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The Art of Giving

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  • | 11:00 p.m. November 18, 2014
  • Arts + Entertainment
  • Performing Art
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In pop culture, benefit concerts are gargantuan, internationally synchronized rock concerts with well-known groups coming together for one single cause. However, the big-name celebrities and their performances often overshadow the issue at hand.

“In Thanksgiving: The Gift of Sharing” has no fear of succumbing to the machinations of rock star divas or arena rock anthems. It offers a unique spin on the benefit concert model with its theme, participating groups and even the music, itself, concentrated on the act of giving and philanthropy.

Organized and headlined by Gloria Musicae, “In Thanksgiving: The Gift of Sharing” will also feature performances from the Sarasota Young Voices and the Gulf Coast Community Choir. The Community Foundation of Sarasota County will serve as guest host and sponsor of the vocal powerhouse performance Nov. 23, at the Sarasota Opera.

“The anatomy of the show came to me last year, and I was looking for something unique,” says Joseph Holt, artistic director of Gloria Musicae. “People have been asked to donate since time immemorial, and artists and musicians do it with their art and talent.”

The set list reflects a parade of philanthropic songs with the centerpiece being baroque composer George Frideric Handel’s “Foundling Hospital Anthem.” Originally composed in 1749 for a benefit concert for the Foundling Hospital, one of the first royal chartered charities to support abandoned children, Handel’s anthem incorporates various musical refrains and themes from some of his past works. The most famous of these is his heralded “Hallelujah Chorus” from his “Messiah” oratorio. Gloria Musicae sends a powerful message by singing Handel’s anthem, which begins with text from Psalm 41, “Blessed are they that consider the poor and needy. … They deliver the poor that crieth, the fatherless.”

“This concert’s collaboration impresses me,” says Carol Poteat-Buchanan, vice president and business manager of the Gulf Coast Community Choir. “The fact that Gloria Musicae is a more classical choir, we lean toward more secular music, showtunes and jazz, and the Sarasota Young Voices bring in a fun, youth element.”

“In Thanksgiving” also coincides with the Community Foundation’s annual anti-homelessness drive, “Season of Sharing,” which contributes funds to Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties to families on the verge of financial collapse.

“We really want to educate the next generation of citizens here, and we know that we will be able to bring a lot of awareness to the joy of giving through sponsoring this event,” says Janet K. Ginn, senior vice president of philanthropic engagement at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “This will be the first time we’ve partnered with musical groups to raise awareness about philanthropy in Sarasota County.”

Thanksgiving, though associated in modern times with smorgasbords of food and football, is still a traditional time for grateful reflection. “In Thanksgiving: The Gift of Sharing” is the musical extension of that tradition to transform introspection into donation.

“I want to inspire people to add their voice to the dialogue,” says Holt, “and ask themselves, ‘Do I do enough?’ Is there a better person you can be? The combination of beautiful music and the added context of giving will guide new people to philanthropic giving.”

‘In Thanksgiving: The Gift of Sharing’
When: 4 p.m. Nov. 23
Where: Sarasota Opera, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
Cost: Tickets are $25-$40, student tickets $15 with ID
Info: Call 953-3368 or visit


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