The 39th season of the Turtle Creek Chorale draws to a close this weekend with You Are Light, a look at suicide, bullying and grief. The cycle of songs include four that chorus director Sean Baugh commissioned for this concert.
Together, they tell a story that begins with on screen and in person accounts that include attempted, growing up being bullied for being gay, being thrown out of house as a teen after coming out and anxiety because of who we are. The story concludes with the wonderful “You Have More Friends Than You Know.”
Preparing for the concert, I spoke to a number of members of the chorale who had a variety of stories to tell. They were all in different places in their journey. One told me he didn’t think it would get better. Yet another chorale member who was at a lower point when we spoke told me he knew it did.
Baugh explained during the concert that You Are Light will continue as more than just a concert. In the fall, members of the chorale will take portions of the work (and this concert, more than anything since When We No Longer Touch, holds together as one powerhouse of a piece of work) to Dallas public schools in the fall to address bullying with students.
Soloists Bobby Jo Valentine and Walter Lee along with some chorale regulars like Daryl Curry, Alvaro Ramalho and others were wonderful. But their solos were backed by the full chorale that simply incorporated their numbers into the fabric of the concert.
Great Flowing River was written after the sudden death of former director Tim Seelig’s daughter Corianna. Seelig was on hand to conduct the piece at Friday’s concert and explain how she was raised by the chorale.
But Baugh’s direction of You Are Light proves that he has become every bit the master of his art and the director the Turtle Creek Chorale deserves. Some people walked out of the concert in tears. I thought the show was cathartic. Everyone I spoke to in the lobby afterwards agreed it was one of the chorale’s best performances ever.
You Are Light will be performed on Saturday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 9, at 2 p.m. at Moody Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St. Tickets are available online.
— David Taffet