Turtle Creek Chorale is always busy in our community. Catch up with the latest news!

Dennis Coleman Joins TCC Staff as Director of Development

DALLAS, TX – Wednesday, December 7, 2016 – Accomplished, long-time Dallas non-profit and development professional Dennis Coleman will become TCC’s Director of Development on December 16.

Coleman is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. He has been a development and fundraising professional for more than 25 years, specializing in cultivation of new revenue sources.

For the last nearly four years, Coleman has been building a development office at Paul Quinn College in Dallas. He has also worked as Senior Consultant with The Non-Profit Group providing fundraising, grant writing and research to non-profit organizations.

Previously, Coleman was Executive Director of Equality Texas and the Equality Texas Foundation based in Austin.  Equality Texas is the only state-wide lobbying and advocacy group established to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Texas. From 2003 to 2010, he worked as Regional Director in charge of fundraising for the Dallas regional office of Lambda Legal Defense and Education expanding the fundraising, donor cultivation and planned giving efforts for that organization in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico and Colorado.

Before entering the non-profit world, Coleman worked in account management and sales for Sprint PCS, The Wall Street Journal and The Dallas Morning News. He has also served as National Chair of the Board of Governors for the Human Rights Campaign.

Bruce Jaster, Executive Director of the Turtle Creek Chorale says, “Dennis is a significant addition to the Chorale staff and our first full-time Director of Development in quite a few years. We are honored that he is joining us to help build upon the Chorale’s very positive and exciting growth pattern of the last two years.”

“I am delighted to join the Chorale staff team,” adds Coleman, “and my mind is swirling with ideas for new development activities.”

Dennis studied Organizational Communication at the University of Texas at Austin and received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Northwood University before completing the program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Carpe Diem

By Russ Weeks, Singing Member

We descend three flights of stairs like marching soldiers drenched in solid black and palpable anticipation. Voices silent and minds stilled, the cacophonous sound of our black dress shoes on the metal steps echoes throughout the stairwell and fills me with adrenaline. The past year of preparation scatters in my mind like Polaroids, and I feel overwhelmed in this culminating moment.

Almost a year ago, we began working on songs for GALA Chorus Festival — a five day event in Denver where over 150 choruses from around the world come together to perform, listen, and appreciate choral music. Our artistic director, Sean Baugh, hand-picked songs dealing with life and death and seizing the day. Our set was aptly entitled, Carpe Diem: Songs of Life and Death and included “The Music of Living,” “Requiem,” “I Love You/What a Wonderful World,” “The Sound of Silence,” “No Time,” and “Angels Calling.”

I fell in love with the sounds and words of each of these songs. As GALA neared, I could have grown tired of them, but I came to love them even more. The theme of living life to the fullest resonated with me, and the lyrics and melodies of these songs were gently etched on my heart.

Each Tuesday night at rehearsal, I had the honor and privilege of singing with Turtle Creek Chorale brothers I cared about, adding meaning to our Carpe Diem set.

On June 12, 2016, (three-and-a-half weeks before our GALA performance) forty-nine innocent people were brutally murdered at PULSE, a gay dance club in Orlando, Florida.

And just like that, Carpe Diem: Songs About Life and Death became much more than a set of songs for GALA.

I read Stacy Horn’s Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others a few years ago, and singing with the chorale constantly reminds me of her words: “In times of sorrow (and celebration) there are two other things to believe in: music and each other” (18).

The PULSE shooting took place in the two o’clock hour on a Sunday morning. About sixty-five hours later, we (the Turtle Creek Chorale) were waiting to go onstage to sing a concert for healing for Orlando and our community. We were ready to sing all of the songs from our GALA set but had not planned on this dress rehearsal. While the shooting had diminished our spirits, this performance, and the audience’s gracious, loving response fueled our souls and our songs with emotion, passion, and healing energy.

That’s what music does, and it’s not just the performers. It is a multi-layered, magical union between the performers on stage with each other, their conductor, and the audience.

Fast forward back to GALA festival, where choruses from all over the world — including Beijing, Germany, and yes, Orlando — to name a few, performed. The Orlando chorus wept openly in response to the audience’s reaction during their poignant, life-changing set. Grief, healing, and gratitude overflowed in the hall.

Wednesday, July 6, at two o’clock in the afternoon, we descend the stairs, ready to sing.

We wait in the wings, sharing silent smiles of brotherhood and sneaking last minute hand-squeezes.

We walk onto the stage in unison and instinctively turn to face our conductor. From the first downbeat, we are in synch. Sean’s conducting is more gently precise than ever, and we are hanging on his every move. Crystalline sound permeates Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Darkness shrouds the audience, so we can barely see them, but we can feel them. After each song, the audience erupts in applause, and we receive several standing ovations throughout the set. I have never felt more connected to the singers around me, the conductor in front of me, and the packed audience from floor to ceiling. The moment is enveloped in the music of living.

As our set concludes and the final note echoes throughout the hall, we exit the stage and walk into the lobby. The audience greets us with applause and tears. A woman stands to my right, looks me in the eyes with tears flowing out of hers and whispers, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” I whisper right back to her and look up, continuing to whisper, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” in my mind.

I make a conscious effort to embrace this feeling — this music of experience, this indescribable meaning ricocheting around and within me — and I am longing to write it all down.

 

“I’m one day poorer, another day singler, and we’re all going to die, but together with all these people I have raised my voice and once more I have come with joy.” — Stacy Horn

 

If you’re interested in becoming a member, please sign up here, and a member will reach out to you with more information. 

TCC TO HONOR VICTIMS OF ORLANDO MASSACRE

“Songs for Healing – Together in Song”

DALLAS, TX – Monday, June 13, 2016, 9:00 AM – World-renowned male chorus from Dallas, the Turtle Creek Chorale, will present a concert free to the public at 7:00 PM on Tuesday June 14, in the sanctuary of the Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road, in Dallas to help bring hope and healing in response to the deadliest mass shooting ever to occur on American shores. Fifty people died and more than fifty others were injured in the attack early Sunday morning at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

“We know enough to say this was an act of terror and act of hate,” President Barack Obama said in an address Sunday to the nation from the White House. While the violence could have hit any American community, he said, “This is an especially heartbreaking day for our friends who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”

“This irrational and cruel act of terrorism strikes deeply at the very core of our community. The impact is horrible throughout our city, our state and our world. We must do what we do best – heal with the power of song – to blunt this pathetic act,” says Sean Baugh, Artistic Director of the Turtle Creek Chorale.

Bruce Jaster, the Chorale’s Executive Director, adds, “The Turtle Creek Chorale changes lives with music — music that shatters hateful rhetoric. While others may foolishly cast this crime as a justifiable act, the Chorale responds with a louder and more meaningful sound to drown them out. Please join us in this evening of tribute and memorial.”

The one-hour concert, “Songs for Healing – Together in Song”, will contain music of love from the Chorale’s recent mainstage concert, HEARTSTRINGS, along with a preview of selections to be featured in early July when the Chorale joins hundreds of other choruses from around the world in Denver for the 2016 quadrennial GALA (Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses) Festival.

TCC WILL TUG AT YOUR HEARTSTRINGS

LOVE SONGS AND EVEN ACTUAL MARRIAGE ON-STAGE

DALLAS, TX – Monday, May 2, 2016 – The Turtle Creek Chorale literally brings love and marriage to the stage at the Dallas City Performance Hall June 9-11 with a series of concerts titled HEARTSTRINGS.

The Chorale’s Artistic Director Sean Baugh says, “Love songs sustain us, heal us, frighten us and guide us through many wonderful joys, hard times, romantic dinners and sleepless nights. From that magical first date, to marriage and — yes — even to the most painful break up, love songs carry us. The Turtle Creek Chorale will celebrate love songs in a way that only they can!”

HEARTSTRINGS will feature a variety of music from artists including Celine Dion, Cher, Adele, Queen and more. There will be other surprises that will leave your heart fluttering.

One of those “open” secrets will be the actual exchange and renewal of marriage vows by different couples each of the three evenings in the concert series. Layered into the musical experience will be special marriage harmonies between partners both celebrating the first anniversary of the Supreme Court decision and with the parents of a Chorale member renewing their marriage vows.

Vocal powerhouse Grace Neeley will be the Chorale’s special guest performer during HEARTSTRINGS. Neeley, described by TheaterJones as a talent whose “wide-ranging voice grows to pure excitement”, most recently sang the role of Egyptian princess Amneris in the Uptown Players/Turtle Creek Chorale collaboration of Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA.

HEARTSTRINGS will be presented at the Dallas City Performance Hall in the downtown Dallas Arts District June 9-11at 7:30 each evening. Tickets for performances range from $20-$55. All tickets are available at TurtleCreekChorale.com or by phone at 214.526.3214.

TURTLE CREEK CHORALE HOLIDAY CONCERTS OPEN DECEMBER 17

Special guests and special features highlight this year’s shows

DALLAS, TX – Wednesday, December 9, 2015 – The renowned Turtle Creek Chorale, Emmy-Award winning all-men’s chorus from Dallas, presents it much anticipated series of holiday concerts December 17 through December 20 at the Dallas City Performance Hall in the downtown Dallas Arts District.  The theme of this year’s concert series is HOME.

Joining the Chorale as special guest artist will be Dallas’ award-winning actress, singer and down-to-earth diva, Denise Lee.  Performing during both acts of each night’s show, Denise is thrilled about being able to “play with the Turtles.  I am so excited to have the honor of singing with the world renowned Turtle Creek Chorale for the holiday concert.  Lots of fun, beautiful music in store to get you ready for the holiday season!!!”, she says.

Also featured will be African drum and dance ensemble Bandan Koro.  An unlikely match for a holiday concert, Bandan Koro’s appearance will be quite an experience, blending music that has become something of Chorale tradition with a unique twist on the holiday season.

Those two guest performers are just a sampling of the excitement that will be in the hall for the Chorale’s holiday feature shows.  Additional musical and dance surprises will delight the audiences.  The Chorale’s incredibly moving and beautiful holiday traditions will also be continued.

Through the magnificent generosity of the Greg Grosh Charitable Trust, the Turtle Creek Chorale in this year’s holiday concerts will be accompanied by a full orchestra plus specialty musicians.

“During the holidays, sometimes the only place you want to be is home.  It’s where you find acceptance and joy.  Or maybe it drives you mad; we’ll look at that, too,” says Sean Baugh, TCC’s Artistic Director.  “But in the end, there’s no place like home for the holidays.”

Guests at HOME will also have a chance to win a free Bahamas cruise via Port Canaveral, Florida, on Royal Caribbean with airfare and airport transfers included.  Entrants don’t have to be present to win, but they must be present to be able to get a ticket for the drawing!

HOME will be presented at the Dallas City Performance Hall in the downtown Dallas Arts District on December 17, 18 and 19 at 7:30 each evening.  A Sunday matinee on December 20 at 2:30 PM will close the series.  On Saturday afternoon, December 19, a special abbreviated children’s matinee performance will be offered on a “pay what you can” basis. Tickets for all the other performances range from $28-$65.  All tickets, including reservation tickets for the Saturday family matinee, are available at TurtleCreekChorale.com or by phone at 214.526.3214.

For more information about the Turtle Creek Chorale, please visitwww.TurtleCreekChorale.com.

Aunt Marge’s Thanksgiving Tips & Tricks

You’ll remember this HR guru and event extraordinaire from last year’s holiday show, Jangled. Aunt Marge is back, and she’s here to share her tips and tricks for a successful Thanksgiving feast everyone will remember.

1. Never invite more guests than you have full bottles of wine.

2. If any guests ask what they can bring to help, always respond, “Oh, honey, your presence is enough… and a bottle of wine.”

3. For the coffee drinkers, I always spike my creamer with Bailey’s. Shh… no one knows.

4. Nobody likes a dry turkey so baste, baste, baste it. You can’t taste it until you baste it!

5. Don’t forget a centerpiece. You can make an arrangement straight from your backyard with acorns, leaves, twigs and berries. Plus it’s cost effective.

6. There is only one person in every family that can pull off autumn orange, and it’s PROBABLY NOT YOU!

7. Speaking of autumn orange, here’s a tip. If you have an old orange jumpsuit laying around from your spa day at Lew Sterrett, cinch that waist with a chunky belt, pull some foliage from your centerpiece for a corsage and call it a day.

8. If you don’t want to send half the world over the edge, do not put up your Christmas tree until AFTER Thanksgiving.

9. The same goes for Christmas music. I learned the hard way in 1992 when my cousin Ethel had a complete Thanksgiving meltdown.

10. More is not always more. Do not serve sweet potato casserole AND Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie unless you have more than one working restroom. Lesson learned from Thanksgiving at Ethel’s.

11. Forget football! Honey, the real sport is the race to the restroom after all that sweet potato fiber!

12. And most importantly, do NOT forget to purchase your tickets for Turtle Creek Chorale’s Holiday Show – HOME! They’re going fast!

Click here to get tickets to our mainstage holiday show here.

Uptown Players Presents Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida in conjunction with the Turtle Creek Chorale

DALLAS, November 20, 2015 – Following the smashing success of the 2014 production of Sweeney Todd, the critically acclaimed Uptown Players and the Turtle Creek Chorale (TCC), Dallas’ award-winning men’s chorus, are thrilled to collaborate again to present a concert version of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida from January 15-17, 2016 at Dallas City Performance Hall.

Uptown Players and the Turtle Creek Chorale join forces with a combined cast of more than 100 actors, singers, and members of the TCC for a concert version of Aida. With music by Elton John & lyrics by Tim Rice, the musical opened on Broadway in 2000, won four Tony Awards, a Drama Desk Award, a Grammy for the cast album and played for nearly 2,000 performances. This musical collaboration celebrates the best artistic talents of these two organizations – the innovative acting of Uptown Players coupled with the powerful sound of TCC.

Aida is an epic tale of love, loyalty and betrayal chronicling the love triangle between Aida, a Nubian princess stolen from her country, Amneris, an Egyptian princess, and Radames, the soldier they both love. An enslaved Nubian princess, Aida, finds her heart entangled with Radames, an Egyptian soldier who is betrothed to the Pharaoh’s daughter, Amneris. As their forbidden love blossoms, Aida is forced to weigh her heart against the responsibility she faces as leader of her people. Aida and Radames’s love for one another becomes a shining example of true devotion that ultimately transcends the vast cultural differences between their warring nations, heralding a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity.

Aida is directed by Ann Nieman with musical direction by Kevin Gunter, assisted by TCC’s Artistic Director Sean Baugh. An all-star cast joins members of the Turtle Creek Chorale, including Feleceia Benton as Aida, Grace Neeley as Amneris, Kyle Igneczi as Radames, Alex Heika as Mereb, and Jonathan Bragg as Zoser.

The production runs for one weekend only, January 15 through 17, 2016, with shows at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Performances take place downtown at the Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora Street, Dallas, TX 75201. Tickets are $40-$55 and can be purchased online at www.uptownplayers.org or by phone at (214) 219-2718.

About Uptown Players:

Uptown Players is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, presenting plays and musicals that challenge audiences artistically and strive to create greater positive public awareness and acceptance through the performing arts. Now entering its fifteenth season and seventh at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, Uptown Players has gathered a dedicated following and is providing an opportunity for a wide diversity of gender styles to come together and explore life choices through great theatre themes such as relationships, family, prejudice, and values. The response from the community and critics has been remarkable, including over 25 Leon Rabin Awards from the Dallas Theatre League, and over 25 Theater Critics Forum Awards in its first 13 seasons. Uptown Players has also been named the best theatre company by the Dallas Voice readers and by the Dallas Observer and was also featured in D Magazine and on WFAA’s Daybreak and Good Morning Texas programs.

Uptown Players has presented world premieres, including Redesigning Women (2013), Crazy Just Like Me (2011) and the stage adaptation of The Valley of the Dolls (2007), along with the United States premieres of the West End hit musical Soho Cinders (2014), and the Pet Shop Boys Musical Closer to Heaven (2010). Uptown Players was the first regional theater in the United States to present the Tony Award winner The Boy from Oz and the Pulitzer Prize winning musical Next To Normal, following the closing of the Broadway productions. Each season, Uptown Players presents several regional premieres, including recent productions of The Lyons, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2013 Tony Award for Best Play), Hello Again (featured in a Broadway World article about the upcoming movie) and The Producers.

About Turtle Creek Chorale:

Turtle Creek Chorale (TCC) is currently enjoying its 36th season as a landmark all-male chorus. With over 160 dues-paying volunteer singing and associate members, TCC presents a full concert series at the Meyerson Symphony Center and Dallas City Performance Hall. While our programs cover a wide range of musical styles, the Chorale’s core message combines laughter, tears, and inspiration so that each of us may celebrate the human spirit as well as points of unity. Using choral music as our instrument, TCC creates extraordinary musical experiences for all and enhances the cultural lives of our members and audiences through numerous community outreach concerts, free ticket programs, service events, and our annual Partners in Harmony concert. We remain committed to creating meaningful, synergistic collaborations with other local arts groups, promoting harmony in our community, and building bridges.

 

Finding Resonance

By Russ Weeks, Singing Member

Six years ago this month I was dating an amazing guy named Derek. He mentioned to me that he was auditioning for Turtle Creek Chorale, and I should join him. I had only seen one Turtle Creek Chorale Christmas show, and I was, of course, blown away. I couldn’t imagine that someone like me could be part of such astounding talent. I thought it would be difficult to qualify for an internationally renowned men’s chorus. The more Derek talked about it, the more I thought, “Why not?” I had loved music for as long as I can remember. From the moment I could hear, music was part of me.

Derek and I didn’t continue to date, but I auditioned, and I’ve been a singing member of Turtle Creek Chorale for six years and counting. My quality of life has improved exponentially in those six resounding years. Singing with and belonging to Turtle Creek Chorale adds so much to my life.

Russ with Sandi Patty

Russ with Sandi Patty

TCC has afforded me the opportunity to sing on numerous stages with hundreds of brothers in song. I have been exposed to numerous genres of music that I wouldn’t have ever encountered otherwise. I have also been able to sing with celebrities, local and international. One of my favorite moments was singing with the immensely talented and gracious Sandi Patty. Growing up, my home was filled with her music, and it was an enormous honor and spiritual experience to sing with her.

While the actual concert performances are magical, sometimes the weekly rehearsals are most special to me. As with anything in life, the real beauty comes in the journey and the process. I have had countless “laughter through tears” moments in rehearsal. I remember one of my favorite rehearsals which happened to also be my birthday. We were rehearsing a beautiful song, and I looked over at my friend Stephen, and he mouthed, “Happy Birthday; I love you.” I was overwhelmed with gratitude, and my eyes filled with happy tears in that moment. Week after week, we turtle brothers show up to rehearsal, and regardless of what’s going on in our personal lives, we open our binders and our hearts and pour out our souls. Our souls intermingle with each other and something unimaginable happens.

I’ve been blessed to sing under three brilliant conductors in the past five years. I’ve learned so much from each of them. I’ve learned about musicianship, leadership, brotherly love, and so much more. I’ve learned that I’m a quiet leader, as well. People from work and in my personal life have even commented on how being in the chorale has helped me to show who I really am and to take ownership of my strengths and share them more openly.

Garrett Pruessner, Sonny Banthabandith, & Marge Williams backstage at "Jangled"

Garrett Pruessner, Sonny Banthabandith, & Marge Williams backstage at “Jangled”

TCC has helped me realize just how funny I am. Last Christmas, our current artistic director, Sean Baugh,  believed that I would be right for a comedic role in the show. So I put on a skirt suit and a teased out wig, and I kind of brought the house down. I was so proud of myself in that moment. I love to make people laugh, and Turtle Creek Chorale allowed me to do that. During Jangled, when I played Marge Williams, my family came to one of the shows. I was worried my mom might be a little embarrassed, but when I greeted her in the lobby in my Marge garb, she beamed with pride, smiled from ear-to-ear, and shouted, “Oh my GOSH! Can I get my picture made with you?!?!” I will never forget that moment. You’re never too old to be affirmed by a proud parent.

We all need that extra something that adds a layer of depth to our lives. For some it’s running or writing or quilting or acting. The list goes on. I hope you’ve found that extra layer. For me it is music. And when I’m standing onstage with my Turtle Brothers, there are intangible, yet palpable moments of sound that emanate between us. Then those extraordinary moments of sound project out to the audience, and the audience gives it right back to us. That is a feeling like nothing else in the world. I’m so grateful to TCC (and to Derek!) for giving me this gift and for allowing me to share the experience with my brothers and the many audiences, past, present and future.

 

If you’re interesting in becoming a member, please sign up here, and a member will reach out to you with more information.

TURTLE CREEK CHORALE MOVES BRUCE JASTER FROM INTERIM TO PERMANENT STATUS

 

The Board of Directors of the Turtle Creek Chorale has voted unanimously to change the status of Bruce Jaster from interim to full-time, permanent Executive Director.  Jaster joined the staff of the Chorale in January of this year as Executive Director on an interim basis.

Jaster’s history with the Chorale is long, having been a singing member for fifteen years and a member of the Board of Directors for ten years.  “The Chorale has been a part of my life since first attending a concert on the SMU campus in the early 1980’s.  To be able now to serve as Executive Director is a dream realized,” says Jaster.

David Hess, Chair of the Chorale’s Board, added, “We are pleased to take another in the important steps toward assuring that the Chorale is on solid footing and moving toward greater heights.  With this most recent change, and the naming of Sean Baugh as permanent Artistic Director in March, the Chorale no longer has any ‘interim’ placeholders among its staff.”

Jaster has long been active in the Dallas community and nationally.  He currently serves as a Trustee on the Board of AIDS Services of Dallas (ASD), on the Advisory Council of the University of Texas Southwestern School of Orthotics and Prosthetics and on the national Board of Directors for the Orthotic and Prosthetic Activities Foundation (OPAF).

Previously, he has served on the Boards of Directors for The Dallas Way, the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, the Oak Lawn Counseling Center and on the Governing Committee of the DFW Federal Club.  Additionally, he has been a Board member of the Amputee Coalition of America (now the Amputee Coalition) and Meeting Professionals International.

While an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin, Jaster sang with and served as President of UT’s Longhorn Singers.

PurpleVocals Pop-Up Studio is Coming to Dallas!

 

Former King’s Singers tenor and founder of PurpleVocals, Paul Phoenix, is delighted to announce the launch of the very first ‘PurpleVocals Pop-Up Studio’ which will take place in Dallas on Friday July 17 and Saturday July 18 in the Cathedral of Hope Choir Room.  The studio is open to singers of all ages and abilities, and Paul is available for one on one coaching.

The sessions are also open to small groups, ensembles and choirs, and Paul is offering advice on vocal technique and development, ensemble singing as well as coaching on public performance and engagement. Whether you’re an aspiring soloist or just want to improve your singing skills, why not book a coaching and mentoring session with Paul? His vast experience as a Grammy-Award-Winning member of the King’s Singers from 1997 to 2014 means that he is now in demand as a soloist, mentor, vocal performance and choral coach around the world.

Paul invites members of the public to attend as observers.

Coaching will take place at the following times:
Friday, July 17: Midday – 7pm
Saturday, July 18: Midday – 6pm

Sessions will last around 40 minutes and an accompanist is available.

Session costs:
Individuals: $50 for 40 minutes
Groups: $25 per person for 40 minutes

For further details and to book a slot, please contact Paul direct at:  info@purplevocals.com

 

PurpleVocalsBanner2015