Because music lasts a lifetime...
Sing in the choir
Create singing groups
Play instrumentals (i.e. Violin, Mandolin, Piano, Guitar, Accordion, and Bass Guitar.)
Gospel Singers of America is the only school in America built solely for the purpose of teaching gospel music. Because GSA has its own campus, it is able to operate at a much lower cost. These savings are not only passed down to our students but also to our donors who are empowered to help more students.
GSA, like other schools, has students placed in various classes based on the students age and ability. We carefully craft our lessons to meet each of our students individual needs.
Students will find their experience at GSA to be a memorable one. From our beach front view to our one a kind staff, GSA has a place for everyone.
Just off the Mississippi Gulf Coast lies one of the jewels of Gospel Music. Gospel Singers of America (GSA) was established in 1957 to promote the education and enjoyment of gospel music. GSA trains people, young and old alike, to serve in their local church. Students are expected to go home and assist with the following:
For many years, Videt Polk and Bobby Burnett were a vital part of the Stamps-Baxter School of Music in Dallas, TX. This inspired their dream to have a School of their own located somewhere along the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast.
At the beginning, close to a city-wide singing school in Bogalusa, Louisiana on Friday night, July 20, 1956, they began to raise money and get the charter member of Gospel Singers of America, Inc. which was soon to become the largest Gospel Singing organization in America.
Property was bought in Pass Christian in the fall of 1956 and the first session of Gospel Singers of America School of Gospel Music was held in the summer of 1957 in the one old stately home that then stood on this location. In 1958 the two story girl's dormitory was added followed by the snack bar and laundry in 1959; an auditorium in 1960; a cafeteria and 13 practice rooms 1961 and in the fall of 1967, the two story brick building for the boy's dorm was added. Some time later the present office, classroom and porch was added.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed in the Gulf Coast causing unprecedented devastation for miles and miles. Pass Christian received a direct hit. We are so thankful that God chose to spare GSA, but there was extensive damage to the interior of the buildings.
Since that time literally thousands of volunteers from all over the United States and Canada have helped to rebuild, restore and improve the facilities. To God be the glory. We are continuing the dream and purpose of Gospel Singers of America.
Glen Taylor, President
Tracy Taylor, Principal
Patsy Pannel, Treasurer
Piano and Flute Teacher
Jennifer Ross was born and raised in Indiana and Michigan. After driving her family crazy with her love of music - whether playing flute in band, taking piano lessons, or singing non-stop around the house - she majored in music performance beginning at Pensacola Christian College and finishing at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan. She has been married to her husband, Charles Ross, for almost 26 years and they have been serving the Lord together at Gonzales Baptist Temple for most of those years. Between playing piano for the choir (and co-directing), working with Gonzales Baptist Academy kids in music (instrumental, vocal, and piano), and teaching around 25 private lessons per week, she stays fairly busy. The highlights of her year are the bi-annual production of a Christmas Cantata at her home church and her time spent each summer teaching at Gospel Singers of America. She has been teaching there since 2011, both teaching private lessons and teaching the beginner class. Teaching music to the next generation is her passion and seeing her students serve Christ with their music is the most fulfilling reward she could imagine.
Daniel G. Driskell is a musician and teacher in Mobile, Alabama. Brother Daniel is the pianist at Government St. Baptist Church and owns the Full Scale School of Music in Mobile. Brother Daniel earned his music degrees from the University of South Alabama and Florida State University. Every summer for many years, he has been a student and then a teacher at Gospel Singers of America. Brother Daniel teaches private lessons at Gospel Singers of America on any instrument a student brings to him. He has been blessed with many wonderful friends, teachers, and family members. "Praise God from whom all blessings flow"
Theory and Piano Teacher
Tori A. Taylor was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her passion for music started at the young age of 5yrs when she started taking private piano lessons. She continued taking private lessons until she started teaching privately herself at the age of 15. She continues to teach about 15 private lessons a week while also teaching elementary music at a private school in Baton Rouge. She graduated from Louisiana State University with her Bachelor in Music Education. She started teaching at Gospel Singers of America in 2011, and continues to teach our Advance Theory Class, Intermediate Classes, and private voice lessons. She is very passionate about teaching and encouraging individuals to serve in the music ministry at their church. She says, “I know I cannot help every church with their music ministry, but I know that my students can!” Teaching music to the next generation is what she loves to do. Ms. Tori also has a musical heritage with the Founder of Gospel Singers of America, Bro. Bobby Burnett, being her grandfather.
Samantha Quave is from Saint Amant, Louisiana. She attends Gonzales Baptist Temple where she plays second piano for her church. She attended Gonzales Baptist Academy for the entirety of her elementary, middle, and high school years. During her middle and high school years, she was able to win awards in various music and stage events, including piano, vocal, and sign language. She continued her music studies at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, as a music therapy major with an emphasis on piano. At William Carey University, Samantha is a member of her university’s auditioned choir, The Carey Chorale, as well as Oratorio Choir, the piano ensemble, and Cary Carillon (to her great delight!). Samantha plans to finish her internship and graduate in August of 2019. At Gospel Singers of America Samantha assist in the upper theory classes and teacher in the Beginner Theory Class in the afternoons.
Main Accompanying Pianist
Ellen Marsh was born and raised in Texarkana Arkansas, but currently resides in Prescott, Arkansas. Mrs. Marsh has a degree in Accordion from the University of Houston and began studying piano and accordion at the age of three. Mrs. Marsh began teaching both instruments at age 11 and has now been teaching over 50+ years. Mrs. Ellen was inducted into The Southern Gospel Piano Roll of Honor and has worked with numerous country artists, played for The Apostles Trio for several years, and published numerous songs that have been published in the convention books. She has taught in Stamps Baxter School of music in Dallas TX as well as many other singing schools throughout her life.
At Gospel Singers of America, Mrs. Ellen teaches private piano lessons and she is our group singing accompanist.
For more info on Mrs. Marsh, please visit her website at Ellen Marsh Music.
Melinda C. Leon was born and raised in Wilmer, Alabama¸ where she currently lives with her husband Matt and their two daughters. She and her family attend Palestine Missionary Baptist Church where she has served as pianist for almost 25 years. Her and her husband are also the Youth Directors, and the family sings in a quartet. Mrs. Melinda is very involved with her community, church, and spends much time homeschooling her girls. She began as a student at Gospel Singers of America at age 8, and she counts herself blessed to have been given the opportunity to return and begin teaching at GSA in 2005. After a few years absence to raise her youngest daughter, she returned once again to the GSA faculty to teach piano, voice, and theory, and her daughters started their GSA journey as students. At home, she teaches private voice, piano, organ, theory, and coaches stage performance. Also, she has taught Music Theory and Choir in private schools and has directed and accompanied various choirs and singing groups in the Mobile area. Graduating from the University of South Alabama, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management and Marketing, with a minor in Music. The theory she learned at GSA afforded her a distinct advantage while attending Music classes at USA. When she isn’t performing or teaching, she and her family enjoy traveling, deep-sea fishing, and hunting.
Mrs. Bonita Driskell attended her first session at Gospel Singers of America in 1970 after their daughter attended in 1969. She was privileged to be a student under the Founders, Bro. Videt Polk and Bro. Bobby Burnett. After four years as a student, Bro. Videt asked her to teach the Beginner Class which she did for four years. During the interim from then and her return in 1994 as the Pre-Primary teacher, Mrs. Bonita studied voice for five years with a faculty member of the University of South Alabama and attended a theory class for one session at the University. She has had the wonderful opportunity to teach the Pre-Primary and now the Primary 1 Class at Gospel Singers of America for these many years. Mrs. Bonita and her husband, Everette, (past President of GSA) have been married 60 + years. They are members of Palestine Missionary Baptist Church, Wilmer, AL. They sing in the choir, sing specials and Mrs. Bonita is the substitute pianist and organist when needed. Mrs. Bonita says, “It has been a great blessing to be part of the school for so many years.”
Theory and Voice Teacher
Patti Driskell Thornburg began her musical training at Gospel Singers of America at the age of 9. That year she won the Beginner Class trophy, the class she would come back to teach many years later. Patti attended GSA from Beginners all the way to Advanced Class over the next 8 years, taking private piano lessons throughout the year from Ronnie Oswalt, a teacher at GSA for many years. She has been an active church instrumentalist and vocalist for most of her life, as well as serving in her church's Ensemble, Choir, Connect Team, Women's Ministry, Pianorama, and more. Patti is now teaching the Pre-Primary Class preparing the 9-12 year old's for more advanced musical theory and rudiments. The daughter of Everette and Bonita Driskell, Patti is married to Carl Thornburg and is mother to two sons, one daughter-in-love, and "Nonni" to five grandchildren, two of which attend GSA. It is true that "Music lasts a lifetime".
Dr. Carline Waugh is a Jamaican born soprano who is praised for her ability to mesmerize audiences. As a powerful singing actor, Dr. Waugh continues to thrill audiences around the world. She has given recent performances in Russia, Finland, Italy, Austria, the United States, and the Caribbean.
Dr. Waugh has sung the lead role of Arlene Fox in the premier of the opera Buffalo Soldiers, and Ermia in Sogno, based on A Midsummer Night's Dream. Her other recent roles include Gretel from Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, Liú from Turandot, Zerlina from Don Giovanni, Valencienne from The Merry Widow, Polly from Die Dreigroschenoper and Gianetta from The Gondoliers.
Her concert repertoire includes André Previn's Honey and Rue, Barber's Knoxville Summer of 1915, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor, Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem, J.S. Bach’s Magnificat in D Major.
Dr. Waugh currently serves Marshall University and the Southern region as a performer, and teaching artist.
Jedidiah Cleghorn was raised in Southern Indiana. His passion for music was cultivated at home from a very young age. Through the early years of life, Jed started learning to play the guitar, as well as other various instruments.
At the age of 18, Jed attended his first music school. He began teaching guitar and music theory in the year of 2016. Jedidiah has obtained his associate’s degree and has also become a certified linguist. He now travels worldwide as a missionary teaching music, translating theory books and hymnals, and training music leaders for local congregations.