By Elizabeth Brannon, Flower Mound Cultural Arts Commission member
When the Voices of Flower Mound was searching for a conductor, a member who was also in the Robson Ranch Choir suggested their conductor might be a good fit.
The Voices search committee attended a Robson Ranch Choir concert, to not only enjoy the music, but to “audition” Dr. Arturo Ortega without him being aware he was auditioning for Voices. It went well, as Arturo has been conductor of the Voices of Flower Mound since 2016, minus the months of COVID when the groups were not rehearsing or performing.
Arturo calls himself the runt of the litter, as he is the youngest of five children and grew up with the music of the ‘70s and the ‘80s. A native Texan born in Laredo, his life has always included music. He studied piano, learned to be a percussionist in childhood, and actually has an undergraduate degree in percussion performance. Conducting is his first passion, but there were no degrees offered for conducting for undergraduates. Arturo loved his instructor and the music program at the University of North Texas, and ultimately obtained all his degrees from UNT. His area of specialization was orchestral conducting.
One of the things that brings him joy now is to work with the talented musicians from UNT on special concerts and performances. Arturo no longer plays professionally but he does coach chamber music and is a guest conductor for other orchestras (mostly in foreign countries). COVID curtailed the guest conducting but it’s still a passion for him.
Arturo has been in North Texas since 1993 and is proud of his association with both the Robson Ranch Choir and the Voices of Flower Mound.
Arturo is thrilled to conduct Voices and to push them to grow and flourish artistically. He sees them as a great group with great voices who are also strong sight readers. Those skills make it less of a chore to teach the notes and music and more of an opportunity for Arturo to mold the music into something exciting and surprising that the audience enjoys and finds entertaining and uplifting.
For Arturo, it’s all about having a loyal and spellbound audience who will support the music and the concerts and share the word with other people. He always wants to WOW the audience, and for him, the greatest reward is the accolades from the growing audience and loyal followers. He loves knowing he is contributing to making the arts visible in the community and offering an opportunity for people to be part of the music.
When Arturo selects music, he is mindful of creating a program the audience will love and support and the singers will find challenging and satisfying. He loves when the audience is shocked by how good the Voices group is and when he knows he has given the community something they didn’t think was possible. It’s important for the concerts to be captivating, challenging and compelling and as good as concerts offered in larger cities at higher prices.
Arturo invites all residents to come to a concert and check them out. This group of 55-57 singers boasts members in their 20s to their 70s, and from many communities, including Flower Mound, Plano, Fort Worth, Justin, Richardson, Southlake, Grapevine and even Paris, TX.
For residents who may be interested in joining Voices, their rehearsals are Tuesday evenings at Lamb of God Lutheran Church. The group performs at the town Veteran’s Day event and at the Memorial Day Event at the Senior Center. Voices of Flower Mound receives a grant from the Town of Flower Mound, and the rest of their income is from ticket sales and membership dues. For those who might like to travel, there are two concerts planned for 2022 – performing and touring on the Amalfi Coast in Italy and performing in Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic. There’s even an invitation for Voices to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York!
Arturo is already working on the music for their large spring concerts, to be offered at Lamb of God Lutheran Church on May 7 & 8, 2022. The concert will feature gospel and spiritual music and a guest singer, Martin Clark, who is the leading tenor from the Chicago Lyric Opera. The Chancel Choir of Trietsch Memorial United Methodist Church, the sister organization to Voices, will join them for the spring concert.
More immediately, the annual Christmas Concert will be Saturday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12, at 2:30 p.m. at Trietsch. Performing with the Voices of Flower Mound will be the Flower Mound Symphony Orchestra and the Chancel Choir of Trietsch. Tickets are $10 in advance or at the door, and $30 for a family. The much-loved music promises to be an excellent addition to traditions celebrated in December. Come join Arturo, all the singers and musicians and enjoy one of the great art events Flower Mound offers.
Art thoughts: “Music is the universal language of mankind.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow