Friday, March 30, 2007
Walter Turnbull, founder of the Boys Choir of Harlem, died March 23 at the age of 62 due to complications from a stroke. I wasn't aware of this until today, and I also wasn't aware of the trouble the choir has been having recently.
It was around 1994 or 1995 when the Tougaloo alumnus brought his choir to Jackson to perform at Thalia Mara Hall along with the Tougaloo College Concert Choir. I wanted to see the show because a lot of my friends were in the choir at Tougaloo, but I didn't have a dime to my name, which is pretty typical for a college student. I got to see the performance by volunteering as an usher, and I was impressed at how talented and well-mannered the young men were. Unfortunately, the organization has run into major trouble:
Turnbull's death marked the latest in a sad string of events for the famed choir, which has been reeling from scandal since a choirboy accused a counselor six years ago of sexually abusing him. City investigators chided Turnbull for his handling of the allegations...The renowned institution has fallen into debt, and the 50-boy choir was evicted last year and now has a reduced, mostly volunteer staff....
City education officials evicted the group from the Choir Academy of Harlem, a public school, in February 2006. Susan M. Shapiro, a lawyer for the city, said the choir was evicted because it refused to make administrative changes after the abuse case. The choir has been rehearsing at another Harlem church, but it was difficult for the group because most of their equipment was still at the academy. "We're really not functioning on the high level that the Boys Choir is used to functioning on," Turnbull said in April 2006.
It can survive if there are supporters. If the organization does not seek their primary location, it could be passed on to others....$$$. Thanks for the info on another great Mississippi wonder.
You're welcome. I felt the need to bring this up because I don't recall Turnbull's death being announced on the news.