Media Contact:
Madison Spahn, Administrative Coordinator
Key Chorale Inc.

Please see below press release regarding the Key Chorale Chamber Singers’ upcoming concert.

Key Chorale Chamber Singers Present “American Roots” On October 22

The Key Chorale Chamber Singers, a group of 28 singers auditioned from the larger 110-voice Key Chorale, presents the opening concert of its inaugural Chamber Series, entitled “American Roots,” which will take place on Sunday, October 22, at 4 PM, at Church of the Redeemer in downtown Sarasota. The concert will explore the heritage of American choral music, from rousing Colonial tunes and Appalachian shape note songs to Shaker melodies and even a touch of Bluegrass, accompanied by a bluegrass ensemble. Tickets are available online for $25 at or by calling (941) 921-4845.

SARASOTA, FL, October 11, 2017 – Come “Down in the River to Pray” with the Key Chorale Chamber Singers as they present the season opener of their 2017-18 concert series, “American Roots,” on Sunday, October 22, at 4 PM, at Church of the Redeemer in downtown Sarasota.

The Chamber Singers are 28 auditioned and selected voices from the full, 110-voice Key Chorale, including the Chorale’s professional base of section leaders and core singers. Last season, they performed at the Key Chorale Annual Luncheon, were the featured holiday carolers for Palm Avenue’s “First Friday Gallery Walks” in downtown Sarasota, and partnered with Temple Emanu-el for their tribute concert honoring Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition, in April they presented their premiere solo concert, “We Can Mend the Sky,” featuring songs of healing, hope, and peace for our time, at Church of the Redeemer. They return there in October to kick off their inaugural concert series, and on March 10, 2018 will be at Holley Hall to perform “French Impressions,” a concert of music by composers Debussy, Fauré, Ravel, and Duruflé, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Claude Debussy’s death.

The “American Roots” concert on October 22 explores the origins of choral music in America, beginning with 17th century colonial tunes such as “The Lord is Risen Indeed” and “Now Shall My Inward Joys Arise,” in rousing a cappella arrangements by William Billings, widely regarded as the first American choral composer. These forceful, stirring choruses are followed by a collection of Shaker songs arranged by Kevin Siegfried, including well-known melodies such as “Come to Zion” and “Followers of the Lamb”. In contrast to Billings, the Shaker tunes are stark yet hauntingly beautiful, and Siegfried’s arrangements simple yet elegant, showcasing the Shaker worship practice which valued music so highly and led to a collection of over 500 songs, laying the foundations for the American choral tradition.

The second half of the concert features melodies that will likely be familiar to the ear of any American audience. The Chamber Singers will perform Appalachian folk songs such as “At the River” and “Zion’s Walls” arranged by Aaron Copland, often considered the father of 20th century American music, and a full, harmonious setting of the spiritual “Down in the River to Pray,” popularized  by the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou. The concert finishes with a group of choral settings inspired by the Bluegrass tradition, accompanied by a Bluegrass ensemble of guitar, banjo, bass, and mandolin, led by virtuosic violinist and fiddler Wallace DePue of the DePue Brothers Band, who is currently the assistant concertmaster of the Philly Pops and recently toured as associate concertmaster of the John Williams’ “Star Wars” National Tour Concert Orchestra. In addition to well-known tunes, including “Wondrous Love” and “Poor Wayfaring Stranger,” the singers will perform the “Gloria” from The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass by Carol Barnett, a unique blend of classical mass text and contemporary poetry, traditional bluegrass sound and modern choral sophistication.

To purchase tickets for the Chamber Series concerts, or for more information about how to hire the Chamber Singers for your event, visit or call (941) 921-4845.


The Chamber Singers are part of the larger Key Chorale, a Sarasota choral institution. Since its inception in 1985, Key Chorale has been performing and promoting choral music of the highest quality that embraces and supports our community. Last season, in addition to successful masterworks performances from Handel’s Alexander’s Feast to Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor, Key Chorale was catapulted onto the national stage, performing Cirque des Voix®, a collaboration with The Circus Arts Conservatory, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. at the invitation of the 2017 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. They also recently released their latest album, Arise – Choral Music of Ola Gjeilo, featuring two world premiere recordings commissioned by Key Chorale. Under the baton of Joseph Caulkins, now in his 11th season as Artistic Director, Key Chorale has become known for its community outreach programming, including “Off-Key Chorale,” a collaboration with the Neuro Challenge Foundation that uses choral singing as a new approach for Parkinson’s Disease, and “Tomorrow’s Voices Today,” arts in education programming that reaches hundreds of students each year.