Community Choir Spotlight: Turtle Creek Chorale


In 1980, 30 men stood on stage and sang at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Now known as Turtle Creek Chorale, that group has grown to more than 200 dues-paying members who contribute over 100,000 hours annually to rehearsals, performances, and community outreach services.

The mission of the Turtle Creek Chorale is to Entertain, Educate, Unite, and Inspire, and to that end they have provided musical journeys to audiences in Dallas, Texas for over 38 years and annually offer a dynamic mainstage concert series at the Dallas City Performance Hall in the Arts District. The Chorale has a long tradition of reaching out into the community beyond its subscription concerts with more than 30 benefit appearances across the Metroplex and Texas annually. Recent partnerships and collaborations include Lone Star Rides, Lifewalk, Genesis Women’s Shelter, Children’s Medical Center, Hope’s Door, Parkland Hospital, and the American Airlines Sky Ball. Coupled with unparalleled artistic quality, TCC touches a broad audience bridging across age, gender, ethnic, socioeconomic, and sexual orientation lines.

The Turtle Creek Chorale also features three smaller ensembles: Chamber Chorus, Camerata, and SoundBytes. Each group delivers unique performances that highlight the members’ wealth of talent; the smaller groups are also more nimble in their outreach to the community.

While primarily a gay men’s chorus, the Turtle Creek Chorale welcomes all men, and those that identify as male, regardless of sexual orientation.

Some highlights of the Turtle Creek Chorale include: most recorded men’s chorus in the world with 38 albums; two feature-length documentaries in public distribution with one receiving an Emmy for the producer; performances at two state, two regional, and three national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association; performance at the regional convention of Music Educators National Conference; two appearances at Carnegie Hall; collaboration with Susan G. Komen Foundation to create Sing for the Cure with narration by Maya Angelou; two performances with the U.S. Army Chorus and former first lady Laura Bush serving as honorary chair for the event; three-city tour in Spain in 2010; sold-out concerts in Barcelona, Berlin, and Prague during the 1995 European tour; performances before Queen Elizabeth II, Texas governors, and city mayors; sharing the stage with Liza Minnelli, Joan Rivers, Maya Angelou, Sandi Patty, Gavin Creel, Jennifer Holliday, Nikki Blonski, Margaret Cho, and Seth Rudetsky; awards including the Crystal Hope award, Peace Center award, Dallas Observer Best Musical Performance, and 500 Inc. Ken Bryant Visionary award.

Now in his fourth season, Sean Mikel Baugh is Artistic Director of the Turtle Creek Chorale. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sean studied music at Oklahoma Baptist University and the University of Central Oklahoma and was awarded a Master of Music degree in conducting from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University where he was named Outstanding Graduate Conductor. At the Meadows School, Sean served as assistant conductor of the world-renowned Meadows Wind Ensemble. Sean has been called “expressive and incredibly dynamic, a consummate musician with a side of showman. He exhilarates audience members and singers alike.” He is regularly praised for his innovative programming and expressive technique. His choirs have enjoyed positive reviews and have been lauded for their musicality and emotional performances. An active advocate for male choral music, Sean regularly commissions new works from established composers. Sean also serves as Associate Director of Music and Worship for Dallas-based Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ where he leads the choir and orchestra for Sunday worship services. Cathedral of Hope is the world’s largest congregation with a primary outreach to the LGBT community.

Jeremy Wayne, Managing Director, joined the singing membership of the Chorale in the fall of 2016 and immediately fell in love with the organization and all that it stands for. Jeremy has served on the boards of the Cathedral of Hope UCC, the New Texas Symphony Orchestra, and the Greater Dallas Handbell Association. He has a passion for music and a long history of performance. He started playing piano at age nine, grew up playing in church, and also served as accompanist for his high school choir. In college he sang with the University of Central Arkansas Concert Choir and Chamber Singers. He has also performed with the Arkansas Chamber Singers and served on their board of directors while living in Arkansas. Since moving to Dallas, Jeremy has been an active part of the music ministry at the Cathedral of Hope, singing in the choir, playing piano, and directing the handbell choir.

Scott Ayers, Principal Pianist and Associate Conductor, has been a church musician since the age of 12 and has accompanied musical theater productions since his late teens. He has served churches in South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas and has presented keyboard concerts in more than a dozen states. Scott recently became Senior Organist and Music Associate at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas. Scott is the musical director for several local theaters as well as several schools in the Plano area. He holds a degree in music theory and composition from Oklahoma Baptist University and has done graduate work in jazz theory and composition at the University of South Carolina. He has produced four albums and has a number of published arrangements for choir, keyboard and orchestra.

Dr. Timothy Seelig is a conductor, singer, teacher and motivational speaker. In addition to Artistic Director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, he continues a busy guest-conducting schedule throughout the U.S. and across the globe. Dr. Seelig is Conductor Emeritus of the Turtle Creek Chorale, which he conducted for 20 years, was co-founder of The Women’s Chorus of Dallas, and has taught on the faculty at Southern Methodist University for 14 years. Dr. Seelig holds four degrees, including the Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of North Texas and the Diploma from the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. He has authored seven books and DVDs on choral technique. Recordings have won multiple awards and have been on Billboard Top Ten and iTunes Top Ten classical charts. A PBS documentary about the Turtle Creek Chorale received the national Emmy award for best documentary. Dr. Seelig has conducted regularly at Carnegie Hall for the last 25 years as well as Lincoln Center and the Southbank Centre in London.


Repertoire of the Turtle Creek Chorale:

Friendship Tour: The Awakening, Joseph M. Martin; Cornerstone, Shawn Kirchner; God Help the Outcasts, arr. Steve Huffines; Good Night, Dear Heart, Dan Forrest; Grace, arr. Mark Hayes; Harriet Tubman, Rollo Dilworth & Eloise Greenfield; I Never Lost My Praise, arr. Carol Cymbala; Jolene, arr. Mark Brymer; Keep Your Lamps, arr. André Thomas; Lift Every Voice and Sing, arr. Greg Gilpin; Light, arr. Neal Richardson; Love Can Build a Bridge, Paul Overstreet, John Jarvis & Naomi Judd; The Majesty and Glory of Your Name, Linda Lee Johnson & Tom Fetke; No Time, arr. Susan Brumfield; Peacekeepers: The Way of Trust, Andrea Ramsey; Peacekeepers: The “Peacemaker” Colt .45, Charles Anthony Silvestri; Peacekeepers: Blessed are the Peacemakers, James Eakin III; Peacekeepers: Stand Up, Gerald Gurss; The Sound of Silence, arr. Benjamin Bedroske; This Is Me, arr. Dave Volpe; Up to the Mountain, arr. Dave Volpe; Why We Sing, Greg Gilpin

Outlaws: Thank God I’m a Country Boy, arr. Kirby Shaw; Home on the Range, arr. Mark Hayes; Heavenly Songs: Three American Songs – Hallelujah, Angel Band, Unclouded Day, Shawn Kirchner; She’s Got You, Hank Cochran; Hey Good Lookin’, arr. Audrey Snyder; Mama Don’t Allow, arr. Brian Lewis; Who Do I Know in Dallas?, arr. David Maddux; Islands in the Stream, arr. David Maddux; Friends in Low Places, arr. Randol Alan Bass; Danny’s Song, Kenny Loggins; Pickup Truck, Rodney Carrington; Cindy, arr. Mack Wilberg; Ghost Riders in the Sky, arr. Kirby Shaw; Light of a Clear Blue Morning arr. Dave Volpe; Not Ready to Make Nice, arr. Dave Volpe; So Small, arr. Dave Volpe, Jolene arr. Mark Brymer; Brokeback Mountain Suite, arr. Michael Allera; Love Can Build a Bridge, Paul Overstreet, John Jarvis & Naomi Judd

Anthems that Shaped the Movements: We Shall Overcome, arr. David Maddux; Keep Your Lamps!, arr. André Thomas; Ohio, Neil Young; The Sound of Silence, arr. Benjamin Bedroske; Blowin’ in the Wind, Bob Dylan; Find the Cost of Freedom, arr. Nick Page; Respect, Otis Redding; MLK, arr. Bob Chilcott; Up to the Mountain, arr. Dave Volpe; I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free, Billy Taylor & Dick Dallas; Harriet Tubman, Rollo Dilworth & Eloise Greenfield; You Can’t Stop the Beat, arr. Roger Emerson; Peacekeepers: The Way of Trust, Andrea Ramsey; Peacekeepers: The “Peacemaker” Colt .45, Charles Anthony Silvestri; Peacekeepers: Stand Up, Gerald Gurss; Peacekeepers: Blessed are the Peacemakers, James Eakin III; This Little Light of Mine, arr. Howard Helvey; A Change Is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke; Lift Every Voice and Sing, arr. Greg Gilpin; Over the Rainbow, arr. Mark Hayes; This Is Me, arr. Dave Volpe.

Snowflakes: Invocation, arr. Janey Hall; Masters in This Hall, arr. David Maddux; Winter Wonderland, arr. Eddy Clement; In Dulci Jubilo, Matthew Culloton; Suzy Snowflake, arr. David Maddux; He Shall Feed His Flock, arr. Kris Anthony; Sleigh Ride, arr. Eddy Clement; What Do the Bells Say? James Deignan; A Christmas Song, Chad Beguelin & Matthew Sklar; Surabaya Santa, Jason Brown & Kristine Zbornik; Bell Carol of the Kings. arr. Derek Hakes; The Biggest, Brightest Holiday Lights!, Andy Beck & Brian Fisher; Deck the Hall, arr. Chad Weirick; Cradle Hymn, Kim André Arnesen & Issac Watts, Ring Those Christmas Bells, arr. David Maddux; Lo, How a Rose/The Rose, arr. Craig Hella Johnson; Christmas Kaleidoscope, arr. Sondra Tucker; Ave Maria, arr. John Leavitt; Good Night, Dear Heart, Dan Forrest; Little Drummer Boy, Harry Simeone; Let There Be Peace on Earth, arr. Craig Courtney; Peace, Peace, arr. Fred Bock

In Your Dreams – Find Your Corner of the Sky: Corner of the Sky, arr. Dave Vope; What We Need Is Here, Wendell Berry & James Deignan; Travelin’ Thru, arr. Greg Gilpin; Not Your Father’s Son, arr. Stephen Oremus; The Quest Unending, Joseph M. Martin; Cornerstone, Shawn Kirchner; Sing Me to Heaven, Daniel Gawthrop; When You Wish upon a Star, Ned Washington & Leigh Harline; Mr. Sandman, Pat Ballard; Be at My Side, Gerald Gurss; God Help the Outcasts, arr. Steve Huffines; For Now, arr. Steve Huffines; Up Where We Belong, arr. Dave Volpe; Ute Sundance, Ethan Sperry; Glory, arr. Steve Millroy; A Thousand Beautiful Things, arr. Craig Hella Johnson; Fix You, Guy Berryman, Jon Buckland, Will Champion & Chris Martin; Imagine, arr. Pentatonix; Rise Up, arr. Dave Vope; Light, arr. Neal Richardson

A Not So Silent Night: Alleluia Incantation, Andrew Miller; Gloria – Movement I, John Rutter; Brightest and Best, arr. Shawn Kirchner; We Three Kings, David Maddux; O Holly Night, arr. Scott Warrender; Bell Carol, Heather Sorenson; I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm, Irving Berlin; Run, Rudolph, Run, arr. Roger Emerson; What Child Is This, arr. Howard Helvey; The “Shouldn’t Be” Carols, Eric Lane Barnes; Hallelujah Chorus from “Mount of Olives” arr. Archibald Davison; Silver Bells, arr. Kevin Robinson; Betelehemu, arr. Wendell Whalum; All I Want for Christmas Is You, arr. David Maddux; The Ground, Ola Gjeilo; Angels from the Realms of Glory, arr. Dan Forrest; O Holy Night, Adolphe Adam; Angels Calling, arr. Danny Ray; Winter Song, Sara Bereilles & Ingrid Michaelson; Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth, arr. Jay Althouse; Make Me an Instrument, Craig Courtney; Peace, Peace, arr. Fred Bock

Topsy TurvySongs You Thought You Knew: Ritmo, Dan Davison; Lullaby, Billy Joel; Good Life, arr. Deke Sharon; You May Be Right, Billy Joel; A Musical, arr. Andy Beck; Popular, Stephen Schwartz; Summertime, George Gershwin; Forever Young, arr. David Maddux; Love Soulfully, arr. Lonnie Parks; Bonse Aba, Andrew Fisher; The Baby Song, George Burns; Down by the Riverside, Brant Adams; I Will Wait, arr. David Maddux; Baby One More Time, arr. Chris Doubet; On a Clear Day, arr. Darmon Meader; Fight the Dragons, Andrew Lippa; Mad World, arr. Dave Volpe; Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Robert Hazard; Over the Rainbow, arr. Andy Beck; Bright Morning Stars, arr. Shawn Kirchner; Bohemian Rhapsody, arr. Mark Brymer

Shop all Turtle Creek Chorale repertoire

Tom Dean
Tom Dean
Tom Dean is a Choral Editor, and the Elementary and Secondary General Music Editor for J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc. Prior to working for Pepper, Tom taught instrumental and choral music as well as audio engineering at the high school level in the Delaware public schools for 32 years. He is a member of the ACDA and is active in the Delaware Music Educators where he served in numerous positions including President, All-State Coordinator, Technology chair, and Composition chair, and NAfME where he served as Eastern Division President and NEB member. He also was a member of the music writing team that developed the new music standards for the NCCAS project.


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