Friday, December 25, 2009

Boys Choir of Harlem disbanded

The Boys Choir of Harlem, which sang at the White House for nearly every president since Lyndon Johnson, has officially disbanded.

A former member announced at Metropolitan Community United Methodist Church in New York this month that the choir was shut down earlier this year, according to a report from the New York Times.

Although it had been two years since the choir's last public performance, many had held out hope that it would return.

The group, formed in 1968 by Walter J. Turnbull, drew its mainly African American or Hispanic members from among children living in Harlem.

Launched at the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church, it established a professional school incorporating a regular academic curriculum, the Choir Academy of Harlem. Performers of all ages could receive professional voice training at the school.

The choir toured internationally and performed for Nelson Mandela. It had recorded songs for films such as Malcolm X and won a Grammy for the soundtrack of the film Glory.

A series of scandals led to the choir losing control of the school in 2006. First, the choir racked up a huge deficit, then a staff member was convicted of sexually abusing a student. Turnbull died in 2007 but he was accused of covering up the abuse.

Former member Terrance Wright said former members of the choir often get together to sing.

No comments: