Kris Anthony(aka Alan Bruce Skipton)

Born:               June 1, 1954

Died:                June 26, 1992

Turtle Years:  1982-1992

Section:           Tenor I

A Turtle’s Tribute

Kris was a native of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. He received his bachelor’’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. Kris earned his master’s in composition from the University of Miami. He worked on his doctorate in composition at the University of North Texas. Kris moved to Dallas in 1985 and became music director at Central Christian Church.

As composer-in-residence and assistant director of the Turtle Creek Chorale, he produced three compact disc recordings including When We No Longer Touch: A Cycle of Songs for Survival. His first performance with the Chorale was in April 1982, as a Tenor II, in “Music for Men’s Voices & Orchestra” at the Holy Trinity Church, Dallas, Texas. While with the Chorale in 1982, Kris served as the Tenor I Section Leader. He also served as Section Leader during the 12th season. Kris was the Chorale’s Composer in Residence during the 10th thru 12th seasons. As Composer in Residence, he composed music, arranged and revoiced music for the following concerts or Compact Discs:

He died June 26, 1992 at his Dallas home.

From a friend:

Kris Anthony was a close college friend of mine at UW-LaCrosse in the early 70s. In fact, he was my accompanist for my senior recital as well as accompanist through my years at the university. I knew him as Al Skipton and he and my college beau, Randy Kroll, were a close trio of friends. We spent many hours together, not only on campus and in the rehearsal rooms, but also enjoying dinner at his parent’s home.

The three of us had so much fun together. Al even composed a song about a tree(!) for some stray talent show in which I was the tree(I think) and Randy was something else(oh, how the memory fails). I remember Al’s seashell collection, his wonderful handwriting and musical notation, his terrific sense of humor and great knowledge of so many things. Al was so gifted musically and yet was never overly impressed with himself.

Al was also part of a USO Tour which our jazz-pop group from the university enjoyed to the Caribbean, December of1973 or 1974. Randy, Al and I were part of a group of 10 who entertained at the US bases in the Caribbean. Al was the accompanist and Randy and I were 2 of the singers. This was such a thrill! To be in the sunny warm climate in December for several weeks, entertaining every day for the troop who just wanted to come home! We just wanted to stay, but I guess that is what any sane LaCrosse,WI resident would say in December! We performed for small and large gatherings, from Panama to Puerto Rico to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba! Our colorful costumes were vivid even to the eye of a mid70s audience! We had a blast touring, performing and enjoying the fantastic weather. Al could even make a dinky electronic keyboard sound good!

Our jazz-pop group also sang for shows on campus as well as for one of the Vikings game. UW-LaCrosse marching band was the home band for half-time shows, back when these were big and even shown on TV! This particular Viking game, not only was the marching band playing but our group was singing as well. It was soooo cold that the band marched without making any live sound because all the instruments were freezing up! Trombones stuck in 3rd, clarinet players with gloves and all with long johns on under uniforms! We did our show for the stadium and national tv marching to a tape of our show!!! Our small group was also performing in our skimpy outfits and out we went onto the field to sing, Al at the keyboard. You had to be hardy if you are from Wisconsin!!! It was a blast and we all loved to speak about it.

The music I was able to perform at my Senior Voice Recital was enriched by his wonderful talent on the piano. He and I had our picture on our program and I remember him looking so elegant and proper at the pino. He made me feel so comfortable on stage because I could trust him musically( and help cover my errors!).

When I graduated from UW-LaCrosse in 1975, I lost touch with Al. We each went our own way. I would occasionally hear from him but very seldom. When I got married in 1982 and moved to Dallas with my husband, I had no idea he was also there. In fact, I sang with the Dallas Symphony Chorus and am surprised that he was not also in that group. I also sang for a Jewish temple choir at the time. He probably attended some symphony concerts but would not have recognized my married name.

We lived in Far North Dallas from 1982-1985, then moved to Nashua, New Hampshire. We had our first daughter in 1988 and our second in 1990 and I was a stay-at-home mom. At some point in the early 90s I received a letter from Al. He wrote of living and working as music director for one of the large churches in Dallas. I was so surprised that we had lived so near and yet never knew at the time. He also wrote that he was HIV + so he had resigned to take care of his health. I remember he also told me of his new name and how happy he was in Dallas. He said he was feeling well and looking forward to staying well. I was thrilled to hear from Al but did not feel any urgent need to respond since he said he was feeling well. I was caught up with my family and just pleased to have reconnected with him. He wrote about the TCC and how much he was enjoing that and encouraging me to find one of the cds to listen to.

I was so shocked when I received word of his passing. I felt blindsided after thinking that he was going to maintain his health and having not responded to his letter.I remember feeling this hole in my soul, just as I had felt at the passing of another grade school friend who also happened to be gay. I have often talked about Jack and Al with my family, about their gifts, talents and abilities to be such great friends.

So imagine my surprise when I began to watch the special last night, unaware it was Al’s Turtle Creek Chorale until the opening of the show. I could imagine Al sitting at the piano and composing for the group. I listened to the musical director and thought of all the time he had spent working with Al. I even think I caught a glimpse of Al in the section of the passing of members and he was sitting down with a candle in his hand. I had assumed he had played with the group but wasn’t surprised to hear that he was a composer and singer. I was thrilled as I called up the website and found his bio. I was so excited to be able to share some of my thoughts and memories of Al with you.

I plan on heading to Dimple today to see if I can find your cds. We now live in Folsom, CA after 10 years in NH and 5 yrs in Louisville, KY. I am back to my roots of music teaching, as I did in my home town of Waukesha, WI from 1975-81 upon graduation from UW-LaCrosse with a degree in voacal and instrumental music, K-12. I am back to teaching elementary music to 4th and 5th graders in a community rich with music. The Folsom Jazz program is top in the nation according to Billboard magazine for many years running.

Al would have laughed at some of these memories, shaken his head at others, and probably would have been surprised that I didn’t marry Randy. Al will always have a huge place in my heart and soul. The world is a richer place thanks to his being.

Thanks for letting me share. If this could be passed onto his parents and sister, I would love that.

From a new big fan of the TC!!! Linda Rieger

At the time of his death he was survived by his parents, Larry & Shirley Skipton of Onalaska, Wisconsin; a sister, Ellen Ritger of Onalaska, Wisconsin; a brother, David Moothart of Littleton, Colorado; and his care-givers, John & Carolyn Shinn of Dallas.

Services for Kris were at the Central Christian Church in Dallas and the services celebrated his music.

This Turtle Sponsored by: Michael S. Raines

A Turtle’s History

THE MUSIC OF AMERICA – 1982 – July 1982 – composed A Short Set from text of an Arabian Proverb and by Josh Billings and arranged “Auction Cries” by John Biggs

WINTERSONG – December 1982 – arranged “Nun wandre, Maria” by Hugo Wolf

RHAPSODY – July 1983 – composed “Visions” with Mark Miles

SING GLORIA! – November 1983 – arranged “Turn Ye to Me”

OF THEE WE SING – June 1984 – arranged “A Nightengale Sang In Berkley Square”

TUX DELUX – October 1984 – arranged “I Sing the Body Electric” by Pitchford & Gore and revoiced “Celestial Spring ‘Glorification’ & ‘Exultation'” by F. M. Christiansan

POPS! – March 1985 – arranged “Jazz Parade” by Ken Kraintz; “London by Night” by Gene Puerling; “Makin’ Whoopee” by Gus Kahn; “Longest Time” by Billy Joel; “Michelle” by the Beatles; “Sounds of Silence” by Paul Simon; “Love Me Like a Rock” by Paul Simon; “Always on My Mind” by Thompson and “My Romance” by Rodgers & Hart

BRAVO – September 1985 – revoiced “My Funny Valentine” by Rodgers and “Holy” by Felix Mendelssohn

JUBILATE! – December 1985 – revoiced “Estampie Natalis” by Vaclay Nehybel

INTERMEZZO – March 1986 – revoiced “Choose Something Like A Star” by Randall Thompson

POPS! – June 1986 – arranged “The Closer You Get” by Alabama, “Sondheim!”, “I Need to Be in Love” and “Goodbye to Love” by Richard Carpenter and “Please Mr. Postman”; revoiced “Alleluia” by Larry Gatlin

IN CONCERT – October 1986 – revoiced “The Heavens Are Telling and “Abendtied (Evensong)” by Franz Joseph Haydn

GREATEST HITS – March 1987 – arranged “Schmaltz” and “I Sing the Body Electric”

HELLO DALLAS! – October 1987 – arranged “Alleluia” by Larry Gatlin

A PERFECT 10 – October 1989 – revoiced “Alleluia” by Larry Gatlin and “The Heavens Are Telling” from The Creation by Franz Joseph Haydn – the Chorale performed “Visions” composed by Kris in 1983

In the Concerts TCC & SMC in March 1990, THE LONE STAR SYMPHONIC BAND PRESENTS THE TURTLE CREEK CHORALE in April 1990, FROM THE HEART in May 1990 – TCC performed “I Shall Miss Loving You” from Requiem as composed by Kris

LA DI DA! – WHEN WE NO LONGER TOUCH – A CYCLE OF SONGS FOR SURVIVAL – October 1991 – composed music for Lyrics by Peter McWilliams for PROLOGUE: What Will I Do If It Happens; DENIAL: Why Do I Torture Myself; ISOLATION: The Layers I Have Put Around The Pain; ANGER; I’m Past The Point; BARGAINING: But Today?; DEPRESSION: I Am Missing You; ACCEPTANCE: I Shall Miss Loving You; and HOPE: I Have Loved – WORLD PREMIER at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center

FOUR FOR THE ROAD – June 1992 – The Turtle Creek Chorale performed WHEN WE NO LONGER TOUCH – A CYCLE OF SONGS FOR SURVIVAL composed by Kris for Lyrics by Peter McWilliams – this program was dedicated to the memory of David Bassett

PIPES – October 1992 – The Turtle Creek Chorale performed Psalm 133 and Psalm 27: One Thing I Have Desired, as composed by Kris

MANHATTAN PHILHARMONIC – CARNEGIE HALL – May 1993 – The Turtle Creek Chorale performed “I Shall Miss Loving You” from When We No Longer Touch as composed by Kris

A ROAMIN’ HOLIDAY – December 1993 – The Turtle Creek Chorale performed Kris’ arrangement of “Some Children See Him”

BIRTHDAY & BON VOYAGE – March 1995 – The Turtle Creek Chorale performed Kris’ arrangement of “Alleluia” by Larry Gatlin

EMMY! – October 1997 – The Turtle Creek Chorale performed Kris’ composition “When We No Longer Touch”.

OSCAR! – March 1998 – The Turtle Creek Chorale performed Kris’ arrangement of “Agnus Dei” composed by Samuel Barber

RAISIN’ THE RAFTERS – October 1998 – The Turtle Creek Chorale performed Kris’ composition “One Thing I have Desired”.

BUSTIN’ OUR BUTTONS – June 1999 – The Turtle Creek Chorale performed Kris’ compositions “I Have Loved” from Hope and “I Shall Miss Loving You” from When We No Longer Touch.

A MUSIC LOVERS GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE – March 2003 – The Turtle Creek Chorale performed Kris’ arrangement of “I Sing The Body Electric” from Fame.

During his early years with the Chorale he was featured in the following productions.

THE MUSIC OF AMERICA – July 1982 – sang a Patriotic Medley as part of a Trio

TUX DELUX – October 1984 – sang “I Believe in You” to Joel as part of a Trio

TEXAS COUNTDOWN … 150 – June 1985 – sang the Texas Medley with the Small Group

EVERYTHING’S POSSIBLE CD – wrote music for “Visions”

FROM THE HEART – sang “Visions” as a solo; arranged “Alleluia” by Larry Gatlin and composed and arranged “I Shall Miss Loving You” from Requiem with Peter McWilliams

WHEN WE NO LONGER TOUCH – A CYCLE OF SONGS FOR SURVIVAL CD – Composed from Poetry by Peter McWilliams

PEACE CD – Composer in Residence and Producer; Orchestrations for “Gloria! Fanfare For Christmas”, “He Shall Feed His Flock”, “O Holy Night”, “What Child Is This?”, “The Jesus Gift”, “Ave Maria”, “Still, Still, Still”, “White Christmas”, “Sing We Now Of Christmas”, “Who Is She That Travels?”, “The Three Kings”, “The First Noel” and “Peace, Peace”

A ROAMIN’ HOLIDAY CD – arranged “Some Children See Him”

Kris was also a member of the Dallas Handbell Ensemble.

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