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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.”

That’s a Wrap!

 

With the close of 2013–2014 season, we decided to take a look back at some of the highlights from the year with Turtle Creek Chorale veterans as well as newcomers. Some favorites quickly emerged.

“The holiday concerts are my absolute favorite memories for every season,” says new Turtle Creek Chorale Membership Vice President Elect Tri Truong. “We make [audiences] laugh, cry, and feel every other emotion in a span of two hours — it’s pretty amazing.”

That audience connection is what keeps Bob McCranie, a Turtle Creek Chorale member for three and a half years, coming back year after year. “We sang for 20 days straight,” he says. “You kind of do it because you love it.” Recalling a performance for the kids at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, McCranie says that watching their faces light up is one of those moments that make you think, “This is why we’re singing.”

For newcomer David Barnes, who joined the Chorale this January, the recent collaboration with Uptown Players on Sweeney Todd was unforgettable, especially since he got to enjoy the show both as a performer and an audience member.

“I think it really melded the two organizations and heightened the talents of each,” he says.

McCranie also fondly recalls last year’s collaboration with Grammy-winning Christian singer Sandi Patty in June’s “Inspiration & Hope” show. “She became one of the Chorale,” he says. “She was so complimentary and giving, sticking around to take pictures with everyone who wanted one. She made that concert so enjoyable.”

Another big favorite was last month’s divalicious season closer, a show everyone seems to have a story about, both onstage and off.

Truong, who was one of the principal dancers in the show, recalls that every dance rehearsal was “like a sweaty Zumba class at the gym. It’s also hard to get 150-plus guys to learn dance moves for numbers like ‘Son of a Preacher Man and Rehab,’ but Jeremy Dumont did a great job and those two numbers were fantastic!”

Watching the solo numbers, many of which aren’t even seen by the full group until rehearsals, was another highlight. For Barnes, performing Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” his first TCC solo, was “an awesome honor.” While McCranie remembers seeing Ethan Laurence and Bryan Carey perform their soulful rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Want to Dance With Somebody” for the first time saying, “We all just had our jaws on the stage. It was stunning.”