Key Chorale Inc
PO Box 20613
Sarasota FL 34276-3613
Key Chorale is dedicated to performing and promoting choral music of the highest quality. 
CEO/Executive Director M. Catherine Vernon
Board Chair Richard Lilley
Board Chair Affiliation Retired
General Info
Organization DBA
Supported Organization
Former Names
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1987
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Feb 2016
State Registration Yes 0
IRS Letter of Determination
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $291,806.00
Projected Expenses $291,806.00
Other Documents
Impact Statement

For the past several seasons, Key Chorale has expanded its musical experience to diverse audiences in different venues.  Collaborating with other arts organizations has further engaged our audiences as well as our community.  Let’s see how.


  • “Tomorrow’s Voices Today” in our recent 2013-14 Season was a first-ever joint choral festival held at Booker High School with ensembles from Sarasota County high schools at which Key Chorale provided an opportunity for students to work with professionals and to reach new audiences. It was such a success that another “Tomorrow’s Voices Today” concert is scheduled with several high schools in South Sarasota County this coming 2014-15 Season.  Key Chorale is planning to expand this concept with the Sarasota Choral Festival in October, 2014 to foster the same musical experience for amateur adult singers.
  • Nationally-acclaimed soprano Mary Wilson performed to a full house in “Handel and Haydn Rediscovered” with Key Chorale and the chamber orchestra at the First United Methodist Church in February, 2014. The concert concluded with Haydn’s beloved “Lord Nelson Mass” to resounding audience approval. She will be returning to deliver another sparkling performance in our 2014-15 Season.
  • Key Chorale commissioned “The Lake Isle-Part II” a work by the immensely popular composer Ola Gjeilo written for chorus, string quartet, piano and guitar. The World Premiere was on Sunday, April 27, 2014 at Saint Boniface Episcopal Church. Ola Gjeilo played piano for the two performances in April.
  • The upcoming season which celebrates our 30th anniversary, “Celebrating the Past - Endowing the Future” promises to continue our collaboration with the Sarasota Ballet, the Sarasota County school system, the Neuro Challenge Foundation along with the St. Thomas More Church. 


Needs Statement
Key Chorale is virtually a volunteer-run organization with the exception of part-time compensation paid to the Artistic Director as well as to the Executive Director, and the Development Manager.  Small stipends are paid to Section Leaders and administrative and artistic support. We are celebrating our 30th anniversary season in 2014-2015. Season needs:

  1. Funding for the implementation of a Donor Management System with consulting and start-up costs to include the annual fees for the first year of support - $5,000.  
  2. Production and underwriting for a 30th Anniversary CD featuring works from composer Ola Gjeilo with the Key Chorale-commissioned piece “The Lake Isle-Part II” that premiered on April 27, 2014 - $5,000.
  3. Underwriters for “Tomorrow’s Voices Today” in the Sarasota County Schools and the inaugural “Sarasota Choral Festival” open to all singers of all abilities planned for the 2014-2015 season at $5,000 for each program.
  4. Orchestra musicians for a Masterworks Concert with 2 rehearsals for $500 to $1,000 per musician – total $7,000 and funding for sponsorship of the “Mozart: 1791” concert starting at $2,500. 
  5. Sponsorship of performance and rehearsal halls for our 30th Anniversary Season at $15,000. 
Background Statement

Key Chorale is in its 30th season of bringing great choral music to audiences in southwest Florida. Located in Sarasota, the Chorale was founded in 1985 by Ann Stephenson-Moe, Organist and Choirmaster of the Church of the Redeemer and Don B. Ryno, Minister of Music at St. Boniface Church. Our 2012-2013 season, “Vast Voyages”, was successful in bringing new works to our audiences and the highlight was the return of the powerful musical drama inspired by the Diary of Anne Frank, “Annelies” composed by James Whitbourn.


The Chorale is comprised of 109 voices with a professional base of section leaders and core singers. It has collaborated with other arts groups such as the Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Ballet, Circus Sarasota, Sarasota Young Voices, and Sybarite5 to bring celebrated musical works to the community.


For 21 years, Daniel Moe was the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Chorale. Dr. Moe previously conducted the internationally renowned Oberlin College Choir. He announced his intended retirement in October 2005, which allowed the Chorale to conduct a nationwide search for a new artistic director. Dr. Moe’s last concert was April 30, 2007 with a performance of Verdi’s acclaimed Requiem. His tenure with Key Chorale established a standard of choral excellence that has been continued by current Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins. 


Collaborating with the Sarasota Orchestra under the baton of Leif Bjaland, the Chorale has performed such works as “The Creation”, “Carmina Burana”, Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy”, and Poulenc’s “Gloria”. It also has appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Slatkin presenting Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony”. To celebrate its 25th season, Key Chorale performed “Three Days by the Sea” by Gwyneth Walker (commissioned for its 20th anniversary) along with a work by Dale Warland commissioned for this special occasion, “Invocations: Prayers for the Earth” and performed in the presence of the composer.


Key Chorale has released several recordings that reflect the diversity of its repertoire. Opening the 2010-11 season, the Chorale launched a new CD featuring the commissioned works noted previously and various selections of Eric Whitacre, Bonia Shur, and Daniel Moe.  
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Manatee
FL- Sarasota
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Mutual & Membership Benefit
Tertiary Org Type
Choral Music, Cirque des Voix, Choir, Daniel Moe, Key Chorale of Sarasota, singing, arts
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

G.F. Handel’s “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, (SOLOMON) had just been performed by the Key Chorale Orchestra, 18 members of the Sarasota Orchestra, welcoming the house for the January 2015 concert. The orchestra, led by Maestro Joseph Caulkins began the processional of “Zadok the Priest,” also by G. F. Handel. Maestro Caulkins turned, and with a dramatic downbeat invited the 110 member Key Chorale for their opening explosion of the words; “ZADOK THE PRIEST.” I was a member of the audience and was stunned and exhilarated by the power, beauty and emotion of this famous movement presented as only a Symphonic Chorale and a full orchestra can do.

The power of 110, auditioned and highly rehearsed human voices elicits emotions unlike any other musical form. Sarasota’s Symphonic Chorus is among the highest art forms in Sarasota’s valued and appreciated arts community, demonstrating throughout the season why it is “More than Music.”


Key Chorale celebrated its thirtieth season in 2014-2015 with diversified offerings:

Current living composer born in 1943, Morten Lauridsen’s composition of “Shining Night” at the Sarasota Choral Festival included a documentary.

Favorite composers J. S. Bach and G. F. Handel, born in 1685 and W. A. Mozart born in 1756 were showcased in The “Courts of Heaven and Earth” and “Mozart: 1791.”

“Lux Aeterna” with the Sarasota Ballet and Orchestra was a first –time collaboration.


Cirque Des Voix® with the Circus Arts Conservatory, raised the Big Top for the fifth year and Nik Walenda and Dolly Jacobs.

Tomorrow’s Voices Today, with the North Port, Pine View and Venice High School Choirs encouraged and guided young voices.

St. Thomas More Christmas Concert, with the Off-Key Chorale, a collaboration with the Neuro Challenge Foundation was a unique gift.

 The 2015-2016 season elevates the tradition of More than Music with:

  • Choral Festival, featuring new voices in choral music composition, including a world premiere of our own Key Chorale member’s composition. 
  • Holiday concert “A Banquet of Voices-With Clarion Voice,” featuring brass, strings and choir.
  • Bach and Beethoven – “Great Choral Masterworks:”Magnificat and Mass In C Major, featuring soloists and the Key Chorale Orchestra.
Cirque des Voix® in the Big Top at Benderson Park with the Key Chorale Orchestra.  Tomorrow’s Voices Today, Festival Repertoire in collaboration with Booker, Riverview, and Sarasota High Schools.
Key Chorale Leadership is also attending to the business of providing for the high level of Chorale Symphonic performance we are known for: Stronger messaging of the uniqueness and power of the human voice to traditional and non-traditional population segments.

·         Greater collaboration with the new and well - established Sarasota County arts organizations.

·         Better systems to serve our members, audience and donors.

·         Consistent utilization of the best acoustic venue in Sarasota supporting our highest level of vocal performance.


·         Maintaining and engaging our patrons that attend concerts to hear their most loved classical masterpieces while drawing new patrons that love the best music but are unaware of Symphonic Chorales.

·         Attracting more musical arts donors to support the high production costs of our quality performances.

Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
The challenge facing Key Chorale is also our most important opportunity: Making choral music relevant, attractive and financially viable in today’s culture. The time has passed when audiences could be counted on to attend concerts in which a good volunteer chorus would present the standard repertory of Handel oratorios, Bach cantatas and American spirituals. In the “marketplace” occupied by the arts now, there is strong competition among performing organizations to survive, forcing them to raise both their performance and their programming standards.
This means recruiting younger and more diverse singers who are willing to take on the demanding task of learning a wider repertoire, programming that includes both the well-known masterworks of the past and music of our time, music which may not yet have found a place in the concert world but which deserves skillful presentation. At the same time, it is essential to maintain the base of both performers and audiences who have supported our organization in the past, providing exceptional concerts that include both those acknowledged and beloved traditional compositions and new or neglected works. These performances can only be successful if they are well attended and create an income stream adequate to the needs of the organization, a goal which implies the need for both innovative marketing and assurances that the chorale’s distinguished heritage is not being compromised in the pursuit of the “new”.     
We sincerely believe that we are making substantial progress in this delicate task, symbolized by our work with Circus Sarasota, the Sarasota-Manatee Dance Alliance, Sarasota Young Voices, and in our recent concert, “Mozart Meets Radiohead”, in which a collaboration with Sybarite5 resulted in an event which attracted and pleased audiences who fit perfectly with the goals expressed above. That these collaborations were more expensive than the traditional fare of the past is undeniable and a strong indication that we must find additional support from donors, sponsors and foundations while building larger audiences.
A new approach to building more diverse audiences is well-exemplified by our recent collaboration with the Sarasota County School System: "Tomorrow's Voices Today,” a concert in which three high school choruses joined with Key Chorale to present an exciting program performed separately and together. Planning has already begun to produce this event again next year, using choruses from schools in the south part of the county.

Please note that the collaborative nature of Key Chorale’s mission has been both a creative challenge and a considerable success. The fact that most of our concerts have been co-productions have made it necessary to construct our 2014-2015 season budget as an overall amount ($280,364) rather than allocating both direct and indirect costs per event.

  • Key Chorale will hold the inaugural "Sarasota Choral Festival" open to singers of all abilities in October. "Tomorrow's Voices Today" high school Choral Festival is in March 2015 featuring ensembles from south Sarasota County Schools, nationally acclaimed soprano Mary Wilson will perform with Key Chorale in January and guest soloist, Bharat Chandra will appear in April's concert "Mozart: 1791".
  • Collaboration with Circus Sarasota continues with a special November performance at Ed Smith Stadium.
  • Community outreach collaborations are planned with the Sarasota Ballet, St. Thomas More Church and Neuro Challenge Foundation for our 30th Anniversary.
Budget $280,364
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Musical Performances
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Families Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success
  • In the short term, our 2013-2014 Season, “On The Edge Of Tomorrow” had a successful first-ever collaboration with the Sarasota County school system with plans for another high school choral festival with south county schools next winter during our 30th anniversary season.
  • We are planning a Masterworks concert for next season based on the success of our "Handel and Haydn Rediscovered" concert with nationally acclaimed soprano Mary Wilson. First Church was full and the audience appreciation for the classical works in our repertoire was a very positive outcome.
  • Key Chorale successfully completed a 1:1 match for $10,000 providing $20,000 for program support.
  • Composer Ola Gjeilo completed the newly commissioned piece "The Lake Isle" which will have its world premiere here on April 27, 2014. 
Long Term Success The season concerts are clearly linked to Key Chorale’s new philosophy: That of diverse collaborations to initiate new multi-dimensional programs and concerts.  Our repertoire is diverse and we are committed to an educational outreach and investing in our youth to plant the seeds for a lifelong love of music. Each collaboration and concert is assessed based on the goals set for the year.
Program Success Monitoring

In the long term, we expect ticket sales to increase and income to benefit from tighter budgetary control based on the lessons learned.

We will continue our collaborations, particularly with Circus Sarasota and Sarasota Young Voices, while planning programming to continue the High School Choral Festival with the Sarasota County Schools and create more educational opportunities with other institutions of learning, thus increasing our reach and influence in Southwest Florida and elsewhere. This ambitious program will be monitored by ticket sales, donor participation, audience surveys and continued appreciation from local media.
Program Success Examples
  • “Tomorrow’s Voices Today”, the first-ever high school choral festival featuring ensembles from Booker, Riverview and Sarasota high schools with the Key Chorale voices was widely praised and well received by the students, audiences and school administration. Plans are underway to establish the High School Choral Festival as an annual program. 
  • Key Chorale's Artistic Director and several singers have completed three 8-week sessions in collaboration with Neuro Challenge Foundation creating the "Off Key Chorale". This program provides vocal training and socialization for Parkinson's Disease patients and their care givers.
  • “Dancing with Jenkins” and “Mozart Meets Radiohead”, in 2012 identified new audiences for dance and modern music.
  • Key Chorale is proud to have mentored high school members that have gone to colleges with great appreciation for the confidence building and performance skills learned while singing with Key Chorale.
Program Comments by Organization
Program Comments by Foundation
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director M. Catherine Vernon
CEO Term Start Feb 2015
CEO/Executive Director Email

In addition to serving as Executive Director of Key Chorale and singing in this symphonic choir as an Alto I, Catherine Vernon is an international corporate attorney providing consulting and legal services to nonprofits and humanitarian organizations.  She retired in 2013 as Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel of the Formica and Laminex Group of companies, owned by New Zealand-based Fletcher Building Limited, the largest building products company in Australasia [FBU.NZ & FBU.AX].  

Ms. Vernon is active in the American Bar Association Section of International Law and was awarded the ABA International Law Section’s Outstanding International Corporate Counsel award in 2012. She is Vice Chair of the Section’s International Human Rights Committee, with responsibility as co-chair of its Subcommittee on Human Trafficking. In December 2013, she served as an ABA delegate to the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.  Ms. Vernon has undergraduate degrees in both economics and international studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and attended the Miami University Dolibois European Center in Luxembourg.  Her law degree was awarded with honors by Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Catherine has served on many nonprofit boards, including the Cincinnati Ballet, Girls Scouts of the Western Reserve, Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Summit & Medina Counties, and the Cleveland & Akron Councils on World Affairs.  She currently participates in the Engage Sarasota program of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, and serves on the fundraising committee of Selah Freedom.

She presently is completing graduate studies in the University of Florida’s Graduate Certificate Program in Nonprofit Leadership.  Ms. Vernon moved from Cincinnati, Ohio to Sarasota in May 2014 with her husband, David, a retired bank CEO.  She has lived, worked or traveled in over 35 countries.


Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Richard Storm 1996 - Feb
Senior Staff
Peggy Olsen Development Manager
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 17
Staff Retention Rate % N/A
Professional Development No
Contractors 17
Volunteers 109
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation No
Senior Management Formal Evaluation No
Non-Management Formal Evaluation N/A

Key Chorale has continued its policy of collaborations with other local organizations with these examples:

  • Embracing Our Differences– April 15, 2013 at The Players Theatre, Key Chorale partnered with Embracing Our Differences and The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee for a special performance of “Annelies” for middle school students.
  • "Tomorrow's Voices Today"- November 2013, collaborated with Sarasota County Schools in youth Choral Festival.
  • “Off Key Chorale”– In January 2013 Key Chorale collaborated with the Neuro Challenge Foundation to work with Parkinson patients and their care givers to form a chorus. We are continuing that collaboration in 2014.
  • The Jacobites—May 27, 2012 at Church of the Palms- “Memorial Day Concert”
  • The Sybarite5—April 22, 2012 at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in “Mozart Meets Radiohead”
  • Sarasota-Manatee Dance Alliance—February 26, 2012 at the Sailor Circus Arena - “Dancing with Jenkins”
  • Circus Sarasota & Sarasota Young Voices—January 13-15, 2012 and March 8-10, 2013 in performances of Cirque des Voix™ and December 13-15, 2013. 
  • Selby Gardens—October 23, 2011 celebrating “Music in Bloom” and Sunday, October 27, 2013.
  • Sarasota Orchestra—March 31-April 3, 2011 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, (women’s voices); March 25-28, 2010 and February 9-11, 2009
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Risk Management Provisions
Commercial General Liability
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 4
Strategic Plan Adopted Oct 2011
Management Succession Plan No
Policies and Procedures No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Management Comments by Organization
Management Comments by Foundation
Board Chair
Board Chair Richard Lilley
Company Affiliation Retired
Board Term July 2013 to June 2015
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Joseph Caulkins Artistic Director
Aida B. Coleman Manatee High School
Marcia Corrigan Vice President
Glenn Darling Hall Architects, Inc.
Judy Egan Principal of Marketing Solutions
A. Leslie (Lee) Holden Principal of ARC Group
Richard Lilley President
Matthew B. Mayper Ferguson, Skipper, Shaw, Keyser, Baron & Triabassi, P.A.
Nancy Morris Alliance Insurance
Joel L. Morrison Retired
Lorraine Murphy Performance Artist
Nancy Yost Olson Secretary/Accompanist
Judith Plerhoples Community Volunteer
Kay Semrod Sarasota Orchestra
Richard Storm Executive Director
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 9
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 10
Board Meeting Attendance % 85
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 30
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Board Governance
Governance Comments by Organization
Governance Comments by Foundation
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2015
Fiscal Year Ends 2016
Projected Revenue $291,806.00
Projected Expenses $291,806.00
Endowment Value $35,593.00
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Endowment Spending Policy %
Capital Campaign
In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years?
Historical Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$17,379$13,460$12,288
Individual Contributions$119,009$76,798$61,126
Investment Income, Net of Losses$2,402$1,298$1,087
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$12,490$2,696$20,905
Revenue In-Kind$0$157$19,612
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$198,451$195,120$153,276
Administration Expense$46,046$40,318$54,728
Fundraising Expense$4,963$4,656$14,206
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.061.080.89
Program Expense/Total Expenses80%81%69%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue3%4%14%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$72,977$64,794$39,702
Current Assets$37,383$64,794$22,776
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$1,867$11,367$7,308
Total Net Assets$71,110$53,427$32,394
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $119,009Ticket & Music Sales $82,148Program service revenue $96,162
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountTicket & Music Sales $62,135Contributions, gifts, grants $76,798Contributions, gifts, grants $61,126
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountOther Program Service Revenue $38,137Foundation & Corporate Support $35,809Fundraising $20,905
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $0 - $50,000
Co-CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities20.025.703.12
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization FYEOur membership revenue is as follows:
Financial Comments by Foundation Foundations and corporations are included with individual contributions as they are not separated in the Federal 990s or financial compilations.
Nonprofit Key Chorale Inc
Address PO Box 20613
Sarasota, FL 342763613
Primary Phone 941 921-4845