VocalEssence WITNESS guest artist Melanie DeMore visited Minnesota the week of September 19-24, 2016 where she breathed life into the Underground Railroad theme for hundreds of students, teachers, and community members. Below is a list of all of Melanie’s activities that week:
- School Visits at Parkway Middle, North High School, Parkway Middle, Johnson Senior High School), where Melanie introduced this year’s WITNESS theme and repertoire
- Lullaby Project Assembly at Longfellow High School, where Melanie sang for and with teenage mothers as an introduction to the 2016-17 Lullaby Project
- “Dream, Explore, Connect” workshop at Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, an after-school program where Melanie engaged students in building and strengthening their community through body percussion, American Sign Language, movement and song
- Met with the WITNESS Task Force, singing for them and talking through this year’s WITNESS plans
- Led the first half of VocalEssence Chorus rehearsal, introducing them to some of the music they will be performing at the WITNESS concerts in February
- Met with funders at the Institutional Giving Breakfast, where Melanie led an interactive, participatory session to get funders excited about supporting VocalEssence, and shared what she admires most about VocalEssence
- The first half of a 12-hour Artist Residency at Rosemount High School, where Melanie worked with the Women’s Choruses and Concert Choir in workshops that will culminate in a performance at the MMEA conference in February.
- WITNESS Teacher Orientation Seminar, where Melanie led a performance and presentation on the Underground Railroad and the concept of finding sanctuary, historically and in the present day
“The Underground Railroad is alive and well today,” said Melanie. “When ordinary people offer food, shelter, and comfort to refugees, we are keeping that spirit of sanctuary alive.” More than 6,500 students from more than 50 schools will get to see Melanie live at the Young People’s Concerts this February.
Hear a preview above of one of the pieces that will be performed by the VocalEssence Chorus at the VocalEssence WITNESS: Underground Railroad subscription concert on February 19, 2017, and the Young People’s Concerts on February