Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

An Emotional Musical Journey

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

An Emotional Musical Journey

Article excerpt

MUSIC/DANCE REVIEW

When Kristopher Jon Anthony, a member of the Turtle Creek Chorale, wrote "When We No Longer Touch" 25 years ago, the Dallas gay men's chorus was losing members to AIDS at the rate of one or two a month. The wrenching heartbreak of so much grief and loss is captured beautifully in the requiem that Anthony, who died of AIDS himself the day before the work premiered, never got to hear in performance.

With poignant visual accompaniment by four Sarasota-area professional dancers, Una Voce, the Florida Men's Chorale, presented a touching rendition of Anthony's work at the Palladium Theatre in St. Petersburg Friday night. The concert, titled "Love Hope Passion," was a preview of what the Tampa Bay area men's chorus will present at the Gala Festival, the largest gathering of LGBT choruses in the nation, in Denver in July, and Anthony's work made up the entire first half of the program.

The eight movements of Anthony's work,with lyrics in English by Peter McWilliams, describe a passage through loss and grief, from fear and denial to gratitude and reluctant acceptance. Under Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins, the 45-member chorale -- accompanied by a delightful chamber ensemble and with adept solos from baritone Paul Gibson and soprano Ruthie Nelson -- took listeners on that journey, with an appropriately modulated and reverent delivery.

Caulkins, who, in his position as artistic director of Key Chorale, has previously collaborated with choreographer Elizabeth Bergmann, asked his colleague to create a visual counterpart to the piece and Bergmann did a fine job of augmenting the presentation without detracting from the singers. And the dancers -- Pedro Batista, Victoria Mora, David Nava and Megan Wors -- dressed in plain pants (for the men) and shifts (for the women) that echoed the purple and black outfits of the chorus -- performed with a depth that was stirring without slipping into the histrionic.

However, both the music and the movers were at their best in the quietest moments, particularly the heart-breaking seventh movement, "I Shall Miss Loving You. …

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