After a six-month search, Peter Andersen, Board Chair of the Turtle Creek Chorale, announced yesterday that Jonathan Palant will take the helm as the new artistic director. Palant's replacing Dr. Tim Seelig, whose 20-year tenure ends this summer, at the season's conclusion. Palant will officially take over August 1. And who is Jonathan Palant? Well, the Boston native comes to Dallas from Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, where he's an adjunct assistant professor of choral music and a former conductor of the Madonna Chorale (which, alas, is not what you think). He also conducts the Collegiate Choir and Men's Glee Club of Michigan State University.
The search committee consisted of seven members: two singing members and the rest from the board, an interesting ratio considering the actual singing members might want a bigger hand in the choice of their new leader. They started looking for a new artistic director early last fall, at the first rehearsal for the TCC's 27th season; the announcement took many by surprise. But, in fact, the TCC's been as much a soap opera as a singing group during the last couple of years.
It started with a highly publicized tiff between Seelig and the TCC's board, followed by key board members' resignations in fall 2005. Then, for the first time in 20 years, the Black Tie Dinner did not name the Turtle Creek Chorale as a beneficiary among their 2006 recipients. And, of course, Seelig's retirement announcement last June was followed the executive director and board chair's resignations. The cherry on top was the recent cancellation of their collaborative show with the Dallas Summer Musicals, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, due to low ticket sales
Palant, of course, is optimistic. Hard not to be when you haven't even started the job.
In the TCC press release issued yesterday, he says, "With very large shoes to fill and with high aspirations, I promise to give my all to this organization and to the City of Dallas." Don't we all. --Rich Lopez