Palant resigns post with Turtle Creek Chorale

Officers with the Turtle Creek Chorale board of directors confirmed this evening that the chorale’s artistic director, Jonathan Palant, has resigned. The Rev. Dawson B. Taylor, chair of the TCC board, said in a press release that he will in the coming days name a search committee to conduct a nationwide search for Palant’s replacement.

Jonathan Palant

Palant has been artistic director of the chorale for the last four years, following Timothy Seelig who was artistic director for 20 years. Palant, who became minister of music at Kessler United Methodist Church in May, did not return a phone call from Dallas Voice this afternoon seeking comment.

The press release also said that the board will be naming a new executive director for the chorale sometime this week to replace Stephan Tosha who announced in May that he would be leaving July 30 to take a position with Morgan Stanley.

In the written statement released shortly before 9 p.m. today, Taylor said, “”A change in leadership is always a challenge, yet and I am reminded that the Turtle Creek Chorale is bigger than any one of us. As a non-profit arts organization committed to our community, we must assemble the best possible leadership team and staff to continue to build the chorale membership, donor relationships, revenues and ticket sales.”

The press release also noted that auditions and rehearsals will begin in August for the 32nd anniversary season entitled “M Is For Magnificent. Merriment. Movement. Majestic.”

—  admin

Resounding Harmony gives $25K to Children’s Medical Center, bestows Life Member Awards

Check presentation. (Photo courtesy of Chad Whyrick)

Resounding Harmony awarded the Palliative Care Unit of Children’s Medical Center $25,275 on Monday. The money was raised from the chorus’s June 8 concert at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Each Resounding Harmony concert raises money for a different community organization.

The chorus also gave its first three Life Member Awards — to Timothy Seelig, Sam Caine and John Maloney. Seelig was the founder of the chorus who left Dallas late last year to become the new artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. Caine is the owner of Card Payment Systems in Frisco.

“He [Caine] has been a valuable asset to Resounding Harmony and through his company has made sure that the chorus has had reliable low cost credit card processing,” said Board Chair Mark Knight. “He has also been a major contributor to the chorus and its beneficiaries.”

Maloney is the owner of Maloney Strategic Communications in Dallas. He and his staff have provided all of the marketing and PR pieces for Resounding Harmony since its founding. “This includes all of our graphics and the award winning logo that we use today,” said Knight.

The 2012-13 season begins rehearsals on Sunday, Aug. 21 at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church. Auditions for new members will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 22 at the church. Resounding Harmony’s fall concert on Tuesday, Nov. 22 will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the spring concert will benefit the American Heart Association.

More information is available at ResoundingHarmony.org.

—  David Taffet

Lightning strikes again

Tim Seelig felt blessed to lead the chorale for 20 years. But he begins a new stage of his life and career outside Texas with his post at the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | jones@dallasvoice.com

Seelig-HS_WhiteTie_Vert
PICKING UP THE BATON  | After 24 years in Dallas, Tim Seelig leaves his Texas home to take over as artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. But as excited as he is about the move, he’ll really miss eating good Tex-Mex. (Photo courtesy Shawn Northcutt)

Timothy Seelig is all about reinvention.

He’s done it almost too many times to count. The first, of course, was when, as a married adult with children active in the church, he came out of the closet and moved to Dallas to lead the Turtle Creek Chorale. For 20 years, he helped build it into one of the preeminent men’s choruses in the world. While there he became something of a musical entrepreneur, releasing albums, commissioning new works and teaching voice at SMU.

After he stepped down from the TCC four years ago, he continued to be active in Dallas life, as director of Art for Peace & Justice at the Cathedral of Hope and serving as the founding artistic director for a new mixed vocal ensemble, Resounding Harmony.

But the change this month is big even for him. He’s moving to California to assume the baton as artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

“Wow,” he said just hours after inking the agreement. “I mean, the history of that chorus! Gosh.”

A month later, he’s fully packed and sharing a much smaller space in Dubose Triangle near the Castro District where his partner, Shawn Northcutt, has lived for 18 months while working a long-term contract with Apple. On Jan. 10 — his 60th birthday — he’ll lead his first rehearsal.

“It hasn’t soaked in at all,” he says. “We did not sell our loft [in Dallas] so I’ll come back a lot.”

It’s a major feather in a cap already plumed more than a peacock.

“I loved, loved my time in Dallas,” Seelig gushes. “At the end of my 20 years at the chorale, I felt if I never did anything more significant, I would have lived a life more gratifying that most. It was a life that was full. If I’d had the money, I could have rocked on a rocking chair. But to start back over is icing on the cake and an opportunity not many people get.”

“I could speak about Tim’s legacy, his accomplishments, his infectious personality or his energy,” says Jonathan Palant, who took over from Seelig as artistic director of the chorale.  “It was under Tim’s baton that our mission changed to include the four pillars against which the Turtle Creek Chorale measures everything today: to entertain, educate, unite and uplift. We wish him all the best!”
Seelig steps into a chorus with a storied history.

“In the GALA Choruses network, they are the grandfather,” he says. “In June of 1981, they were two years old and decided to take a national tour to spread the gospel of gays singing. It was a legendary tour — they went to Dallas, Minneapolis, Bismarck and planted the seeds of all these choruses. Many looked to SFGMC for their motivation 30 years ago.” The tour was even detailed in Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.

With such a legacy, “anytime [the artistic director position] has come open, everybody considers it,” Seelig says. So last August, when the SFGMC announced that Kathleen McGuire (who led the group for 10 years) would be stepping down, Seelig jumped.

It was a bit of déjà vu for Seelig, who had considered the post a decade earlier, “but it was the year we were commissioning Sing for the Cure, and I couldn’t step away. But this time was different. I had to think long and hard, but it was a door I could not not walk through.” He was selected as one of the three finalists and got the job last month, just days before Resounding Harmony’s final concert of the season.

Still, leaving Dallas —  Seelig has lived only in Texas and comparatively brief stints in Europe and Oklahoma — was not an easy decision for him.

“I love my life in Dallas and Shawn has had a fabulous career. Life is happy and Resounding Harmony is one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in my life.” His son and parents, who are elderly, are also local. But he knew it was the right move. His daughter lives in San Francisco; she had Seelig’s first grandchild prematurely, just days after Thanksgiving.

“The biggest factor of all was the birth of my granddaughter, Clara,” he says. “They’ve already picked out names for me and Shawn: Honey and Bubbles. I’m Bubbles. The fact I had conducted that chorus for four months a year-and-a-half ago gave me a real taste for the city, too, though living there will be different.

But I could see myself there.”

Still, there’s a lot he will miss.

“Leaving Resounding Harmony is really, really hard — they are doing just wonderfully. The board members are staying, I think they’ll do a wonderful job,” he says. “It was hard to leave SMU and my students and leave the cathedral as well. I was really enjoying working with Jo — I am a big Jo Hudson fan. But I’m not the kind who looks back. There’s no time for that. SFGMC is like jumping on a moving bullet train. Getting up to speed is incredible.

“And I can tell that fairly first hand, I will miss chicken fried steak and good Tex-Mex. And I’m gonna miss a lot of the musicmaking from the wonderful music community that Dallas has provided. It ‘s wonderful place to be gay and be a musician. Also, Dallas is wide open — if you can dream it up and raise the money, you can do it. I’m gonna miss that.”

There are also things that make him apprehensive about going to a new city — like, his bigger-than-life personality and cheeky turn-of-phrase.

“So far, they find my Texana adorable — they think it’s real cute, like saying y’all. I just hope that’s not gonna wear off,” he says.

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Breaking news: Seelig to leave Dallas for SF gig

Dr. Timothy Seelig, for 20 years the artistic director of the Turtle Creek Chorale and of late head of the Resounding Harmony chorus and Art for Peace & Justice project, has accepted a position as the new artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. He will take over the baton on Jan. 1, 2011.

Before that, he’ll lead Resounding Harmony one final time, for a concert at the Meyerson on Nov. 10.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

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.

…………………………………..

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

Local Briefs • 08.13.10

Landmark dinner inaugural

Lambda Legal is holding its inaugural Landmark Dinner at the W Hotel-Victory Park on Aug. 14. The gala celebrates the organization’s many landmark rulings including Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court decision invalidating criminal sodomy laws across the country, and the Iowa case that secured marriage equality in that state.

Paul J. Williams will be master of ceremonies. A former Lambda Legal plaintiff will deliver the keynote address and Joe Pacetti and Christian Iles will present a diamond jewelry show and auction.

Although the dinner is sold out, Lambda Legal supporters are invited to the White Party Gala following the dinner. The gala will be held in the W Hotel Ballroom at 10 p.m.

Included in the ticket price is a show by the “King of West Hollywood,” D.J. Casey.

Tickets are $30 and may be purchased in advance by contacting the Lambda Legal office at 214-219-8585 or at the door.

Lambda Legal is the nation’s oldest national organization pursuing equal rights for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through high-impact litigation, public education and advocacy.

Gay Pride gospel celebration

Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ and Art for Peace & Justice will host the first annual “Gay”ther Homecoming on Sept. 18 as part of Pride weekend celebration. They will host an array of talent performing familiar hymns and gospel songs from the past.

More than 40 singers, songwriters and instrumentalists from across the nation will perform solos, group performances and audience sing-alongs.

Marsha Stevens, Mark Hayes, Susie Brenner and Rob Parker as well as two LGBT gospel groups, Out 4 Joy and Voices of Hope, will be among the performers.

Amy Stevenson, Danny Ray, Lonnie Parks, Shelly-Torres West, Kim Wisdom, and Rusty Johnson are among the Dallas talent that will participate. Timothy Seelig will be the director for the evening.

“As the invitations to participate have gone out across the U.S., the response has been phenomenal,” said Seelig.  “Everyone contacted has responded with immediate enthusiasm.  We will include as many musicians as the stage will hold!  Most of these talented folks have experienced a huge amount of hurt at the hands of the religions of their youth.  This is our opportunity to stand proudly and sing the songs we thought were lost.”

The evening’s proceeds will benefit the soon- to-be-dedicated Interfaith Peace Chapel designed by noted architect Philip Johnson.
Tickets are $15 for general admission and are available at H4PJ.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 13, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas