Actress and Former NEA Director Jane Alexander to Join Noted Environmentalist Dr. Terry Root in Choral Artists of Sarasota’s “Listen to the Earth” Initiative

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) Jane Alexander, a Tony Award-winner, two-time Emmy Award winner and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts, will be the featured speaker for Choral Artists of Sarasota’s “Listen to the Earth” ecological initiative in April 2020. The program, which commemorates the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, also includes 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.” Choral Artists has also planned a community-wide partnership promoting environmental engagement. The initiative’s capstone is the world-premiere performance of James Grant’s cantata, “Listen to the Earth,” on April 19 at the Sarasota Opera House.

Dr. Joseph Holt, Choral Artists of Sarasota’s artistic director, says he looks forward to the experience with equal parts of humility and awe.

“We’re thrilled that dedicated people of Jane Alexander and Dr. Terry Root’s stature are part of this project,” says Holt. “It’s truly an honor—but we never forget the reason behind it all.”

Holt explains that, “Choral Artists created this initiative to build and strengthen community engagement. In the context of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, we intend to raise environmental awareness through the power of music, speech, film, and action.”

The Smithsonian Conservation Commons of the Smithsonian Institution designated Choral Artists’ project as an artistic component of its Earth Optimism Summit in Washington, DC, in April 2020. While Holt is proud of this national connection, he sees the local connection is especially vital.

“The important work is in our own back yards,” he says.

To that end, Choral Artists is inviting regional organizations to join forces in this initiative. “The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day represents an amazing opportunity to the artistic community,” Holt says. “By banding together with coordinated programs, we can use the anniversary as a platform to promote environmental awareness and community involvement. What better time to do it?” He adds that interested organizations should contact Susan Burke, Choral Artist’s executive director for more information at director@ChoralArtistsSarasota.org or 941-387-6046.

Although many events are planned, Choral Artists’ Earth Day initiative will revolve around the premiere of “Listen to the Earth,” a symphonic choral cantata by James Grant, the award-winning composer and part-time Sarasota resident. Grant composed this 30-minute work for baritone soloist, mixed chorus, children’s chorus and chamber orchestra. Choral Artists and the families of Richard and Daniel Moe commissioned this original piece in honor of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary.

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 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.

“Grant’s beautiful work is inspirational, highlighting the unique responsibility we human beings have as caretakers,” Holt says. “It’s the jewel in the crown of our Earth Day celebration.”

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.