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Key Chorale's Sarasota Choral Festival Honors Heroes

This annual festival is another way for Key Chorale to differentiate itself from being not just a symphonic chorus, but an organization that looks at ways to impact its community,” said artistic director Joseph Caulkins.

Presented by Key Chorale January 17, 2019

In 2014 Key Chorale launched its inaugural Sarasota Choral Festival. Participation in the festival is open to all singers high school age and older, no audition required, and is the perfect opportunity for singers who cannot commit to a full season of rehearsals and concerts. The response from the community is always enthusiastic, and this year we are welcoming over 75 community singers who will have the unique opportunity to rehearse and perform under the baton of artistic director and conductor Joseph Caulkins. 

“This annual festival is another way for Key Chorale to differentiate itself from being not just a symphonic chorus, but an organization that looks at ways to impact its community,” says Maestro Caulkins. “By inviting the general public to join us, the Chorale can cast a net wide enough to gather those worried about an audition, retirees, students – anyone who loves to sing and would like to be a part of something empowering.” 

The festival week will culminate in a performance entitled “Honoring Heroes,” on Saturday, January 26, at 4 p.m. at the Riverview Performing Arts Center. This unique concert honors first responders with patriotic favorites America The Beautiful and Battle Hymn of the Republic plus Summon the Heroes by American composer John Williams. The featured work will be Stephen Paulus’ Grammy-winning composition Prayers and Remembrances, commissioned for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. Paulus honors the victims while addressing the universal experience of those grieving and healing from loss of loved ones—in his words, “a work that would be spiritual but not necessarily religious.” During the concert, Key Chorale will also honor Miriam Troyer, Jose Reyes, Jr. and Dominic Harris, three heroes from our local Fire, Paramedic and Police departments. These three were chosen by their supervisors to represent Sarasota County and their stories will be told through compelling mini-documentaries created by Ringling College of Art & Design students.

“This project is about thanking our first responders whose work is so vital to our community,” says Maestro Caulkins. “The entire event is meant to be a celebration of these dedicated public servants and to simply say thank you.”

Meet the Heroes

Jose Reyes, Jr. (Joey) is a Fire Medic at Sarasota County Fire Station No. 6. He has received two Phoenix Awards. Sarasota County Fire Department’s Phoenix Award recognizes emergency personnel for successful resuscitation of a cardiac arrest victim, resulting in discharge from the hospital. This citation bar is awarded to a member or team for saving a life from an otherwise final outcome. Joey is a native Crucian from St. Croix, where he grew up and eventually joined the Navy in 1994. His passion to help people and to be a part of something bigger than himself, as well as the sense of accomplishment he feels after every shift, knowing he made a difference in someone’s life, are big reasons why he has chosen to serve his community as a first responder.

Miriam Troyer was hired in 2014 as a Firefighter/EMT at Sarasota County Fire Station 12 and became a Paramedic in April 2017. She is now a FireMedic and Paramedic-in-Charge. Miriam grew up in an Amish family in Ohio with 12 siblings, including 11 brothers. Even though she was surrounded by horse and buggies, it was the sound of the siren that caught her attention. While she had never met a female firefighter/paramedic, she knew in her heart it was what she wanted to be. Miriam put herself through fire school after moving to Florida and then through Paramedic school as a single mother with twin boys. It is her love of helping others and making a difference that fulfills her. She also gives back by teaching fire safety classes at Incarnation Catholic School and teaching students with special needs at Oak Park School.

Dominic Harris is a Sarasota Police School Resource Officer at Booker High School. He was born and raised by a single parent in the projects of Newtown. He is a graduate of Booker High School and now protects the same halls he used to roam as a student. He was a plumber for 15 years before his mentor, Police Chief Abbott, asked him about attending the police academy. He became a police officer in 2011 and has been a Resource Officer at Booker High School for the last three years. He is also founder of the Brotherhood of Men Mentor Group, which provides a supportive environment, fostering life-skill enhancement and personal development in young at-risk males. Young boys, beginning at 8 years old, have weekly interaction with community leaders and mentors who teach them to lead positive, productive and spiritual lifestyles.

For more information or to purchase tickets to Honoring Heroes or any of their Season 34 concerts, visit www.keychorale.org or call 941-921-4845.