SARASOTA, FL, July 6, 2021 – Key Chorale, the Suncoast’s premier symphonic chorus, announces its 37th season with a mix of dynamic collaborations and unique programming that have become their hallmarks under the guidance of Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins. This season’s collaborations include: The Sarasota Ballet Studio Company, The Venice Symphony and The Circus Arts Conservatory as well as concerts with special guests The Stephen Lynerd Group, Les Canards Chantants, and The Lubben Brothers.
“We decided for this season to really pull out all of the stops. We didn’t want to present an emerging out of Covid season, but a season that looks like what our audiences love most about Key Chorale. It is a season full of upbeat and creative programming, one-of-a kind concerts, soul-stirring performances and unforgettable collaborations,” says Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins.
Season 37, concerts at a glance:
September 25 & 26 – Shout Glory! A Gospel Revival featuring The Stephen Lynerd Group
November 28 – Sheer Grace, with The Sarasota Ballet’s Studio Company and Trainees
December 17 & 18 – A Holly Jolly Holiday with the Venice Symphony
January 14 & 15 – Choral Splendor in 40 Parts featuring Les Canards Chantants
February 11 & 12 – A.D. 387, Masterwork Series
March 18-20 – Cirque des Voix® with The Circus Arts Conservatory
April 8-10 – American Roots: Bluegrass featuring The Lubben Brothers
May – Tomorrow’s Voices Today, High School Choral Festival
The season kicks off September 25 and 26 with “Shout Glory! A Gospel Revival”. Together again after 19 months of virtual concerts and online events, Key Chorale is back to celebrate togetherness through the powerful legacy of African American spirituals and Gospel music in a feel-good concert experience sure to set your toes tapping, your hands clapping, and your spirit soaring. Joined by the energetic pulse of The Stephen Lynerd Group and the soulful sounds of the Hammond B-3 organ, this opening concert is full of upbeat, joyful music sure to raise the roof.
On November 28 “Sheer Grace” combines poise and beauty in an alluring program featuring Key Chorale and The Sarasota Ballet’s Studio Company and Trainees. The elegance and dreaminess of Eric Whitacre’s Five Hebrew Love Songs, and his setting from the beloved children’s book Good Night Moon, contrasts with the cinematic drama of Ola Gjeilo’s Dark Night of the Soul and John Rutter’s tuneful and brilliantly colorful Magnificat. Crystalline soprano Mary Wilson adds her soaring voice to a perfect afternoon of ethereal beauty.
Key Chorale joins Music Director Troy Quinn and The Venice Symphony for three performances of “A Very Jolly Holiday” December 17-18. Classic carols O Come All Ye Faithful and O Holy Night, beloved standards Sleigh Ride and White Christmas, and music from The Nutcracker are just a few of the highlights. Key Chorale will bring you to your feet with Handel’s majestic Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah. A sing-a-long with surprises, Chanukah music and holiday film favorites round out this festive program.
A concert 450 years in the making, “Choral Splendor in 40 Parts”,January 14 and 15, will feature 40 voices of the Chamber Singers and special guest Les Canards Chantants, a solo-voice ensemble specializing in music of the Renaissance. Experience a rare opportunity to hear Thomas Tallis’ Spem in alium (Hope in any other) considered one of the greatest compositions of all time and Alessandro Striggio’s Mass in 40 parts, a masterpiece lost for more than 400 years! These rarely performed works are scored for 40 independent vocal parts, and as many as 60 parts for Striggio’s final Agnus Dei – a feat unequaled to this day.
On February 11 and 12 Key Chorale will present Masterwork “A.D. 387”. According to ancient legend, in A.D. 387 the Te Deum was spontaneously composed and sung alternately by St. Ambrose and St. Augustine on the night St. Ambrose baptized St. Augustine in Milan. Experience this ancient text from its origins of Gregorian chant, to trumpets and timpani of the Baroque, to the soaring melodies and rich harmony of the Romanic period. Anton Bruckner called his Te Deum, “the pride of his life.” After conducting this monumental composition, Gustav Mahler crossed out the words “for choir, soloists and orchestra” and inscribed the page “for the tongues of angels, heaven-blest, chastened hearts, and souls purified in the fire!”
“This concert focuses on a text that is often used for times of great rejoicing or celebration that has been set by almost every classical composer,” said Maestro Caulkins. “This program traces its origins from Gregorian chant to the Baroque and ends with two crowning jewels of the Romantic period by Bruckner and Dvorak.”
March 18, 19 and 20 marks the 11th year of “Cirque des Voix®”, Circus of the Voices presented with the Circus Arts Conservatory. This year’s show titled The Next Decade of Wonder, will be a unique fusion of the circus and musical arts in a performance unlike any other. See world-class circus artists combined with the 100+ voices of Key Chorale and the musical mastery of the 40-piece Cirque Orchestra in their biggest and boldest production yet.
“American Roots: Bluegrass” on April 8, 9 and 10 will be a genre-bending fusion of bluegrass and folk meets choral music. Caulkins says, “We have reimagined our Bluegrass concerts and are featuring an amazing trio, The Lubben Brothers, an acoustic group made up of triplet brothers, Michael, Tom, and Joshua. They will be a hit for sure.” The brothers specialize in sublime vocals as well as a unique blend of folk instruments including banjo, mandolin, tin whistle, accordion, hammered dulcimer, and fiddle.
The season concludes in May as Key Chorale celebrates the power of choral music through an inspired performance by more than 200 singers of all ages, from high school students to seniors. In its 7th year, this intergenerational choral festival has inspired countless high school students by encouraging music making at the highest level. Hear the very best repertoire of the season from Booker, Riverview and Sarasota High School choirs performing separately and alongside Key Chorale.
Beyond this full season of musical presentations, Key Chorale will hold its annual Perfect Pitch luncheon supporting education, community outreach November 1, at 11:30 a.m. at the Sarasota Yacht Club. Enjoy performances by Key Chorale’s Chamber Singers and the 2021/22 Student Scholars, special guest performances by Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and the students of Visible Men Academy, as well as opportunities to learn more about the music and mission of Key Chorale and to sponsor a Student Scholar for the season. On February 28th, the Key Chorale’s Student Scholars will showcase solos and group numbers at the Annual Student Scholar Soirée and Recital.
What originally started as an outlet for their outreach groups like the “Off-Key Chorale” for those living with Parkinson’s and “Where Are My Keys? Chorale for those with dementia, turned into online choir rehearsals enjoyed by more than 400 singers from around the globe. The Come Together Choir is a partnership with Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s, JFCS of the Suncoast, and Key Chorale. With the hope to begin again in-person in the fall, Maestro Caulkins will create 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.