turtlely 80sFor its third concert of the season, newly appointed Turtle Creek Chorale conductor Sean Baugh was taking the stage. In this weekend’s Turtle-ly 80s season finale, he owned the stage.

But Baugh isn’t afraid to share the spotlight. Good thing, because the chorale has so much talent to spotlight.

Steven Fontaine’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” had me in tears. He captured the passion of the song that was sung at so many AIDS funerals.

Steven Patterson’s ballad version of “Open Your Heart” was simply beautiful.

Before I go on about the singing, I need to rave about Soundbytes, the Chorale’s dancers, because last concert I didn’t talk about the wild reception they’re getting. From their hips and heads and cartwheels in “Footloose” to their briefcase flinging “9 to 5” to their creepy entrance onto the stage during “Thriller,” they’re an integral part of Baugh’s new and improved, maybe best-ever Turtle Creek Chorale.

The 80s Broadway Montage began with a wonderful “La Cage Aux Folles” but the send-up of my most hated musical ever, Cats, (not now, not ever) did that miserable show and its whiny music the justice it certainly deserved. Thank you. If you had just one song to ever drag through the mud … wonderful.

Throughout the show, the joy was loud and proud but the humor was sometimes subtle. The Chamber Chorus singing “Papa Don’t Preach” with the men’s group telling papa they decided to keep the baby was delicious.

I didn’t mention the rest of the soloists. Each one — Brian Dixon, James Jackson, DiMarcus Williams, Eric Ramsey, Brian Scott Carey, Ricky Phoummany, Fathay Smith-Kiawu, Peter Mena, Grant Myers, Steven Patterson, David Barnes, Matthew Harrington, Dan Baillie, Daryl Curry, Bryan Daniel, Doug Fonville, Mike Grant, Grayson Palmer, Benny Ruiz and Michael Sullivan — was powerful, distinctive, warm, wonderful. One didn’t top another. One just didn’t let the audience catch its breath when the next one took us in a different direction. Brilliant.

Oh, (each time I think I’m done here, I realize there’s more) Don Jones, long time signer for the Chorale seemed to have more fun with this show than with just about any other. How could he help it? We all had that much fun tonight.

Three encores following three standing ovations. I love that the Chorale I loved for so long is back.

So here’s where I say there’s still another show on Sunday, June 14 at 2:30 p.m. There are still some tickets left. Go have fun. Oh, and get tickets here.

You can also order season tickets online for next year’s season. I’d tell you about it, but Chorale interim executive director Bruce Jaster told me from the stage to keep my mouth shut. My partner, Brian, has had some interesting new experiences since we met three years ago. He noted this was the first time he’s heard someone specifically tell me to shut up from the stage, though, and said I should say, “Thank you, Bruce.” OK, I’ll shut up, but I’m telling you, you might want to get tickets for next season now.