Key Chorale in a 2019 concert. After a year affected by Covid, the chorus plans a full return to performing this season.

More and more area arts groups are announcing their 2021-22 seasons now, with no doubt a sense of relief at being able to do so without having to adapt constantly to the impacts of Covid. One of the latest: the symphonic chorus Key Chorale.

In a press release sharing the season news, artistic director Joseph Caulkins said, “We decided for this season to really pull out all the stops. We didn’t want to present an emerging out of Covid season, but a season that looks like what our audiences love most about Key Chorale.”

The ensemble continues to collaborate with other organizations on its programming, including The Sarasota Ballet Studio Company, The Venice Symphony and The Circus Arts Conservatory. It will also present concerts with several special guests.

The season kicks off Sept. 25 and 26 with “Shout Glory! A Gospel Revival.” Featuring the Stephen Lynerd Group, this opening concert celebrates the legacy of African-American spirituals and gospel music in a feel-good experience.

The aforementioned ballet studio company and trainees join Key Chorale for the next event, Nov. 28. “Sheer Grace” will bring to life Eric Whitacre’s Five Hebrew Love Songs and his setting of the beloved children’s book Good Night Moon, as well as Ola Gjeilo’s Dark Night of the Soul and John Rutter’s Magnificat. Soprano Mary Wilson adds her voice to the mix.

Next, the ensemble joins music director Troy Quinn of The Venice Symphony for performances Dec. 17 and 18 of “A Very Jolly Holiday.” Count on classic carols, music from The Nutcracker, a sing-a-long and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah for this one.

What Key Chorale calls “a concert 450 years in the making” follows next. “Choral Splendor in 40 Parts,” Jan. 14 and 15, will feature 40 voices of the Chamber Singers and special guests Les Canards Chantants, a solo-voice ensemble specializing in music of the Renaissance. Audiences will hear Thomas Tallis’ Spem in alium and Allesandro Striggio’s Mass in 40 Parts, the latter a masterpiece considered lost for more than four centuries.

There’s also a lot of history to the Feb. 11 and 12 concerts, featuring masterwork “A.D. 387.” According to ancient legend, in A.D. 387 the Te Deum was spontaneously composed and sung alternately by St. Ambrose and St. Augustine on the night Ambrose baptized Augustine in Milan. Listeners will get to follow this ancient text from its origins of Gregorian chant to Baroque era interpretations to the Romantic period, culminating with versions by Anton Bruckner and Antonin Dvorak.

After being canceled last season due to Covid, “Cirque des Voix,” the Circus of the Voices presented with the Circus Arts Conservatory, returns March 18, 19 and 20 for its 11th year. This year’s show, The Next Decade of Wonder, will combine world-class circus artists with the 100-plus voices of Key Chorale and the 40-piece Cirque Orchestra in their biggest production yet.

The Lubben Brothers, an acoustic group made up of triplets Michael, Tom and Joshua, will add their vocals and a wide range of folk instruments to “American Roots: Bluegrass” on April 8, 9 and 10. It makes for a genre-bending fusion of bluegrass and folk meets choral music.

The season ends in May as Key Chorale celebrates the power of choral music with a performance by more than 200 singers of all ages, from high school students to seniors. Hear the best repertoire of the season from Booker, Riverview and Sarasota High School choirs performing separately and alongside Key Chorale in  this choral festival, “Tomorrow’s Voices Today.”

There’s more to learn about some other special events of the season; check it out at keychorale.org, where subscriptions go on sale July 15 and single tickets on Aug. 16. You can also all (941) 552-8768 for more info.

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