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Helen Turner-Thompson

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Information about Helen Turner-Thompson

Profile image of Helen Turner-Thompson

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Gospel Musician
Piano Instructor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Greens, Yams (Candied), Fruit, Meat
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
If it's the Lord's will.

Birthplace

Born:
1/7/1931
Birth Location:
Cleveland, Ohio

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Gospel Musician
Piano Instructor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Greens, Yams (Candied), Fruit, Meat
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
If it's the Lord's will.

Birthplace

Born:
1/7/1931
Birth Location:
Cleveland
See how Helen Turner-Thompson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Minister of music, pianist and educator, Helen Turner-Thompson was born on January 7, 1931. Turner-Thompson has lived most of her life in Cleveland, Ohio. A product of the Cleveland Public Schools, she studied piano privately beginning in elementary school and held a number of professional jobs before graduating from Cleveland's Central High School. She also completed additional studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Turner-Thompson has worked with the choirs of numerous local churches, including Antioch Baptist Church, Mount Zion Congregational Church, Euclid Avenue Congregational Church and Shiloh Baptist Church. Nationally, she has worked with other professional musicians in the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses, the Gospel Music Workshop of America and the Center for Black Music Research. Turner-Thompson, who currently resides in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, also teaches classical piano to area children and is a much sought-after clinician and workshop leader.

Turner-Thompson is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the Gospel Pioneer Award, December 2006; the Inspirational Voices of Peace Founders Harp Award, September 2007; was honored by the Gospel Music Historical Society; the TallerWorks at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum; the Women’s Clergy of Greater Cleveland; the Karamu Theatre and was named a Master Artist for the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program of the Ohio Arts Council, working with individuals interested in studying the history and performance practices of the gospel music that developed during the first half of the twentieth century.

See how Helen Turner-Thompson is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Helen Turner-Thompson interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Helen Turner-Thompson explains her nickname 'Mother'
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Helen Turner-Thompson's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Helen Turner-Thompson discusses her adoption
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Helen Turner-Thompson remembers her adopted mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Helen Turner-Thompson talks about her adopted mother's music shop
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Helen Turner-Thompson recalls her childhood neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Helen Turner-Thompson speaks about her sister
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Helen Turner-Thompson talks about her grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Helen Turner-Thompson explains African American entrepreneurship in Cleveland
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Helen Turner-Thompson discusses her early musical career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Helen Turner-Thompson remembers influential music teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Helen Turner-Thompson discusses Thomas Dorsey and the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Helen Turner-Thompson explains the goal of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Helen Turner-Thompson remembers major players of the Chicago and Cleveland gospel music communities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Helen Turner-Thompson details her musical education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Helen Turner-Thompson talks about her early experiences as a gospel musician
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Helen Turner-Thompson recalls gospel radio broadcasts by Wings Over Jordan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Helen Turner-Thompson talks about the importance of improvisation in gospel music
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Helen Turner-Thompson explains how 'Amazing Grace' was accepted as a gospel song
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Helen Turner-Thompson explains the adaptability of 'Amazing Grace'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Helen Turner-Thompson talks about changes in gospel music that start in the 1930s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Helen Turner-Thompson discusses how gospel music evolved in the 1940s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Helen Turner-Thompson recalls James Cleveland's career and influence
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Helen Turner-Thompson compares the Thomas Dorsey and James Cleveland workshops
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Helen Turner-Thompson talks about changes in gospel music's insturmentation
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Helen Turner-Thompson's contrasts tradititional and contemporary styles of gospel music
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Helen Turner-Thompson details her various duties in the community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Helen Turner-Thompson talks about the the role of women in church hierarchy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Helen Turner-Thompson discusses her courtship and marriage
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Helen Turner-Thompson remembers continuing her music as a military wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Helen Turner-Thompson lists her children and grandchildren
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Helen Turner-Thompson talks about being a military wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Helen Turner-Thompson talks about various jobs she held
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Helen Turner-Thompson recalls being a single parent during the 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Helen Turner-Thompson discusses the church's opinions of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Helen Turner-Thompson explains living in a "school of learning"
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Helen Turner-Thompson remembers Cleveland's participation in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Helen Turner-Thompson discusses the underground economy in Cleveland
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Helen Turner-Thompson explains ways arts attracted youth to the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Helen Turner-Thompson talks about African American women writers' successes
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Helen Turner-Thompson discusses current female gospel musicians
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Helen Turner-Thompson shares her concerns about the future of gospel music
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Helen Turner-Thompson plays piano and sings a short medley of gospel tunes
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson and her aunt, Viola Tate, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson's late husband, Donald Thompson, Sr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson's late husband, Donald Thompson, Sr., receiving a military certificate
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson's sister, Frances Crawford's graduation photo from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Photo - Baby photo of Helen Turner-Thompson's daughter, Yvonne Thompson-Moore
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Photo - Baby photo of Helen Turner-Thompson's son, Donald Thompson, Jr., 1953
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson pictured on the sheet music of, 'There Is A Place On The Battlefield For Me', Cleveland, Ohio, ca. 1947
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson with her children
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson with her family
  • Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson with gospel choir members, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson leading a gospel music workshop at Fairmount Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 16 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson receiving an award at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio, January, 2002
  • Tape: 5 Story: 17 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson after receiving an award at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio, January, 2002
  • Tape: 5 Story: 18 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson on a visit to Jerusalem, Israel
  • Tape: 5 Story: 19 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson with Tony Menard and the music conductor at Antioch Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio, 1993
  • Tape: 5 Story: 20 - Photo - Helen Turner-Thompson in the Antioch Chorus at Antioch Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio