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Interview with Sylvanus Zeke Turner, March 21, 2018

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:28 - Solo Performances

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Partial Transcript: I want to continue learning a little more about...

Segment Synopsis: Sylvanus Zeke Turner discusses becoming a musician due to his love for singing. Turner also explains some of his performance history as listed on his website before he began performing solo around 2010.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Enterprise, AL; Gospel Music Workshop of America; Klondyke Baptist Church; Klondyke Gospel Music Center; Randall Bramblett; Reverend Dr. James Edward Cleveland; The Southeast Sun

00:04:46 - Role in Gospel Music Workshop of America

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Partial Transcript: Um, even though it's not on your website, I see...

Segment Synopsis: Turner was a member of the Gospel Music Workshop of America for about ten years after they visited Athens, attending annual conventions and board meetings. He discusses his responsibilities as the nominated chapter representative for Athens. He mentions the several places he visited due to travel for meetings and meeting James Cleveland.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA); Reverend Dr. James Edward Cleveland

00:08:31 - Gospel Music Workshop of America Choirs

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Partial Transcript: Did you participate in this choir?

Segment Synopsis: Turner recalls participating in James Cleveland's choir, as well as meeting Thurston Frazier, for whom the GMWA named a choir after. He also elaborates how music was chosen for the albums produced.

Keywords: Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA); Reverend Dr. James Edward Cleveland; Thurston G. Frazier; Thurston G. Frazier Memorial Chorale

00:12:11 - Experiencing Athens Music

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Partial Transcript: I want to talk now coming back to Athens...

Segment Synopsis: Turner elaborates that in his youth he encountered many more people in his community that wanted to sing Christian music rather than any other genre. However, there were clubs and events that the University would host if someone wanted to perform or hear music such as rock, soul, or blues.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Cabin in the Pines; J.C. Maddox Club; James Joseph Brown; Otis Ray Redding Jr.

00:15:39 - Popular Places in the Black Community

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Partial Transcript: Do you recall any clubs or, um, being on...

Segment Synopsis: Turner explains that though there were a few places to perform on Hot Corner, it mostly consisted of restaurants and cafes with jukeboxes. He mentions other parts of the Athens black community where music would be performed, such as Callaway Corner and the Morton Theatre.

Keywords: Cabell "Cab" Calloway III; Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington; Louis Daniel Armstrong; Monroe Bowers (Pink) Morton

00:23:14 - Style of Performances

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Partial Transcript: Um, we're almost at the end now. Want to go back to...

Segment Synopsis: Most of Turner's performances are religious music, but he explains that he will perform other music depending on his event. He tends to stick to Traditional Southern Gospel, which in his opinion tells more of a story than Contemporary Gospel. Turner also discusses the music and instruments he typically performs with.

Keywords: Andraé Edward Crouch; Athens, Ga; Evelyn Stroud; Fred Wright; Freddy Jones; Henry Grady; James Willis; Jerry Wilson; Lighthouse Gospel Singers; The Golden Tones; The Mighty Transporteers; Thomas Andrew Dorsey; Urban gospel

00:30:16 - Church and Music Today

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Partial Transcript: Now, what do you, what type of music do you...

Segment Synopsis: Turner suggests today's youth is more interested in contemporary gospel because they pay more attention to the beat than the message. He discusses the changes within Athens churches that he's noticed, such as structure of music and attendance. Turner also explains his traveling for performances.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Creflo Augustus Dollar Jr.; The Morton Theatre; World Changers Church – Athens, GA (WCC-Athens); World Changers Ministries; megachurch

00:36:54 - Civil Rights Movement

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Partial Transcript: Did, did you ever use your music for protest?

Segment Synopsis: Although Turner was not active in protests during the Civil Rights Movement, some of his siblings were. He explains, however, how he would perform at special programs and events where some would want to hear Martin Luther King Jr's favorite songs.

Keywords: Athens, Ga; MLK

00:39:14 - National Quartet Convention

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Partial Transcript: Okay, okay. But I've enjoyed this...

Segment Synopsis: Turner discusses his attendances at conventions in Pigeon Forge, where he has won first place and second runner up in traditional gospel. He mentions the relocating of the event over the years and his own evolution in music. After singing with a quartet, he began performing solo even in quartet conventions.

Keywords: Charley Frank Pride; Leconte Center; Louisville, Tennessee; Nashville, Tennessee; National Quartet Convention; Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

00:47:07 - Various Styles of Gospel

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Partial Transcript: Well, anything else you would like to add?

Segment Synopsis: Turner elaborates the different characteristics of the various forms of gospel, particularly country gospel and bluegrass gospel. He also suggests that although traditional gospel identifies more with white Christians, it originates from black slaves. Turner discusses the styles of gospel he performs.

Keywords: James Joseph Brown; Southern gospel

00:53:15 - Singing on Radio

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Partial Transcript: Here you say something about radio.

Segment Synopsis: Turner goes over his notes and discusses singing on Athens radio on occasion.

Keywords: Athens, GA; WGAU; WXAG