Fate of Chorale to be decided Saturday

BY C.S. GILBERT

Friday’s Spring Concert performed at FKCC’s Tennessee Williams Theater by the somewhat shaken Keys Chorale may have had a couple of glitches – a premature solo, a belated seating – but it was as a whole an affirmation of the preparation, determination and spirit of the troupe.

     Full disclosure: I have been a member of the Chorale for three years now. I am a writer and an actor; I’m not a singer — yet I love to sing. The Chorale gives me that gift.

     Odds are the Chorale will survive, although the form it may take is still to be determined. A meeting for that purpose has been called for Saturday, April 19, at 10 a.m. in the Chorale’s usual classroom will probably seal the short if not the long-term fate of the community vocal ensemble. All past and present Chorale members are invited to attend. Those who cannot are urged to fill out a survey available by emailing keyschorale@gmail.com.

     Following the totally unexpected departure of longtime director Dean Walters, former assistant and heir of much-esteemed founder Emily Boyd Lowe, Walters’ assistant Jim Cutty and music-man-about-town Vincent Zito stepped in to direct with absolute professionalism.  

Through the Chorale Advisory Board – a small group of appointed officers and leaders – Walters asked members 1) not to make a fuss and 2) to work hard to produce an excellent concert. They didn’t and then they did. The joy of singing and Walters’ consummate professional, gentlemanliness triumphed over all bewilderment, pain and Key West Citizen headlines created by a disgruntled FKCC Foundation board member.

     With the title of “Amore: Songs of Love and Passion” — only a bit of an overstatement — the energy and quality of Friday’s concert was a tribute to Boyd Lowe, Walters, Cutty, Zito  and the high quality history of the group, which has been the keystone of the college music department – both credit and noncredit – for 24 years.

     The advisory committee, headed by Nancy Barta, is comprised of Jack Agnew, Jim Cutty, Monika Haskall, Dolly Garlo, Cindi Hall, Paul Hayes, Lisa McCarthy, Sandy Walters and Vincent Zito. They, particularly Barta, were forced into the position of buffer between Walters, the foundation, the college administration and the ensemble. They are to be commended. 

 Amidst the trouble and the triumph, one aphorism remains indelible, adapted from an Unitarian Universalist singer-songwriter whose name I have forgotten. “God respects us when we work, but She loves us when we sing.”