Playing for the Choir
January 9th, 2006

A leadership battle may be shaping up at the famed Boys Choir of Harlem — and the Girls Choir as well. In an editorial, the Daily News praises former Mayor David Dinkins for stepping in and trying to save the choir, which is in debt, facing eviction by the Department of Education and unable to pay staff. “Dinkins has taken on a huge job because the choir organization needs rebuilding from the ground up,” the News says. “Its survival depends on the introduction of fresh leadership and new, professional management. ” As part of that, the News says, founder Walter Turnbull must step aside — and, it says, “Dinkins politely signals in a fund-raising letter that [Turnbull’s] role will be diminished.

In an op-ed in the News, Dinkins and Representative Charles Rangel, who is also heavily involved in efforts to save the choir, are not so explicit. Extolling the choir for its musical and academic accomplishments, Rangel and Dinkins say, “the choir has experienced a number of operational, managerial and financial setbacks and as a result has been unable to raise the funds necessary to meet” various contractual and financial obligations. In a subtle reflection of what’s in the News editorial, the two men say the choir needs to “regain its prominence, particularly in the area of its leadership.” In any event, with Dinkins’ help, writes MultiCult Classics, it “Looks like the fat lady won’t be singing just yet.”

Meanwhile, the choir has been the recipient of some unusual largesse. The Associated Press reports that Rangel is donating $2,000 he received from a law firm linked to disgraced lobbyist (is that redundant?) Jack Abramoff to the choir. And Hip Hop Blogs says that rapper 50 Cent’s G-Unity Foundation has donated $150,000 to the group.

By on January 9, 2006, 8:49 am
In category: Arts,Education,Gotham City | Comments Off on Playing for the Choir

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