Tomorrow night, the Boys Choir of Harlem will be dazzling an Ann Arbor audience with a show featuring selections from its wide-ranging repertoire.
Founded by Dr. Walter J. Turnbull, the Boys Choir of Harlem is celebrating its 32nd anniversary this season. What began as merely 20-member church choir, the Boys Choir of Harlem has grown into an educational institution that includes a boys choir, girls choir and the Choir Academy of Harlem, replete with a college prepatory public school and a Summer Music Institute. The 35-40 boys selected to be in the performing choir range in age from 9 to 18 years. Each member is chosen from the 250-member Concert Choir based on academic performance and progress at rehearsals, as well as vocal ability. The young men and women that participate in this artistic and educational institution are from all five boroughs of New York, though primarily Manhattan.
The Boys Choir of Harlem”s show tomorrow will consist of an eclectic repertoire. Highlighting pieces off its latest pop album, “BCH Up in Harlem,” the show will also include classical music, gospel and jazz. Yet delighting its audiences goes beyond just the choir”s phenomenal voices and the breadth of their repertoire. The choir, with its dazzling choreography and concrete sense of showmanship, promises a program engaging both the senses of sight and sound.
Armed with a dream of giving inner-city boys something meaningful to strive for, Turnbull has built an innovative program in the last 32 years. Addressing the social, educational and emotional needs of urban boys and girls, the Boys Choir of Harlem transforms young people”s lives through music. Ninety-eight percent of the participants in the program graduate high school and many have gone on to hold prestigious and community-oriented jobs, including the first singing and dancing ringmaster of the Ringling Bros. Circus, a conductor for the Brookland Symphony, ministers, bankers and youth service leaders.
Dr. Turnbull is a native of Greenville, Miss. and an honors graduate of Tougaloo College. He has also received his Masters and a Doctoral in Musical Arts from the Manhattan School of Music. In addition to his role as Principle Conductor of the Boys Choir of Harlem, Turnbull gives annual recitals, master classes for artistic and educational organizations throughout the country and has held several residencies in Canada and Europe. He is also the recipient of many prestigious awards and has played important roles in many operas, both on and off Broadway.
The Boys Choir of Harlem averages 100 engagements in over 24 states annually. Each year it makes three or four national tours, and have also had four Asian tours, including performances in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Nine European tours have taken the choir to renowned venues, including London”s Cathedral of St. Paul, Paris” St. Germain-des-Prs and Amsterdam”s Concertgebouw. This concert at Hill Auditorium marks the Boys Choir of Harlem”s fourth performance in Ann Arbor.
Boys Choir of Harlem
At Hill Auditorium
Wednesday at 7 p.m.
University Musical Society