A Symphonic Choral Cantata
By James Grant
Sunday, April 24, at Sarasota Opera House
Choral Artists celebrates Earth Day with a world premiere of a spectacular work by James Grant, featuring baritone soloist Marcus DeLoach, the Women’s Ensemble of Parrish Community High School, a full orchestra, and the Choral Artists singers.
(Sarasota, FL) Choral Artists of Sarasota’s 43rd season, entitled “Carried Away!” continues with the long-awaited world premiere of “Listen to the Earth,” Sunday, April 24, 5 p.m., at the Sarasota Opera House. The concert showcases “Listen to the Earth,” a symphonic choral cantata by James Grant, an award-winning composer and part-time Sarasota resident. Also featured on the program is the “Song of the Universal” by Ola Ojeilo, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending” and another work by James Grant, “Earth – Poem of Thanks to Our Common Home.” The concert features baritone soloist Marcus DeLoach; the Women’s Ensemble from Parrish Community High School; violin soloist Daniel Jordan; a full orchestra; and the Choral Artists singers, all under the direction of conductor Joseph Holt. A free reception, open to the public, follows the concert in the courtyard. Tickets are $5-$60. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.ChoralArtistsSarasota.org or call 941-387-4900.
“James Grant’s uplifting work is inspirational, highlighting the unique responsibility we human beings have as caretakers of our planet,” Joseph Holt, the artistic director of Choral Artists, says. According to Holt, Choral Artists and the families of Richard and Daniel Moe commissioned this piece in honor of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary in April 2020. He explains that the group had to postpone the concert for two years due to the pandemic.
“We originally planned a broad initiative that included film screenings, panel discussions and a community-wide partnership to promote regional environmental engagement.” Holt explains that the featured speaker was Jane Alexander, a Tony Award-winner, two-time Emmy Award winner and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts, and that Dr. Terry Root of Stanford, the noted environmentalist who shared a Nobel Prize with Albert Gore for her contributions to “An Inconvenient Truth,” had planned to lead the panel discussion along with other environmental leaders of our community.
“While we regret the change of plans due to key personnel not being available, we’re delighted that we’re finally able to present the world premiere of ‘Listen to the Earth’ by James Grant. We can’t wait to share it with Sarasota!”
According to Holt, 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 on the program include Ola Gjeilo’s “Song of the Universal,” a setting of Walt Whitman’s unabashed optimism, exuberance, and unwavering confidence in our deeper humanity; Daniel Jordan, concertmaster of the Sarasota Orchestra, performs Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending” in which the violin takes on the character of a bird in flight, soaring over the verdant earth; and another work by James Grant: “Earth – Poem of Thanks to Our Common Home,” commissioned in 2015 by the New South Wales Public Schools Symphony Orchestra in Australia. The concert will conclude in a wordless meditation looking to the future. Featured artists include the Choral Artists singers, Women’s Ensemble of Parrish Community High School, baritone soloist Marcus DeLoach, and a professional orchestral ensemble, all under Holt’s direction.
Concert goers will also have the opportunity to view an exhibit of photographs by Jill Hoffman Kowal. The series “Good Morning Sarasota” showcases nature photos the award-winning artist has taken on her morning walk over the past few years.
The Choral Artists of Sarasota’s 2021-2022 season schedule:
She Is the Music: Female composers throughout history take the stage front and center. Celebrate Women’s History Month with this unique program devoted solely to works by female composers. Mendelssohn, Schumann, Mahler and many others are featured in this program with Thea Lobo, mezzo-soprano and Francisca Mendoza, violin. Sunday, March 20, 2022, 2:30 p.m., at First Presbyterian Church, 2050 Oak Street, Sarasota. Tickets: $35; Students $5. Concert Insight is March 10, 2022, 10 a.m.
American Fanfare: Celebrate America with choral fireworks, rousing marches and patriotic fervor. Old Glory and Uncle Sam are feted in this annual performance featuring the Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble and Choral Artists of Sarasota. Musical fireworks abound in this annual salute to America. Monday, July 4, 4 p.m., at Sarasota Opera House, 61 North Palm Avenue, Sarasota. Tickets: $25- $55; Students $5. Concert Insight is June 23, 2022, 10 a.m.
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 new Ann Stephenson Moe Apprentice Scholarship, a funding program to support either private lessons or vocal training at an institution of higher learning. “Ensuring the future of choral music means investing in the next generation of music lovers,” says Susan Burke, executive director of Choral Artists of Sarasota. “That means engaging young people on their own terms.”
About the Choral Artists of Sarasota
The Choral Artists of Sarasota, entering its 43rd 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.