Press Release

Philip Brunelle honored by the government of Mexico with the prestigious Ohtli Recognition Award

MINNEAPOLIS (May 16, 2011)
—Today Ana Luisa Fajer, the Consul of Mexico in
St. Paul, presented VocalEssence Artistic Director Philip Brunelle with the Ohtli
Recognition Award
at the quarterly VocalEssence board meeting in downtown
Minneapolis. Once a year, the government of
Mexico presents this award to a civilian living outside the country for
contributions made to the empowerment of Mexican and Mexican-American
communities in the United States.

“The highest award that the government of Mexico gives to
those persons who contribute to the betterment of the community is called The Ohtli. Ohtli means ‘to pave the
way’ in the Nahuatl language which is one of the many indigenous languages of
Mexico,” commented Consul Fajer. “Mexico has decided on this
occasion to give the award to someone who has shown passion, commitment, and involvement
with education, with culture and with music and in bringing communities
together. The best way to do this is through the ¡Cantaré! program, and so this
year the award goes to Philip Brunelle.”

On behalf of President Felipe Calderón, Ana Luisa Fajer presented
The Ohtli to Brunelle, honoring him for the innovative ¡Cantaré! community engagement program. The recognition
includes a framed certificate, a silver badge and a medallion, which has an
image of footprints and symbolizes the pathway that women and men will follow
to better their lives.

Previous winners of the Ohtli Award include Hilda Solís, United States Secretary of
Labor; Arturo Vargas, Executive
Director of the NALEO Educational Fund; Bill
, Former Governor of New Mexico; Mónica Lozano, Publisher of the Los Angeles newspaper La Opinión; and Janet Murguía, President and CEO of the National Council of La

With the mission of actively
engaging VocalEssence audiences and the wider community in the discovery,
celebration and creation of music from Mexico, ¡Cantaré! is a
unique program designed to bring the talents of composers from Mexico directly
into Minnesota classrooms. Through ¡Cantaré!, selected composers from
Mexico participate as artists-in-residence with elementary schools, high
schools, colleges and community organizations. The composers work directly with
student choirs and community choruses throughout the year. The program
culminates in a concert presenting the world premieres of music written
especially for each chorus by Mexican composers.

A public presentation of the Ohtli award
will be made at the VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! Community Concert  at Ordway
Center for the Performing Arts in Saint Paul on Tuesday, May 24 at 7 pm. For
event information please visit or call 651-224-4222.

For additional press information and high-resolution photographs please
contact Malia Cole (, 612-547-1459) or visit