Performing Ensembles

Where in the World are the Conductors – October 2019

After conducting the opening Divine Light concerts of the season, Artistic Director Philip Brunelle traveled to Toronto for meetings with several composers as well as former MPR favorite, Eric Friesen, back in his native Canada.  The Ensemble Singers are now busy working on music for both November and December concerts including the world premiere of…  Read More

VocalEssence Singers Of This Age Annual Retreat

Year three for the VocalEssence Singers Of This Age (VESOTA) promises to be our most exciting one yet! We are thrilled to welcome over 20 new young artists to join our 22 returning singers. It’s also exciting to note that we have expanded the number of schools with VESOTA representation by three! The second annual…  Read More

Behind the Music for Divine Light

Artistic Director Philip Brunelle carefully selected each piece for the Divine Light concert on Sunday, October 13th. Watch and read more about why below and purchase your tickets today! The Ensemble Singers are an amazing group—certainly Minnesota’s finest!  I want them to sing for you a program that gives you, the listener, an idea of…  Read More

Explore the Limits of the Human Voice at Divine Light

Purchase your tickets to Divine Light on Sunday, October 13, 2019 by clicking here! A Silence Haunts Me In 2017, Jake Runestad travelled to Vienna and found himself in the Haus der Musik Museum in Vienna, where he encountered a facsimile of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Heiligenstadt Testament.  It was the first time he had read…  Read More

Where in the World are the Conductors – September 2019

Returning from a VERY successful series of 4 concerts in Mexico City with the Ensemble Singers, Philip Brunelle immediately plunged into rehearsals for his 51st VocalEssence season as well as planning a number of special events for the fall and winter (with lots of meetings!).  Following the opening Retreat rehearsal the Ensemble Singers presented a…  Read More

VocalEssence Vintage Voices Season Begins at Three Senior Centers

There are a lot of exciting opportunities in store for the VocalEssence Vintage Voices singers during the 2019-2020 season! Rehearsals have kicked off for the Park Singers at Parkshore Senior Community in Saint Louis Park, where 40 participating singers are working together to prepare a concert of folk songs, spirituals, doo wop, Broadway hits, and…  Read More

Postcards from Mexico-Days 8 & 9

SUNDAY 9/1/2019 and MONDAY 9/2/2019 The End and the Beginning   We are home, and after the whirlwind of Saturday and Sunday, the dust has settled.  I’m late in writing about our last days of our trip because I’m dazed, and it all seems like a dream.  But then I open my Facebook page, and…  Read More

Postcards from Mexico-Day 7

SATURDAY 8/31/2019 JOY AND WORK   Our day free, some of us went to the Zocalo, the city center, to see the Indigenous Festival; others went to a nearby shopping center to eat at the churro stand recommended by the president of the Orquesta de Mineria. Some of us went to Six Flags to ride…  Read More

Postcards from Mexico-Day 6

FRIDAY 8/30/2019 A THOUSAND SMALL MOMENTS   All week, I’ve been thinking about how to capture the connections we’ve made together, the new, raw friendships that make us buzzy, exhausted, and grateful.  I believe firmly in the broad brushstrokes of VocalEssence’s motto “Together We Sing.” Yes, world peace is possible when we raise our voices collectively in song.  Yes, in music, our…  Read More

Postcards from Mexico-Day 5

THURSDAY 8/29/2019 COLORES   It is such a pleasure to sing with the Coro and Orquesta de Mineria. For starters, they are kind and warm and hilarious. But also, the colors in their voices. Tonight, I asked my seatmate Roxanne if she heard a difference in the vocal colors of the American and Mexican singers.…  Read More

Postcards from Mexico-Day 4

WEDNESDAY 8/28/2019 WHAT LASTS   “¿Listos?” Maestro Prieto said. He spoke in both English and Spanish, often switching mid-sentence. “¡Coro! No anxiety, sin ansiedad, about an early ‘s’, por un ‘s’ temprano, on the word ‘agnus.’” His speech was quick, and his gestures animated.  Giving direction to the basses, he said, “You sing like…” He…  Read More

Postcards from Mexico-Day 3

TUESDAY 8/27/2019 Hands   We each went our own ways this morning and early afternoon. Some visited Frieda Kahlo’s house Casa Azul, some the Museo Nacional de Antropología, and some Castillo de Chapultepec. There is no end to the beauty and wonders of Mexico City. At 3:30 we put on our concert clothes and piled…  Read More