Kessler Park choir director has a worldwide mission

Jonathan Palant: Jennifer Shertzer
Jonathan Palant: Jennifer Shertzer

Kessler Park United Methodist Church choir members will travel to the Baltics this coming June for a 12-day tour with an ecumenical choir whose mission is to unite singers of various faith traditions through song.

That group, Credo, was founded by Jonathan Palant of Kessler Park. Palant moved to Dallas in 2007 for a job as artistic director of the Turtle Creek Chorale.

“Here I am a Jewish music minister in a Methodist church. It sounds funny, but that’s what makes Kessler Park so great.”

A few years later, he moved to our neighborhood, and one day, he asked for a tour of the church around the corner. It turned out that Kessler Park UMC was looking for a new choir director.

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Since he started leading the choir, it has grown from about eight members to about 30.

“The choir program has really brought new members to the church,” Palant says. “People have joined because of the music program.”

Under his direction, the choir has performed parts of Handel’s “Messiah” and other long programs with orchestra accompaniment.

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But he is most proud of their work with Credo. Last December, they performed at the Stewpot in a show exclusively for our city’s homeless population. And about 250 people showed up, he says.

Last year, the choir traveled to Cuba for a tour. In June, Credo travels to Latvia, Estonia and Finland. The purpose is to exchange culture and gain understanding of faiths around the world.

“The goal of these trips is to go someplace slightly off the beaten path,” he says. “These aren’t the first places people would choose to go.”

Palant left the Turtle Creek Chorale in 2011 and now is a professor at Richland College, where he teaches voice.

He and his partner, Mark Mullaney, have a 7-month-old son, Noah. And Palant is in the final stages of publishing a book, “Brothers, Sing On! Conducting the All-Male Choir,” through the Hal Leonard Corp.

It’s a practical, user-friendly manual for teaching all-male choirs, he says.

Although he stays busy, Palant is in church every Sunday because, he says, it’s a unique place.

“Here I am a Jewish music minister in a Methodist church. It sounds funny, but that’s what makes Kessler Park so great; they’re really practicing what Christ is thought to have taught,” he says. “They’re really putting their money where their mouth is.”

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