Even though Turtle Creek Chorale, the most recorded men's chorus in the world, has been around since 1980, it has never hosted a gala before this year. So of course the gentlemen did it up big for the inaugural Rhapsody, with a glamorous dinner, heartfelt concert, and astounding private performance by Tony Award winner Idina Menzel.
More than 500 supporters put on their black-tie best and joined gala co-chairs Kay Wilkinson and Robert Emery, along with honorary co-chairs Ambassador Ron Kirk and Matrice Ellis-Kirk, in The Statler Hotel's Grand Ballroom.
The evening was straightforward: no awards, no speeches, and no distraction from TCC's enduring legacy as a group built to educate, entertain, unite, and inspire. A small group of soloists took the stage for songs such as "This Is Me" from The Greatest Showman and "You Will Be Found" from Dear Evan Hansen, while the entire 250-plus choir encircled the room for "Light" from Next to Normal, conducted by artistic director Sean Mikel Baugh.
TCC recently launched a new educational program called You Are Light Project, which shines a light on suicide prevention and mental health concerns for the youth of DFW.
A live auction followed a sumptuous dinner, where such packages as a Broadway experience — tickets to a musical and the Tony Awards included — and one week in Tuscany joined a private dinner with sportscaster Dale Hansen. Not to be outdone, Wilkinson and the Kirks spontaneously volunteered dinners at their homes, leading to some of the most heated bidding of the night.
After a rousing "Fund the Future" donation campaign, which included a handful of lucky patrons receiving meet-and-greet passes for after the concert, the star herself took the stage. Fresh in from London, Menzel was charming, warm, and hilariously unguarded, treating the audience to classics such as "Don't Rain On My Parade" from Funny Girl (which she is rumored to be starring in for an upcoming Broadway revival), "Defying Gravity" from her award-winning role in Wicked, and sing-alongs to "Let It Go" and "Into the Unknown" from Frozen and Frozen II.
A song she wrote called "At This Table" from her solo album Christmas: A Season of Love resonated deeply with the crowd, but she quickly lightened the mood by venturing into the audience to duet with several randomly selected guests on "Take Me Or Leave Me" from Rent.
She closed the unforgettable experience by joining the choir in singing "Seasons of Love" and "No Day But Today," also from Rent. All told, the evening raised more than $535,000 for the organization.
Turtle Creek Chorale's next concert series is Unbreakable: Songs of Strength and Survival at the Moody Performance Hall, March 27-29.