Sean Baugh settles in as the (official) new artistic director of the Turtles
Rehearsals had been underway for a while, and things were not going well. The music director was beginning to worry that the program he had designed would be more than he could manage. And then, about two weeks before the first public performance at City Performance Hall, “everything just clicked,” he says. “Sometimes something doesn’t make sense until you shove it all together.”
There was still some tweaking to do (costumes, a bit of polish), but for the first time, Sean Baugh — the newly minted (official) artistic director of the Turtle Creek Chorale — feels in control of things. Although he has effectively led the chorus musically since last fall, it’s the upcoming concert — a quirky spin on the British invasion he calls Britten, Beatles & Bond — for which he senses the strongest connection. The chorale’s first entry this season, Brave, was a small production at the Latino Cultural Center thrown together in a hurry; the Christmas concert is a tradition with a catalogue of reliable songs; and the 35th anniversary concert earlier this year was most notable for the return of former artistic director Timothy Seelig. But this one is all Baugh.
“This concert truly reflects my vision,” he says. “This is how I like to [design] a concert — it’s got some of everything. We go in and out of the British artists, from Adele to Irish folk music to something you wouldn’t expect from us, a choral version of Radiohead’s ‘Creep,’ and yet working all together … unless, of course, it’s a total disaster.”
It certainly won’t be that. If nothing else, he’s prepared to ascend. It has been a long time coming. Baugh has been a part of the chorale for years, having worked under Seelig, Jonathan Palant and Trey Jacobs, but after a stint as “interim” director, this is the program that he believes will fully reflect his mission … and prove that he’s not trying to imitate anyone else. He wants to set his own course and reinvigorate the chorale.
Baugh is already planning next season’s concert series (which will take place entirely at the City Performance Hall), as well as this season’s closer, an ’80s sing-along concert. And he expects to put his full personality and talent into making it succeed … with a dose of showmanship.
“I’m my own man,” Baugh says, “but I have a little Tim Seelig in me.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 17, 2015.