Born and raised in the South Shore community of Chicago, Lonnie Norwood grew up with an unquenchable passion for music and community service. He knew early on that both would be integral parts of his life’s work. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Luther College where he studied under world renowned conductor Weston Noble. He went on to earn a Masters of Music with an emphasis in Voice from Florida State University. Upon completion of his education, Lonnie taught K-12 music in Leon County (Tallahassee) and Chicago area schools, both public and private.
Lonnie joined Chicago Children’s Choir as an In-School and Neighborhood Choir Conductor in 2012 and co-opened the Englewood Neighborhood Choir in 2013. His ensembles have performed at numerous Chicago area venues, including the Chicago Symphony Center, The Museum of Science & Industry and Navy Pier; have toured to Detroit, Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and have been featured on WGN Channel 9 and ABC 7 News. Their most significant work, perhaps, is in serving their city through song at local churches, parks, shopping centers, block parties, schools and assisted living facilities.
Lonnie has become more active as a choral clinician, helping educators and ensembles understand the historical significance and authentic approaches to singing of gospel music and the spiritual. Recent work has included workshops with ensembles at the University of Chicago, teaching and singing with international ensemble Village Harmony throughout various provinces of South Africa, and musical exchanges in Nassau, The Bahamas with members of the Bahamas National Youth Choir and Bahamian musicians. He has also begun authoring articles along this line of interest, including recent work for the American Choral Directors Association’s Choral Journal (October, 2018).
Additionally, Lonnie established Audacious Praise in 2015, a multicultural arts outreach organization creating accessible productions that effect social and spiritual change in marginalized communities, including South Shore’s premier inspirational open mic showcase, Fresh Faith Fridays. He also serves as lead musician and worship leader at Bryn Mawr Community Church in South Shore, under the direction of esteemed vocalist and conductor, Felicia Coleman-Evans.