Oral Histories

Interview of Albert McNeil

Director of Choral Activities, professor of Ethnomusicology, and head of Music Education at U.C. Davis. Choral director, composer, arranger, author, and editor.
Black Music and Musicians in Los Angeles: Spirituals, Gospel, Jazz, and Spoken Word
African American History
Biographical Note:
Director of Choral Activities, professor of Ethnomusicology, and head of Music Education at U.C. Davis. Choral director, composer, arranger, author, and editor.
Patterson, Karin
McNeil, Albert
Persons Present:
McNeil, Patterson, and Adriana Montenegro (videographer).
Place Conducted:
McNeil's home in Hermosa Beach, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research. Original digital video cassettes were deposited with the Department of Ethnomusicology. Additional materials relating to these interviews are located in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Karin Patterson, UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology; B.A., Ethnomusicology, UCLA, 1997; M.A., Ethnomusicology, 1999; Ph.D., Ethnomusicology, UCLA June, 2007.Patterson prepared for the interview by initiating an introductory phone conversation and a pre-interview meeting at the McNeil's. Preparation included preliminary online research of Jubilee Singers history and mission.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. McNeil was then given an opportunity to review the transcript and make corrections and additions. Those corrections were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
6 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
These interviews with African American musicians provide details about the narrators' background, training, influences, and musical choices and discuss their contributions, and connections to the music of black Los Angeles. The series was a collaborative project of the UCLA Center for Oral History Research, the Department of Ethnomusicology, and the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, with funding from an Arts Initiative grant from the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture. UCLA Professor Jacqueline DjeDje was the principal investigator and defined the scope and selected the individuals to be interviewed. In addition to the audio recordings housed with the UCLA Center for Oral History Research, the interviews were all captured on video, and those videos can be accessed at the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive.
McNeil’s adoptive parents’ background– Louisiana family roots–Parents’ performance background–Early life in Los Angeles–Early associations in Los Angeles–The churches McNeil became familiar with–Musicians that lived in the McNeil Los Angeles neighborhood–neighborhood characteristics–McNeil’s memories of a childhood visit to New Orleans–McNeil’s Los Angeles education– Memories of his immediate family–Knowledge of his birth mother and Puerto Rican heritiage.
McNeil’s continued memories his education in Los Angeles–His memories of African American church life–Early African American church radio station–Mcneil’s association with other notable African American musicians in Los Angeles–His time spent at People’s Independent and its influence on the African American community in Los Angeles–Events of his teaching experience in Los Angeles–Reflections on ethnicity–Experiences in Europe