Choral Artists of Sarasota’s  “Listen to the Earth Project” Is April 17-19

Featured speakers include former  NEA director Jane Alexander and scientist Dr. Terry Root.

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) Choral Artists of Sarasota celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with its “Listen to the Earth Project,” an ecological initiative that includes a world-premiere concert, film screenings, panel discussions, and a community-wide partnership to promote regional environmental engagement. Jane Alexander, a Tony Award-winner, two-time Emmy Award winner and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts, is the featured keynote speaker at the April 18, “State of the Earth” event. The program also includes a panel discussion led by Dr. Terry Root of Stanford, the noted environmentalist who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Albert Gore for her contributions to “An Inconvenient Truth.” 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. For a complete schedule and more information, visit or call 941-387-6046.

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 invited 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?”

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 on the April 19th program at the Sarasota Opera House 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 is the jewel in the crown of our Earth Day celebration.”

For more information about this initiative and to inquire about partnership opportunities, visit or contact Susan Burke at 941-387-6046. Tickets are available for individual events and an ‘All Access Pass’ is also available that includes all events and premium seating for the Listen to the Earth concert.

Listen to the Earth Schedule

Friday, April 17

Documentary Screenings

Jewish Federation of Sarasota/Manatee Beatrice Friedman Theater

10:30 a.m.: “Chasing Ice”

12:45 p.m.: “Chasing Coral”

Q&A following each screening led by Dr. Terry Root and local experts


Friday, April 17, 6-7:30 p.m.

Celebration Reception

Aloft Hotel in Sarasota

Meet Jane Alexander, Dr. Terry Root, composer James Grant,

Artistic Director Joseph Holt, and baritone soloist Marcus DeLoach

Wine and light bites


Saturday, April 18, 3-5:30 p.m.

State of the Earth

Sarasota Opera House

Featuring keynote speaker Jane Alexander

A panel discussion with Dr. Terry Root, Jon Thaxton

and Stevie Freeman-Montes

Photography exhibit by Clyde Butcher

High School Ecology Studies Presentation

Display tables of Listen to the Earth partners


Sunday, April 19, 7 p.m.

Listen to the Earth Concert

Sarasota Opera House

World premiere concert of work by James Grant

With the Choral Artists singers, Sarasota Young Voices, baritone soloist Marcus DeLoach,

and a professional orchestral ensemble

Champagne reception following in the courtyard



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