The Willis C. Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale (OOTC) preserves, explores, performs, and educates the community about traditional African American spirituals and contemporary choral and instrumental compositions and/or arrangements by African Americans and other musicians of the diaspora. It also increases opportunities for the exploration and education of this music by offering free lessons to youth through its Instructional Program. August 2022
The Willis C.Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale, established in 1969, is named for its founder and director Willis C. Patterson, an Ann Arbor native and U-M Professor Emeritus. The Chorale has performed extensively in the greater Ann Arbor area, and throughout Michigan and beyond. With a culturally diverse membership with individuals from the greater Ann Arbor area, representing varied careers and a wide range of musical experience, the Chorale is committed to the preservation and performance of traditional African American spirituals as well as contemporary choral compositions written and/or arranged by African American composers and musicians. The Chorale also works to raise funds for the Our Own Thing Instructional Program (OOTIP). These instructional offerings take place in the Community Church of God in Ypsilanti.
Founded in 1968, the Instructional Program provides free instruction in the arts, both vocal and instrumental, rental of musical instruments, and scholarships to area youngsters who would otherwise be unable to afford the opportunity to study music. The Chorale is an outgrowth of the Instructional Program.In the past 46 years, over 1,000 middle and high school students have received the advantages of this opportunity. The Instructional Program currently continues to work with students at all ability levels. Several graduates have become recognized performers, teachers of the arts, and arts professionals at every level both domestically and internationally.
Brian E Buckner is a multiple award-winning composer, arranger, actor, vocal coach, pianist and music director in southeast Michigan. Working predominantly in the world of musical theatre, Mr. Buckner has an endless passion for music of all genres-particularly for replication of vintage stylization-which led him to interest in the Willis C. Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale! Hailing from Houston, Tx where he started in gospel music, the music of the African American tradition has held-and always will hold a special place in his heart. Recent direction credits include Passing Strange (Detroit Public Theatre, Detroit); Blues in the Night (Meadow Brook Theatre, Rochester) August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean (The Detroit Rep, Detroit); The Fantasticks (The Flint Rep, Flint); Gutenberg! The Musical! (The Dio Theatre, Pinckney); Songs for a New World (The Flint Rep, Flint); Follies (Theatre Nova, Ann Arbor); Songs About Stuff (The Flint Rep, Flint) and Rosie the Riveter (Wild Swan Theatre, Ann Arbor)-for which he also served as composer-in addition to being Director of Music for the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation (Ann Arbor) and staff musician for Trinity Episcopal Church (Toledo, OH).
LaTonya Woods has enjoyed a portfolio career. Holding a bachelor’s in business administration from Eastern Michigan University, she began her collegiate career at the University of Michigan in the School of Music, Theater, and Dance with a major in viola performance and education. She currently works for the University of Michigan as a senior business systems analyst in the Information and Technology Services department.
As a violinist and violist, she has performed with Grammy award winning artists, spanning the genres of classical, R&B and gospel, including Stevie Wonder, Midori and Marvin Winans. She is featured on recordings with critically acclaimed gospel artists, Donnie McClurkin, Richard Smallwood and has performed with award winning, Detroit based world music ensemble, Musique Noire. She continues to perform throughout the metro Detroit area, has been a member of Dexter Community and Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestras.
A passionate music educator and administrator, she has served as an instructor in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, and on the faculty of the Sphinx (Organization) Preparatory Program and Michigan State University Community Music School of Detroit. In her administrative capacities, she has worked with the Sphinx Organization in a variety of capacities, most recently as the program manager for the LEAD Program.
She currently serves on the boards of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance Alumni Association, and the University of Michigan Medical School Institutional Review Board (IRBMED). She is inspired and invigorated by Our Own Thing's mission and community engagement, and is eager to bring her experience and passion to the organization.
2022- 2023 LEADERSHIP
Alice McAllister Tillman, Music Director
LaTonya Woods, Instructional Program Director
Sharon Vaughters, President
Ronald C Woods, Past President
Janet V. Haynes, Secretary/Treasurer
Willis C. Patterson, Founder and Director Emeritus
c/o Janet V. Haynes, Secretary/Treasurer
1410 S. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
The Willis Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale (OOTC) is a 501(c) (3) not-for profit. The Our Own Thing Instructional Program is a branch of OOTC.
All donations are tax deductible as permitted by the Internal Revenue Service.
the Willis C Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale (OOTC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit recognized by the IRS. the Instructional program is a Branch of OOTC.
The Willis Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale (also known as The Willis C Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale and The Willis C Patterson Our Own Thing Instructional Program) is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, formerly incarcerated, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, membership and volunteer leadership. Reasonable accommodation will also be provided to persons with disabilities, to disabled veterans, and to accommodate religious practices.