Internationally renowned singing group gears up for artistic director’s debut
It’s as if everyone is holding their breath, wondering what will unfold when the Turtle Creek Chorale takes the stage at the Meyerson Symphony Center on Oct. 7.
It will be the internationally renowned male singing group’s first step on what is hoped to be another long, successful journey. Managers and singers say they are upbeat and confident, but a bit jumpy just the same.
“You can’t help but be nervous,” acknowledged Peter Anderson, chair of the board of directors, in an interview about the debut of the group’s new artistic director, Jonathan Palant.
The evening will showcase Palant’s first offering for the 2007-08 series, a program he put together last spring as part of his audition to lead the chorus in its 28th season as it embarks on a new era. It will be the first time for the singing group to enter a new season without its longtime celebrated artistic director Tim Seelig, who retired after two decades at the helm.
“There is just an enormous amount of anticipation for the next chapter in the story,” said Palant, who took over on Aug. 1 after moving to Dallas from Michigan, where he was assistant conductor of the Michigan State Men’s Glee Club. “I think that change always brings excitement. There is so much excitement within the community and in the membership.”
Palant said the singing members are rehearsing regularly and in special rehearsals on Sundays to prepare for the big event.
“The chorale is in spectacular shape,” Palant said. “It musically is solid. It has a wonderful foundation.”
It is ready to present “Generation 2 Generation: A Celebration of Sound and the City,” said Palant, who noted he planned the presentation to start a new foundation for the chorus under his leadership.
“It is my way of showing from me personally I believe in the city first,” Palant said. “From that, we create the international reputation that is already in place.
“We will further that reputation, but first we need to make sure we have the city behind us. They support us, and we support them.”
The first presentation will feature artists from the Dallas Opera, the Dallas Black Dance Theater, a pianist from St. Mark’s School and mariachi groups from Grand Prairie and the University of North Texas.
Craig Robinson, president of the singing group and an 11-year singer, said the members of the chorus are eager to start the season. About 200 will perform in the season opener.
“Enthusiasm and motivation couldn’t be any higher,” Robinson said.
Robinson said the singers are responding well to Palant.
“Jonathan has really come around with his own style,” Robinson said. “I think the members are excited about the future.”
And that’s an excitement shared by many in Dallas’s LGBT community and the city as a whole, Anderson said. Palant, who has been making the rounds to get acquainted, has been warmly received by leaders and members of such groups such as the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, the Federal Club, the Crystal Charity Ball, AmFar and the Dallas Museum of Art, he said.
“We’re just so excited by the response,” Anderson said. “Several have opened up their hearts, and are enthusiastically awaiting his debut.”
The season runs through June and will also feature “Children Will Listen: Sharing the Holidays” in December, “Night Passage: An Evening of Premieres” and “Aspirations” in March, “On the Air: A Walk Down Memory Lane” in June.
For information call 214-526-3214 or visit www.turtlecreek.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 28, 2007