2014-2015 Announcement: VocalEssence Brings It Home for 46th Season
Twin Cities choral organization announces season
of fresh collaborations, including choral premiere
from hip hop artist Dessa — and a tribute to P.D.Q. Bach
MINNEAPOLIS — March 21, 2014 —Acclaimed Minneapolis-based choral ensemble VocalEssence — recognized internationally for its innovative explorations of music — announces a captivating 46th season of concerts. The dynamic 2014-2015 lineup includes something for everyone:
- Made in Minnesota, October 26, 2014: Locally sourced is the thing these days. And VocalEssence is going local for its season opener at Orchestra Hall, featuring pieces by Minnesota composers Dominick Argento, Stephen Paulus and Libby Larsen, as well as next-gen composers Jocelyn Hagen and hip-hop artist Dessa in her choral premiere. Conductors Dale Warland, Sigrid Johnson and Tesfa Wondemagegnehu will join Philip Brunelle in leading the way — you will ‘Hail! Minnesota’ by the finale!
- River Songs and Tales with Mark Twain Tour, November 13, 14, 15, 16, 2014: Minnesota television legend Don Shelby as Mark Twain and the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers will travel through river towns Faribault, Austin, Red Wing and Dawson on a musical journey to celebrate life on the Mississippi. VocalEssence will voyage through past and present, performing American choral masterpieces, folksongs and traditional spirituals of the river — paired with the words of Mark Twain.
- VocalEssence Presents: Young People’s Chorus of New York City®, November 22, 2014: The internationally renowned Young People’s Chorus of New York City® (YPC), founded and conducted by MacArthur Fellow Francisco J. Núñez, is a multicultural youth chorus that performs everything from classical to gospel, pop and world music. Frequent performers at Carnegie Hall alongside artists including Joshua Bell, Jordin Sparks and Delfeayo Marsalis — the YPC will deliver a performance not to be missed!
- Welcome Christmas, December 5, 6, 7, 13, 14, 2014: Leave your lutefisk, glögg and rødgrød med fløde at home (please!) and celebrate a VocalEssence Nordic Christmas — showcasing carols and holiday traditions from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland with fiddler Sara Pajunen. Enjoy the new Christmas cantata A Light in the Stable by Alan Bullard, featuring narrator Katherine Ferrand, and premieres of new carols from the winners of the annual Welcome Christmas carol competition.
- Star of Wonder, December 13, 2014: Listen, clap, dance and sing during the VocalEssence annual one-hour family Christmas concert. Kids are invited to sit up close as members of the Ensemble Singers, dancers from Folwell School, Performing Arts Magnet and fiddler Sara Pajunen perform holiday music, including a rousing (if a little goofy) “Twelve Days of Christmas” sing-along.
- WITNESS: Let Freedom Ring, February 8, 2015: Celebrating 25 years of WITNESS, VocalEssence salutes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the Grammy Award-winning ensemble Sounds of Blackness. The VocalEssence Chorus and Sounds of Blackness — plus, South High School’s Varsity Choir — will commemorate Dr. King at Orchestra Hall by tracing the roots of African American music and rhythm through spirituals, gospel music and R&B.
- Radio Hour, March 14 and 15, 2015: Alice in Wonderland meets the golden age of radio in composer Jake Heggie’s new vocal opera The Radio Hour, performed at St. Paul’s Fitzgerald Theater, the home stage of A Prairie Home Companion. The show will also feature a swinging salute to radio legend Fred Waring — known as the Man Who Taught America How to Sing — and other radio choral favorites performed by the VocalEssence Chorus & Ensemble Singers.
- P.D.Q. Bach & Peter Schickele Birthday Bash, April 10, 2015: It has been 50 years since Professor Peter Schickele released P.D.Q. Bach on an unsuspecting musical public, and 80 years since the professor’s mother released him on a society ill-prepared for such singular genius. Professor Schickele has reached back across the decades to explore the damp vaults and dusty attics of Leipzig to celebrate the “youngest and oddest” twenty-first child (out of twenty) of the great J.S. Bach. This
musical extravaganza will feature the best of history’s most justifiably neglected composer as well as works by the professor himself performed by VocalEssence and the University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble, at Ted Mann Concert Hall. The performances will include pre-concert conversations with Peter Schickele.
- Gather at the River with Mark Twain Fundraiser, May 2, 2015: Step into the past to support the future of choral music education programs at VocalEssence. Join the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers and guest artist Don Shelby as Mark Twain on the historic Minnesota Centennial Show Boat for a celebration of the river. Sip cocktails and enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres on the Victorian deck and then head to the auditorium where Mark Twain and the Ensemble Singers will take listeners on a musical journey of the past and present — choral masterpieces, favorite folksongs, traditional spirituals, and Americana.
- ¡Cantaré! Community Concert 2015, May 21, 2015: Experience the music of our southern neighbors at a multi-generational fiesta! Prominent Mexican composers work as composers-in-residence with school choirs, community choruses and VocalEssence throughout the school year to bring the sounds of Mexico to Minnesota. Join us at the new concert hall at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts for an educational, family-friendly, bilingual celebration!
“VocalEssence has a busy and exciting season ahead — we’ll be collaborating with fabulous artists, many of whom are new to our stage,” said Philip Brunelle, VocalEssence artistic director and founder. “Music is a living art, and this year we’re going to not only explore legendary musical styles and pieces — the people, places and things that have shaped our lives — but we’ll be looking forward too, with innovative and unexpected music to push the envelope a little into new choral pieces and styles.”
Season tickets will go on sale on Friday, March 21, 2014. For season tickets, details about the season, individual tickets and other information, please visit www.vocalessence.org, call 612-371-5642 or find us on Facebook.
VocalEssence, called “one of the irreplaceable music ensembles of our time” by Dana Gioia, past chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, impacts thousands of students, singers, and composers each year through its initiative programs, contests, and support for innovative art. VocalEssence was founded in 1969 and has debuted more than 150 commissions and world premieres. For more information, visit www.vocalessence.org.