Musician, pastor and conductor Jonathon Turner is the new choirmaster of the Gospel Meets Symphony Choir, succeeding Jennifer Mekel Jones, who led the choir for 11 seasons.

 “I could not be more excited to serve as the choirmaster for the Gospel Meets Symphony Choir,” Turner said in a release. 

 “At age 16 I remember sneaking into a GMS rehearsal led by Dr. Raymond Wise and was literally in awe. I never imagined I’d stand in this place. Today I stand on the shoulders of the great men and women who have served before me and I will carry this legacy with pride!”

The Gospel Meets Symphony Choir, composed of singers from 70 area churches, has performed with the Akron Symphony in the Gospel Meets Symphony concert since 1994. Turner, whose affiliation with Gospel Meets Symphony goes back 10 years, was a member of the Gospel Meets Symphony rhythm section and served as a guest conductor last season.

Turner is senior pastor of the Israelite Missionary Baptist Church in Akron. He was director of Kent State University’s Voices of Testimony Gospel Choir, chorus director of Past Unforgotten in Akron, artist-in-residence for the Black Voices of Inspiration at Purdue University, director of the University of Mount Union’s Inspirational Voices of Praise, and director of band and choral activities at Emmanuel Christian Academy.

He currently serves as choral director at Lutheran High School East in Cleveland Heights.

Turner's versatility and familiarity with the choir makes him an ideal fit for the role of choirmaster, according to Music Director Christopher Wilkins.

 “Jonathon's formidable musical talent has been featured on GMS programs for many years — as a keyboard artist, vocal soloist, and as a conductor," Wilkins said in a release. “He approaches every musical moment with devotion and joy, and the choir has expressed overwhelming support of his leadership and his character. We will miss the extraordinary Jennifer Jones in this capacity, but are overjoyed to have found her worthy successor in Jonathon Turner.”

Gospel Meets Symphony will return Feb. 8, 2020.

 

Educator award

The Akron Symphony Orchestra is accepting nominations for the Music Educator of the Year Award, to be presented by Wilkins at the Nov. 16 concert at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall.

The honored music teacher will be selected by a panel of qualified judges from the region. The nominee must be a music teacher in Cuyahoga, Medina, Portage, Stark or Summit counties at a public, private or parochial setting in grades Pre-K to 12, or at the college or university level.

A $500 prize, sponsored by the Trillium Schools of Music, will be awarded to the winning teacher's music program in his or her name. The purpose of this award is to promote a greater understanding of and appreciation for the value of music education in schools.

Nominations are due by June 15.

Nominees should be music teachers who instill a lifelong appreciation of music in their students, inspire their students to attain high levels of musical understanding and ability, make a significant impact on their communities through music education, extend their efforts and influence beyond the classroom and foster a love of music and make a lasting impact in the lives of their students from all levels of ability and background.

Nomination forms can be downloaded at akronsymphony.org. For more information, contact Orzella Matherson, community engagement and education coordinator, at 330-535-8131.

 

'Cab & Gab'

Cesear's Forum, Cleveland’s small nonprofit professional theater company, will host the performance benefit "Adina Bloom: Not Your Usual Cab & Gab" on June 9.

The short presentation purports to be a “cabaret” but the female characters, played by Bloom and Mary Alice Beck, engage in a fragmented political and cultural dialogue with musical interludes. The theatrical techniques employed in this satirical show are inspired by playwright Caryl Churchill.

The reception will begin at 3 p.m., with the performance at 4 p.m., followed by reveling until 7 p.m. at Brothers Lounge, 11609 Detroit Ave., Cleveland. Suggested minimum donation is $30 each or $50 per couple. Cheese and fruit board will be provided. Cash bar and additional food will be available for purchase. Call 330-405-3045 or email cesearsforum@aol.com. Walk-in guests are welcome.

 

Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or kclawson@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her at @KerryClawsonABJ or www.facebook.com/kclawsonabj.