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 3

Key Chorale launched their Come Together Choir Online Choral Rehearsals, Volume 1 March 2020 and Volume 2 September 2020. Since then, over 400 singers from all over the country have registered and participated. The first two volumes have had more than 6,000 views to date. The Come Together Choir is a partnership with Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s, JFCS of the Suncoast, and Key Chorale. All episodes are available on Key Chorale’s YouTube Channel. This outreach allows participants to experience the therapeutic benefits of singing – all from the safety of their own home.

Beginning Thursday, April 8th at 2 PM, Key Chorale will launch their 3rd installment of Come Together Choir – Online Choral Rehearsals, Volume 3. This outreach isn’t just for local singers, but can be experienced by anyone, anywhere in the country via Key Chorale’s YouTube channel.

Volume 3, Too Darn Hot! The Music of Cole Porter includes music from the Great American Songbook. Participants will learn well-known songs like Anything Goes, Night and Day, Another Op-‘nin’, Another Show, You’re the Top, and more. His songs are sophisticated, witty and sometimes even a bit risqué. They range from sultry and romantic, to ridiculous and hilarious. New episodes will premiere each Thursday at 2 PM EST, and then will be available afterwards on the Key Chorale YouTube channel to watch over and over again.

You will learn 11 songs from unison to four-parts, as well as warm-ups and vocal exercises that will improve your breath control and singing ability. These episodes are shot from the perspective of the choir, focused on Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins as he guides 10 singers and YOU through each fun rehearsal. Every episode builds on the previous one, giving you a sense of accomplishment and of being right there. Although this is not an interactive experience, the project is conceived to give the feel of being right there as a singer in the choir. So turn up the volume and sing your heart out with the Come Together Choir!

Singing is essential. We need it in our lives – now more than ever.

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