Jonathon Turner appointed as Gospel Meets Symphony Choirmaster
Jonathan Turner, with microphone, performs during the 2016 Gospel Meets Symphony concert. Turner is the new Choirmaster for the Gospel Meets Symphony Choir.
He succeeds Jennifer Mekel Jones, who successfully led the choir for the past 11 seasons.
“I could not be more excited to serve as the Choirmaster for the Gospel Meets Symphony Choir,” Turner said. “This will begin my 10th year working with the Akron Symphony and what a joyful journey it has been. I have had the enormous pleasure of serving under the leadership of Jennifer Mekel Jones and Maestro Christopher Wilkins and am honored to carry the torch forward.
“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 is comprised of singers from more than 70 area churches. The choir serves as the inspirational voice of the Akron Symphony Orchestra’s annual Gospel Meets Symphony concert, which has been a Northeast Ohio tradition since 1994.
Turner enjoys a multifaceted career as a pastor, conductor, tenor and educator, having served in numerous capacities locally and nationally. He received his undergraduate training at Kent State University, and is a member of the James Abbington Cohort at Hampton University. He is also the Senior Pastor of The Israelite Missionary Baptist Church in Akron.
“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!” – Jonathon Turner
Some of the highlights of his musical accomplishments include serving as the 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 the Director of Choral Activities at Lutheran High School East.
Turner has also spent several years as a member of the Gospel Meets Symphony Rhythm Section, and this past season served as a guest conductor at Gospel Meets Symphony.
His versatility and familiarity with the choir makes him an ideal fit for the role of choirmaster, according to Music Director Christopher Wilkins.
“I am thrilled to welcome Jonathon Turner as the new Gospel Meets Symphony Choirmaster. 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. “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 on February 8, 2020, as part of the Akron Symphony Orchestra’s 2019-20 concert season.