From fashion and karaoke to inside tips and quizzes, the TCC Blog is sure to entertain.

Money Matters

 

Anyone who runs an arts-based nonprofit can tell you that the expenses are astronomical, even if they aren’t always immediately recognizable to potential donors.

Each Turtle Creek Chorale performance is an expensive endeavor with sizable production expenses, including venue rental, musicians, licensing fees and music purchase, commission costs for new arrangements and works, production staff, costumes, and the list goes on.

It adds up, in other words, which is why contributions are crucial to ensure audiences continue to receive exceptional musical experiences. The biggest way audiences contribute, and Turtle Creek Chorale’s key source of funding, comes from ticket sales, says Turtle Creek Chorale Development/Marketing Director Caroline French. “But donations and grants are critical to ensure that Turtle Creek Chorale has the resources to operate as a sustainable arts organization with a dedication to artistic quality.”

And with Turtle Creek Chorale, you get a lot of enriching bang for your buck. “Using choral music as our instrument, TCC enhances the cultural lives of our members and audiences by promoting harmony and spreading goodwill through the gift of song,” French says. “As advocates of unity and education across all communities and cultures, the Chorale continues to accomplish, achieve, and aspire to new heights, building bridges and breaking barriers within the Dallas community and beyond.”

But their contributions extend well beyond nourishing the soul. During its 34-year history, Turtle Creek Chorale has provided numerous benefit performances, worked in a number of community service projects, and acted as ambassadors for the city to groups visiting from across the globe. They also provide complimentary admission to shows for high school choral groups, seniors, and people living with HIV/AIDS. There are also numerous educational opportunities for aspiring young singers and general audiences alike, French says.

You can always donate to Turtle Creek Chorale through traditional methods like regular mail, online at TurtleCreek.org, or even by attending a concert, but there are a couple of ways you might not know about. By shopping at area Tom Thumb stores, you can designate that 10 percent of your purchase be donated when you use the Turtle Creek Chorale Good Neighbor Number #845. Also, many companies will donate cash in exchange for your volunteer hours and some are even willing to match any donations you make personally to a nonprofit. Check with your employer to find out more.

So You Think You Can Sing (and Dance)?

 

By Todd Camp

Think you could be a Turtle? Starting next month, you can put your mouth where your … er, mouth is when Turtle Creek Chorale opens auditions for new members. Until then, check out these tips on what it takes to be a successful Chorale crooner:

1. Lighten up. A sense of humor is not only a key trait for Chorale members; it’s a key trait for humans. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Seriously.

2. Slice that ham extra thick. Performing in front of hundreds of people can be intimidating, so don’t be afraid to nurse your inner ham. It might not be necessary for all TCC shows, but you’d be surprised how much hamming it up can come in handy.

3. Gimme a beat. You don’t have to have the moves like Jagger, but being able to groove to the music, even a little bit, will work to your advantage. Leave that other left foot at home.

4. Make this stuff look good. A sense of style will make ’em smile. You’ll probably be workin’ a tux most of the time on stage, but still, it never hurts to always show up dressed for success.

5. Sing out, Louise. Vocal talent is no small factor here — remember, you are singing for an internationally recognized choir. But you don’t have to have been a choral prodigy at age five to make the cut. So …

6. Practice. Practice. Practice. Sing in the shower. Bust out some Duran Duran at a local karaoke night (which could definitely help you out next season …). Do whatever it takes to get your voice used to making beautiful music.

7. Don’t just love it, live it. What you might lack in solo virtuosity, you can definitely make up for in passion. A genuine love of music is a must for any Turtle worth his salt.

8. Broaden your iPod’s horizons. Fergie is fierce, but there’s a whole wonderful world of music out there and the Chorale is going to be exposing you to a lot of it. Seek out new sounds and you might find something beyond “Bootylicious.”

9. Take care of your instrument. Late-night drinking binges are fun — if you remember them. But do remember this: They are tough on your voice. Keep your chords lubricated, not pickled.

10. Have fun. Why is something so simple, so hard to remember sometimes? You have to enjoy what you’re doing for others to enjoy what you’re doing. The more fun you have, the more fun the audience will share in.

Open rehearsal will be held Aug. 19 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Sammons Center for the Arts. New member auditions will be scheduled on Aug. 23..

For more information email info@turtlecreek.org.

Turtles on Their Own Time

 

Being a part of the Turtle Creek Chorale is akin, time-wise, to having a second job: It can be time-intensive and tiring, leaving room for little else.

 Most of the Turtles have jobs and lives apart from the Chorale, of course, but considering the amount of hours spent rehearsing, preparing, and performing, it’s surprising that some of the guys have time for any other endeavors on top of their already full lives. So what do Turtles do in their spare time?

“Members participate in church, sports with local leagues, and one even judges speech and debate competitions in the area,” says Tri Truong, Turtle Creek Chorale’s new Membership Vice President Elect. Between work, school, and his new leadership duties in the Chorale, Truong says he’s pretty much strapped for time, but enjoys the fact that Turtle Creek Chorale’s involvement in community events affords him the chance to be involved locally. “TCC is involved in a lot of community activities like LifeWalk and Dallas Pride that we all get together and participate in.”

But Turtle interests run the gamut, according to Andre Cruz, a fourth year Turtle Creek Chorale member who likes to spend his own limited free time reading and doing creative writing. Other artistic endeavors are common, he adds. “A lot of Turtles are musicians, for instance, Jamie Rawson plays the tuba, Rickey Phoummany dances, and Nathan Jones is trying his hand at making pottery.”

The list goes on, with Cruz rattling off a diverse array of other activities from DJing to acting to playwriting to making a mean barbecue. Turtle Creek Chorale athletic interests include ziplining, yoga, and even running marathons.

But where does the extra time and energy come from?

“The chorale is so diverse,” Cruz says. “I think the discipline we learn in rehearsals allows us to apply the same kind of passion to other interests.”

Filling the Turtle Void

 

By Todd Camp

It’s going to be a long wait until the Turtle Creek Chorale returns with the premiere of its 2014–2015 season with the show “Brave” taking place Oct. 17–18, 2014, at the Latino Cultural Center. Until then, we’ve got a few suggestions to pass the time that might not rival harmonic nirvana, but they should take your mind off the wait.

1. Catch a screening of the stage musical turned big-screen adaptation Jersey Boys to sate your appetite for the Christmas releases of Broadway movie musicals Annie (Dec. 19) and Into the Woods (Dec. 25).

2. The Boy from Oz, a celebration of the life of camp king Peter Allen and brought beautifully to life by Hugh Jackman on Broadway, makes its U.S. regional theater premiere July 25–Aug. 10 by Uptown Players at the Kalita Humphreys Theater in Dallas. Tickets at UptownPlayers.org.

3. No reason to not keep the diva dream alive with pop songstress Tori Amos performing July 29 at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas. Tickets at ATTPAC.org.

4. Show tune lovers probably already have their tickets for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s moody masterpiece, Phantom of the Opera, rumored to be even bigger and better than previous productions. It runs Aug. 6–24 at Winspear Opera House in Dallas. Tickets at ATTPAC.org.

5. Whip up a pitcher of vodka martinis and settle in for a screening of the show choir-tastic movie Pitch Perfect — for, like, the 10th time. Take comfort in the knowledge that Pitch Perfect 2 is coming in 2015 and will include local a cappella wunderkinds Pentatonix.

6. We may not have Tammy Wynette with us anymore, but the original coal miner’s daughter, Loretta Lynn, will perform Aug. 9 at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. Tickets at BassHall.com.

7. Return to Dallas City Performance Hall for the inaugural season of Dallas DanceFest, showcasing the best in local movement masters, including the phenomenal Bruce Wood Dance Project. Performances are Aug. 29–31 at DCPH. For more information visit dallasdancefest.org.

8. She’s diva royalty and the undisputed Queen of Soul; Aretha Franklin performs Sept. 6 at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas. Tickets at ATTPAC.org.

9. The 2014–2015 season of Dallas Summer Musicals kicks off in September with the brand new musical Nice Work If You Can Get It, featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin. The show premieres Sept. 2–14 at Music Hall in Fair Park. Tickets at DallasSummerMusicals.org. It moves to Fort Worth’s Bass Hall Sept. 16–21. Tickets at BassHall.com.

10. Mark your calendar for Aug. 20, 2014 when season passes go on sale for Turtle Creek Chorale’s 2014–2015 season. You can order online at TurtleCreek.org or call (214) 526-3214.

Turtle Creek Chorale 35th Season Lineup

BRAVE

October 17-18

Latino Cultural Center

Our first concert of the season. BRAVE, will be a poignant and powerful statement of courage, faith, and perseverance you won’t forget. The concert will feature men of the Turtle Creek Chorale and community artists as they share, through music, their personal stories of bravery and hope.

“JANGLED”

December 18-21

Dallas City Performance Hall

Each holiday season we are inundated with messages, noises, pressures, and commitments that can sometimes leave us…well…”Jangled.” Join TCC for our traditional and beloved holiday concert as we rediscover the true spirit of the holidays and celebrate this truly magical season.

*Children’s matinee concert on December 20*

 

35th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT

February 7

Dallas City Performance Hall

TCC will celebrate its 35th Anniversary with a concert joined by our alumni and Conductor Emeritus Dr. Timothy Seelig as we present the amazing music that made the TCC the most renowned male chorus in the world.

 

BRITTEN, BEATLES & BOND

April 23-25

Dallas City Performance Hall

TCC presents selections from our favorite friends from “across the pond” – The Beatles, Elton John, and even contemporary artists such as Adele, and yes, even the Spice Girls! We won’t forget our more “serious” British composers, with works by Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

 

MÙSICA DE MAYO

May 1-2

Latino Cultural Center

Chamber Chorus and members of TCC present a festive concert of sizzling music celebrating the Latino culture. This concert will feature choral music from Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Mexican, and Spain.

 

TURTLE-LY 80s

June 19-21

Dallas City Performance Hall

Join us as we celebrate our founding decade of teased hair, baggy pants, and more! It’s also your chance to sing along with TCC for many of the songs! You know you’ll want to anyway!

United in Song

 

By Todd Camp 

Looks like there’s no rest for the weary.

After months of preparation and two performances of their high-energy Divas Gone … But Not Forgotten concert, not to mention the subsequent striking of the show, for several members of the Turtle Creek Chorale Camerata, at least, the work isn’t over. A select group of singers will have yet another performance just an hour and a half after the last Divas show. Deep breath, guys.

The audience? Only more than 1500 mayors from across the country, including Dallas’ own Mayor Mike Rawlings. They’re visiting Dallas as part of the 82nd Annual United States Conference of Mayors June 20-23 at the Omni Dallas Hotel.

While touring the Dallas Arts District on Sunday, June 22, the mayors will have the opportunity to enjoy a cultural taste test of sorts.

“Each of the district’s major performance spaces will feature mini performances from some of Dallas’ best talent,” says Turtle Creek Chorale Development/Marketing Director Caroline French. “It’s a chance to not only show off the city’s cultural vibrancy but also the exceptional quality of its arts organizations.”

First up, of course, will be Turtle Creek Chorale’s Camerata a cappella ensemble performing a yet undecided set list.

While the mayors will be working throughout the daytime sessions to find bipartisan solutions for spurring job creation and economic growth in their cites, it’s nice to think that, if only for a few short moments, they can be unified by a shared love of beautiful music.

Gone Before Their Time

 

Dutourdumonde Photography / Shutterstock.com

By Todd Camp

As Turtle Creek Chorale’s performances of “Divas Gone…But Not Forgotten” continue this weekend at Dallas City Performance Hall, prolific divas share the stage with a couple of short-lived, but no less iconic, performers who were gone long before their time.

Selena

Diva status: The Queen of Tejano Music

Props: Her outfits.Dubbed “the Mexican Madonna,” her attire was bold, sexy, and in your face — just as much as was her ample talent and vocal chops.

Signature song: “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” from the album Amor Prohibido may be her best-known single, but it was her 1995 album, Dreaming Of You, that established her as a cross over artist and a (vocal) force to be reckoned with.

Personal struggle: While her legacy is not tarnished by substance abuse, herfame and stardom would lead to her untimely downfall. On March 31, 1995, Selena was gunned down by Yolanda Saldivar — who, coincidentally — was the former president of her fan club. Two weeks after her death, then-governor of Texas, George W. Bush declared April 16th (her birthday) to be “Selena Day” in the state. In 1997, Jennifer Lopez portrayed the Latin crossover artist in a wildly successful biopic, and on March 16, 2011, the U.S. Post Office commemorated Selena as the subject of one of their “Latin Legends” memorial stamps.

Amy Winehouse


Diva status: Self-Destructive Chanteuse

Props: This north London-born singer was known for embracing a number ofmusical styles, from soul to reggae. Her second album, Back to Black, earned five Grammy awards, including three of the Big Four awards.

Signature song: Winehouse never cracked the Top 5 in the States, but her autobiographical hit “Rehab,”an ode to her own struggles with treatment for substance abuse, did reach No. 9, taking home three Grammys, including “Record of the Year,” “Song of the Year,” and “Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.”

Personal struggle: Winehouse shared some eerie parallels with Joplin, including a longtime struggle with drug abuse (including heroine and crack cocaine) and later alcohol abuse. Various bouts with treatment proved unsuccessful (as her cruelly ironic hit single attested) and her frequent relapses eventually lead to her death by alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011 at the age of 27.

 

Meet the Cast: Larry Carter

 

By Todd Camp

Larry Carter

Details: Born in Big Spring, Texas, this 71-year-old is currently retired. His entire working career was spent in radio and television, including 26 years at NBC in Burbank, Calif. During that time, he built sets for The Tonight Show, Days of Our Lives, “and about a million Bob Hope Christmas Specials and game shows,” Carter says.

Chops: Starting in a boy’s choir in the sixth grade, he appeared in several musicals in college while pursuing a degree in theater and speech at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas.

Most memorable performance: Carter says he’ll never forget his debut with Turtle Creek Chorale in 2009. The concert was called If Music Be the Food of Love and it particularly hit home after his 20-year-old grandson was killed by a drunk driver the month before the opening.

“Music, for me … was indeed the ‘Food of Love.’ My Turtle brothers wrapped their arms around me and have never let me go. I am forever indebted to them for keeping me sane and grounded during the darkest time of my life.”

Favorite song performed: It’s a song that, unfortunately, is sung too many times at funerals of Chorale members, “… and a song that will also be sung at mine: ‘Majesty and Glory of Your Name.’I still cannot make it through without tears,” he says. “Mostly tears of joy at the sound and the total commitment from us all. It’s one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard.”

What draws him to Turtle Creek Chorale: After sitting in the audience for three years, Carter finally decided he had to sing. “Celebrating my membership in Turtle Creek Chorale and celebrating the life of my grandson, Josh. That’s my commitment … and what keeps me coming back day after day, week after week, year after year.”

Fun Fact Most Don’t Know About You: During his tenure at NBC, Carter made several appearances on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno playing former FBI head J. Edgar Hoover … in drag! He also appeared as the Queen Mother of Eng

The Time of Your Life

 

By Todd Camp 

When you sit down to enjoy a performance of the Turtle Creek Chorale, you’re probably not thinking about how much time went into crafting the show you’re about to experience.

“Oh, I can’t begin to calculate. Hundreds. Hundreds of hours,” says Turtle Creek Chorale Associate Conductor Sean Baugh when asked about the hours of work that go into a typical Chorale performance. Baugh, who has been with Turtle Creek Chorale since 2006, has traditionally served in support of the Artistic Director. But he’s about to step up to the podium to lead the Chorale through the first part of their next season while Turtle Creek Chorale begins its search for a new Artistic Director. In other words, he knows what he’s talking about.

Baugh says most shows start the clock about two and a half months prior to performance. The Artistic Director and staff have already made decisions regarding the theme of the show as well as what pieces may be performed.

“The Artistic Director will personally select the repertoire,” says Baugh. “If the pieces haven’t been arranged for a chorus, that is done. They can also commission new pieces.”

Once the songs are selected, rehearsals begin. Regular chorus members have two rehearsals a week, each lasting two to three hours. If those members happen to be a part of one of Turtle Creek Chorale’s smaller ensembles (such as the Chamber Chorus, Camerata, or the dance-intensive Sound Bytes) they have even more rehearsals. Add choreography to the mix, and the hours add up, including two to three marathon technical rehearsals as performance time nears.

“That doesn’t even include the personal time spent memorizing lyrics and learning the music,” Baugh says. “It takes a lot of time.” To say the least. And once all of their hard work is done, you need only make time to enjoy it.

Which Diva Do You Favor?

 

By Todd Camp

When Turtle Creek Chorale takes the Dallas City Performance Hall stage June 20-22 for this season’s final performances, they’ll be running on pure grrrl power. The Divas Gone … But Not Forgotten performance will channel a diverse array of legendary female vocalists, from Amy Winehouse to Tammy Wynette. But if your diva knowledge is limited only to Judy or Babs, you better brush up on at least two of these legendary ladies whose work will be featured in the show.



Whitney Houston

Diva status: Superstar Props: Cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most awarded female act of all time (a total of 600 awards!), Houston’s somewhat limited catalog (only six studio albums, a holiday album, and three soundtrack albums), boasts nearly 200 million record sales worldwide. She’s also the only artist ever to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. Signature song: So many contenders to choose from, but her iconic cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,”from the original soundtrack to the film The Bodyguard (in which she also starred), is untouchable and is only the best-selling single by a woman in history. Personal struggle: Her volatile marriage to R&B singer Bobby Brown and her public battle with substance abuse made her the subject of ridicule late in her career, but after her tragic drowning in a bathtub in 2012, brought on by complications from heart disease, Houston’s effervescence and powerhouse vocals are something for which she will never be forgotten.

Karen Carpenter

Diva status: Underdog Props: Together with her brother Richard, under the band name The Carpenters, Karen was not only an amazing singer, but an accomplished drummer as well. With 11 studio albums and her own solo album, Karen and her siblings were major stars in the ‘70s, racking up several No. 1 hits. Signature song: There’s no definitive answer here and fans will definitely debate these choices, but it would probably be a toss-up between their No. 1 hit “(They Long to Be) Close to You” written by the legendary songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David; and their No. 2 hit “We’ve Only Just Begun.” Personal struggle: Though her brother’s struggle with drug dependency affected the duo’s touring shows, Karen’s lifelong battle with anorexia nervosa ultimately caused her death by heart failure in 1983 and sparked a national discussion on the issue.