Today we’d like to introduce you to Melinda Imthurn.
Melinda, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have been with TWCD for 15 years. I began as a singer and fell in love with the mission of the chorus, and when the Artistic Director position became available, I knew I had a vision for the organization. In our 15 years together, we have sung about two hundred performances, tripled in size, recorded two CD’s, expanded our community outreach, created new educational initiatives, commissioned and premiered many new works, and have even performed at Carnegie Hall! Notable performances include:
Voices of Women, coming upon its sixth year, in which we perform music by women composers with college and high school singers.
Headlining a concert at Carnegie Hall last May.
Performing with Hugh Jackman and Demi Lovato at the American Airlines Center.
A concert with 60s pop icon Lesley Gore.
A concert with Broadway star and Tony-award-winner Victoria Clark.
Performing with the world-renowned Kronos quartet.
A performance of Lord of the Rings movie where we provided a live soundtrack.
Collaborations with many organizations including Metropolitan Winds, Turtle Creek Chorale, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Texas Chamber Music Project, and many others.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The primary struggle was defining the vision of the chorus after its first fifteen years of existence. From what I’m told, the chorus always had its footing in the GLBT community, while rarely overtly articulating that. However, when I came aboard, we had women of all orientations, including a large percentage of straight allies. Finding the right balance of representing all of our members, while also honoring our history and current place in that community, is an ongoing initiative.
Another challenge that was important to me was improving our racial diversity. When I came on board, the chorus was not very diverse, and I thought the membership should more closely resemble the diversity in the city of Dallas. Through programming choices and collaborations, we were able to reach a more diverse audience and more diverse auditionees, which has resulted in a more diverse chorus.
The Women’s Chorus of Dallas – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are one of the finest women’s community choruses in the country and present concerts of high artistic quality and varied repertoire. Our focus on women – women’s voices, women composers, women’s issues – makes us unique in the city. We are also the only women’s chorus with roots in the GLBT community and are one of the most diverse choruses in the city.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success for me is meeting the needs of our singers, audience, and community through our music. When we present a high quality, culturally relevant program that touches those who sing and those who listen, we have succeeded. When we involve community members who may not otherwise have a chance to hear that music (through free tickets, outreach performances, artistic collaborations), our success is even greater.
Next Performance: Chillin’ for the Holidays. Join The Women’s Chorus of Dallas for their annual holiday concert at 7:30 pm on Sunday, Dec 8 at Moody Performance Hall with special guests North Texas Metroplex Children’s Choirs. Arrive early for cake and coffee courtesy of TWCD and Salter Bros. Coffee Roasters, with caroling in the lobby at 6:45 pm. Tickets at twcd.org. This concert is supported by National Endowment for the Arts and Texas Commission on the Arts.
- Tickets range from $20-$45. Info at twcd.org
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