is one of the most fundamental things in gospel music. The participants will learn and have a chance to apply it to the music and experience how it can enhance their understanding of music. And then, participants will learn how to efficiently learn “the skeleton bass line”, the most stripped-down version of the bass line, so they can build their own personalized bass lines. Requirements: Bring your own bass

Beginner's Gospel Keyboard

In a comprehensive and accessible workshop for beginners interested in learning beginner’s Gospel keyboard skills, this 90-minute workshop provides an excellent introduction to basic piano technique and playing accompaniments. Dr. Cyrus uses simple language to explain chord symbols on song sheets, playing chords, basic improvisation, hand position, and memorization. Participants will be able to use these skills to perform simple  accompaniments on the keyboard.

Better Me, Better We, Better Community

This Saturday, Errol Lee will instruct, foster, and exemplify the principles necessary to create a Caring Community. On Sunday, the children will showcase their acquired knowledge by participating in a collaborative performance with Errol Lee, conveying their message through song and dance.

Can You Speak Musician?

Gospel musicians don't use print music, but they do communicate with each other. Have you ever heard a Musical Director (MD) shout out seemingly "random" numbers while playing--and the rest of the band knows just what to do?Musicians all over the world use what's called "The Number System" in live settings and the studio to communicate musical changes quickly. Allow Corey Butler to open this exciting performance tool with you!This 90 min workshop aims to teach you this amazing tool so you can 'Speak Musician' too!

Contemporary Vocal Arranging & Rehearsal Techniques

Guest clinician Isaac Cates is a dynamic choral conductor and vocal arranger. With the use of real music excerpts and helpful resources, you will learn great rehearsal techniques and how to create a great “mix” of vocal parts.

Hip-Hop Dance

What to expect: an intermediate/ beginner class that will challenge dancers of all ages and skill levels, and will enlighten everyone who participates. Come as you are and watch dance change your life!

Knowing Your Voice: Vocal Improvisation

This workshop's objective is to discuss the methodology of vocal improvisation and introduce practical tools to develop skills for vocal improvisation during live and studio performances.  We will discuss various ways to approach, explore, understand and listen to music for the purposes of interpreting and performing music material.

Throughout the workshop, we will introduce vocal exercises that develop instinctive vocal skills and explore the importance of the following:

1. Tempo

2. Syncopation

3. Placement

4. Vocal manipulation (most commonly known as dynamics)

Lastly we will discuss some of the most effective ways to develop your lead vocal skills using ad libs, runs and riffs’ while maintaining the integrity of the musical piece.

Learning To Harmonize

Have you ever struggled to harmonize? Ever wondered whether your idea of harmony sounds good or not? If you’ve ever considered what goes into harmonizing, this is the session for you! Borrowing from traditional Gospel performance techniques, we will workshop the tools you need to understand HOW basic harmonies work.

Learning To Listen with Your Voice

Singing together is about listening together as a community. Tone, phrasing and articulation are the “calling cards” of those who want to take the nuances of many voices and make them one. Join this morning’s “wake-up call for the voice” under the direction of guest clinician, Isaac Cates.

Let’s Sing Together!

Do you lack creativity in your singing? Do you struggle to come up with new ideas? Are you ready to evolve your singing style? This class will prompt you to “step out of the box” and try new things. We’ll cover how to get the best out of your voice and learn how to blend well with other singers. Through various fun challenges, you’ll be encouraged to broaden your perspective on songs and enjoy the process of learning new music!

Music Leader’s Panel: Tips On Building Up Your Choir/Worship Team

Today’s choir and worship team members have different needs than from before the pandemic. Trauma and retention issues have made the role of music directors and members of choirs and worship teams much more challenging. Learn how to rebuild your team into the next phase. Join guest clinician, Isaac Cates who started his chorale, “Ordained”, 18 years ago; Karen Burke, Artistic Director of Toronto Mass Choir; and Melissa Davis, Director of the Tyndale Choir, for a lively discussion. Bring your questions and be inspired!

Musicianship For Vocalists

Ever wanted to be faster at interpreting and memorizing a melodic line or improve your ability to “self-correct” as a vocalist? Join this musicianship training specifically for vocalists, where you’ll workshop the necessary skills to empower ear by using your vocal ability. Journeying through historic Gospel repertoire and performance techniques, you will learn how to strengthen your musicianship and gain the transferrable skills to vocalize confidently.

Performance Mastery: 7 Ways to WOW Your Audience

Are you a performing artist who struggles with stage fright? Perhaps you’d like to improve your stage presence; have you always wished for crowd control but never knew how to command an audience? Or maybe you’re a social media personality or influencer who dreads the idea of recording videos because it means getting in front of a camera.If you can relate to any of these scenarios, Performance Mastery: 7 Ways to Wow Your Audience is for you. This workshop helps you do and be more in front of an audience, whether on stage or on camera, online or offline.Learn performance fundamentals, principles, and techniques to boost your income and gain the confidence to be in control of your performance at all times, no matter the setting.

Playing By Ear: Mysteries Unlocked

Do you have a passion for learning the piano but don't have prior knowledge of music? Then this session is for you! Learn how easy it is to learn the piano 'by ear'.In this course, you’ll learn the key ingredient to any modern song – chords. The real secret to the piano is that ALL modern music is made from patterns called chord progressions that you can easily learn to identify. In fact, most songs only utilize 2 to 5 simple chords, and there are only a handful of patterns to choose from.This Piano Course is meant for anyone who wants to dive in and learn how to play their favourite songs without having to learn to read sheet music. If you already can read sheet music or have memorized piano pieces but would like to be able to play by ear and play a song quickly and easily, take up this course! Once you learn the secrets of chording, you'll see it's so very easy to pick up. A great veil has been lifted, and you will finally be able to see! Requirements: Please bring your own headphones

PowerUp Chorale

Are you looking for an opportunity to improve your vocal performance skills within a small group setting? If you answered yes, then the PowerUp Chorale is for you!This ensemble will meet multiple times during the conference. Rehearsals will address topics such as blending, diction, articulation, vocal styling, and group interaction while learning repertoire to be performed at the PowerUp Showcase and Finale Concert.It is highly recommended that participants have some previous vocal ensemble experience. There will be possible opportunities to perform solos or duets depending on the selected repertoire. A short survey is required with registration for this ensemble.NOTE: Participants must register and attend ALL THREE rehearsals for the PowerUp Chorale scheduled during the workshop weekend.

PowerUp Workshop Mass Choir

PowerUp Workshop Mass Choir! We're back! There is nothing else like singing in a gospel choir to get your toes tapping and your spirit revived! Open to all, you will be amazed how quickly you pick up the music & lyrics as we work together towards performing as a huge choir at the big finale concert on Sunday evening, Feb. 26, backed by a live rhythm section! (We are wearing ALL BLACK!).Known for her well-paced and energetic rehearsal style, Karen Burke brings her charisma and deep knowledge of gospel music to this large gospel choir setting. Special guest clinician Isaac Cates passion for gospel choirs will shine through as he teaches this large group of PowerUp registrants.No prior knowledge is required - no auditions - just come and join in on this 'whole body singing' experience. Beginning Wednesday evening, Feb. 21, and moving throughout the weekend, immerse yourself in the unique experience of singing in a big gospel choir! There is nothing like it! Glory!

PowerUp Youth Choir

If you love singin’ and groovin’ to the latest gospel hits, you will want to be a part of the PowerUp Youth Choir!This exciting session involves marrying great gospel lyrics to energetic hip choreographed moves done only as young people can do, accompanied by a live rhythm section! If you have ever wanted to be part of a Gospel Youth Choir and want to ‘kick it up a notch’, this session is for you.

Self-Care for the Artistic Soul (Movement Session)

This interactive workshop will explore the practice of self-care through improvised and choreographed movement. This session is an extension of Nicole's "Self-Care for the Artistic Soul" lecture series, and is open to beginner-advanced level dancers. The session provides individuals with an opportunity to access and adapt strategic care practices, which can optimize holistic well-being, and support with the navigation of prolonged stress. Participants will engage in movement exercises, and a discussion regarding additional resources and tools which support physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Songwriting Mastery: Urban Gospel – Hip-Hop & RnB

Have you ever had writer’s block? Do you want to know how to overcome it? In this interactive workshop, you’ll discover unconventional methods for finding inspiration. You’ll also learn the anatomy of a chart-topping chorus (hook) and various song structures to help get your music on the radio.You’ll receive practical tools and resources to help you write lyrics, melodies, and hit songs. Whether you’re just starting or seasoned, this urban songwriting workshop is for you.Urban Gospel has recently been taking the world by storm; learn insider secrets and make great music!

The Confident Choral Conductor

Building your confidence as a choral conductor requires expectations for your vocalists and what you can get from that using confident hand gestures. Your choirs will have stronger entries, phrasing and dynamics - more exciting performances overall - as you expand your conducting “language”. Come and benefit from Karen Burke and over 40 years of choral conducting experience. Conductors of all levels are welcome!

The Evolution of Gospel Music Part 1: “On Whose Shoulders Do We Stand’?

Join us as we trace the fascinating history of Black sacred music and traditional Gospel music in Ontario across more than one hundred years.

The Evolution of Gospel Music Part 2: “The Last Fifty Years”

Explore the exciting contemporary Gospel music scene in Ontario - how it grew and developed from 1970 to the present day.

The Evolution of The Gospel Voice: Healthy Vocal Development for the Gospel Singer

Admiring your favourite Gospel artists but can’t seem to get any similar sounds to come out of your voice? This workshop will debunk some of the common myths about Gospel singing and set singers on the path to a healthy voice through proper Gospel vocal technique. Come and discover the evolution of your voice as we go from a flat voice to a full voice with solid vocal exercises, demonstrations, and helpful tools for success in your singing!

The Joy Of Playing Steelpan

This workshop will cover the basic rudiments of the steel pan, how it is played, and a brief overview of the history of the 'pan.' The pan is indigenous to the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, and the history will reflect the culture that gave birth to the 'pan.' The pan will be introduced through the various 'voices' - soprano, double second, guitar, or bass. Attendees will also learn some of the different techniques used while playing and the dynamics of a group ensemble. Much of the teaching will focus on rote playing rather than reading notes - in case attendees are not fluent in sight reading. This workshop intends for everyone to have an enjoyable experience while learning some basic tunes/chords and hopefully stimulate an interest in steelpan playing.

Vocal Bootcamp For Your Ears!

This workshop will challenge you to embrace the “rules of harmony” so that you can break ‘em — the key is knowing what rules to break! Using harmonizing styles from different eras in Gospel music history, give your musical ear a chance to explore the possibilities of harmony in this session, where we learn by trial-and-error and gain tools you can use in your own vocal development! If you also register for the workshop 'Learning to Harmonize', this workshop is a great continuation of that one!

Vocal Masterclass

Your voice is your instrument and, like private lessons, masterclasses are an excellent tool to help hone your vocal skills. This exhilarating session for vocalists taught by guest clinician and Gospel artist, Isaac Cates, will give participants the opportunity to receive helpful tips and feedback on their vocal performance.

Wade in the Water, Children

This workshop is great for kids and invites them to come and learn about Black Canadian History from Freedom Seekers’ descendent, Tracy Cain.

Tracy is a 5th generation Black Canadian, that has been uncovering her rich Black Canadian heritage for years.  Her popular presentation, “And Then What Happened…”, celebrates her ancestors’ stories about coming to Canada, by way of the Underground Railroad.  Tracy takes participants on an interactive journey that will educate and celebrate Black Canadian Pioneers’ resilience and tenacity to seek out freedom in Canada through singing spirituals, video and story-telling!