Press Release

Classic Dylan Goes Choral in Midwest Premiere from VocalEssence

Jennifer Weismann


The Times They Are A-Changin’: The Words and Music of Bob Dylan” interprets some of the Nobel Prize-winning Minnesotan’s best-loved songs—April 27 at the Palace Theatre in St. Paul

                MINNEAPOLIS — February x, 2019VocalEssence is celebrating one of Minnesota’s most influential native sons with the Midwest premiere of The Times They Are A-Changin’: The Words and Music of Bob Dylan, an arrangement of his songs by composer Steve Hackman. The VocalEssence Chorus & Ensemble Singers will be joined on stage by Minneapolis indie pop songwriter Jeremy Messersmith, vocalist Ashley DuBose, and a cappella duo Nation presenting a program of choral interpretations of music by Minnesotans.

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The Times They Are A-Changin’: The Words and Music of Bob Dylan will be performed at the Palace Theatre in Saint Paul on April 27th at  8:00 pm. Tickets range from $30- $40, with discounted pricing available for students and groups. Individual tickets are available online, or as part of a VocalEssence 50th Concert Series Subscription.

“VocalEssence and Bob Dylan: two Minnesota legends—what could be better?” says VocalEssence founder and artistic director Philip Brunelle. “As part of our milestone 50th concert season, we’re excited to show how choral performance opens up a whole new perspective on Bob Dylan’s revolutionary work. Of course, many of our singers are Dylan fans, so they really embraced the challenge of interpreting songs like ‘Tangled Up in Blue’ and ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ for a very different voice. This invigorating project was also the perfect opportunity to collaborate with local artists, and we’re lucky to have Jeremy Messersmith, Ashley DuBose, and Nation, all talented Minnesota performers building national profiles, joining us.”

The oratorio of Dylan’s work was commissioned in honor of his 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature by a national consortium including VocalEssence, Pittsburgh’s Mendelssohn Choir, New York City’s Baldwin Festival Chorus, Boston’s Chorus Pro Musica, the Susquehanna Valley Chorus, and the Nashville Symphony. In addition to the Dylan premiere, VocalEssence will be performing music by other famous Minnesota musicians, including Prince and Semisonic.

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 300 commissions and 500 world premieres. For more information, visit