The Song Plays On

Choral Artists of Sarasota Announces 2020-2021 Season

The season will feature both in-person and virtual concerts, along with a long-delayed world premiere.

By Kay Kipling September 4, 2020

Choral Artists of Sarasota's 2020-21 season carries a "Rise Up!" theme.

In a sign that, despite Covid-19, arts organizations are still planning 2020-21 seasons, Choral Artists of Sarasota has announced its 42nd year of providing concerts—some in person, some virtual—starting in October.

The season, titled “Rise Up!” features eight concerts in all, with the presentation of the “Listen to the Earth” project, originally planned to celebrate Earth Day’s 50th anniversary last spring, but postponed because of the pandemic, a highlight. Artistic director Joseph Holt will also touch on the creative process during a series of virtual “Concert Insights” throughout the season.

The “Listen to the Earth” project, taking place April 23-25, 2021, will showcase multiple events, including a live performance of composer James Grant’s cantata of the same name, along with film screenings, panel discussions, and keynote speaker Jane Alexander, an award-winning actress and former director of the National Endowment of the Arts.

Actress Jane Alexander is keynote speaker for the "Listen to the Earth" project in April.

The season begins, however, with virtual concerts and small ensembles of singers and musicians that will be safely distanced. Later in 2021, concerts will also be presented live in outdoor spaces, in addition to streaming online. All concerts will be filmed, allowing at-home audiences to watch and listen online for 30 days after each performance. A range of ticket prices will suit audiences’ preferences and needs.

Here's the lineup.

"Out of Adversity: Embracing Our Differences," a virtual presentation, features work by well-known composers “coming out of the closet.” The lives of Handel, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Barber, Poulenc and others will be examined with attention to the adversity they encountered as gay composers. Virtual; at 4 p.m. Oct. 18.

"Spanish Flair" presents sounds of Spain as realized by non-Spanish composers, such as Schumann, Ravel, Dukas and others. Virtual; at 4 p.m. Nov. 15.

"Holiday Lights: Music of Christmas and Chanukah" offers as its centerpiece "Navidad Nuestra" by Ariel Ramirez, illuminating the Christmas story through the eyes of indigenous people of Argentina. Tenor Rafael Davila joins the Choral Artists for this virtual presentation, at 4 p.m. Dec. 23.

"Marching to Freedom" traces the journey African-Americans have taken and continue to take to achieve freedom, through gospel and spiritual pieces and art songs composed by Black Americans. This live performance is set for 5 p.m. Feb. 3, at Historic Spanish Point.

"You’ll Never Walk Alone" will be a revue of Broadway tunes with the “rise up” theme, presenting selections from Les Miserables, Carousel, Wicked, Sweet Charity and more. Guest soloist will be Sarasota-based actress Ann Morrison. Live performance at 4 p.m. Feb. 28 at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Ann Morrison joins Choral Artists on Broadway musical selections in February.

"Love in the Air" teams Choral Artists with choreographer and dancer Elizabeth Bergmann for a new work set to the music of Brahms’ “Liebeslieder Walzer.” The composer’s sequel, “Neue Liebeslieder,” will also be performed. Virtual, at 4 p.m. March 28.

"Listen to the Earth": This delayed world premiere, inspired by the writing of astronauts and astronomer Carl Sagan, also includes texts by John Muir and poet Robert W. Service; baritone Marcus DeLoach joins the Choral Artists singers. Live, 4 p.m. April 25, at the Sarasota Opera House.

And as per its tradition, Choral Artists will close out this season with "American Fanfare," featuring patriotic anthems and inspirational choral works to celebrate Independence Day, live at 4 p.m. July 4 at the Sarasota Opera House. The Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble joins the singers for musical fireworks.

Artistic director Joseph Holt will present "Concert Insights" for each program.

For complete details and ticket info, visit or call (941) 387-4900.

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