VocalEssence has partnered with the Minnesota Humanities Center’s Veterans’ Voices Program, which draws on the power of the humanities to call attention to the stories and contributions of veterans. This initiative amplifies, honors and recognizes the stories and contributions of Minnesota veterans in their own voice through plays, art, discussion groups, and the Veterans’ Voices Award.
VocalEssence will present Dreams of the Fallen, a tribute to U.S. military Veterans, on Sunday, October 11, and the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers performed at the September 11, 2015 Veterans’ Voices Award Ceremony, which honored “On the Rise” Veterans (ages 40 and younger) and “Legacy” Veterans (ages 41 and older) from across Minnesota who have honorably served. These actively engaged former and current military service members are recognized for the outstanding contributions they are making in communities across Minnesota.
In addition to bringing Iraq War veteran and award-winning poet Brian Turner for the Dreams of the Fallen concert, VocalEssence has worked with the Minnesota Humanities Center to engage Brian in its Veterans’ Voices War Literature Initiative, which seeks to encourage high school students to explore military culture with a new literature-based educational resource for teachers.
Participating teachers attend a two-day professional development workshop at the Humanities Center on October 9 and 10, where they will participate in an Increase Engagement through Absent Narratives workshop and a training session on Shared Inquiry by the Great Books Foundation. During the training session, teachers will have the opportunity to meet Brian and learn about his poetry, as well as how they can integrate this literature into their classroom. Throughout the day they will explore selected readings that reflect diverse themes, eras, and voices while expanding on the notion that military experience is part of the human experience and that U.S. military experience is more than just conflict. The teachers also receive free tickets to attend the VocalEssence Dreams of the Fallen performance.
The Humanities Center plans to pilot the resource in 10 to 15 schools throughout Minnesota during 2015-2016.