Media Release: A Virtual Fourth!
Choral Artists of Sarasota Will Feature a
Virtual July 4th “American Fanfare” Concert
For 15 years, the choral group has celebrated Independence Day with rousing songs celebrating America, including patriotic favorites by Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, George M. Cohan, and more.
[Sarasota, FL] For the last 15 years, Choral Artists of Sarasota has honored Independence Day with a concert of rousing songs celebrating the United States. The choral group will continue that tradition this July 4—with a twist. To ensure the safety of its singers and audience, the concert will be virtual. According to Artistic Director Joseph Holt, this year’s concert will feature highlights of previous Independence Day celebrations—and be streamed over various platforms, including Facebook and YouTube. “Audiences should prepare to tune in and sing along on July 4,” he says. “We’ll be safe, and we’ll be celebrating.”
Holt explains that Choral Artists’ July 4th concert “has been a vital part of our community’s celebration of Independence Day for the past 15 years. These concerts featured musical pieces that form the heart and soul of our collective national sense of pride and patriotism. For all these years, Choral Artists has celebrated, through music, the thread of ‘liberty and justice for all’ that characterizes our nation.” He adds that last year, Choral Artists moved the concert to the Sarasota Opera House due to popular demand. It also partnered with the Sarasota Concert Band last year to present a “musical tradition that is as American as hot dogs, apple pie and fireworks.”
Original plans for the live performance of “American Fanfare” were to include patriotic music composed by female composers. The narration, provided by an actor from Florida Studio Theater, was to highlight the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and women’s constitutional right to vote. This was to be part of FST’s “The Suffragist Project.” Rousing marches by Sousa, performed by the Sarasota Concert Band, and traditional American anthems celebrating independence and freedom rounded out the program.
Holt says the July 4th video will instead feature hits from the past years, including such patriotic standards as George M. Cohan’s “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” John Philip Sousa’s “Star and Stripes Forever,” Julia Ward Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” Other works might include a setting of the Gettysburg Address by Mark Hayes, a traditional Bach chorale with words by Pete Seeger set in the 60s, and an unusual pairing of “My Country Tis of Thee” with “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” arranged by Moses Hogan.
“We’re working on the details now and will share those soon,” says Holt. “The most important thing is that we will carry on a beloved tradition with songs that express love of country. When you’re in love, you want to sing. And you’ll feel that love when you hear the Choral Artists sing songs from the heart about the land we love and honor.”
According to Holt, with the cancellation of the group’s “Listen to the Earth” in April and the July 4th concert, Choral Artists has lost more than $50,000 in ticket sales. “This represents a significant loss of income for our singers,” he says. “For many singers whose other income derives from singing and performing, the pandemic has been financially devastating.”
About the Choral Artists of Sarasota
The Choral Artists of Sarasota, entering its 41st season, features 32 of the region’s most notable professional singers and eight apprentice singers. The group celebrates the rich, artistic expressiveness of choral music through innovative repertoire, inspired performances, and stimulating educational outreach. Under the artistic direction of Dr. Joseph Holt, Choral Artists of Sarasota performs a repertoire spanning four centuries and includes symphonic choral works, intimate madrigals, folk songs, close-harmony jazz, and Broadway show music. The ensemble also specializes in premiere performances of lesser-known choral works—particularly music by living American composers. Choral Artists of Sarasota has performed premieres by René Clausen, Dick Hyman, Robert Levin, Gwyneth Walker, and James Grant. As part of the organization’s educational outreach, eight young singers from area schools, colleges and universities, ages 16 to 22, are invited to join the group each year. For more information, visit www.ChoralArtistsSarasota.org.