The Oxford Times (UK) has declared that the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers “have a blend that could—and should—be the envy of every choir in the business.” Founded in 1991, the Ensemble Singers are acclaimed for their “superbly blended sound” (Birmingham Post, UK) and “exemplary technique” (Minneapolis Star Tribune). Lauded by the Times of London as “polished, bright and brilliantly balanced,” this 32-voice professional chorus is directed by VocalEssence founder Philip Brunelle and associate conductor Sigrid Johnson.
Striving always to create perfection in their choral sound, the Ensemble Singers engage the audience with their vivid personality and expressive singing. They are equally at ease with works dating from the Baroque era to the modern day, approaching each musical endeavor with originality and freshness. Dominick Argento, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Aaron Jay Kernis, Libby Larsen, Stephen Paulus and Alvin Singleton are among the many composers who have written world premieres expressly for their voices. The Ensemble Singers recently completed an Asia Pacific Tour that included performances in Seoul, South Korea, and in Beijing and Nanjing, China.
Well-known to public radio listeners as the “house choir” on A Prairie Home Companion, the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers are featured on three CDs with Garrison Keillor: Over the River & Through the Woods; Hymn to Potatoes (and other choral masterpieces from A Prairie Home Companion), and Gratitude, Gravy & Garrison. Having completed a tour across Minnesota in 2011, the group recorded a CD in honor of Minnesota’s choral heritage, From the Land of Sky Blue Waters.
Two other recent albums on the Clarion label feature the voices of the Ensemble Singers. The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass is the world premiere recording of a work by Carol Barnett commissioned especially for the group to sing with bluegrass ensemble. The Songs We Sang — Favorite American Folksongs is a collection of charming choral arrangements with guitar, harmonica, accordion, bass and piano.