Christmas with Key Chorale Joined by Craig Williams, December 8, 3:30pm & 7pm

World-renowned organist Craig Williams, brass sextet, flute and percussion join Key Chorale in a holiday program of carols and seasonal music. James Whitbourn’s Missa Carolae, commissioned for the 1400th anniversary of England’s Rochester Cathedral, incorporates Christmas classics from France, Germany, and Poland. Impressive brass, timpani, and the 100 voices of Key Chorale combine for an unforgettable holiday program featuring choral works by Dale Warland, Mack Wilberg, Ola Gjeilo, and Stephen Scwartz. This is sure to be a festive and exciting holiday concert. Join us for a free pre-concert lecture with Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins one hour before the concert.

Versatile with a clear beat, and known for his innovative programming, Maestro Joseph Caulkins is at home with music from classics to pops, and baroque to ballet. His work alongside pops legend Erich Kunzel, conducting icon Dale Warland, and master technician Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival, has shaped him into a sensitive and dynamic conductor.

As Artistic Director of Sarasota’s Key Chorale, Joseph has consistently delivered innovative concert experiences through adventurous programming, unique collaborations, and performances of new and rarely heard works. He has taken audiences to unexpected places including: Richard Einhorn’s dynamic oratorio, Voices of Light, written to accompany Carl Dreyer’s 1928 silent film classic “The Passion of Joan of Arc”, a collaboration with the Sarasota Opera and the Sarasota Film Society, an innovative program titled Mozart Meets Radiohead with edgy string quintet Sybarite5, and the US premiere of James Whitbourn’s Annelies, a setting of the “Diary of Anne Frank,” which the Herald-Tribune called a “Triumph.”

Key Chorale was catapulted onto the national stage in 2017 when it was invited to perform Cirque des Voix®, an innovative concert experience with the Circus Arts Conservatory, for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall, which the Washington Post named one of the top five events of the entire 10-day festival. The chorale also sang two performances at the historic National Cathedral and released their latest CD, ARISE – Choral Music of Ola Gjeilo, featuring two world premiere recordings.

From 2001-2010 Joseph served as Associate Conductor/Director of Choruses for the Southwest Florida Symphony, where he created the Stained Glass Series, and led annual Messiah and Holiday Pops concerts. Before 2001, he was Artistic Director of the Bach Chamber Choir & Orchestra (Rockford, IL) and directed the St. Procopius Chamber Orchestra and Choirs at Benedictine University (Lisle, IL). With his choruses Mr. Caulkins has recorded numerous CDs, led European concert tours, conducted many  regional and world premieres, and commissioned new works from Dale Warland, Eric Whitacre, and Ola Gjeilo among others.

Craig S. Williams is Organist and Choirmaster of the Cadet Chapel, United States Military Academy West Point, where he plays the world’s largest church all-pipe organ and directs the Cadet Chapel Choir. He is only the fourth organist to hold that position since the present Cadet Chapel building was erected in 1910.

At West Point, Mr. Williams oversees the music programs of five chapels, in which are given well over 400 services, concerts and various other functions annually.  Personally, Mr. Williams performs at approximately 200 of these chapel functions, including worship services, weddings, funerals, class reunion memorial services, recitals, choir concerts and VIP organ demonstrations performing for royalty, cabinet members, generals, members of Congress and many other international government and military figures.  He has been featured on television numerous times including his recent appearance on Fox News’ West Point Holiday Special which received over 2,000,000 views, and appears as organist on the West Point Glee Club’s DVD Stand Ye Steady.

Mr. Williams has performed on both organ and piano for over 40 years and continues to perform nationwide. His organ credits include performances at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, several appearances at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, and at Segerstrom Hall in Orange County, CA with the Pacific Chorale.  His most recent appearance at Segerstrom Hall was in a concert, Superstar Organ Virtuosos, where he shared the stage with Paul Jacobs, Frederick Swann, Christoph Bull and members of the Pacific Symphony.  Mr. Williams has also played on the summer series at the Riverside Church in New York, the Crystal Cathedral, and Ocean Grove Auditorium; and he continues to give numerous recitals and workshops for prominent cathedrals and churches on both coasts.

Mr. Williams is an Associate of the American Guild of Organists and served as dean of the Central Hudson Valley chapter from 2012 to 2016.  In the early 90’s, he served as dean of the Brooklyn Chapter. Also, he has been a featured performer for conventions held by the AGO and also the American Institute of Organbuilders.

Mr. Williams received the masters in organ performance from Westminster Choir College where he was one of three of the first Currin Scholars, a full graduate level scholarship, studying with Eugene Roan. His piano performance degrees include the masters from the Juilliard School, studying with Martin Canin, where he performed with the Juilliard Symphony at Lincoln Center; and the bachelors from the University of Southern California, studying with Daniel Pollack.

In addition to his duties at West Point, he serves on the conservatory faculty at Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ) and is adjunct professor of organ at Nyack College (Nyack, NY). He is devoted to his wife, Lee, and the proud father of Abigail and Stewart.