Gloria Musicae Presents ‘Too Hot to Handel’ Sunday, December 11, Sarasota Opera House

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(Not your mama’s Messiah!)

Gloria Musicae Presents

Too Hot to Handel”

Sunday, December 11 Sarasota Opera House

The Gloria Musicae Singers and members of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will raise the roof of the Opera House with this sizzling gospel take on Handel’s “Messiah.”

(Sarasota, FL) For something completely different and certifiably rousing, Gloria Musicae heats up the holidays with “Too Hot to Handel,” an exuberant, gospel reinvention of Handel’s classic, “Messiah,” Sunday, December 11, 4 p.m., at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota. Conducted by Dr. Joseph Holt, the performance features the Gloria Musicae Singers, singers and soloists from the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, and Sarasota’s finest professional orchestral musicians. Tickets are $35 at the door; $30 in advance. Student tickets are $15. Subscription packages are also still available. For tickets and info, visit or call 941-387-6046.

What inspired Gloria Musicae’s artistic director, Joseph Holt, to add a gospel remake of Handel’s “Messiah” to the repertoire?

Performances of Handel’s joyful ‘Messiah’ are a time-honored tradition during the holidays,” says Holt. “We decided to jazz it up with this soulful, electrifying version that’s sure to have you rejoicing in the aisles.”

Co-arranged in 1993 by composers Bob Christianson and Gary Anderson from an original concept by Marin Alsop, “Too Hot to Handel” takes Handel’s original music from the “Messiah” and transforms it to create a jazzy, gospel version of the original. They added saxophones, electric bass, electric guitar, piano, percussion and the Hammond B3 organ to the orchestration, all of which evokes the modern sound of gospel music. Soloists improvise and soulfully recreate the oratorio, incorporating the improvisational elements that are characteristic of both modern gospel and jazz.

The end product is still recognizable as the 18th-century Handel classic but in a medium that is unquestionably that of the 20th-century,” says Holt.

Another inspiration for Holt was the chance to collaborate with the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and its artistic director Nate Jacobs. “It’s a thrill for all of us to be working with Nate and his acclaimed performance group,” says Holt.

Featured soloists include Nate Jacobs, Syreeta Banks, Brian Boyd, Amy Jo Connours, Sherwood Davis, Samone A. Hicks, Elaine Mayo and Leon Pitts.

Founded in 1979, Gloria Musicae, Sarasota’s only professional chorus, presents the greatest hits of the last four centuries along with lesser known gems and the work of living composers with imaginative programming and musical excellence. The chorus consists of 32 professional singers and 8 apprentices.

For more information about Gloria Musicae, visit

About Gloria Musicae

Gloria Musicae celebrates choral music through innovative performances. The critically acclaimed group, the Gloria Musicae Singers, under the artistic direction of Dr. Joseph Holt, performs a repertoire spanning four centuries, and includes orchestral works, intimate madrigals, church motets, folk songs, close-harmony jazz, and Broadway show music. The ensemble also specializes in premiere performances of lesser-known choral works, particularly music by living American composers. The Gloria Musicae Singers has performed premieres by René Clausen, Dick Hyman, Robert Levin, Gwyneth Walker, and James Grant, along with the premiere of a new edition of a rarely heard score by Rossini. For more information about Gloria Musicae, visit

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