Inspired by the principles of African American scholar W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963), VocalEssence created the Talented Tenth Apprentice Program (TTAP) for talented urban-area high school students of color to receive professional music and vocal training. Students are empowered, enlightened and encouraged to become community leaders in a lifetime pursuit of singing and contributing to the choral tradition.
From 2009-2014, in partnership with Minneapolis South High School, WITNESS Teaching Artist Ginger Commodore worked with the Talented Tenth students, teaching them select repertoire from the annual WITNESS concert. Students rehearsed with the VocalEssence Chorus and sang at the WITNESS concert at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. Students also performed this repertoire at a school assembly alongside members of the VocalEssence Chorus. In 2014-2015, VocalEssence partnered with Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis on TTAP. Sanford Moore taught students select repertoire from the annual WITNESS concert, and instead of a school assembly, students sang two songs from the WITNESS concert with the Fellowship Choir and a group of VocalEssence Chorus members at a Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church worship service.
In 2015-2016, we are remodeling the program so that ten students from Como Park High School in Saint Paul will attend all of the VocalEssence WITNESS rehearsals in January and February. The program will help subsidize transportation for participating students, and they will still perform the repertoire at a school assembly alongside members of the VocalEssence Chorus in addition to performing with VocalEssence at the WITNESS concert at Orchestra Hall.
If your school would like to participate in the Talented Tenth Apprentice Program, please contact VocalEssence at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-547-1451.