Key Chorale Turns 35 With Its Coming Concert Season

The ensemble teams with several other arts groups on music ranging from classical to bluegrass to gospel and more.

By Kay Kipling June 26, 2019

Key Chorale's 35th anniversary season commences in October.

You could say it’s all in the numbers for Key Chorale. The vocal ensemble is more than 100 voices strong, marking its 35th anniversary season in 2019-20, celebrating 10 years of teaming with the Circus Arts Conservatory on its Cirque des Voix performances, and continuing to add to the number of collaborations it’s involved in with other arts organizations. But, of course, it’s the sounds audiences hear that will be memorable.

Key Chorale artistic director Joseph Caulkins

Under the leadership of artistic director Joseph Caulkins, Key Chorale recently announced the coming season, which ranges in genre from choral masterworks to bluegrass, gospel, ballet, and yes, the circus. Here’s the line-up.

The season commences with "American Roots: The Gospel Experience," Oct. 18, 19 and 26, bringing together the Key Chorale Chamber Singers and a cast of Westcoast Black Theatre singers, dancers and musicians for a show exploring the tradition of black gospel music in America. Next up, Dec. 1, is "Winter Dreams," a performance with the Sarasota Ballet’s Studio Company and trainees that spotlights composer Karl Jenkins’ Stella Natalis (Star of Origin), along with Vivaldi’s Winter. Sarasota Orchestra concertmaster Daniel Jordan and principal trumpet Anthony Lemoncelli are along for this holiday sleigh ride.

Key Chorale joins the Venice Symphony and its music director, Troy Quinn, for more holiday music with “A Very Merry Holiday Pops,” Dec. 20 and 21. A first-time collaboration between the two groups, these concerts will feature yuletide classics and music from holiday film favorites Home Alone and The Polar Express.

Then it’s back to more American roots music with "Grassical," which welcomes the eight-member DePue Brothers Band in a program spanning songs from the hills of Appalachia to progressive bluegrass sounds of today. The four classical violin virtuosos at the center of the band have pioneered that term, “grassical,” connoting a vivid blend of bluegrass, gypsy and jazz. The band has been the subject of a PBS documentary, Musical Family of America. Those performances are set for Jan. 11 and 12.

Soprano Mary Wilson returns next for a week-long residency with the Chorale which includes a recital, masterclass for student scholars and two performances of Haydn’s The Creation, Feb. 15 and 16. Using texts from the Bible’s Genesis and Milton’s Paradise Lost, Haydn works to present the amazing story of the creation of the world. Wilson will be joined by soloists Kyle Ferrill and Brad Diamond.

Key Chorale's Cirque des Voix

The popular Cirque des Voix returns, March 20, 21 and 22, with “A Decade of Wonder,” bringing back some of the most unforgettable acts of the past 10 years. The 40-piece Cirque Orchestra joins the chorale and world-class circus artists for a big, bold, and unique production.

High schoolers join voices with Key Chorale in "Tomorrow's Voices Today."

The season concludes April 22 as Key Chorale pays tribute to the power of choral music through a performance by more than 200 singers of all ages, from high school students to seniors, with its "Tomorrow’s Voices Today" choral festival, April 22. Booker, Riverview and Sarasota High choirs will perform separately and with Key Chorale.

In other Key Chorale news, the ensemble will host its annual "Perfect Pitch" fund-raising luncheon Nov. 4. And it’s launching a new choir, for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, in partnership with JFCS of the Suncoast. “Where Are My Keys? Chorale” will help to foster well-being and understanding while opening up the potential of people living with dementia.

Tickets for all concerts and events go on sale July 8. Call 921-4845 or visit to book yours.

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