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.