Key Chorale Season Launches Oct. 27

The coming season blends tango, Christmas classics, circus-related performances and more.

By Kay Kipling September 14, 2018

Sarasota's Key Chorale

Key Chorale—Sarasota’s Symphonic Chorus—has a busy season lined up with programs highlighting the talents of the full ensemble, its Chamber Singers, and the community at large.

The 34th season commences Oct. 27 at St. Boniface Episcopal Church on Siesta Key, the Chamber Series’ new home. This professional core ensemble of 25-30 members of the larger Key Chorale will present “American Roots: Digging Deeper,” exploring especially Appalachian shape note and bluegrass traditions. Three Key Chorale-commissioned world premieres from composer Keith Christopher will feature banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar and string bass blending with the vocalists.

The chorale’s Masterworks Series debuts Nov. 25 at the Sarasota Opera House with a collaboration with the Sarasota Ballet’s Studio Company, Misatango. Martin Palmeri’s tango mass combines the traditional Argentinian dance with Latin mass text, and the instrumental music of Astor Piazzolla and Ariel Ramirez’s Misa Criolla also captures the sounds of that South American country. Guest choreographer Elizabeth Bergmann and the dancers bring movement from the streets of Buenos Aires to the event.

Key Chorale moves to Venice Presbyterian Church for its holiday concert, “Christmas in Venice,” for two performances Dec. 8. Organist Craig Williams, brass sextet, flute and percussion join the 100-strong voices of the chorale on carols and season music, including James Whitbourn’s Missa Carolae, incorporating Christmas classics from France, Germany and Poland.

In the sixth annual Sarasota Choral Festival, Key Chorale once again invites singers from the community (high school age and older) to join them Jan. 22-26 for rehearsals, master classes and guest lectures, in addition to a final performance with professional orchestra and soloists. (No audition required). The culminating performance, “Honoring Heroes,” takes place Jan. 26 at the Riverview Performing Arts Center and honors first responders, featuring Stephen Paulus’ Grammy-winning Prayers and Remembrances, commissioned for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. Three local heroes will have their stories told through mini-documentaries created by Ringling College and Art and Design students.

The Masterworks series returns March 10 and 11 with Mendelssohn’s choral masterpiece Elijah, in a collaborative effort with Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the Suncoast. Jamal Sarikoki portrays the Old Testament’s Elijah in a tale of one man’s devotion, persecution and ascension. At the First United Methodist Church.

Last year's Cirque des Voix performance

March also brings the return of Cirque des Voix, the chorale’s yearly collaboration with the Circus Arts Conservatory, which brings together the choral ensemble, the 40-piece Cirque orchestra, and some high-flying circus acts choreographed to memorable film scores. March 22, 23 and 24 at the Big Top at Nathan Benderson Park.

The Chamber Series concludes April 13 with Fauré’s Requiem, as well as Britten’s Festival Te Deum and some favorite spirituals.

And the 34th season closes with the sixth annual presentation of “Tomorrow’s Voices Today,” featuring Key Chorale and Sarasota County high school choir students. More than 200 voices in all will combine for a program ranging from classic to contemporary, May 3 at Venice Performing Arts Center.

Last year's "Tomorrow's Voices Today"

A fund-raising luncheon Nov. 12 and a recital event in mid-February are also on the Key Chorale schedule; for complete information including tickets, visit or call (941) 921-4845.

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