“One World, Many Voices”

Choral Artists of Sarasota Presents

“One World, Many Voices”

November 16   First Church, Sarasota

Reverence for the Divine forms the body of this program through sacred songs, chants, hymns, gospel and spiritual songs from different traditions and beliefs.

(Sarasota, FL) Choral Artists of Sarasota launches its 41st season with “One World, Many Voices”, Saturday, November 16, 4 p.m., at First United Methodist Church 104 S. Pineapple Ave, Sarasota. Featuring sacred songs, chants, hymns, gospel and spiritual songs from different traditions and beliefs, the program embodies a reverence and celebration of the Divine in humanity. Organist Ann Stephenson-Moe and an instrumental ensemble from professional orchestras in Sarasota will join the 41 singers of Choral Artists of Sarasota in this concert directed by Joseph Holt. Tickets are $38 for general admission; $5 for students. A Coffee, Conversation, and Concert Insights event is Tuesday, November 5, 10 a.m., at the Center for Arts & Humanity at 1226 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Concert Insights offer an opportunity to get up close and personal with Artistic Director Dr. Joseph Holt as he illuminates the creative process that develops programs. Coffee and light snacks are served. The event is free, but registration is required. For more information about the Choral Artists of Sarasota, or to purchase tickets or register for Coffee Insights, visit www.ChoralArtistsSarasota.org or call 941-387-4900.

The program weaves a combination of Tao, Buddhist, Jewish, Russian Orthodox and Christian music that is both inspirational and celebratory, reflecting on the nature of the Divine for humanity. Highlights include favorites such as “You Raise Me Up,” “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” “For the Beauty of the Earth,” and unusual pieces incorporating Chinese chant, a setting of the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili, a setting of the Kiddush by Kurt Weill, and music from the Russian Church.

“Humankind throughout millennia have glorified and worshipped the Divine, finding solace, comfort and meaning in the concept of a Supreme Being,” says Holt, artistic director of Choral Artists. “Through the medium of choral music, this program highlights some of the myriad traditions and beliefs that humans have adopted over the centuries, celebrating the Divine through simple chants or church anthems or synagogue pieces. Within this parameter, the concept of ‘many voices’ creating our ‘one world’ resonates perfectly. And the awe, majesty and quiet beauty of these selections are inspiring and revelatory, regardless of individual beliefs. Starting with a simple chant extolling the dawning of a new day, the program concludes with Stanford’s magnificent anthem, ‘When in Our Music God Is Glorified,’ which celebrates the power of music in worship.”

Dr. Ann Stephenson-Moe has served as organist/choirmaster at the Church of the Redeemer since 1974.  She is also a co-founder, along with Arden Fowler and George Bledsoe, of Gloria Musicae in 1979, now the Choral Artists of Sarasota. Hailed by former Sarasota Herald-Tribune music critic Florence Fisher as an “outstanding organist whose musical interpretations always reflect the integrity and the period of the composer,” Stephenson-Moe is a major musical force in the greater Sarasota area as harpsichordist, accompanist, organist, and conductor.

The Choral Artists of Sarasota comprises 32 of the region’s most notable professional singers. Eight young singers, ages 16 to 22, are also invited to join the group each year, as part of the organization’s educational outreach. One of these gifted singers will be awarded the Barbara Diles Apprentice Scholarship, a funding program to support either private lessons or vocal training at an institution of higher learning.

“For choral music to live, we need to nurture the next generation of music lovers and creators,” says Susan Burke, executive director of Choral Artists of Sarasota. “Engaging young people in the glories of choral music is vital to our mission,” Burke adds the organization also provides other educational outreach initiatives, including behind-the-scenes dress rehearsal sneak previews for area students and Concert Preview Coffees, which offers audiences the opportunity to learn about the artistic director’s insights about the program theme and music—and a chance to meet singers and soloists. Each preview is held before each concert, with the date and location announced on the website.