Byron Poore, Patrick Kilbane and Duane Fenn are “the three tenors of Sarasota” — rather two tenors and a bass. The three men are the newest leadership team fronting Sarasota Chorus of the Keys, the all-male, a capella, four-part harmony, barbershop chorus specializing in ’50s and ’60s popular music. It’s not a new performing-arts organization by any means — the group has been around Sarasota for 64 years. But these three men hope to build a new dynamic for the group and crescendo to the next level.
“There was a known Sarasota Chorus of the Keys years ago … that was reasonably successful in the area,” says Fenn, assistant director. “But, with the loss of that director I think the chorus began needing help.”
In January 2012, the men of Chorus of the Keys sought the help they needed by appointing Poore as its new director, Kilbane as president and Fenn as assistant director. These three recently sat in a room at First Baptist Church before their weekly, three-hour-long Tuesday night rehearsal to discuss the group’s new tune.
When Sarasotans think about performing-arts groups, Chorus of the Keys might not be the first one to come to mind, they say, but Poore hopes that in the next five years, Chorus of the Keys will be one of the first groups people talk about.
“We think Sarasota is changing,” says Poore. “There is a more youthful presence, and that’s who we really want to attract.”
The chorus’ ideal member is someone between the ages of 20 and 60 who’s local, who has maybe never sung in a barbershop quartet, but who is capable of singing and willing to work hard. Poore calls it the “Average Joe’s chorus.” Reading music is not a requirement, but carrying a tune is. So, if you’re the type of guy who sings along to the radio or in the shower pretty well — the chorus wants you. The group is implementing a qualification process and working on the musicality of current members to improve the overall quality of singing for the nearly 60 members.
The group also hopes to do more than the annual performance and its Singing Valentines, but details are still in the works. The more they perform at events such as chamber luncheons and community events, the more people they can reach with their new sound.
“We want to give back to the community so that Chorus of the Keys flows off the mouths of locals when they think of arts organizations in town,” says Poore.
Get to know the new leadership:
Byron Poore, Director
Based in: Land O’Lakes
Day job: Financial adviser
Favorite Love song: “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Any More”
Describe Chorus of the Keys with one adjective: challenging
Patrick Kilbane, President
Day job: Financial adviser
Favorite Love song: “I Never See Maggie Alone”
Describe Chorus of the Keys with one adjective: fun
Duane Fenn, Assistant Director
Day job: Retired manager, IT and technology
Favorite Love song: “Little Bit of Heaven”
Describe Chorus of the Keys with one adjective: rebirth
Singing Valentines explode with love
Every year, Chorus of the Keys offers your sweetheart a surprise singing telegram, via a barbershop quartet. The quartet delivers a card, rose and two love songs.
One year, four Chorus of the Keys members were going to do an interview promotion on the WSRZ radio show Jones & Crane for Singing Valentines. Someone called in to say WSRZ would receive a package in four parts. Not knowing what this package was, the radio station went into high alert thinking it was a bomb threat. Little did the station know, the threat was four men singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.”
Singing Valentines can be ordered by calling 371-6644. They cost $40 for daytime performances and $50 after 5 p.m. and can be delivered anywhere in Sarasota.
IF YOU GO
‘Shake, Rattle and Roll:’ This concert is a throwback to the ’50s featuring songs such as “Jailhouse Rock” and “Rock Around the Clock.” In addition to Chorus of the Keys, two internationally renowned groups, all-female barbershop quartet Speed of Sound and award-winning Acoustix, will also perform.
When: 2:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22
Where: Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way, Sarasota
Cost: Tickets are $20 to $35
Info: Call 484-7589 or visit chorusofthekeys.org