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 Richardson, 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 Raza.

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 vocalessence.org or call 651-224-4222.

For additional press information and high-resolution photographs please contact Malia Cole (mcole@vocalessence.org, 612-547-1459) or visit www.vocalessence.org.