Sweet Honey In The Rock to join VocalEssence Chorus in 20th annual WITNESS concert
Minn. (November 16, 2009) – Every year since 1991 Philip Brunelle and VocalEssence have honored
the choral music of African American composers in the yearly WITNESS concert.
The 20th annual WITNESS performance will be a very special
celebration as the VocalEssence Chorus is joined by the acclaimed women’s vocal
ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock®.
The concert takes place on Sunday, February 14, 2010 (4 pm) at Ordway Center
for the Performing Arts in St. Paul. Classical Minnesota Public Radio’s John
Birge will host a Pre-Concert Conversation at 3 pm with composer Ysaye
Barnwell, a member of Sweet Honey In The Rock.
for WITNESS are $20-$40 (Service charges apply. Student tickets are half-price
and group discounts are available.) For tickets and information, call 651-224-4222 or visit
first half of the WITNESS concert will feature Sweet Honey In The Rock
performing some of their signature a cappella arrangements, followed by the
100-voice VocalEssence Chorus singing “Truth Pressed to Earth Shall Rise” by Sweet
Honey’s own Ysaye Barnwell, “Folks, I’m Telling You” by Twin Cities composer
Elizabeth Alexander, and “Give Me Your Hand” by John Work III.
second half of the concert, created by Ysaye Barnwell and Philip Brunelle, will
incorporate the theme of activism in labor, civil rights, and peace. The groups
will sing union songs such as “Step By Step,” “More than a Paycheck,” and Philip
Brunelle’s arrangement of “Solidarity Forever.” The ensembles will perform a civil
rights medley culminating in Rosephanye Powell’s “I Dream A World.”
the theme of peace, the VocalEssence Chorus will sing a setting of Dag
Hammarskjöld’s words, “Thou Who Art Over Us,” and Sweet Honey will present “Let
There Be Peace” and “Study War No More.” The finale (involving the audience)
will be a setting of “This Little Light of Mine.”
for the hearing-impaired has long been an important part of Sweet Honey’s
concerts. For the first time at any VocalEssence concert, all the music will be
sign language interpreted.
press information and photographs related to WITNESS, please contact Jennifer Bauer (612-547-1459,