This choral group is comprised of people living with Parkinson’s, family members, caregivers, and volunteer singers from Key Chorale. Led by Artistic Director, Joseph Caulkins, the Off-Key Chorale provides an opportunity for individuals with Parkinson’s disease to improve and strengthen their voices through singing, and provides a fellowship activity for people whose social opportunities are often limited by this disease. Each semester Mr. Caulkins creates a unique curriculum of vocal exercises, breathing exercises, and musical selections around a theme which concludes with an end of session performance for friends and family.

Off-Key Chorale is a partnership with the Neuro Challenge Foundation, Inc., Key Chorale of Sarasota and Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota with the support of Encompass Heath – Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota. 

Neuro Challenge Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers through service, education and research. To learn more please visit their website at ParkinsonsNeuroChallenge.org.

The Observer Group’s Nick Friedman wrote a wonderful article about “Off-Key” Chorale, click to read “Off Key Chorale’s Healing Voices”

Come Together Choir – Online Choral Rehearsals, Volume 2

For the fall, Key Chorale launched 8 new episodes of the Come Together Choir Online Choral Rehearsals, Volume 2, which premiered on September 24 at 2 PM EST. These virtual rehearsals will replace the in-person classes for this group.
If you are a singer, you know how important it is for singers to come together, to connect, to communicate and to make music. It is part of our DNA. It’s who we are. Due to the health crisis, singing in choirs has been a challenge, but the need to come together, to make music, has never been more important.

Key Chorale launched their Come Together Choir Online Choral Rehearsals, Volume 1 this past March to meet this need. Since then, hundreds of singers from all over the country have participated. The original 6 episodes have had more than 5,000 views to date. If you are just learning about this, you can still register and participate anytime in Volume 1, and our new Volume 2 beginning September 24.

Volume 2, Songs of Protest, Peace & Love includes music from the folk era of the 50s and 60s. We’ll learn great songs like If I Had a Hammer, Blowin’ in the Wind, Down by the Riverside, We Shall Overcome, California Dreamin’ and more. New episodes premiered each Thursday for 8 weeks and are now available on the Key Chorale YouTube channel to watch over and over again.

What to do to get started?

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER and fill out the short form. We will email you copies of either the lyrics or music. Print your copies, or view them from another device, and get ready to sing your hearts out while practicing social distancing from the convenience of your own phone, tablet or computer

Come Together Choir, Volume Two – All episodes

Mountaintop Experience in Southwest Florida

By Joseph Caulkins

I’ve been fortunate in my life to have had many mountaintop experiences from standing atop Grand Teton in Wyoming to the snowy summit of Europe’s 15,578-foot Mont Blanc. Surprisingly, my most recent mountaintop experience didn’t come surrounded by jagged rocky pinnacles, but instead in an unassuming exercise room at the end of a long hallway in the Sarasota Memorial Institute For Advanced Medicine.

Once a week as the sweaty stretch class exits, volunteers rush to set chairs, bring in a keyboard and music stands and within minutes the exercise room is transformed into a rehearsal hall. The 40 seats are quickly filled as singers from all over the county take their places knowing what most choirs do; there is something magical, something empowering, when one voice joins another. Suddenly the sum is greater than the individual parts, and we are better for the effort, the experience, and just the plain fun of it.  Read the full essay