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The Boys Choir of Harlem
Director-Walter Turnbull


The Boys Choir of Harlem was organized in 1968, by Walter Turnbull, as the Ephesus Church Boys Choir. It was incorporated in 1975.

A principal purpose of the Choir is to help youngsters realize their creative potential through performance of various kinds of music: classical, to contemporary, to gospel, to spiritual.

Special emphasis is focused on works of Black composers. Music indigenous to the members of the Choir is encouraged and performed through commissions to young Black composers. In addition, the heritage of the "Negro" spiritual and early American music plays a vital and necessary part in the educational development and growth of members of the Choir. Popular music is given equal billing in the repertoire. Favorites like "Mr. Bojangles" and "I Believe in Music" help to round out the boys' creative experience.

Concerts, often given in schools, churches, and concert halls, serve two main purposes: first, they provide performance opportunities for talented boys; and secondly, they offer communities throughout the United States, and in Europe, an enriching, educational experience.

Members of the Choir come from all over the City of New York, though most are from Central Harlem. Their ages are between 9 and 17.

The basic mission of the choir is that of dedication to attaining outstanding musical achievement, fostering a healthy sense of self awareness, discipline, character building and self esteem resulting in the total positive development of the children.

Walter Turnbull is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music. He is a professional singer, and was a member of the cast of the Broadway show, "Treemonisha." He made his debut at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York, in 1978.

Linda Twine, the Choir's arranger and composer, has written more than 10 songs for the boys. She is presently working on a Mass and a work for theatre. Other composers for the Choir include Lee Cooper, Leopoldo Fleming, Jim Bartow, Campbelle Austin, and George Walker,


NEW YORK, N.Y.—The Boys Choir of New York City's Harlem will perform at festivals in more than a dozen cities in five European and Scandinavian countries during July, providing vocal accompaniment for the Hannibal Marvin Peterson Quintet, Walter J. Turnbull, the Choir's and conductor has announced.

The tour company was scheduled to arrive in Munich, West Germany, on July 3, and for the following 20 days will appear with the Peterson group at leading jazz festivals in Germany, Italy, Austria, France and Finland.

The Tour Company includes 15 singers, aged 11 to 18 years; Turnbull; Dillard T. Boone II, managing director; Frank Jones, Jr., head counselor; and M. Roger Holland, a former member of the Choir and presently piano accompanist.

The Peterson group, based in New York's Brooklyn, frequently tours Europe for jazz festivals and other musical events, and this season invited the Choir to join them.

Turnbull explained, "The European tour with Marvin Peterson and his excellent musical organization will be a perfect prelude to our own European tour which we've scheduled for December 1984.

"We plan to offer our audiences some of the best of a variety of American and European music, in our own way—from jazz, to popular contemporary songs, to 'Negro' or 'Black' spirituals, to Broadway musical comedy tunes, to the classic, like Mozart's Ave, Verum Corpus."

The July tour follows the Choir's successful Mozart Benefit Gala before a sell-out audience at New York's Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center last June 5, with soprano Shirley Verrett, tenor Seth McCoy, mezzo soprano Hilda Harris and baritone David Arnold. Miss Verrett, coincidentally, has accepted a long-term contract beginning this summer as prima donna with the Paris Opera Company.

Time page, classical music critic for the New York Times, called the Choir's June 5th Mozart program, with Miss Verrett and other internationally-acclaimed soloists,"...a sensuous and most propulsive presentation of the (Mazart) Requiem..."

Bill Zakariasen, New York Daily News music critic, said, "This one of the finest of its kind, splendidly disciplined in tone quality, precision, balance and intonation."

The tour company is scheduled to return to the United States on July 28. Following a summer holiday break, the Choir will resume a Fall schedule of performances at colleges, universities, churches and concert halls in the United States, Turnbull said.

The Choir is now in its 15th year. Turnbull started it as a neighborhood church singing group in Central Harlem in 1968. Today it is a World Class musical organization, with a board of directors, full-time artistic and administrative staff, and broad support from government, commerce and industry in the United States. The boys have performed for audiences at schools, colleges and universities, churches, cathedrals and synagogues, and at concert halls throughout the United States and Europe.


M. ROGER HOLLAND, 18, lives in the Borough of Brooklyn, in New York City. He is accompanist for the choir and wants to be a concert pianist.

TROY ASHE is 16 and a student at Music and Arts High School in the Borough of Manhattan. He wants to be a lawyer.

CLEO BATES, 14, lives in Manhattan and attends Park West High School in that Borough. He wants to be a fine artist or designer.

FELIX CARLO, at 11, looks forward to being a pianist or a printer. He lives in Manhattan and attends public school there.


Transcription Notes:
Corrected many transcription errors. ~EJ

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