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VanderCook College of Music

Faculty & Staff

Michele Thomas

Contemporary/Jazz Voice

Michele Thomas is an American jazz musician, vocalist,  songwriter and educator from Chicago, IL. Born the daughter of a  Pentecostal preacher in the Church of God In Christ, Thomas  grew up on a steady diet of gospel music. The impact it had on  her, even at a young age, was profound.  

These feelings, along with her innate talents, led to Thomas  arranging and conducting her church’s choir while she was still in  her preteen years. Her continued cultivation of those skills  rewarded her with a position in the Chicago All-City Choir and a  scholarship to the Sherwood Conservatory of Music. This  ultimately led to her attending North Park University, graduating  with a BA in music, and establishing the first-ever gospel choir in  the university’s history. Thomas’ cultivation of the choir program  caught the eyes of community choir leaders in Sweden and in  1996 and 1998, she was invited to teach and perform gospel  music for Scandinavian audiences. These collective experiences  furthered her dedication to music education and in 2004 she  formed the Soulstream Music Studio of Contemporary Voice. 

Thomas furthered her studies after college, attending the  University of Massachusetts Amherst Jazz In July Workshop under  the tutelage of Sheila Jordan. She began study of the Somatic  Voice Work-The Lovetri Method in 2011 and has recently reached  Level III Certification.  

Thomas has taught voice and choir at Clarendon Hills Music  Academy, Merit School of Music, Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church  and the Maywood Fine Arts Association. She also most recently  taught jazz voice and directed the Vocal Jazz Ensemble at DePaul  University. She was a featured clinician focusing on CCM singing  for Mark S. Hubbard’s (former president of the Grammys’ Chicago  Chapter) Chicago Made Music Collective, and Next Showcase  Chicago. And she has served as a music supervisor and vocal 

coach for the second season of the HBO Max acclaimed comedy  series, “Southside” in 2020. 

Thomas has performed both jazz and gospel music regionally and  abroad. As a bandleader, she has appeared at such prestigious  Chicago venues as the Green Mill, Winter’s Jazz Club, Pete Miller’s  and Green Dolphin Street, as well as featured performances at  the Jazz Showcase, Constellation, Chicago City Winery and Andy’s  Jazz Club. She has also been invited to perform at concerts and  festivals presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs,  Little Black Pearl Workshop, the Edgerton Arts Council, the  Evanston and Wicker Park Chambers of Commerce, and  Northwestern University. In 2017, Thomas was a featured  performer at the Chicago Jazz Festival.

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    The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

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