This ecological initiative commemorates Earth Day’s 50th anniversary with a world premiere concert, film screenings, panel discussions, and a community-wide partnership to promote regional environmental engagement.
(Sarasota, FL) Joseph Holt, the artistic director of Choral Artists of Sarasota recently announced that the group has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for its Listen to the Earth Project. This ecological initiative commemorates Earth Day’s 50th anniversary with a world premiere concert, film screenings, panel discussions, and a community-wide partnership to promote regional environmental engagement, April 17-19, at various venues in Sarasota. Jane Alexander, a Tony Award-winner, two-time Emmy Award winner and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts, is the featured speaker. Other highlights include a panel discussion led by Dr. Terry Root of Stanford, the noted environmentalist who shared a Nobel Prize with Albert Gore for her contributions to “An Inconvenient Truth.” The initiative’s capstone is the world-premiere performance of James Grant’s symphonic cantata, “Listen to the Earth,” on April 19 at the Sarasota Opera House. The Kickstarter campaign started on February 3, and will run for 60 days, at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/listentotheearth/listen-to-the-earth.
Holt explains that the Kickstarter campaign will enable the group to raise $12,500 to be used toward supporting the instrumental ensemble that will accompany the world-premiere concert of Grant’s cantata. It will also help to fund the creation of a multimedia presentation that will be part of the concert. According to Holt, the entire Listen to the Earth Project will cost the group $85,000.
In the short video the group created for the Kickstarter initiative, Holt states that it might seem unusual that a chorus is stepping out of its usual operating zone to focus on environmental conservation.
“Choral Artists of Sarasota is honored to be a leading partner of the community-wide efforts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020,” says Holt. “Front and center is our planet, Earth, and our unique existence within the solar system. We do this through the power of music and Jim Grant’s cantata, ‘Listen to the Earth’ extols us to become better stewards of our unique home. Indeed, the last words of the cantata are very poignant and very haunting for our time. ‘I see my home. She’s the only home I’ve got. There’s nowhere else to go.’”
Holt adds that the multimedia premiere of Grant’s uplifting cantata will incorporate images and video of the Apollo 11 lift-off and the astronauts’ view of Earth from space. Additional pieces will sing of humanity’s bonds to the sun, moon and stars. The concert will conclude in a wordless meditation looking to the future. Featured artists include the Choral Artists singers, Sarasota Young Voices, baritone soloist Marcus DeLoach, and a professional orchestral ensemble, all under Holt’s direction.
“Music is the strongest tool we have to offer in service of a cause greater than ourselves,” says Holt. “We are proud to raise our voices to share our awe and reverence for Planet Earth and encourage each individual to do what their part to care for our home.”
The Smithsonian Conservation Commons of the Smithsonian Institution designated Choral Artists’ project as an artistic component of its Earth Optimism Summit in Washington, DC, this April. For more information about this initiative and to inquire about partnership opportunities, visit www.ChoralArtistsSarasota.org or contact Susan Burke at 941-387-6046.
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.