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 A. Leslie (Lee) Holden
Board Chair Affiliation Principal of ARC Group
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

Under the direction of Joseph Caulkins, Key Chorale has become a producer of collaborative musical events that embrace and support our community.   Collaborating with other arts organizations has further engaged our audiences as well as our community.  Let’s see how.


  • “Tomorrow’s Voices Today”, a joint choral festival held at North Port Performing Arts Center with ensembles from North Port, Venice and Pine View high schools provided an opportunity for students to work with Maestro Joseph Caulkins and sing with and be mentored by Key Chorale singers. “Tomorrow’s Voices Today” will be held at Riverview High School in April 2016 with Booker, Riverview and Sarasota High School participating. 
  • The "Sarasota Choral Festival" was successful with 150 singers participating in our inaugural season.This Season the Festival will expand to include more opportunities for participants to get coaching and information culminating in a concert on October 10th. Registration is open to all singers high school age and older without an audition.
  • This season Key Chorale will hold our Downtown Master Series concerts at First United Methodist Church on Pineapple St. providing continuity of location and all concerts will be at 4:00 p.m. We expect this will lead to increased ticket sales this year and create an opportunity for more people to learn about Key Chorale with our concerts centrally located downtown.
  • Key Chorale performed to sold out audiences for Cirque des Voix last season and we will collaborate with Circus Sarasota again in March 2016 at Nathan Benderson Park.
  • More than Music! is the theme for 2015-2016 and many enhancements to our ticketing and marketing plans ensure more exposure in the community and successes for Key Chorale.


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 nominal fees paid to the Executive Director, Development Manager, and Marketing Manager. Small stipends are paid to Section Leaders and administrative and artistic support. We are in our 31st season, “More than Music!” 2015-2016. Season needs are listed below.
1. Sponsorship support for the second annual Choral Festival, New Voices in Choral Music, October 10th to underwrite production expenses, plus new coaching and informational programs for participants at $5,000.
2. Build a Donor Management System including staff education and implementation projected at $2,500 - $5,000.
3. Underwrite the expenses for Bach & Beethoven, Great Choral Masterworks on February 13, 2016 to include 4 nationally recognized soloists at $2,000 each.
4. Tomorrow’s Voices Today is an annual collaboration with Sarasota County Schools and we are seeking underwriting to fund an honorarium for each school, Booker, Riverview and Sarasota High for enhancement of the music programs at each school -$3,000.


Background Statement

Key Chorale’s 31st season is entitled, More than Music! The Chorale has become a producer of high quality collaborative musical events that support and embrace the talents of our community. Located in Sarasota, the chorale was founded in 1985 by Ann Stephenson-Moe and Don B. Ryno. It has an esteemed history of performing such monumental scores as Beethoven’s "Ninth Symphony" and Haydn’s "Creation.” For 21 years, under the original artistic director, Daniel Moe, Key Chorale established a standard of choral excellence that has been continued and expanded by Artistic Director and Conductor, Joseph Caulkins.

The Chorale has over 100 auditioned voices with a professional base of section leaders and core singers. Collaborating organizations include the Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Ballet, Circus Sarasota, and Sybarite 5 performing celebrated works in the community. “Annelies” by James Whitbourne and “Lux Aeterna” by Morten Lauridsen are representative of these contemporary choral performances.

“Tomorrow’s Voices Today” was introduced in 2013 and is a mentoring program for high school students culminating in an ensemble performance of students from three local high schools and Key Chorale which showcases each school and the best of their repertoire. Complementing this effort, the Sarasota Choral Festival was launched inviting amateur choral singers to participate with the chorale under the direction of Joseph Caulkins in a unique week-long festival resulting in the performance of a major work. Maestro Caulkins has also initiated “Off-Key Chorale” that develops the singing skills of individuals with Parkinson’s disease

Key Chorale, partnered with Circus Sarasota in 2011, creating Cirque des Voix® – an unprecedented blending of choral and orchestral music with circus arts. Cirque des Voix® was performed to sold-out audiences under the “Big Top” in March, 2015. Key Chorale commissioned a new work by wunderkind Ola Gjeilo which was performed in April, 2014, “The Lake Isle -Part II”. In the same year, world renowned soprano Mary Wilson made her first Sarasota appearance with the Chorale in “Handel and Haydn Rediscovered”.

Key Chorale has several recordings that reflect the diversity of its repertoire-the most recent being “Invocations” featuring the works of Eric Whitacre, Bonia Shur, Dale Warland and Daniel Moe. It has performed to overseas audiences touring central Europe in 2001, France and Italy in 2009, and Ireland and Scotland in 2012.





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

Under the direction of Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins, Key Chorale has become a producer of high quality collaborative musical events that support and embrace the talents of our community. We are “More Than Music” and I am honored to serve as the new Executive Director, and to have joined Key Chorale this past season as one of its new alto voices. As Sarasota’s only Symphonic Chorus, Key Chorale fills a music niche no other local music performance group can accomplish.

We are adept at creating sounds that “wow” our audiences, whether performing in concert halls, opera houses, cathedrals, outdoor musical festivals or circus tents, always delivering the strong vocal quality for which we are known. This coming 2015-16 season continues our tradition of producing professional quality musical performances with nationally-recognized soloists and professional orchestra. Our season begins with the Second Annual Sarasota Choral Festival, an open invitation to all singers and choirs to join us in a festival chorus performance, and ends with Tomorrow’s Voices Today, our third annual collaboration with the Sarasota County Public Schools in a combined student-Key Chorale performance choir. Our Downtown Master Series concerts at First Church in October, November and February will showcase Key Chorale’s range of repertoire from the great classical masterworks, accompanied by its full professional orchestra, to newly commissioned music from renowned current American and international composers. In March we will be back at Nathan Benderson Park for Cirque des Voix®, our unique and fascinating collaboration with Circus Sarasota.

Community outreach is an important part of Key Chorale’s mission and we continue our involvement with the “Off-Key Chorale”, a choral group comprised of Parkinson’s patients and Key Chorale singers creating thrilling sounds together. This partnership with the Artists Series Concerts and Neuro Challenge Foundation is one of the most important forms of outreach we do, involving numerous hours of volunteer time by our Conductor Joseph Caulkins and many of our singers.

Our ticket prices remain well-below production cost so that our exceptional music is accessible to a broader audience demographic. We are grateful for the support of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and many others whose generous donations enable Key Chorale to build upon its wonderful musical legacy and continue to deliver new and unique musical performances for our audiences.


Please note that the collaborative nature of Key Chorale’s mission has been both a creative challenge and a considerable success. Our 2015-2016 season budget is constructed as an overall amount ($291,806) rather than allocating both direct and indirect costs per event.

  • Key Chorale will hold the second annual "Sarasota Choral Festival" open to singers of all abilities in October. "Tomorrow's Voices Today" high school Choral Festival is in April 2016 featuring ensembles from Booker, Riverview, and Sarasota High Schools.
  • Downtown Master Series Concerts are in October, November and February showcasing Key Chorale's range of repertoire from the great classical masterworks, accompanied by its orchestra, to newly commissioned music.
  • Collaboration with Circus Sarasota continues in March 2016 at Nathan Benderson Park.
  • Community outreach with the "Off-Key Chorale" continues. Neuro Challenge Foundation and Artist Series are partners in this program.
Budget $291,806
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 2014-2015 Season, “Celebrating the Past - Endowing the Future” was our 30th Anniversary Season. Collaboration with the Sarasota County school system on "Tomorrow's Voices Today" produced a concert at the North Port Performing Arts Center featuring North Port, Pine View and Venice high school choirs with Key Chorale.
  • Nationally acclaimed soprano Mary Wilson performed Mozart's "Exsultate Jubilate" for solo soprano along with other works by Handel at First Church with the full Chorale and orchestra with very positive audience appreciation for the classical works in our repertoire. 
  • Cirque des Voix was sold out for performances at Nathan Benderson Park in collaboration with Circus Sarasota..
  • "Mozart: 1791" - The final works of Mozart with guest soloist, Bharat Chandra at First Church in April was a magnificent end to a collaborative season. Bharat's "Clarinet Concerto" and orchestra accompaniment earned a standing ovation and shouts of "Bravo!"
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
  • “Sarasota Choral Festival”, will take place October 10, 2015 for a second year. The Festival is open to all singers high school age and older and over 150 voices participated in the inaugural festival last year.  The festival concert, "New Voices in Choral Music" is growing and will be at First United Methodist Church. One of our own Key Chorale members will premiere his composition "The Prayer of St. Francis". 
  • Key Chorale's Artistic Director and several singers have completed another year 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. The "Off-Key Chorale" is now performing with Key Chorale at least once per season.
  • 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 2015
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 Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation N/A

 Key Chorale continues to collaborate with other local organizations with these recent examples:

  • “Lux Aeterna”- November 21-22, 2014 Key Chorale collaborated with the Sarasota Ballet and Orchestra.
  • “Tomorrow’s Voices Today” – The third year of collaboration with Sarasota County Schools showcasing high school choirs that also perform with and are mentored by Key Chorale under the direction of Joseph Caulkins will take place at Riverview high school April 30, 2016.
  • “Off- Key Chorale” – Key Chorale is collaborating with The Artists Series and the Neuro Challenge Foundation for a third year working with Parkinson patients and their care givers to form a chorus that also performs with Key Chorale members.
  • Cirque des Voix® - We have celebrated our fifth year of collaboration with Circus Sarasota, circus performers and the Cirque Orchestra comprised of Sarasota Orchestra musicians for a unique show each season. Performances were sold out in March, 2015.
  •  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.
  •  The Sybarite5—April 22, 2012 at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in “Mozart Meets Radiohead”



External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
85th Anniversary Recognition for Outstanding Music Education & PerformanceSarasota Music Club2015
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
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization
Management Comments by Foundation
Planning & Policies Comments by Organization
Planning & Policies Comments by Foundation
Multi-Media Comments by Organization
Board Chair
Board Chair A. Leslie (Lee) Holden
Company Affiliation Principal of ARC Group
Board Term July 2015 to June 2017
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Joseph Caulkins Key Chorale
Aida B. Coleman Community Volunteer
Marcia Corrigan Community Volunteer
Glenn Darling Hall Architects, Inc.
Judy Egan Community Volunteer
A. Leslie (Lee) Holden Principal of Lee Results
Richard Lilley Community Volunteer
Matthew B. Mayper Fergeson, Skipper, Shaw, Keyser, Baron & Tirabassi, P.A.
Nancy Morris Alliance Insurance
Joel L. Morrison Community Volunteer
Lorraine Murphy Concert Artist
Nancy Yost Olson Accompanist
Judith Plerhoples Community Volunteer
Kay Semrod Community Volunteer
M. Catherine Vernon Key Chorale
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board 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 % 81
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 30
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
Anticipate Campaign within 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 Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$17,532$17,379$13,460
Individual Contributions$73,441$119,009$76,798
Investment Income, Net of Losses$2,576$2,402$1,298
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$19,064$12,490$2,696
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$157
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$192,562$198,451$195,120
Administration Expense$56,247$46,046$40,318
Fundraising Expense$7,396$4,963$4,656
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.951.061.08
Program Expense/Total Expenses75%80%81%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue7%3%4%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$81,106$72,977$64,794
Current Assets$45,920$37,383$64,794
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$26,772$1,867$11,367
Total Net Assets$54,334$71,110$53,427
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountTicket & Music Sales $81,095Contributions, gifts, grants $119,009Ticket & Music Sales $82,148
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $73,441Ticket & Music Sales $62,135Contributions, gifts, grants $76,798
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountOther Program Service Revenue $29,689Other Program Service Revenue $38,137Foundation & Corporate Support $35,809
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $0 - $50,000
Co-CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.7220.025.70
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
FYEOur membership revenue is as follows:
Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information taken from Federal tax returns.  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
Phone 941 921-4845