Press Release

Songwriters Wanted—VocalEssence ReMix Seeks Emerging Artists

Jennifer Weismann

Choral group’s mentorship competition for new MN composers open for entries through July 1

MINNEAPOLIS—APRIL 26, 2016—Minnesota’s leading nonprofit choral organization, VocalEssence, is calling for emerging songwriters and composers across the state to apply for VocalEssence ReMix, a life-changing opportunity for young artists.

“If you write your own music, you’re a composer—and the VocalEssence mentorships are open to all kinds of composers,” says Dessa, the Twin Cities-based rapper, singer, spoken word artist, and writer. “Listening to a choral group performing your work, like I had the chance to do with VocalEssence, was incredible. It’s a great opportunity to expand as an artist.”

Now in its second year, the VocalEssence ReMix mentorship program offers four Minnesotans a six-month, one-on-one mentorship with an established composer. ReMix winners will be guided and advised as they create two choral works reflecting their own unique approach to choral music. Finally, their compositions will have a public premiere when the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers perform them at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Conference in March of 2017 in Minneapolis.

“Our mission is to keep the choral arts vital—VocalEssence ReMix lets us do just that by welcoming the energy and artistry of songwriters who have a passion for composing, but are new to choral music,” says Philip Brunelle, founder and artistic director of VocalEssence. “We welcome their fresh perspectives—for musical innovation and to help expand the view of what might be expected of, and elicited from, choral music.”

“VocalEssence ReMix is more than just offering emerging composers technical guidance,” says G. Phillip Shoultz, III, associate conductor of VocalEssence. “Our composer-mentors—Libby Larsen, Carol Barnett, J. David Moore and Timothy Takach—have deep understanding in how to build a career in this highly specialized field. The opportunity to make personal connections and get advice tailored to an individual’s strengths and interests can be crucial to an early composer’s future success. It’s a win for the program participants, and a win for us.”

From rock to classical, hip hop to country—VocalEssence ReMix welcomes songwriters from all musical backgrounds and genres. Applying is as easy as submitting a musical score, musical recording, or video recording using the VocalEssence ReMix online application.  The contest is open to Minnesota residents only. All applications must be received by July 1, 2016.

VocalEssence ReMix is a collaboration between VocalEssence, the American Composers Forum and the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota, with support from the Jerome Foundation. Be sure to check out our video featuring spoken word artist—and VocalEssence composer—Dessa and ReMix mentor Tim Takach. For more information, please contact Kimberly Meisten, VocalEssence Director of Community Engagement, at 612-547-1456.

VocalEssence, called “one of the irreplaceable music ensembles of our time” by Dana Gioia, past chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts—and the choral ensemble that Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones says “sings magnificently”—is a leading arts organization that impacts thousands of students, singers, and composers each year through its initiative programs, contests, and support for innovative art. Regularly featured on “A Prairie Home Companion,” VocalEssence is in demand whenever choral music is required—performing with everyone from the Rolling Stones and Rufus Wainwright to James Earl Jones and the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Founded in 1969, VocalEssence has debuted more than 240 commissions and world premieres. For more information, visit