(Sarasota, FL) Gloria Musicae will launch its 36th anniversary season by raising its voices in thanks. “In Thanksgiving,” the kick-off concert in November, will proclaim the power of philanthropy and spread the good news about Sarasota’s Season of Sharing 15th anniversary. According to Dr. Joseph Holt, Gloria Musicae’s artistic director, “The concert will celebrate the art of giving—and show how that art is so deeply intertwined with the art of music in our classical heritage.”
Holt explains that the concert’s centerpiece will be George Frideric Handel’s “Foundling Hospital Anthem,” a composition written to benefit the Foundling Hospital, a charity that served London’s impoverished women and children. The anthem was first performed at the hospital in 1749 with Handel conducting. It opens with a text adapted from Psalm 41: “Blessed are they that considereth the poor and needy.” The piece ends with the composer’s famous “Hallelujah Chorus” from “Messiah,” a work performed annually at the hospital.
“Handel was clearly moved by the good that this hospital was doing for the poor,” says Holt. He adds that the composer attended every benefit performance of “Messiah” at the hospital until his death, a commitment that ultimately helped to raise much-needed funds for the charity. According to Holt, Handel put his art where his heart is—and he wasn’t alone. “Throughout history, musicians and artists have come together to raise money and awareness for the poor, the afflicted and for disaster victims. It’s a long-standing tradition. We hope that this concert will help raise awareness for the great work the Season of Sharing has done in our region over the past 15 years.”
The concert will also feature music by Vivaldi who, according to Holt, also contributed greatly to charitable causes throughout his lifetime. The second half of the concert will showcase Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo’s work, “Ubi Caritas.” The title is Latin for “Where there is charity, there is God.” “Beatitudes” by Arvo Pärt, an Estonian composer of classical and sacred music, will also be featured in this concert, which will conclude with composer Glenn Burleigh’s “The Dreamer.” Holt says that Burleigh’s work “honors the words and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was commissioned in 2000 by the Choral Arts Society of Washington, DC, and first performed for the annual Martin Luther King Celebration at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts by a 400-voiced choir.” Burleigh, who was also a renowned pianist and conductor, died when he was 58 in 2007.
“In Thanksgiving” will feature the Gloria Musicae Singers with guest artists the Sarasota Young Voices and the Gulf Coast Community Choir, Sunday, November 23, 2014, 4 p.m., at the Sarasota Opera House. The event is a partnership with the Herald-Tribune Media Group and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The Season of Season of Sharing was founded by the Herald-Tribune Media Group in 2000 to provide emergency assistance to families on the brink of homelessness and has raised and distributed more than $7.2 million since its inception. “The art of giving back, one of Sarasota’s greatest attributes, takes musical form in this highly entertaining performance featuring Baroque jewels, exquisite musical gems of our time, and a gospel finale that will raise the roof,” says Holt.
The 2014-2015 season continues with two more signature concerts:
“Old and New” (Sunday, April 12, 2015, 7 p.m., at First United Methodist Church in Sarasota) will feature “Sunrise Mass” by the contemporary Norwegian composer, Ola Gjeilo, and Giacomo Puccini’s “Messa di Gloria.” The concert features the Gloria Musicae Singers in collaboration with State College of Florida Chamber Singers.
Gloria Musicae will celebrate Independence Day with a rousing tribute to American composers and to the American spirit in “An American Tapestry,” on Saturday, July 4, 2015, 4:30 p.m., at First United Methodist Church.
The Gloria Musicae Singers will also be partnering with the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota in a number of concerts this season, including December holiday concerts; an Edvard Grieg Festival in January; and a Gilbert & Sullivan revue in May. All concerts will take place at the Historic Asolo Theater in Sarasota.
“Our 2014-2015 season promises to be an exceptional one,” says Holt. “The season reflects our ongoing commitment to offer audiences new musical experiences in the choral realm, while also highlighting beloved composers in a new light, performing traditional favorites and honoring our mission to be an effective vocal advocate in the community.”
Ticket prices for the 2014-2015 season of concerts will be announced before September. For more information about Gloria Musicae, visit www.GloriaMusicae.org.
About the Gloria Musicae Singers
The Gloria Musicae Singers is a professional vocal ensemble that celebrates choral music through innovative performances. The critically acclaimed group, under the artistic direction of Dr. Joseph Holt, performs a repertoire spanning four centuries, and includes orchestral works, intimate madrigals, church motets, 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. The Gloria Musicae Singers has performed premieres by René Clausen, Dick Hyman, Robert Levin, Gwyneth Walker, and James Grant, along with the premiere of a new edition of a rarely heard score by Rossini. For more information about Gloria Musicae, visit www.gloriamusicae.org.