With the Gloria Musicae Singers and
Sarasota Young Voices and Gulf Coast Community Choir
Sunday, November 23 < Sarasota Opera House
This rousing concert celebrates philanthropy through the art of music with works by Handel, Ola Gjeilo, Arvo Pärt, and the Florida premiere of Glenn Burleigh’s “The Dreamer.”
(Sarasota, FL) Gloria Musicae launches its 36th anniversary season with “In Thanksgiving,” a concert proclaiming the power of philanthropy and spreading the good news about Sarasota’s commitment to charitable endeavors, Sunday, November 23, 4 p.m., at Sarasota Opera House, 61 North Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota. The concert features the Gloria Musicae Singers, under the direction of Dr. Joseph Holt, with guest artists, the Sarasota Young Voices and the Gulf Coast Community Choir. Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota is the host for the evening. The concert is underwritten, in part, by Clair Johnson, with additional support from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and a Tourist Development Cultural/Arts grant. Tickets are $25-$40; student tickets (available at the door with student ID) are $15. To purchase tickets, call the Van Wezel box office or visit www.vanwezel.org.
According to 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 is 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. Johanna Fincher, soprano; Robyn Rocklein, soprano; Matthew Smith, tenor; and Jeremiah Pagan, counter tenor, are the featured vocalists.
The concert will also 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, along with “Prayer for Peace,” composed by Edwina Stanley, and “Let Us Break Bread Together” arranged by Robert DeCormier (performed by the Gulf Coast Community Choir, under the direction of Edwina Stanley, director). The concert also features “It Takes a Village,” by Joan Szymko, and “Stand Together,” composed by Jim Papoulis (sung by Sarasota Young Voices under the direction of Geneviève Beauchamp).
“In Thanksgiving” concludes with a Florida premiere performance of composer Glenn Burleigh’s “The Dreamer.” This thrilling finale, a masterful setting of Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous words, also features musical quotes from “We Shall Overcome” and a Bach two-part invention. It will be performed by the combined voices of the Gloria Musicae Singers, Gulf Coast Community Choir and Sarasota Young Voices, with soloist Amy Connours. The piece 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.
“Throughout history, musicians and artists have come together to raise money and awareness for the poor, the afflicted and for disaster victims,” says Holt. “It’s a long-standing tradition. The art of giving back, one of Sarasota’s greatest attributes, takes musical form in this highly entertaining concert featuring Baroque jewels, exquisite musical gems of our time, and a gospel finale that will raise the roof. We hope that this concert will help raise awareness for the great accomplishments the Community Foundation of Sarasota and so many other regional non-profits achieve for our community.”
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.”
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.