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‘Jangled’ Unwrapped

By Todd Camp

Never mind 12 days of bouncing royals, thrumming percussionists, and enough feathered fowl to fill an aviary, we prefer our Christmas countdowns in nifty round numbers of 10. So after tallying up our 10 favorite things about the next month’s “Jangled,” we rounded up 10 more things you might not know about the annual holiday hullaballoo.

1. Of all the shows in a TCC season, it has the most repeat performances, with seven (!) scheduled this year alone. The guys will deck the halls with sounds so jolly for two shows at the McKinney Performing Arts Center on Dec. 13, returning to their familiar stomping grounds at Dallas City Performance Hall for five more performances Dec. 18-20, including a family-friendly matinee show on Dec. 20.

2. It’s not only an audience favorite but a Turtle one as well. Several of TCC’s finest claim watching one of the former Christmas shows as inspiration for what made them join the Chorale in the first place.

3. It wouldn’t be a Christmas show without traditional Christmas carols, right? TCC Associate Conductor Sean Baugh says we can expect plenty, including favorites like Deck the Halls, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Little Drummer Boy and Jingle Bells. But he adds that “they all have twist on them, they all have something unique about them.” He also says to expect some brand new music and gorgeous new arrangements of traditional favorites.

4. Speaking of tradition, the annual Christmas show has been a part of the Chorale season since the beginning, making it the longest running regularly themed show in the group’s 35-year history.

5. Though Sean wouldn’t come right out and tell us all of the secrets of “Jangled” (nobody really wants to know what they’re getting for Christmas before they tear open the paper, do they?), he did share a few tidbits. In the spirit of the sad little tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas, he hints that we will get to see the plight of a tree in a Christmas tree lot that never gets picked.

6. In case you’re wondering where the show gets it’s title, Sean says, “We’re being honest with people and saying the holidays have become a headache for a lot of people more than a beloved time of year,” he says. “They’ve been ‘jangled,’ as in ‘jingle-jangled.’ “ But he adds that the goal of the show is to take you on a journey from worrying about overspending and dealing with difficult family members to loving the holidays again, “And we’ll do it with lots of humor, lots of beautiful music, and lots of heartwarming moments.”

7. A sign-language version of Silent Night, a longtime audience favorite, will return, though Sean won’t say what exactly to expect, “We might sing and do sign language, we might be silent — we kind of mix it up.”

8. You can expect another tradition, one Sean calls one of the of the most loved and special moments each year. “In our 35-year history, we have lost more than 190 members to HIV/AIDS and there’s a moment in the concert where we pay tribute to those people by dedicating a poinsettia to them. That’s just one of those traditional moments everybody loves.”

9. After moving from the Meyerson Symphony Center to Dallas City Performance Hall last year, “it has afforded us the ability to do some very theatrical things that you might not see at the Meyerson.” Sean hints. “Expect a bit more drama and a bit more theatrical presentation.”

10. Each year in late October, the Chorale hosts a retreat with its primary focus being the upcoming Christmas show. “It’s just a time to bond and get close to the music and get close to each other,” says Troy Heine, who will be performing in his 10th holiday show this year. “We’re always trying to do our best, but we put so much heart into our Christmas show that I think we really bring our best game to that event.”

Turtle Spotted: Best Shows of Fall 2014

 

By Callie Leahy

While the Turtles are off rehearsing and prepping their tuxes for the highly anticipated 35th anniversary season, we’ve dubbed these performances the must-see shows of the fall.

Off Broadway on Flora Series: Buyer & Cellar
Sept. 3–6, Dallas City Performance Hall

What could be better than an off-Broadway comedy about the legendary Barbra Streisand and her Malibu home? Add to that a stellar venue and North Texas native Michael Urie and this show’s sure to be a Dallas hit.

Meyerson 25 Celebration Week
Sept. 6, 8–11 Dallas Arts District

Come celebrate the creation of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center with the pizazz and creativity only the Dallas Arts District could deliver. Festivities kick off Saturday with a parade down Flora Street, and end on Sept. 11 with an honorary rush hour concert saluting local first responders. (And be sure to keep an eye out for the Turtles — they’ll be performing Saturday at 12:20 p.m.)

Rocky Horror Show
Sep. 11–Oct. 19, Wyly Theatre

While arguably no one could pull off the red lips, thigh-highs, and platform pumps quite like the king of Transylvania, Tim Curry, The Dallas Theater Center is reprising the 40-year-old Broadway classic at the Wyly Theatre. (Just be sure to bring your dancin’ shoes and get ready to do the Time Warp!)

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger
Oct. 8, Dallas Chamber Symphony

Combine the digitally remastered silent film The Lodger with the orchestral magnificence of the Dallas Chamber Symphony and you get a visually immersive experience unlike any other.

Music, Magic and Monsters
Oct. 26, Dallas Symphony Orchestra

From Romeo and Juliet to Harry Potter to Hansel and Gretel to Mother Goose, the Music, Magic and Monsters experience covers some of the most mystical scenes of the fictitious worlds we adore.

The Golden Age of Jazz
Nov. 21–23, Dallas Symphony Orchestra

Jazz artist Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday set the stage for what would be called one of the greatest eras of music of all time. Pay homage to the Golden Age of Jazz with a night of tribute with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jeff Tyzik.

A Season Snapshot

 

By Todd Camp

Rehearsals are already underway and the 2014-2015 season for Turtle Creek Chorale promises to be a memorable, as well as transitional, one for the group as they search for a new artistic director. Associate Conductor Sean Baugh will take the reins in the meantime, so we decided to twist his arm and see if we could wring out a few more details about what to expect beyond the traditional season announcement.

Turtle Creek Chorale returns Oct. 17–18 with Brave, a powerful collaboration between the Chorale and local community artists. “Joining us will be local actress and singer Patty Breckenridge along with Chris Chism, contemporary music leader for the Cathedral of Hope,” says Sean. “The music will be very inspirational; about overcoming obstacles, being brave, facing challenges, finding hope. Expect all kinds of music, from pop to gospel.” Shows take place at the Latino Cultural Center (LCC).

One show not mentioned in the season announcement will be How Firm a Foundation, an evening of hymns performed as a collaboration between the Chorale’s Chamber Chorus and Camerata along with the Cathedral of Hope Choir and the Royal Lane Baptist Church Choir. The show takes place Nov. 8 at Cathedral of Hope and Nov. 9 at Royal Lane Baptist Church.

With the arrival of the holiday season, TCC unwraps its most popular — with audiences and Turtles alike — present of the season, the annual holiday concert. Jangled is scheduled for Dec. 13 at the McKinney Performing Arts Center and Dec. 18–21 at DCPH and features a selection of traditional (and not so traditional) holiday standards. Asking Sean what would be special about the show sparks an explosion of enthusiasm. “There is sooooo much special about that show! It’s everything you love about a Turtle Creek Chorale holiday show,” he says excitedly. “Tears, laughter, and all kinds of wonderful, beautiful moments.”

The New Year brings a celebration of TCC’s 35th year, and a special 35th Anniversary Concert on Feb. 7 at DCPH that includes the return of Turtle royalty, Dr. Timothy Seelig. Conductor Emeritus Seelig led the Chorale for more than 20 years and currently serves as the artistic director and conductor of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. Sean says the concert will feature many familiar TCC favorites and a staged packed with both current and past members.

April puts the “great” in Great Britain with Britten, Beatles & Bond April 23–25 at DCPH, featuring anglophile favorites from pop legends like Elton John, the Fab Five, Spice Girls, and Adele, to more traditional heavy hitters like Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams. “This is just going to be a lot of fun with some serious British composers, with a little Queen thrown in alongside Gilbert & Sullivan,” Sean says. “There’s seriously something for everybody in that concert.”

Details get a bit thinner at this point, suffice it to say that if the Spice Girls aren’t spicy enough for you, you might enjoy the all Latin-themed Musica de Mayo May 1–2 at the Latino Cultural Center, featuring music from Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, and Spain.

And finally, to maintain the irreverent, playful spirit of the group’s season enders, Turtle Creek Chorale closes out the season with a trip in the Wayback Machine to the decade that birthed the Turtles. Turtle-ly 80s, pulls on the parachute pants June 19–21 at DCPH. Audiences can don their snazziest retro togs and, for the first time ever, join in a full-fledged sing-along with the Chorale, complete with karaoke-style lyrics over the stage, Sean says. Expect timeless tunes from the likes of Lionel Richie, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, the Pet Shop Boys, and Pat Benatar.

Hit us with your best shot.

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, 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.

Memories: Turtles Take a Look Back

 

By Todd Camp

On Feb. 7, 2015, the Turtle Creek Chorale will celebrate its 35th anniversary with a special concert at the Dallas City Performance Hall. Looking back on more than three decades of making beautiful music for North Texas audiences, as well as fans around the world, we decided to chat with a veteran Turtle to find out what performances stood out for them.

For Jamie Rawson, who just completed his 20th season with the group, two particularly memorable moments came during the group’s 1995 European tour.

“We performed for a sell-out audience at Berlin’s Hochschule der Künste (University of the Arts),” Rawson recalls. “We were surprised to receive a standing ovation since we were told that the German audience was likely to be a bit reserved.”

But that was just the beginning, Rawson says, with audiences enthusiastically chanting and foot-stamping for three more encores.

Later that week in Prague, the Chorale performed at the historic Rudolfinum as a benefit for the Czech Republic’s recently established nascent Gay Rights organization, Rawson says. It was described as the largest openly gay event in the country’s history. The night had many moving moments but one of the biggest came during the final number, We Shall Overcome.

“The entire audience took part, singing the chorus in Czech while joining hands throughout the hall and onto the stage,” Rawson says. “It was a deeply touching moment, quite different from the wild enthusiasm in Berlin, but perhaps more memorable for the deeply felt gratitude that those in attendance expressed to us.”

Rawson recalls many milestones over the years, including performing for Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Dallas in the spring of 1991, saying, “It was tangible proof that the Turtle Creek Chorale was both a recognized performing arts organization and a clear sign that the city of Dallas was changing with the times.”

But Rawson says that the performances that have most connected with audiences are the ones sung with purpose and mission.

“A mission of communicating the incommunicable; the joys and the grief, the excitement and the sorrow, and our optimism and pride,” he says. “When we ourselves connect with these emotions through our music, our audience is touched and connected as well.”

She’s alive, ALIVE!

 

By Todd Camp

Channeling some of the biggest ladies in pop music is not for the faint of heart, so it’s a good thing most of the fellas in Turtle Creek Chorale are no strangers to divas. The group’s season closer, Divas Gone . . . But Not Forgotten, serves up some of showbiz’s most scintillating songstresses, from Judy Garland to Whitney Houston. But bringing these larger-than-life broads to the Dallas City Performance Hall stage is a lot harder than it looks.

As with most Turtle Creek Chorale performances, the show first came together about two and a half months ago when, in a rare departure from standard practice in which the Artistic Director hand-picks each tune, the members themselves had a voice in the selections.

“We asked members to fill out cards and solicited input from the entire membership for this concert,” says Associate Conductor Sean Baugh.

Perhaps that’s why you’ll see often-unsung divas like Karen Carpenter or Amy Winehouse in the mix, alongside some of the more traditional female phenoms.

The show will feature more than 20 favorites such as Whitney Houston’s iconic “I Will Always Love You,” Etta James’ “At Last,” and Judy Garland’s “The Trolley Song.”

And it wouldn’t be a season finale without a little choreography amongst the vocal runs. That not only means some dance heavy lifting from the seasoned hoofers of Sound Bytes but also very deft footwork from the full chorus.

“When you have a room full of guys who range in age from 25 to 85, it’s kind of funny to watch that take shape,” says Baugh.

We’re certain Turtle Creek Chorale will “step up” to the occasion.