‘American Roots: The Gospel Experience’ to explore the rich tradition of black gospel music

SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and Key Chorale are coming together for an exuberant collaboration with American Roots: The Gospel Experience. The arts organizations will explore the rich tradition of black gospel music in America through three performances at churches in Sarasota and Venice in October.

The third offering in the Key Chorale’s American Roots series, this edition brings together two of Sarasota’s most renowned performing arts groups, weaving the spirited style of WBTT’s singers, dancers and musicians with the soaring choral harmonies of the Key Chorale Chamber Singers. The high-energy show will celebrate the deeply emotional music and movement at the heart of African-American worship. Highlights will include “Amazing Grace,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Oh Happy Day” and “Wade in the Water,” in moving, inspirational performances.

"It is truly a thrill to be able to put a program of this magnitude together – in partnership with the skilled singers of the Key Chorale – and perform it in area churches," said WBTT founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. "Gospel music was born in churches, where African-Americans could find release from the pressures of everyday life. This music played a huge role in the cultural experience of the African-American community but I think everyone in the audience will find the themes to be relatable and inspirational."

The shows take place: Friday, October 18, 7:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church (104 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota); Saturday, October 19, 4 p.m. at St. Boniface Episcopal Church (5615 Midnight Pass Rd., Siesta Key); and Saturday, October 26, 7:30 p.m. at Venice Presbyterian Church (825 The Rialto, Venice).

“This collaboration is an opportunity to be immersed in a genre that has the ability to empower us, transport us, and raise our spirits unlike any other. Performing spirituals and gospel music with Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is a dream come true,” said Maestro Caulkins. “The combination of Key Chorale’s great singers, and WBBT’s incredible performers, is sure to be an emotional and uplifting experience you won’t want to miss.”

Sponsors for the effort include the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Shelley & Sy Goldblatt.

Tickets are $30-$40, with a limited number of preferred seats available for $75. For tickets, go to westcoastblacktheatre.org or call the Box Office at 941-366-1505.


About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe:

The mission of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is to produce professional theater that promotes and celebrates the African-American experience, to attract diverse audiences, to support and develop African-American artists, and to build the self-esteem of African-American youth. For more information, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call 941-366-1505.

About Key Chorale

Key Chorale, the Suncoast’s premier symphonic chorus, is dedicated to transforming lives through innovative programming, artistic excellence, educational outreach and service to the community. Key Chorale, led by Joseph Caulkins, produces high quality collaborative musical events that engage and enrich our community. This anniversary season is going to be the biggest and boldest in Key Chorale’s history. Dynamic collaborations abound as they take you to unexpected places exploring almost every corner of choral music in unique one-of-a-kind concert experiences. Through dynamic collaborations with Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, The Sarasota Ballet, The Venice Symphony, and The Circus Arts Conservatory, Key Chorale is able to create unforgettable programs that continue to push the boundaries of choral music.