Over the Big Top

By Megan McDonald February 22, 2011


Sarasota Key Chorale.

In its Unboxed Series of concerts, the Sarasota choral group Key Chorale has performed unusual music in surprising places. But none as surprising as this weekend’s venue–the big red-and-white tent on 12th Street that they’ll share with acrobats, aerialists and other performers from Circus Sarasota (read Kay Kipling's review of this year's Circus Sarasota performance by right here).

Called Cirque des Voix, the first-time collaboration, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday, will feature 120 Key Chorale singers, as well as 40 members of Sarasota Young Voices and a live orchestra.

“Circus Sarasota does a wonderful job of celebrating the beauty of the human body and its ability to do things that seem impossible,” says Richard Storm, Key Chorale’s executive director. “In an analogous way, Key Chorale uses the human voice to create moments of unearthly beauty. So this collaboration seemed to make great sense.

“Also, we’re always trying to reach new audiences, and Circus Sarasota has a wonderful record of reaching out to young families. Pedro Reis and his entire staff have been terrific to work with, and we hope this can be the first of many cooperative efforts.”

The program will encompass Gabriel’s Oboe, an Ennio Morricone piece that was featured in the movie The Mission. As it is played, Dolly Jacobs, Circus Sarasota’s legendary aerialist, will soar above the crowd. Karl Jenkins’ Requiem—an upbeat piece despite its title—will be sung as a troupe of Moroccan acrobats dazzles the crowd.

A selection from Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George is also on the program, as is an excerpt from Karl Orff’s propulsive and dramatic Carmina Burana, which the singers will play for laughs. “We’re really going over the top on that one,” Storm says. “Or should I say, over the Big Top.”

The singers may even don red noses at some point in the concert, “though we have to make sure we can still sing with our noses covered,” Storm says.

Tickets are $15-$45. To purchase, go to, or call 355-9805.

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