Choral Artists of Sarasota

Choral Artists of Sarasota launches its 41st season with more of the innovative programming that has become the organization’s hallmark under the artistic direction of Dr. Joseph Holt. The season, entitled “Encounter!” features six concerts that will take place in November, December, January, February, April and July.

The 2019-2020 season will feature concerts that explore musical traditions of world religions; celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday and commemorate Earth Day’s 50th anniversary with a premiere work composed by James Grant, a part-time Sarasota resident and longtime collaborator with artistic director Joseph Holt.

The group will also partner with Sarasota Contemporary Dance, Sarasota Young Voices and Venice Symphony’s percussion section to give new life to Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” featuring original choreography by Leymis Bolaños Wilmott.

According to Holt, “Our programming will explore the unlimited potential of our exceptional vocal ensemble as our concerts represent a reflection of the very fabric of our dynamic community. Whether exploring world religions and faiths, celebrating significant birthdays or illuminating a social cause, performances by the polished professionalism of Choral Artists are dramatic, emotional and inspirational.”

The Choral Artists of Sarasota’s 2019-2020 season schedule:

“One World, Many Voices” (Nov. 16)

This concert showcases hymns, chants, and spiritual music from various faiths and traditions—a true Zen experience. Featuring Ann Stephenson-Moe, organist, and a professional instrumental ensemble, at First United Methodist Church.

“Sounds of the Season” (Dec. 22)

Featuring brass and organ holiday music with guest conductor Todd Craven, the associate conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and previously co-principal trumpet with the Sarasota Orchestra. Concert selections feature the “Christmas Cantata” by Daniel Pinkham, works arranged by Daniel Moe and the Sarasota premiere of “Eja! Eja!” by James Grant. With Ann Stephenson-Moe, organist, and a professional instrumental ensemble, at Church of the Redeemer.

“Celebrating Sondheim” (Jan. 18)

This concert features selections from hit Broadway shows written by Stephen Sondheim, including “Company,” “A Little Night Music,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Sunday in the Park with George.” With soloists Ann Morrison (handpicked by Stephen Sondheim for “Merrily We Roll Along” and director of SaraSolo), Ben Pattison, and Matthew Nall, both distinguished theatrical performers and members of the US Army Chorus, at Riverview Performing Arts Hall.

“Carmina Burana in Motion” (Feb. 22-23)

Choral Artists partners with Sarasota Contemporary Dance, Sarasota Young Voices, and Venice Symphony’s percussion section in this revival of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” Stunning original choreography by Leymis Bolaños Wilmott, commissioned by Choral Artists, illuminates this masterpiece. Venice Symphony percussionists are featured in several ensemble selections for percussion. With soloists Catherine Wethington, soprano; Luis González, baritone and John Kaneklides, tenor, at Venice Performing Arts Center.

“Listen to the Earth” (April 19)

This world premiere features James Grant’s original choral cantata, “Listen to the Earth.” Grant created texts that are inspired by the writings of astronauts and ecological writings by John Muir and Robert W. Service. Choral Artists commissioned the work to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in April 2020. Featuring Marcus DeLoach, baritone soloist, at Sarasota Opera House.

“American Fanfare” (July 4, 2020)

Celebrate Independence Day with choral fireworks. Inspiring civic pride with favorite national songs and marches, the patriotic fervor generated by this perennial favorite transcends expectations, at Sarasota Opera House.

The Choral Artists of Sarasota comprises 32 of the region’s most notable professional singers. Eight young singers, ages 16 to 22, are also invited to join the group each year, as part of the organization’s educational outreach. One ofa these gifted singers will be awarded the Barbara Diles Apprentice Scholarship, a funding program to support either private lessons or vocal training at an institution of higher learning.

“For choral music to live, we need to nurture the next generation of music lovers and creators,” says Susan Burke, executive director of Choral Artists of Sarasota. “Engaging young people in the glories of choral music is vital to our mission.” Burke adds the organization also provides other educational outreach initiatives, including behind-the-scenes dress rehearsal sneak previews for area students and Concert Preview Coffees, which offers audiences the opportunity to learn about the artistic director’s insights about the program theme and music—and a chance to meet singers and soloists. Each preview is held before each concert, with the date and location announced on the website.

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