The BJU yearbook staff announced today the dedication of the 2019 Vintage to Dr. Dan Turner, who is retiring as director of bands after the 2018–19 academic year.
A Long History
Turner has served as the director of bands at BJU for the past 35 years. In addition to heading the music education department, Turner has taught private lessons to university students. Prior to joining the University, Turner launched the band programs at Bob Jones Academy in 1972 and was the director of bands for the Academy until 1983.
“When I was 16 and a junior in the Academy band under Dan, it was his passion for people and for music that God used to call me into a life of teaching. I can say that God used Dan specifically to help me recognize my own spiritual gift of teaching,” said Bruce Cox, new director of bands at BJU. “As colleagues for the past 35 years, I have seen his passion for all of life. . . . He has lived out his own calling with all his might, and though he is mortal he is worth emulating.”
Turner has been named to the Who’s Who of the South and Who’s Who of Education for his conducting. He has also received the National Band Association Citation of Excellence. In 2017, Furman University band director Les Hicken nominated Turner for membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association, which grants membership by invitation only.
A Recorded History
As well as being a conductor, an educator and a performer, Turner has been a recorder of BJU history, writing works such as Standing Without Apology: The History of Bob Jones University and Reflecting God’s Light: Facets of a Miracle. These works sprouted from a seed sown during Turner’s graduate work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. When Turner met with his adviser to discuss research ideas, his advisor told him to change his research question to why BJU students are the way they are. The result was Turner’s dissertation Fundamentalism, the Arts, and Personal Refinement: A Study of the Ideals of Bob Jones Sr. and Bob Jones Jr. Turner said this allowed him to later go to Bob Jones III and present the idea of a new history of Bob Jones University.
“Dr. Dan Turner has contributed to the music programs of both Bob Jones Academy and Bob Jones University over the past 47 years. He has literally influenced thousands of lives through his teaching, directing and performing. Through his masterful teaching and godly example, he has a legacy of being the epitome of a music educator—something his colleagues, former students, and peers in the professional world acknowledge,” said David Fisher, vice provost for academic administration. “In addition, Dr. Turner has left a profound impact on BJU by chronicling the history of the institution. By God’s grace, Standing Without Apology will continue to tell the story of the founding, mission and ministry of this institution. It is the go-to resource for helping new employees, as well as the old-timers, to understand the background and framework of BJU’s educational history and philosophy.”
To better serve students, Turner founded the Gingery-Mack Scholarship Fund that has enabled promising musicians to study under accomplished, Christian faculty. To date, the fund has raised and distributed more than $50,000 to young musicians.
A Fitting Tribute
Some may not know this about Turner, but he loves to grow things. Flowers, berries, herbs, and—most of all—students. Because Turner is retiring from formally nurturing students, the 2019 Vintage dedication is a superb example of giving honor to whom honor is due. Learn more in this video retrospective.