Gwyneth Walker

Key Chorale Pulls Out All the Stops

by Gayle Williams, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune

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Read notes for Three Days by the Sea (2004) for SATB chorus and piano

Some anniversaries slip by silently, and others are heralded with great fanfare.

Sarasota's symphonic chorus, Key Chorale, didn't just blast a couple of trumpets, it pulled out all the stops on Sunday for its concert celebrating its 20th anniversary.

After a proclamation from newly appointed Mayor Mary Ann Servian, conductor Daniel Moe led the chorale in the world premiere of Gwyneth Walker's Three Days by the Sea.

This was one of those instances where all forces and resources came together to produce a magical experience.

Everything was exemplary, and the singers sang beautifully in crisply articulated phrases. Walker has a straightforward and practical style, and the music she composes is pleasurable and communicates clearly.

Such was the case with this set of three movements based on juicy text by Thomas Merton, Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Norah Mary Holland, reflecting on aspects of the sea.

It's not hard to imagine where Walker got her inspiration when you learn that she was in residence at the Hermitage, an artist's colony on Manasota Key. The sea rolls in waves with the piano accompaniment provided by Virginia Bray and undulates with the vocal lines as well.

The text, always important, was underscored before each movement by guest narrators Meg Lowman and Jack Perkins.


Thanks should be given to conductor Daniel Moe, founders Ann Stephenson- Moe and Don Ryno, and the plenitude of singers who work so hard to create the music of the Key Chorale. It was a gift of a concert, and remains a treasure of a musical ensemble for the community.