Why Do Turtles Love Being Turtles? Let us count the ways.

By Augusta Neal

It would be hard to count exactly all the reasons why singing members love being a part of the Turtle Creek Chorale. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t try to narrow down the top 10. We asked Turtle Creek Chorale members what they loved most about being Turtles. Enjoy!

10. The opportunity for new experiences. 

“I love the opportunities for new experiences and new learning that being a Turtle provides.” — Jamie Rawson

“I enjoy any place that puts me in heels for the first time and makes me learn to run and jump in them on stage in front of thousands.” — Tri Truong

9. The joy of synchronism.

“The only thing more moving than hearing voices in sync is being a part of creating the experience. I love the pure, unalloyed joy that one can experience when singing with others.” — Jamie Rawson.

“Making a difference in the world. I am proud of the many causes we have championed. My single voice could never have made such an impact on the world, yet when joined by the many other voices we can accomplish a lot!” — Stephen Wade Price

8. The undivided acceptance.

“I finally found my family of choice. I can be who I am without worrying about what other people think.” — Kevin Stone

“The Chorale helps me feel like I’m part of a family away from my actual family. I like that support and community because I know there are moments where it just makes my day and gets me through things.” — Danny W. Lippert

7. The “doin’ it for the thrill” of it.

“I love the thrill of an especially outstanding performance.” — Jamie Rawson

6. The “little things.”

“My favorite part about being in the Chorale is the little life-affirming moments. Last night we were singing the “Brokeback Mountain Suite” — my favorite piece for our “Brave” concert. I turned to the row behind me and saw my Turtle brother Stephen Sanchez, and he mouthed, “Happy birthday … love you.” I became simultaneously emotional and overjoyed.” — Russ Weeks

5. The discipline through presence.

“When making music, one must be fully present. Rehearsing music provides a benefit akin to extended meditation, with the added benefit of interacting with others.” — Jamie Rawson

4. The undeniable talent.

“I love how singing can give palpable expression to emotions and convey them to those who listen.” — Jamie Rawson

3. The strength in similarities.

“TCC is filled with people who are like me. Funny, creative, musical, and more. We aren’t different when we’re together. We’re stronger.” — Bob McCranie

2. The feeling of experiencing the audience’s energy.

“I love to experience the energy of an appreciative audience.” — Jamie Rawson

1. The realization that, in the end, it’s all about the music.

“We are so blessed to create these beautiful soundtracks to enrich our lives. And our audience’s lives.” — Russ Weeks

“Going back and listening to our amazing work and saying, ‘Yes, I was a part of that.’” — Jess McDowell


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.

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.

Top 10 Reasons to Attend a Turtle Creek Chorale Performance


By Todd Camp

True music lovers don’t really need this many reasons to check out Dallas’ premier men’s chorus, but here are a few you may not have thought about:

10. If you caught Turtle Creek Chorale’s performance of Sweeney Todd with the Uptown Players last month, you know that meatpies never sounded so good. Best part? Zero chance of indigestion.

9. Tuxedos! Tuxedos! Tuxedos!

8. Where else are you going to hear more than 200 male voices singing an Amy Winehouse tune? OK, sure, Station 4 on a Saturday night. But where else are you going to hear more than 200 male voices singing an Amy Winehouse tune in perfect harmony?

7. Includes more than twice your recommended daily allowance of sass.

6. A dazzling blend of choral classics and modern favorites delivered with impeccable precision by a group of talented gentlemen who also happen to be easy on the eyes.

5. Gossip overheard in the concession line is like binge-watching a week’s worth of Extra crammed into just a few minutes.

4. The restrooms at Dallas City Performance Hall are probably nicer (and larger) than your entire apartment.

3. Who needs expensive cologne when you can just hug everyone you know before the show?

2. Your ticket purchase helps to raise thousands of dollars for many worthy charities when you attend one of Turtle Creek Chorale’s many benefit performances throughout the year. And did we mention that these guys sure are easy on the eyes?

1. Half the calories of the other leading all-male chorales, and Turtle Creek Chorale is gluten-free, nut-free, fat-free, and sodium-free, without sacrificing any of the taste.