Turtle Creek Chorale

The Turtle Creek Chorale meets the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for the first time in new concert

RICH LOPEZ | Staff writer

Dallas Symphony Orchestra

On Tuesday night, a bit of history will be made. The unbelievable part of that is that it hasn’t been made before in this arts community. The Turtle Creek Chorale will share the stage with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for the very first time in Dallas for Sing for Our Lives at the Morton H. Meyerson.

“We’ve crossed paths with the DSO so many times but never performed with them,” TCC Artistic Director Sean Baugh said. “We can’t figure out how that happened in all these years.”

The two have shared the Meyerson stage for decades — just not with both on the stage at the same time. That was inconceivable to Baugh and the organization — the idea that never in their long history have two of the oldest and largest performing arts organizations in Dallas joined forces.

“We needed to fix that,” Baugh said. “It was Kim at the DSO who extended that invitation.”

Kim Noltemy is the president and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. She took on the role in 2018. Baugh said he’s seen the DSO move in a progressively different direction since she took the lead, and that new direction ultimately included this upcoming show.

“Professional symphonies are not commonly known as a community organization and are usually elitist,” Baugh said. “That reputation has dogged major orchestras. But when [Noltemy] took over, she changed that. She has made DSO a much more mission-centered organization that benefits the community — including the LGBTQ community.”

When Noltemy approached TCC, she got an emphatic “Hell yes!” from Baugh.

“We share similar values, and every concert of ours is a mission or aligns with their mission, so it all seemed a natural fit,” he said.

Sing for Our Lives is part of TCC’s “You Are Light” concert series, which speaks to mental health including anti-suicide messages. Baugh, who curated the night’s program, wanted to build on that. He described the show as hopeful and life-giving.

“The show speaks to overcoming obstacles and has this celebratory music. I realize now that’s what the community needs and wants,” he said. “The show features four areas where people have found strength: in themselves, in community, in faith and in their friends.”

Throughout it all, Baugh is leading the show. Not only is he conducting the chorale but also the massive orchestra. The show will also include special guests the Unity Choir and the Make-A-Wish North Texas Wish Kids Choir.

Normally, the orchestral conductor takes over the reins, so for Baugh to lead the entire show is a departure from the norm.

“You don’t see that. Usually a chorus conductor prepares the chorus and hands it off. While I am impressed by the fact that they are trusting me to manage some 300 musicians onstage, it is also intimidating,” he said.

Baugh has worked with instrumental music his entire life and has his masters in instrumental conducting. Although, he said, he does feel that his heart is with choral music now; ; he feels this is what he’s supposed to do as a musician.

But he’s getting back on the orchestral conducting bike this Tuesday.

“We may be a bit wobbly in that first hour of rehearsal, but musicians of this caliber know what they are doing. They are the best of the best, and the singers have been in rehearsals for weeks,” he said. “I hope both the DSO and the audience will view this show as a worthwhile endeavor and have heartfelt feelings, but I do have my nerves.”

We’re pretty sure Baugh’s got this.

Click here for tickets and information.