Press Release

New VocalEssence Program Ends Inaugural Season—on Broadway

Jennifer Weismann


Assisted living facility hosts public concert featuring Vintage Voices choir—Aug. 25

MINNEAPOLIS — JULY 28, 2015 — VocalEssence invites all to take a trip down Broadway on Tues., Aug. 25, with the Seasons Sunshine Singers—a new choir composed of residents from the Ecumen Seasons assisted living facility in Maplewood, Minn.—as they perform a variety of hits, from Tin Pan Alley to Rogers and Hammerstein, in a tribute to the golden age of musical theater.

The concert serves as the culmination of Vintage Voices—a new community engagement program from VocalEssence that integrates the arts into the everyday lives of older adults by fostering the creation of choirs in assisted living facilities and senior centers. Over the course of 12 weeks, residents from Ecumen Seasons met weekly with VocalEssence Vintage Voices conductor Rob Graham and piano accompanist John Jensen for on-site rehearsals that included sensory-rich activities designed to reduce depression as well as increase engagement, joy, and self-esteem.

In addition to Ecumen Seasons, the program was provided to groups from Heritage Park Open Circle Adult Day and Sabathani Community Center in Minneapolis this past spring.

“Music has tremendous health benefits, and Vintage Voices is designed to engage elderly people both socially, through the act of community singing, as well as through the act of learning new skills like vocal technique,” said Kimberly Meisten, Director of Community Engagement, VocalEssence. “So far, we’re hearing nothing but wonderful things from the program’s participants, and our first two performances at Heritage Park and Sabathani were a huge success—all the way from the music selection to the energy of both the choir and the audience. I think it’s safe to say that this concert will be lots of fun—not to mention heartwarming and inspirational!”

Starting this fall, the program will move to three additional senior living facilities: The Waters of Edina, Walker Methodist Highview Hills in Lakeville, and Augustana Open Circle of Apple Valley—participants will have the chance to attend the VocalEssence season opener Dreams of the Fallen at The O’Shaughnessy in St. Paul, Oct. 11. Vintage Voices is a collaborative effort between VocalEssence, ArtSage and Ecumen, with funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Vintage Voices: Seasons Sunshine Singers takes place at Ecumen Seasons Dining Room in Maplewood, Minn. on Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 1:30 p.m. This concert, which will be followed by a reception in the adjoining café, is free and open to the public. For more information about this concert and Vintage Voices, please call 612-547-1456 or visit

VocalEssence, called “one of the irreplaceable music ensembles of our time” by Dana Gioia, past chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts—and the choral ensemble that Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones says “sings magnificently”—is a leading arts organization that impacts thousands of students, singers, and composers each year through its initiative programs, contests, and support for innovative art. Regularly featured on “A Prairie Home Companion,” VocalEssence is in demand whenever choral music is required—performing with everyone from the Rolling Stones and Rufus Wainwright to James Earl Jones and the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Founded in 1969, VocalEssence has debuted more than 240 commissions and world premieres. For more information, visit