Press Release

Highway 23 Revisited: VocalEssence Hits the Road for a Minnesota Tour

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (July 22, 2011) — Twin Cities based VocalEssence is hitting scenic Minnesota Highway 23 for the North Star Tour, performing in 5 cities before returning to Saint Paul for a homecoming performance at The Fitzgerald Theater. The tour kicks off October 28 in Marshall, continuing through the cities of Luverne, Montevideo, Duluth and Saint Cloud. The 32-voice VocalEssence Ensemble Singer’s concert repertoire will focus on our state’s musical heritage, including local composers, singer-songwriters and folksongs, in addition to a brand new Minnesota medley.

“We are having lots of fun with this Minnesota repertoire, especially a Minnesota pop song medley, which includes not only our folk heritage but also some of our more Prince-ly legacy,” says Artistic Director and Conductor Philip Brunelle, “I can’t promise purple attire, but it will be a great time.”

Thanks to a special Clean Water, Land and Legacy grant from the
Minnesota State Arts Board, VocalEssence is able to expand their tour
activities beyond the stage, spending time in each city providing master
classes with community choirs, students and composers. They will be
working with musicians from Marshall High School, Luverne High
School, Murray County Central Schools, Southwest Minnesota State
University, University of Minnesota – Duluth
, Great River Chorale and St. Cloud State, in addition to many other choral groups throughout the state.


Friday, October 28, 7:30 pm
Schwan Community Center for the Performing Arts

109 North 3rd Street, Marshall, MN (map)
Ticket prices: $15 Adults, $10 Students, $5 Children
Advance tickets:
Hy-Vee, KMHL-Marshall Radio, Marshall Fine Arts Center
More information: 507-532-5463

Saturday, October 29, 7:30 pm
Luverne Palace Theatre

104 E Main, Luverne, MN (map)
Ticket prices: $15 Adults, 
$12 Seniors/Advance Sale, $8 Students
Advance tickets: Carnegie Cultural Center
More information: 507-283-8294,

Sunday, October 30, 3 pm
Montevideo Fine Arts Center

3rd Street & Eureka Ave., Montevideo, MN
Ticket prices: $15 Adults, $12 Seniors/Advance Sale, $8 Students
Advance tickets: Montevideo High School Office, Java River, Thrifty 
White Drug Store
More information: 320-269-6446

Friday, November 4, 7 pm
Sacred Heart Music Center, Duluth

201 West 4th Street, Duluth, MN (map)
Ticket prices: $15 Adults, 
$10 Advance Sale, $5 Students
Advance tickets: Electric Fetus, Sacred Heart Music Center website
More information:

Saturday, November 5, 7 pm
Special guests: great river chorale
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 
St. Cloud

 4310 Cty Rd 137, St. Cloud, MN (map)
Ticket prices: $15 Adults, 
$12 Seniors/Advance Sale, $8 Students
Advance tickets: Bethlehem Lutheran Church
More information: 651-228-1664,


The North Star Tour is generously supported by Land O’Lakes.

VocalEssence is a fiscal year 2011 recipient of an Arts Tour grant
from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is funded, in part,
by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the
Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of
the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.


The Oxford Times (UK) has declared that the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers “have a blend that could — and should — be the envy of every choir in the business.” Founded in 1991, the Ensemble Singers are acclaimed for their “superbly blended sound” (Birmingham Post, UK) and “exemplary technique” (Minneapolis Star Tribune). Lauded by the Times of London as “polished, bright and brilliantly balanced,” this 32-voice professional chorus is directed by VocalEssence founder Philip Brunelle and associate conductor Sigrid Johnson. Well-known to public radio listeners as the “house choir” on A Prairie Home Companion, the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers are featured on three CDs with Garrison Keillor: Over the River & Through the Woods; Hymn to Potatoes (and other choral masterpieces from A Prairie Home Companion); and their newest concert recording, Gratitude, Gravy & Garrison.

Called “one of the irreplaceable music ensembles of our time” by Dana Gioia, past chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, VocalEssence was founded in 1969 by current Artistic Director Philip Brunelle. Recognized internationally for its innovative exploration of music for voices and instruments, the organization presents an engaging collection of concerts featuring the 130-voice VocalEssence Chorus, the professional 32-voice Ensemble Singers (well known for their appearances on the internationally-distributed radio show A Prairie Home Companion hosted by Garrison Keillor), guest soloists and instrumentalists. In addition to championing lesser-known works of the past, VocalEssence has an unwavering commitment to today’s composers resulting in more than 130 world premieres. VocalEssence has released thirteen commercial recordings, including four WITNESS CDs of music by African American composers and artists available on the Clarion label.

For press information and photographs related to The North Star Tour, please contact Tour Communications Manager, Sarah Fossen Weimar ( or 651-398-0573.