2007 Regular Session
By: Representative Hines
A RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE LIFE, LEGACY AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF DR. WALTER TURNBULL, FOUNDER OF THE BOYS CHOIR OF HARLEM, AND EXPRESSING DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS UPON HIS PASSING.
WHEREAS, Dr. Walter Turnbull, bornJuly 19, 1944, in Greenville, Mississippi, departed this earthly life on Friday, March 23, 2007, at the age of 62 after a lengthy battle with cancer, to enter into eternal rest with his Heavenly Father, causing great sorrow and loss to his family and friends; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Turnbull won a music scholarship to Tougaloo College, where he studied classical music and vocal performance, and after graduation moved to New York in 1968 with dreams of being an operatic tenor; and
WHEREAS, in addition to continuing his education at the Manhattan School of Music, Dr. Turnbull began performing with the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestras; and
WHEREAS, while working toward a doctorate at the Manhattan School of Music, he began a choir as an after-school music program in the basement of Harlem's Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1968, whose popularity grew rapidly before eventually being established as the internationally renowned performance group; and
WHEREAS, incorporated as the Boys Choir of Harlem in 1975, the group, which usually included about 150 boys, eventually spawned a 600-student school, the Choir Academy of Harlem, which offered a full academic program in Grades 4 through 12; and
WHEREAS, from modest beginnings in the basement of the church located on 123rd Street, the choir went on to sing for presidents, world diplomats and popes, reflecting Dr. Turnbull's belief that musical training focuses the mind and helps any child succeed in life; and
WHEREAS, it has been celebrated around the world for its eclectic musical standards, varying from performances of Handel to spirituals, jazz and pop; and
WHEREAS, based on the success of the Boys Choir, Dr. Turnbull founded the Girls Choir of Harlem in 1988; and
WHEREAS, for his remarkable work with inner city youth, who could have easily fallen prey to the many societal menaces and deviant temptations, Dr. Turnbull received the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton in 1997 and many other honors, including being named to the New York Black 100 by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and
WHEREAS, though he has traversed the rivers of life to now stand on golden heavenly shores, the legacy of his teaching and profound impact on the lives of more than 7,000 young men will thrive in the hearts of those who were privileged to experience growth under his tutelage and inspiration, including his surviving siblings: Horace Turnbull, Sammy J. Turnbull and Mary Webster; nephew, Representative John W. Hines, Sr.; and legislative members of the Tougaloo Alumni, Representatives Willie L. Bailey, Edward Blackmon, Jr., Mary H. Coleman, Willie J. Perkins, Sr., and Rufus E. Straughter; and
WHEREAS, it is the policy of the House of Representatives to recognize the accomplishments and commend the life and success of one of our great state's native sons, such as a master musician as Dr. Turnbull, whose remarkable career has brought great pride to the affiliates of the Harlem Boys Choir and to the State of Mississippi:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby commend the life, legacy and accomplishments of Dr. Walter Turnbull, founder of the Boys Choir of Harlem, extend our condolences and express deepest sympathy to his family and friends upon his passing.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to the family members of Dr. Turnbull and to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.