A Short History of the Jubilus Festival

In 1999 Music Director Nansi Carroll became inspired by an innovative project in California entitled “Omnia Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.”  This diocesan art exibit had reached out to the greater artistic community, commissioned them to produce a wide range of works that expressed the fundamental relationship between artistic expression and the search for meaning beyond one’s rational perception.  In an attempt to achieve a similar result through music, Nansi and colleague Stephen Coxe decided to invite composers to create new pieces, from liturgical music to abstract compositions evoking spiritual images.  The initial result was a single concert entitled “Out of the Sacred,” which involved the St. Augustine Church Choir and a handful of guest musicians.

Nansi Carroll, percussionist Tony Steve, composer Bob Moore, & Fr. John Gillespie


In 2004, the event had grown into a series of four concerts featuring both traditional masterworks and world premiers by local and guest musicans and composers.  At that time the series was renamed Jubilus.   By 2010, the Jubilus Festival’s programming ranged from ancient works to improvisation, involved multiple venues in Gainesville and St. Augustine, Florida, and featured over 20 guest artists, including renowned names such as Juliette Kang, the First Associate Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  And 2011 saw the continuance of the Festival’s high standard of artistry and its dedication to an ever-expanding breadth of programming, with the return of Dithyramb–the improvisational duo from Philadelphia—playing in a new venue (Gainesville’s historic  Matheson Museum) and new guest artists such as UF’s Pazeni Sauti Africa Choir performing traditional African songs in numerous native languages.

UF's Pazeni Sauti Africa Choir under the direction of Duncan Wanbugu at the Jubilus 2011 Season Finale Concert.


The Jubilus Music Festival’s tradition of outreach and music education has also grown over the years, from concert talks to student workshops.  With the help of a Yale alumniVentures grant, the 2011 season included our highest level of community music education outreach ever, with improvisation workshops for pre-school to college-aged youth, with an emphasis on reaching at-risk and/or needy children.  Footage from those workshops will be used to produce an educational DVD for local elementary schools.

Dithyramb’s Improvisation Workshops at Rawlings Elementary, Gainesville.

In fact, the Festival has grown to such an extent that the organization A Musical Offering (AMO), formed to help coordinate and fund the concert events as well as other musical outreach, has become an independent 501(3)(c) non-profit organization. For more information about how to volunteer with AMO and/or help fund these and other events and programs, please click here:  Support AMO.

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