Key Chorale is Sarasota’s only symphonic chorus, and under the direction of Joseph Caulkins, has become a producer of high quality collaborative musical events that support and embrace our community. Much of our season is dedicated to educational and community outreach with programs that transform lives through music. Each year, earned revenues cover less than 35% of our operating costs. Gifts from generous individuals, corporations and foundations make up the balance.
Key Chorale is dedicated to performing and promoting choral music of the highest quality, presenting a Masterworks Series each year with over 100 singers, professional musicians from the Sarasota Orchestra and professional soloists and guest artists from throughout the United States. Our Chamber Series, now in its second season, features singers selected through a second audition and our professional core. In order to maintain the highest standards of excellence for our audiences, production costs alone can be as high as $30,000 per concert. Your contributions allow us to continue producing innovative, professional-quality choral and symphonic programming for the Sarasota community.
This season, your support can help us produce a wide variety of dynamic repertoire, including:
- Misatango, a presentation of works by Argentinian composers Palmeri, Piazzolla, and Ramirez with guitars, accordion, strings, and percussion
- Prayers and Remembrances, the Grammy-winning composition by Stephen Paulus written in honor of the first responders lost on 9/11, with full orchestra
- Elijah, Mendelssohn’s dynamic and powerful masterpiece, with 35-piece orchestra
- American Roots, an exploration of the rich American choral tradition, from Appalachian shape note song to bluegrass with a 5-piece bluegrass band
- Fauré Requiem, Fauré’s beautiful and meditative setting of the Requiem with harp, organ and violin, along with Benjamin Britten’s Festival Te Deum and other beloved choral works
Commissioning new choral music is an integral part of Key Chorale’s mission and Maestro Caulkins’ vision. In the past ten years, Key Chorale has supported the creation of a number of innovative works, including legendary conductor and composer Dale Warland’s Invocations: Prayers for the Earth and Gwyneth Walker’s Three Days by the Sea. We were also part of Chorus America’s commission consortiums for Rene Clausen’s Now Talking God and Eric Whitacre’s little man in a hurry. Our most recent album release, “Arise – Music of Ola Gjeilo” features the world premiere recordings of two Key Chorale commissions by Gjeilo: Lake Isle II and Arise, a twelve-minute suite for chorus and orchestra commissioned for Dolly Jacobs, NEA fellow and world-class aerialist, at Cirque des Voix® in 2017.
By funding the making of new works, you can become an invaluable part of the creative process and have a front-row seat to the making of new and ground-breaking art. This season, your support can help to fund three new arrangements for bluegrass band and choir by composer Keith Christopher, to be performed by the Key Chorale Chamber Singers on October 27 for American Roots: Digging Deeper.
Key Chorale is committed to partnering with other organizations in our community to strengthen the power of individual groups’ gifts. To this end, throughout his tenure Maestro Caulkins has created collaborative projects with a diverse array of organizations, including the Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Film Society, Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Opera, Circus Arts Conservatory, Temple Emmanu-el, Embracing our Differences, and even Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. With your gift, you are making possible projects that have a far greater breadth of impact in the community than Key Chorale alone.
This season, your support can help us bring to fruition these exciting collaborative efforts:
- Misatango, a collaborative concert with dancers from the Sarasota Ballet’s Studio Company, choreographed by Elizabeth Bergmann
- Elijah, a presentation of Mendelssohn’s great masterwork with support from Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) of the Suncoast
- Cirque des Voix®, our ongoing partnership with the Circus Arts Conservatory, which combines the 100+ voices of Key Chorale, the musical mastery of the 40-piece Cirque orchestra, and spellbinding circus acts for an unforgettable production
Key Chorale’s education vision is to partner with our community in order to provide musical opportunities and experiences that will nurture and enhance the educational growth of students of all ages in a lifelong passion and pursuit of music. We embody this mission through ever-expanding educational outreach programming that impacts over 300 students each year. Students have joined us for concerts, world premieres, album recordings, and even tours, such as our recent tour to Washington, D.C., where high school students performed with us at the National Cathedral and in the Big Top on the National Mall. We provide these opportunities at no cost to the students involved, as we are committed to ensuring that every student has equal access to impactful musical education and experiences.
This season, your donation can help us to fund:
- An expanded Key Chorale Student Scholar Program, in which 12 high school singers planning to pursue music after graduation participate in Key Chorale’s full season of concerts and receive professional voice lessons and mentorship
- The 6th annual “Tomorrow’s Voices Today” concert, a festival performance with Venice, North Port, and Pine View High School choirs
- An expanded music program at the Visible Men Academy for K-5 at-risk boys
- Documentaries produced by Ringling College of Art + Design interns about local first responders, to be debuted at the Sarasota Choral Festival concert: Honoring Heroes
More than anything, Key Chorale and Maestro Caulkins want to share the transformative power of choral music with diverse groups of people and to keep our entire community singing. This is why we created initiatives such as the Sarasota Choral Festival, open to all singers high school age and older without audition, making it the perfect opportunity for singers who cannot commit to an entire season to celebrate their love for singing.
Each year we welcome at least fifty community singers to rehearse with the Chorale members under a professional conductor for three days, finishing the week with a public concert with professional soloists and orchestra. The festival format also provides enrichment such as vocal health clinics, master classes with professional voice teachers, and guest lectures. Key Chorale subsidizes much of the value of the festival experience, which far exceeds the cost of registration for participants, to ensure that anyone in the community with a love for choral music can have access to this unique program.
Off-Key Chorale, our partnership with the Neuro Challenge Foundation and Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, is a choral group comprised of people living with Parkinson’s, family members and caregivers, and volunteer Key Chorale singers. Led by Maestro Caulkins, who donates his time and resources to this program, the Off-Key Chorale provides an opportunity to improve and strengthen voices through singing, and provides a fellowship activity for people whose social opportunities are often limited by this disease.
Your support of Key Chorale can ensure that these initiatives remain a mainstay of the local choral music community for years to come. You can be the one to keep Sarasota singing!