Best bets • 06.03.11

Friday 06.03

All the Cox you could want
Could there be any better timing for this year’s 6th Annual MetroBall? The AIDS fundraiser is smack dab in the middle of Razzle Dazzle Dallas. We’d go no matter what since dance diva Deborah Cox is headlining. You know she’ll sing her signature hit “Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here,” to a packed house. Ironic, huh?

DEETS: Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. $30. GDMAF.org.

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Saturday 06.04

This ain’t the Pink Floyd version
Musical accompaniment to The Wizard of Oz will not be a classic rock album this night. Instead, the DSO pays homage in Oz with Orchestra by performing the original soundtrack as the movie plays. And extra bonuses to the people who dress up as their favorite character.

DEETS: Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 7:30 p.m. $30–$70. DallasSymphony.com.

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Tuesday 06.07

Now these cats can recycle
We wonder if the Stomp people throw anything away. Clearly everything, even trash, can be turned into a musical instrument or noisemaker, but these guys know how to do it the right way.

DEETS: Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 First Ave. Through June 12. $15–$75. Ticketmaster.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 3, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Resounding Harmony begins Chapter Two

Russ Rieger

Russ Rieger conducts the mixed-voice chorus for the first time as the new artistic director with June 8 concert

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Resounding Harmony begins a new chapter in its life when the chorus performs at the Meyerson Symphony Center on June 8 with new artistic director Russ Rieger conducting for the first time.

The mixed-voice group last performed in the fall before founder and original artistic director Tim Seelig left Dallas to conduct the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

Rieger was hired Jan. 1 to replace Seelig. Before his first rehearsal as director, he worried about how he would fill Seelig’s shoes.

“There’s no way anyone could fill those shoes,” he said. “The chorus presented me with a pair of new shoes so I didn’t have to fill Tim’s.”

Board Chair Mark Knight said they’re calling this Chapter Two for Resounding Harmony, but the transition has been an easy one.

Rieger, who has been the music minister of Oak Lawn United Methodist Church for 21 years, served as the principal accompanist for the Turtle Creek Chorale and Women’s Chorus of Dallas. He accompanied Resounding Harmony when they performed Sing for the Cure at Carnegie Hall last year.

“He’s played the organ for all of our concerts at the Meyerson,” Knight said.

Each of Resounding Harmony’s concerts is a benefit performance, which Knight calls musical philanthropy. This concert will support the Palliative Care program at Children’s Medical Center.

The concert is titled Born for Greatness, in honor of the children in the palliative care program, Rieger said.

“Greatness isn’t measured by the length of a child’s life, but by the impact the child makes on others,” Rieger said doctors who work in Children’s Hospital’s palliative care unit told him.

Performing with Resounding Harmony at the June 8 concert is Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Jana Stanfield. She has done programs for palliative care programs elsewhere and will perform her song, “Born for Greatness.”

Also appearing are dancers from the Academy of Dance from Allen who will accompany two of the songs.

Rieger said most of the music in the show will be inspirational. The first half closes with “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel. Another piece they’ll do is “He Ain’t Heavy … He’s My Brother.”

He said plans already are forming for the next two seasons. Next year, Seelig will be conducting Sing for the Cure in Atlanta and he has invited Resounding Harmony to join them.

Beneficiaries for next season’s concerts have been set. The November performance is for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the spring concert will benefit the American Heart Association.

Knight said they are working on a tour for the 2012-13 season.

Resounding Harmony performs at the Meyerson Symphony Center, June 8 at 8 p.m. $30-50. Tickets available on line at ResoundingHarmony.org.

—  John Wright

Concert Notice: k.d. Lang does Dallas this October

I found on k.d. Lang’s website that she recently confirmed a date on her tour for Dallas. Lang and her band, The Siss Boom Bang, will play the Meyerson Symphony Center, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m.  The show is presented by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and tickets are $40–$100 and on sale now.

I’ve actually been wondering what’s up with Lady Lang lately. Her next album, Sing It Loud, drops April 12. The single “I Confess,” though is already out and her new video for the song premiered like a couple of hours ago on Perez Hilton, but you can check it here. She sounds like she’s getting a little Johnny Cash on us and it sounds quite all right.

—  Rich Lopez

Daddy knows best

Sexy pianist Jim Brickman makes touring a family affair

RICH LOPEZ  | lopez@dallasvoice.com

concert-1
PAPA JIM | Jim Brickman strives to keep his road crew one big, happy family as they head to Dallas. (Arnold Wayne Jones | Dallas Voice)

JIM BRICKMAN
Meyerson Symphony Center,
2301 Flora St. Jan. 7–8  at 8 p.m. $39–$117.
DallasSymphony.com

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Switching out of holiday mode can be tough: putting away decorations and getting back to daily grind takes some adjusting.

The same can be said for celebrities — at least for Jim Brickman. The smooth-playing pianist (and sometime singer) has performed a holiday tour for 15 years which just wrapped up in the final week of 2010. Now he has to shift gears quickly for 2011 with his spring and winter tour A Night of Romance, which comes to the Meyerson this week.

Whichever show Brickman is on the road with though, he keeps it a family affair, with Brickman serving as the loveable patriarch.

“It took me, like, 15 years to get the right combo of talent and crew,” he says. “We all work so hard so it’s like a road family. When we’re on the bus, the crew and talent are all together. There is lots of loyalty in this group for each other and I want them to take pride in their work and each other.”

But even with the warm fuzzies, Brickman is still the boss. Like any parent, he pushes his children to strive for the best and encourages the work of everyone involved, from the lights people to his band — even himself.

“This tour has been going so well, “ he says. “I’ve been most proud because this show is extremely tight and the flow is perfect. I don’t want audiences to want to wait for something to happen and they’ve been great.”

His audience might be considered a third family. Where some aim for roaring crowds, Brickman likes a more personal impression; if a fan feels like it was a one-on-one experience, the musician calls that the bigger triumph.

“I’m very fond of that dynamic because that becomes very family-like,” he says. “I’ve learned that the more you are who you really are and the less you perform to an audience, the more comfortable they feel. When you play a hall, especially like [the Meyerson], there’s an energy about it and the audience creates that and takes it with them.”

On his newest album, Home, he ventures into country music and collaborates with genre staples Lady Antebellum and Ty Herndon, among others. This might sound like a departure, but he sees it as more relevant than people might think.

“The thing about country music is it’s extremely organic and by nature is more acoustic — more so than any genre,” he says. “I wanted it to feel very comfortable. You put it on and have a sense of simplicity and make it like a soundtrack for chilling at home.”

He gives high marks to country singers over most pop singers, too, which he attributes to being storytellers. On of all his duets, which include Martina McBride and Olivia Newton-John, he says the one that came together the best was with a very green singer.

“You know, I’d have to say that Kermit the Frog was probably my favorite one. I always think that there has to be a chemistry between me and performer and it was there,” he laughs.

Brickman is a veteran of the biz; He released his first album, No Words, in 1994 and his holiday CDs have been popular sellers since. But he still admits he’s a little anxious about his upcoming shows with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

“Yeah, when I’m performing live, I’m solo, so if I decide the audience needs a pick me up, I can do something because I’m an improviser,” he says. “You can’t do that with the symphony. If you don’t play what they are playing and you hit two wrong measures — yeah, that’s not a good situation.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Best Bets • 12.17.10

LoniLove_MG_6016
Loni Love

Friday 12.17

It’s gonna be a Love fest
When Loni Love speaks, you better listen; especially if she’s talking about celebrities on Chelsea Lately or The World’s Dumbest. Her stand-up isn’t too bad either.  When Variety and Comedy Central name her as one of the top 10 comics to watch, well, that goes a long way. But it’s her snarky wit and diva fab humor that will keep you laughing for days after.

DEETS: Improv, 309 Curtis Mathes Way, Arlington. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Through Sunday. $15. Symfonee.com.

Saturday 12.18

Not the time to be modest
Being humble is charming, but it won’t get you anywhere in the Dallas Voice’s search for DFW’s Ultimate Diva. Don’t think diva and drag queens. Musicians, activists, allies; If you’re the best at it then go for it. The incentive? How about winning $1,000 for your favorite nonprofit or charity. Gotcha.

DEETS: Deadline is Dec. 23. Visit DallasVoice.com/Diva for rules and application.

Sunday 12.19

These herald angels sing with glory
TeCo Productions stages Black Nativity, the retelling of the story of the birth of Christ by gay playwright Langston Hughes. With gospel, dance and poetry as elements of the show, Hughes’ version is both stirring and uplifting.

DEETS: Bishop Arts Theater Center, 215 S. Tyler St. 3 p.m. $15–$20. TecoTheater.org.

Monday 12.20

The Chorale keeps tradition going
Director Jonathan Palant says this year the Turtle Creek Chorale is going back to basics. O Holy Night will feel like going home for the holidays with all the songs and carols we know. But it wouldn’t be a TCC Christmas without some flair. With some new arrangements on hand, we figure they won’t disappoint.

DEETS: Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 8 p.m. $20–$65. TurtleCreek.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 17, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Resounding success

For the third year, Tim Seelig’s choral group sings to feed a real need

Resounding Harmony
SUPPER CLUB | Tim Seelig, center, with members of Resounding Harmony, wants his concert to feed North Texans.

RESOUNDING HARMONY
Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St.
Nov. 10. 8 p.m. $30–$50.
ResoundingHarmony.org.

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Timothy Seelig gets angry when he considers that during the season of Thanksgiving, there are still thousands of North Texans who go hungry. Which is why, for the third year in a row, the new season of his Resounding Harmony choral group begins with a fundraiser for the North Texas Food Bank.

“Resounding Harmony is an amazing blend of men [and] women, ages 13 to 77, from absolutely every walk of life, brought together by the music and the larger mission of making a difference in our community,” explains Seelig, the founding artistic director for the chorus.

Now more than 200 voices strong, Resounding Harmony had its genesis in a smaller mixed choral group Seelig helped put together for the March 2008 Voices of Peace celebration to honor Maya Angelou. That group caught the eye of Gregg Smith, a pastor at the Oak Lawn United Methodist Church, who approached Seelig and Hope for Peace & Justice about creating another chorus to help raise money and collect food for the needy. Not long afterwards, Resounding Harmony and its “musical philanthropic mission” were born.

“The North Texas Food Bank shared with us that they had just launched a three-year initiative and we immediately signed on to partner with them,” Seelig says.

The first year, Resounding Harmony raised enough to provide the NTFB with the means to offer 65,000 meals to North Texans unable to feed themselves. Last year, the chorus took an even more ambitious aim: to help provide 100,000 meals — a goal it surpassed by 10,000 meals. This year, Seelig once again wants to exceed the 100,000 mark. The concert takes place Nov. 10 at the Meyerson Symphony Center

“We are working very hard to add to the concert proceeds, income from the virtual food drive, actual food drives, Dinner in Destin Raffle, the Recyclable Grocery Bags and the Fabulous Table Auction,” Seelig says.

While the concert is intended to call attention to the reality of hunger in North Texas, Seelig promises that the show itself will be “[a] perfect balance of humor and seriousness.”

Some songs on the program, like “Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise” and “Jalapeno Chorus”(a distinctly Southwestern play on Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”) are laugh-out-loud funny. Others, like the poignant “Famine Song” and the rousing “Love Can Build a Bridge,” are intended to stir emotions.

Additional concert highlights include Russ Rieger playing the Lay Family Concert Organ and pianist Antoine Spencer performing a medley of Leonard Bernstein pieces.

“Every person attending will enter these holidays with beautiful music in their ears and in their hearts,” Seelig says.

In the three years of its existence, Resounding Harmony has also sung on behalf of other organizations, such as the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts, Lowe Elementary and The Samaritan Inn. With its June 2010 Carnegie Hall “Sing for Cure” performance for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, it has also quickly established itself as a distinguished member of the Dallas arts community

“The philosophy is to use our music as a philanthropic vehicle to raise money and awareness,” explains Seelig. “It is truly an effort to use music as a means to a greater end, rather than an end in and of itself.”

— M.M. Adjarian

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 5, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Giving peace a chance

Turtle Creek Chorale opens season with an interfaith concert of peace and music

STEVEN LINDSEY  | Contributing Writer stevencraiglindsey@me.com

FAITH, PEACE AND HARMONY  |  Benny Ruiz, a 17-year veteran of the chorale, is also lay liturgist at Holy Trinity Catholic Chuch on Oak Lawn, where the chorale had its first rehearsal 20 years ago.  (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)
FAITH, PEACE AND HARMONY | Benny Ruiz, a 17-year veteran of the chorale, is also lay liturgist at Holy Trinity Catholic Chuch on Oak Lawn, where the chorale had its first rehearsal more than 30 years ago. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

A NIGHT FOR PEACE
Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. Oct. 18. 8 p.m. $17–$20. TurtleCreek.org.

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With the tragic gay teen suicides in recent weeks, the timing couldn’t be better for a message of hope presented through beautiful music.

On Monday, the 300-plus member Partners in Harmony chorus — including the Turtle Creek Chorale, the SMU Meadows School of the Arts Chorale and Concert Choir, the Dallas Wind Symphony and singers from more than 40 religious organizations — will perform three peace anthems for A Night of Peace.

“Seven years ago, the Turtle Creek Chorale began Partners in Harmony to solicit religious organizations in the area to sign a piece of paper affirming the belief that all people are created equal regardless of sexual orientation,” says Jonathan Palant, the chorale’s artistic director. “Fast forward six years, and nothing other than this piece of paper really had been done with our Partners in Harmony.”

Last year, the chorale invited singers from 45 religious institutions — synagogues, Baptist churches, Unitarian churches — to join it onstage for one performance. It ended up being a surprising show of unity between religious organizations and the gay community.

That did not surprise Benny Ruiz Jr., a 17-year member of the chorale and parish liturgist at Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

“Most people who know me at church also know that I sing with the Turtle Creek Chorale,” Ruiz says. “In fact, the Turtle Creek Chorale held its first rehearsals in the choir loft at Holy Trinity back in 1980.”

Ruiz says that due to it location on Oak Lawn Avenue, the parish has always had gay members. “We often use the message ‘all are welcome’ in our communications because that is the truth about Holy Trinity parish. We call ourselves ‘The Uptown Catholic

Community,’ which is almost as diverse as the city of Dallas,” he says. “Our parishioners and volunteers live all over the Metroplex. Some travel a long way every weekend because they have been touched by this open spirit of hospitality to all and they in turn want to spread that message.”

Holy Trinity was approached seven years ago to become a Partner in Harmony with the chorale.

“Our pastor was pleased to do so as an affirmation of the belief that all people are created equal,” he says. “This goes hand-in-hand with our message, just as Jesus was welcoming to all.”

For the second year in a row, the chorale is partnering with the Parkland Health & Hospital System Pastoral Care Department and its director, Linda Wilkerson, will be on hand to talk about the hospital program, which just last year celebrated 50 years of service. The concert is intended to raise money and awareness for the program. After her presentation, Wilkerson will light a candle that will burn throughout the concert.

“The purpose is to light the way toward peace in our community, and that candle will burn just as our desire for peace and goodwill continues to burn,” Palant says.

“Messages of peace and tolerance are great when written, better when spoken and acted upon, but best expressed through music and in our singing,” adds Ruiz. It’s an especially poignant message for gay teens.

“There is a great need for peace in the world and especially for tolerance in our nation,” Ruiz says. “The bullying in our schools and intolerance shown to immigrants and religions has been in the headlines way too much lately,” he says. “This night for peace provides the singers and audience a chance to silence all the intolerance and reflect on what the world can be if we all practice living as peacemakers.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 15, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Spend ‘An Evening With Judy Garland’ tonight in Irving — or Liza in Dallas

Scheduling conflict for days

All right Friends of Dorothy, Liza performs her last show tonight at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson, but before you head out, did you know about this show? While Liza’s “New York”-ing it in Dallas, the Irving Symphony Orchestra presents “An Evening with Judy Garland” with guest conductor and former Liza musical director Michael Berkowitz. Maybe this will help you decide. Either way, you’ll catch a true diva in action. Tony Award winner Debbie Gravitte takes on Judy in her show, so any decision you make is a win-win.

DEETS: Liza Minnelli with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 8 p.m. $45–$122. DallasSymphony.com. An Evening With Judy Garland at the Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving. Oct 9 at 8 pm. $19–$54. IrvingArtsCenter.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Best Bets • 08.27.10

Saturday 08.28

We’d go for the food and the beef

This has caused quite a dilemma. If we were going to Visions: The Women’s Expo this weekend, we’d want to nosh on Fort Worth chef Scott Jones’ culinary demonstrations, but there is no way in hell we’d miss the Hot Firefighters Auction. Along with fashion shows, style makeovers and exhibitors, we are learning one thing — it’s hard to be a woman.

DEETS: Dallas Market Hall, 2200 N. Stemmons Freeway. Through Sunday. $10. VisionsExpo.com.


Saturday 08.28

Marvin’s room is gonna be a big one

Composer Marvin Hamlisch may acheive gay icon status because of his work with Barbra Streisand (an Oscar for “The Way We Were,” yo), but he doesn’t need a diva to prove he’s amazing. He’s gonna give it up for Dallas George Gershwin style as part of the pops series of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Which means, you’ll witness a legend at his best.

DEETS: Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 8 p.m. $22–117. DallasSymphony.org.


Sunday 08.29

We get it — comics aren’t just for kids

A weekend of adults dressed in sci-fi outfits may be daunting but two things make this Dallas Comic Con worthwhile. Battlestar Galactica’s Edward James Olmos appears and Dallas’ own The Variants (aka Zeus Comics) make an showing.

DEETS: Richardson Civic Center, 411 W. Arapaho Road. Noon. $10–$20. SciFiExpo.com/DCC.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 27, 2010.

—  Rich Lopez

Kenny G gives good sax at the Meyerson Symphony Center

This guy will likely blow you away

In 1990, Kenny G’s “Songbird” crossed over from light jazz fave into adult contemporary titan. People couldn’t get enough of the romantic tune that sent Valentine’s aflutter. He continued his new breakthrough streak with his sixth studio album Breathless which sold 15 million copies and became, to date, the best selling instrumental album of all time. All this means is, don’t sell this guy short.He’s major — even if you pretend he isn’t.

DEETS: Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. $45–$115. DallasSymphony.com.

—  Rich Lopez