Performing Ensembles

Where in the World are the Conductors – January 2019

For Artistic Director Philip Brunelle, January began with meetings in Washington DC with Senator Tina Smith and Congressman Dean Phillips—both of them very supportive of VocalEssence! He also met with the Norwegian Cultural Consul, with Alberto Fierro (Executive Director of the Mexican Cultural Institute), with Ann Meier Baker of the NEA Music Division and our dear…  Read More

Music for a Grand Cathedral Questions Answered

Thank you to the 147 people who took the Music for a Grand Cathedral Survey. The VocalEssence staff analyzes the results and uses the information to plan for better performances in the future. Below is a summary of the results. A third of attendees were attending their very first VocalEssence concert, and another third attend…  Read More

Philip Brunelle Reveals the Magic that Makes Commissions Come Together

Since 1973, when the first commission by VocalEssence led Dominick Argento to compose Jonah and the Whale, the organization has ardently supported new music. More than 300 commissions later, VocalEssence Artistic Director and Founder Philip Brunelle explains how commissioning works. Why does VocalEssence commission so much original work? Just as we don’t want to lose sight of the composers…  Read More

Philip Brunelle talks about Welcome Christmas 2018

The Faire Starre is the latest “Welcome Christmas” commission of VocalEssence, following wonderful pieces by Libby Larsen, Conrad Susa and many others.  Nico Muhly is one of the ‘bright lights’ in the world of choral composers – his most recent success was his opera, Marnie, premiered at the Metropolitan Opera a month ago. The Faire…  Read More

VocalEssence to perform with Josh Groban on Nov. 2

VocalEssence is thrilled to announce that members of the VocalEssence Chorus, our youth ensemble, Singers Of This Age, and Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III will join Josh Groban on stage when the global superstar’s Bridges Tour comes to the Xcel Energy Center on November 2. The combined group of singers will join Mr. Groban…  Read More

Our biggest fan – Alice Parker

VocalEssence Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III surprised Artistic Director Philip Brunelle at the 50th Anniversary Concert on October 7, 2018 with a new song arranged by a self-proclaimed “biggest fan” Alice Parker. Read the lyrics below. An Ode to Philip Brunelle and Vocal Essence on the Celebration of their Fiftieth Anniversary (sung to the refrain…  Read More

50th Anniversary Concert a BIG Success

The 50th Anniversary Concert and Dinner on October 7, 2018 was an evening filled with special moments. Governor Dayton proclaimed it VocalEssence Together We Sing Day. Senator Tina Smith began the festivities with a beautiful tribute to the organization. Acclaimed composer Alice Parker wrote an arrangement to surprise Artistic Director Philip Brunelle. Read the lyrics…  Read More

Where in the World are the Conductors – October 2018

October is off to a rousing start for Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III. He’s launched the second season of the VocalEssence Singers Of This Age, as they prepare for their Identity concert on November 8, 2018. He spent two days training VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! composer, Pablo Mendoza, for workshops in our partner schools. This past…  Read More

Congratulations from Tim Sharp, Executive Director of ACDA

On behalf of the American Choral Directors Association, the national professional organization for choral directors, teachers, researchers, and industry members, I would like to congratulate VocalEssence on their 50th Anniversary, and on the occasion of this very special retrospective choral concert. Your exemplary artistic work and the mission of VocalEssence represent the very highest ideals…  Read More

In Honor of the VocalEssence 50th Anniversary by Catherine Dehoney, President of Chorus America

I’m Catherine Dehoney, President of Chorus America, the research, professional development, and advocacy organization for choruses in North America. Philip asked me to keep my remarks “short and profound, like the Gettysburg Address”.  I’m not sure I can achieve ‘profound’, so I’ll try for ‘short’! Two score and 10 years ago, Philip Brunelle brought forth…  Read More

A Toast to 50 Years from Marilyn Carlson Nelson

And on the eighth day, God created VocalEssence, and it was good. So now, dear Philip, Carolyn, VocalEssence, it falls to me to end this magnificent celebration with a toast. A toast to 50 years of music that have unspooled before us at a dizzying speed tonight, beginning and ending with Aaron Copeland and The…  Read More

VocalEssence Mexico Tour is “Transformational”

VocalEssence has just returned from conducting some “choral diplomacy” in Mexico. The trip to Mexico City—from Aug. 26 to Sept. 3— was a historic one. For ten years, Philip Brunelle has been visiting Mexico to meet and audition composers willing to fly up to Minnesota multiple times during the school year for VocalEssence ¡Cantaré!, staying a…  Read More

Where in the World are the Conductors – September 2018

Artistic Director Philip Brunelle started the month of September by conducting the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers in Mexico City for an amazing week of concerts and workshops. They performed solo concerts and also joined 30 professional Mexican singers in concerts of Brahms and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Orquesta Symphonica de Minería. September is the month…  Read More

Viva México! VocalEssence Ensemble Singers Ready for Tour

Their bags are packed, and music is in hand for the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers and Artistic Director Philip Brunelle. Follow us on Facebook to hear the latest about the tour from our guide, and former VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! composer, Novelli Jurado. Below is their tour schedule. Learn more about their selection to the performances in this…  Read More