Dallas — As a community choir, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas has much of which to be proud. In the three decades since its inception, TWCD has performed for mayors, governors, and royalty; they have collaborated with huge names like Demi Lovato, Hugh Jackman, and the late Maya Angelou; and they have sung on renowned stages from the American Airlines Center to Carnegie Hall.
Now, as the chorus celebrates its 30th anniversary, they opened their season on Oct. 13 with That’s Our Jam! in collaboration with their local brother choir Turtle Creek Chorale at the Moody Performance Hall.
Under artistic director Melinda Imthurn, the group achieved an overall lovely balance, which is a difficult feat in a community choir given the great breadth of types and colors of voices. What undoubtedly aided them in the endeavor was the intimate, special nature of the subject matter. TWCD and TCC have been pillars of the LGBTQ community in Dallas, propagating a central message of love, fellowship, empowerment, and support.
These themes rang true not only in the literal sense, with renditions of songs like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Wind Beneath My Wings” programmed into the set, but also in the mood conveyed in the choir’s balance. Together, the women were warm and affectionate in delivery, with a bold, unapologetic energy. Imthurn showed a true connection with her group in her conducting. She was fluid and interpretive, and her singers followed intuitively.
Their sound was lifted by the bright addition of a string quarter and principal accompanist Will Varner on piano.
A highlight was the cleverly humorous offerings from the choir’s chamber group, Vivacious! They provided levity and wit with irreverent songs like Barnwell’s “Breaths” and Buhrer’s “God Likes A Woman” — poking fun at the conventional ideals of womanhood in light, folksy settings.
In tandem with the Turtles, TWCD harkened back to an old standard of theirs — Susan Brumfield’s arrangement of “No Time.” It was a moving piece, harmonically straightforward with a pastoral sense of charm.
Led by their conductor and artistic director Sean Mikel Baugh, the TCC added momentum, weight, and dimension to the program with their offerings. Gilkyson’s “Requiem” was set in lush darkness, with many moments of beautifully balanced reverb hanging in the air.
“O Love,” Elaine Hagenberg’s tender, heartwarming prayer ballad set in SATB, was effectively performed by both groups, with flowing accompaniment from piano and cello.
As a season kick-off, TWCD presented a well-designed program of charming, elegant music. Their use of videos and testimonials from current and former members of the group was endearing and touching. What’s more, congratulations are in order for the mayor’s proclamation of October 13, 2019 as “Women’s Chorus of Dallas Day.”
If anything, it was a shame to see the program delivered to a sparse audience Sunday afternoon.