• Singers posing on stage

Choosing Love Concert Program

The Program

 VocalEssence Singers Of This Age
G. Phillip Shoultz, III, conductor, piano
Sam Reeves, keyboard
Brian Kendrick, drums

Choosing Love is a collaboratively curated concert experience developed through a season of continuous learning and conversation. The VocalEssence Singers Of This Age challenge us to grapple with the past and present injustices plaguing our society and invite us to envision a world where we listen to and learn from each other. The program affirms our belief that every person is worthy of acceptance, reminds us of our interconnectedness, and call us, in the midst of it all, to choose love.

Welcome and Acknowledgement

speaker: Ricquelle Miles


composer: Kayla Gibson, accompaniment by GPS III
soloist: Kayla Gibson

Spoken Interlude

speakers: Izzie (Bun) Bogie, Joshua Hoffman, and Isa Benegas

I Choose Love

composer: Mark Miller
soloists: Lela Sabin, Skylar Bandelin, Ursula Beitz, and Joshua Hoffman

Star Spangled Banner

composer: John Stafford Smith, setting by G. Phillip Shoultz, III

“Never Been Land of the Free”

speaker: Emi Sisson

The Story of Tonight from Hamilton

composer: Lin-Manuel Miranda
soloist: Stephon Marcus

“You Will”

speaker: Stephon Marcus

“The Birth and Death of Blackness”

speaker: Ricquelle Miles

The Other Side

composer: Kyle Pederson with additional lyrics and music by VESOTA
spoken word: Lotus Deuel and Lamawn Saul duet: Stephon Marcus and Ricquelle Miles 
soloist: Ella Wright
rap section: Zaya Bates and Erin Tetter
soloists: Kayla Gibson, Ghost Olatunde, and Yee Choua Thao

Video Interlude

creator: Yee Choua Thao

There will be a Light

composer: Douachi Yang
duet: Yee Choua Thao and Ethan Cheng

Spoken Interlude

speakers: Liana Whitlock, Ghost Olatunde, and Ma’Kiala Moore

Who I Want to Be?

composer: Coty Raven Morris
soloists: Liana Whitlock and Ma’Kiala Moore

“Listen in the Silence”

speaker: Ella Wright

When the Earth Stands Still

composer: Don Macdonald
soloist: Kayla Gibson

Dame Tu Mano

composer: Julio Morales
soloist: Isa Benegas

“My Skin”

speaker: Erin Tetter

Stand Up from Harriet

composer: Joshuah Campbell & Cynthia Erivo, arr. Mac Huff
soloists: Sylvia Morris, Jerilyn Moya-Hypolite, Soliyana Woldu

Love Has Broken Down the Wall

composer: Mark Miller
soloists: Josh Sabin and Acacia Johnstone

Spoken Interlude

speakers: Natalie Goodman, Jerilyn Moya-Hypolite, and Guadalupe Dimayuga


composer: Glorraine Moone
soloists: Emi Sisson and Drew Fischer

*Audience Sing

Avulekile Amasango (The Gates of Heaven)

composer: Traditional South African

Proud of You

composer: Kim Parkinson, accompaniment by GPS III and Sam Reeves
soloist: Kim Parkinson

“In Everything”

speaker: Sylvia Morris

Lean On Me

composer: Bill Withers, setting by G. Phillip Shoultz, III
soloists: Dede Jones, Stephon Marcus, Erin Tetter

Spoken Interlude

speakers: Skylar Bandelin, Raegan Brogden,  Molly Sabin

I Need You to Survive

composer: Hezekiah Walker


composer: Kayla Gibson, choral setting by Kyle Pederson
soloist: Kayla Gibson



G. Phillip Shoultz, III, founding director
Rhiannon Fiskradatz, manager
Corey Cellurale, assistant director
Robert Graham and Patricia Kramer, section coaches

About VocalEssence

For more than five decades, VocalEssence has provided opportunities for singers from the Twin Cities area to create incredible music together and build connections as part of the vibrant arts community in Minnesota. 

VocalEssence is an award winning professional choral organization known for introducing audiences to music and artists who are not yet known, often welcoming guest artists, composers, and conductors who are emerging, have unknown works, or represent a variety of cultures. Welcoming all members of the greater community, VocalEssence embodies the motto: Together We Sing. 

Click the buttons below to learn more about the VocalEssence staff and board.



G. PHILLIP SHOULTZ, III, Associate Artistic Director

G. Phillip Shoultz, III, associate artistic director, uses the power of the spoken word and song to foster community and inspire action among people of all ages and abilities. Phillip conducts festival choirs and leads workshops across the United States and beyond. He serves on the faculty of the University of St. Thomas and guides the ministries of worship, music, and the arts at Westwood Lutheran Church. The Minnesota Orchestra regularly engages Phillip to host their Young People’s Concerts and his online presence continues to grow as his pandemic livestream, Take 5 with GPS, rapidly approaches the 450 episode milestone. The winner of numerous honors, including the ACDA Graduate Conducting Competition and multiple Teacher of the Year awards, Phillip founded “Table for More” in the summer of 2020 to help organizations address issues related to innovation, equity, and belonging in the arts. Phillip lives in St. Louis Park with his wife, Michelle, and their two children (Malachi and Lydia Grace). 


VOCALESSENCE SINGERS OF THIS AGEThe VocalEssence Singers Of This Age (VESOTA) is a community of Twin Cities high schoolers engaged in expanding what it means to be a choir and encouraging a wider circle of participation in the artform. Presenting music ranging from classical to hip-hop, they use creativity and collaboration to build an accepting community, equipped with the skills to lead social change in our society. 

Acacia Johnstone
Dani Bickham
DeDe Jones
Drew Fischer
Ella Wright
Emi Sisson
Erin Tetter
Ethan Cheng
Guadalupe Dimayuga
Isa Benegas
Izzie (Bun) Bogie
Jadesola (Ghost) Olatunde
Jerilyn Moya-Hypolite
Joshua Hoffman
Josh Sabin
Kadin Bartlett
Kaija Halvorson
Kayla Gibson
Kim Parkinson
Krista Hines
Lamawn Saul
Lela Sabin
Liana Whitlock
Lotus Deuel
Ma’Kiala Moore
Maree Lasala
Molly Sabin
Natalie Goodman
Raegan Brogden
Ricquelle Miles
Skylar Bandelin
Soliyana Woldu
Stephon Marcus
Sylvia Morris
Ursula Beitz
Yee Choua Thao
Zaya Bates


G. Phillip Shoultz, III, founding director
Rhiannon Fiskradatz, manager
Corey Cellurale, assistant director
Robert Graham and Patricia Kramer, section coaches

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Thank you, VocalEssence Supporters

VocalEssence has a large group of committed supporters and is honored by the many gifts received in memory, appreciation, and celebration of friends and family that are too many to list in this concert program. Please click the button below to see a full list of supporters and special tributes.