Choral Artists of Sarasota launches its 41st season with “One World, Many Voices,” Nov. 16, at First United Methodist Church. Featuring sacred songs, chants, hymns, gospel and spiritual songs from different traditions and beliefs, the program embodies a reverence and celebration of the Divine in humanity. Organist Ann Stephenson-Moe and an instrumental ensemble from professional orchestras in Sarasota will join the 41 singers of Choral Artists of Sarasota in this concert directed by Joseph Holt.
The program weaves a combination of Tao, Buddhist, Jewish, Russian Orthodox and Christian music that is both inspirational and celebratory, reflecting on the nature of the Divine for humanity. Highlights include favorites such as “You Raise Me Up,” “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” “For the Beauty of the Earth” and unusual pieces incorporating Chinese chant, a setting of the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili, a setting of the Kiddush by Kurt Weill, and music from the Russian Church.
“Humankind throughout millennia have glorified and worshipped the Divine, finding solace, comfort and meaning in the concept of a Supreme Being,” says Holt, artistic director of Choral Artists. “Through the medium of choral music, this program highlights some of the myriad traditions and beliefs that humans have adopted over the centuries, celebrating the Divine through simple chants or church anthems or synagogue pieces. Within this parameter, the concept of ‘many voices’ creating our ‘one world’ resonates perfectly. And the awe, majesty and quiet beauty of these selections are inspiring and revelatory, regardless of individual beliefs. Starting with a simple chant extolling the dawning of a new day, the program concludes with Stanford’s magnificent anthem, ‘When in Our Music God Is Glorified,’ which celebrates the power of music in worship.”
Dr. Ann Stephenson-Moe has served as organist/choirmaster at the Church of the Redeemer since 1974. She is also a co-founder, along with Arden Fowler and George Bledsoe, of Gloria Musicae in 1979, now the Choral Artists of Sarasota.