Choral Artists of Sarasota Announces 2020-2021 Season

The ensemble’s 42nd season is entitled “Rise Up” and features eight concerts, four of which will be presented virtually. The organization will also stage the long-awaited “Listen to the Earth” project.

(Sarasota, FL) Choral Artists of Sarasota’s 42nd season, entitled “Rise Up!” features eight concerts in October, November, December, February, March, April, and July. Two of the concerts are planned for in-person events; three will be presented outdoors and all performances will include a virtual presentation. Choral Artists will also stage the long-awaited “Listen to the Earth” project—an ecological initiative commemorating Earth Day’s 50th anniversary last year—but postponed due to the pandemic. Artistic Director Joseph Holt will also illuminate the creative process during a series of virtual “Concert Insights,” throughout the season. Each will focus on the upcoming concert with a special guest joining the conversation. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call 941-387-4900.

Choral Artists’ “Listen to the Earth Project” will showcase multiple events, April 23-25. These include a live concert at the Sarasota Opera, film screenings, and panel discussions. Jane Alexander, a Tony Award-winner, two-time Emmy Award winner and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts, is the featured keynote speaker at the “State of the Earth” event on April 24. The initiative’s capstone is the world-premiere performance of James Grant’s cantata, “Listen to the Earth,” on April 25 at the Sarasota Opera House.

Holt notes that his organization is adapting to the ongoing pandemic with flexible audience engagement and ticket pricing structures. The season begins with virtual concerts and small ensembles of singers and instrumentalists which can be safely distanced. Later in the season, concerts will be presented live, in outdoor spaces, in addition to streaming online. “By April, we hope to be able to bring the ensemble together with an audience for the ‘Listen to the Earth’ initiative,” says Holt. He adds that all of the concerts will be filmed, allowing at-home audiences to experience the performance online for 30 days after each performance. A range of ticket prices will reflect these options.

Holt notes that the organization “turned our entire planning for this season on its head, reflecting the need to maintain a healthy performing environment for both audience and performer alike. The design of ‘Rise Up!’ initially conceived in late 2019, showcases overcoming challenges in life and society, certainly topical for our time in ways we did not envision but clearly embrace through the choral medium.”

The Choral Artists of Sarasota’s 2020 -2021 season schedule:

Out of Adversity: Embracing Our Differences: Historical and well-known composers, celebrated for their incredible musical compositions, come out of the closet. In examining the lives of Handel, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Barber, Poulenc and others, the adversity they encountered as gay composers in society is highlighted. This virtual presentation is Sunday, October 18, 4 p.m. The “Concert Insight” for this concert is Thursday, October 8, at 10 a.m.

Spanish Flair: Sounds of Spain as realized by non-Spanish composers: Schumann’s “Spanisches Liederspiel” for vocal quartet and piano is highlighted as well as songs by Emil Sjögren and instrumental selections by Ravel, Dukas and Bosmans. This virtual presentation is Sunday, November 15, 4 p.m. The “Concert Insight” for this concert is Thursday, November 5, at 10 a.m.

Holiday Lights: Music of Christmas and Chanukah: A symbol of hope and peace, light plays a significant role in the music and traditions of Christmas and Chanukah. “Navidad Nuestra,” by Ariel Ramírez, is the centerpiece of this program—a work that illuminates the Christmas story through the eyes of indigenous people of Argentina. This concert features the stunning tenor Rafael Dávila with the Choral Artists. This virtual presentation is Wednesday, December 23, 4 p.m. The “Concert Insight” for this concert is Thursday, December 10, at 10 a.m.

Marching to Freedom: From the early days of slavery to the Civil War to Reconstruction and the Jim Crow laws, to the Civil Rights Era of the 60s and even in our own time, the road to freedom for African-Americans has been long and arduous. Through gospel and spiritual pieces and art songs composed by Black Americans, the experience of liberty and justice for all paints a picture of the struggle that these Americans faced in history and continue to face in current society. This live performance is Wednesday, February 3, 5 p.m., at Historic Spanish Point. The online replay of this concert is Sunday, February 14. The “Concert Insight” for this concert is Thursday, January 21, at 10 a.m.

You’ll Never Walk Alone: Through adversity, many characters of the Broadway musical “rise up” and successfully confront life challenges, inspiring and ennobling us by their courage. This uplifting Broadway revue features selections from Les Misérables, La Cage aux Folles, Carousel, A Chorus Line, Sound of Music, Wicked, and Sweet Charity – characters that inspire us through their perseverance. Guest soloist for this performance is Ann Morrison. This live performance is Sunday, February 28, 4 p.m., at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. The online replay of this concert is Thursday, March 11, 4 p.m. The “Concert Insight” for this concert is Thursday, February 18, at 10 a.m.

Love in the Air: Choral Artists of Sarasota teams up with choreographer and dancer Elizabeth Bergmann to present a newly choreographed work to the music of “Liebeslieder Walzer” by Johannes Brahms. With a stellar vocal quartet and piano four-hand accompaniment, this charming and endearing work springs to life. The charm continues with Brahms’ sequel, “Neue Liebeslieder.” This virtual presentation is Sunday, March 28, 4 p.m. The “Concert Insight” for this concert is Thursday, March 18, at 10 a.m.

Listen to the Earth: Be the first to hear this stunning world premiere, commissioned by Choral Artists, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. “Listen to the Earth” is based on an original libretto written by James Grant and inspired by the writings of Apollo, Mercury, Gemini and Space Shuttle astronauts, and astronomer Carl Sagan. The libretto also includes texts by environmental philosopher John Muir and poet Robert W. Service, as well as the NASA transcript of the launch of Apollo 11. With Marcus DeLoach, baritone. This live performance is Sunday, April 25, 4 p.m., at Sarasota Opera House. The online replay of this concert is Thursday, May 6, 4 p.m. The “Concert Insight” for this concert is Thursday, April 15, at 10 a.m.

American Fanfare: Rousing patriotic anthems and stirring inspirational choral works celebrate another traditional Independence Day concert. Joining Choral Artists for the first time will be the Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble, performing Sousa marches and patriotic selections to complement the program. Musical fireworks abound in this annual salute to America! This live performance is Sunday, July 4, 4 p.m., at Sarasota Opera House. The online replay of this concert is Sunday, July 18, 4 p.m. The “Concert Insight” for this concert is Thursday, June 24, at 10 a.m.