Press Release

North Star State Talent Takes Center Stage at Free ‘Welcome to Minneapolis’ Concert

Free event in celebration of ACDA conference will feature work from major Minnesota choral artists, composers, and a Garrison Keillor sing-along—March 7

MINNEAPOLIS—FEBRUARY 28, 2017—The best way to say welcome is to sing it! It’s especially true when you’re welcoming members of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) to town. That’s why VocalEssence, Minnesota’s internationally recognized choral arts nonprofit, is throwing a free community concert highlighting the strength of the Twin Cities choral community. The Welcome to Minneapolis concert will feature prominent area choral groups, music from world-famous Minnesota composers, and even a sing-along led by Garrison Keillor, all at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Tuesday, March 7.

“This will truly be a night to remember, because we have the great luck to live in a community with a rich history of contribution to the choral arts,” said VocalEssence founder Philip Brunelle. “And with American Choral Directors Association members in the audience, we have the perfect opportunity to share our strengths with others who have made choral music central to their lives. We’re bringing together talent from so many different organizations, but we are all Minnesotans connected by a passion for music. After all, Minnesota is ‘choral country’.”

The Welcome to Minneapolis concert begins with choral ensemble The Singers performing pieces by four Minnesota composers: Dominick Argento, Timothy Takach, Edie Hill and Rene Clausen. The VocalEssence Ensemble Singers will revisit the song cycle “Quilt Songs,” a recent commission with movements from five different female composers. Prairie Home Companion founder and Minnesota legend Garrison Keillor will lead a sing-along, and the ACDA-MN Honor Choir will join the rest of the performers onstage to perform “Te Deum” by Dominick Argento, the only Minnesota composer to receive the Pulitzer Prize in music and who celebrates his 90th birthday this year. The Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra will accompany the combined chorus, with VocalEssence founder Philip Brunelle conducting.

Tickets for the VocalEssence Welcome to Minneapolis concert are free, but they are required for admittance to the event. Tickets can be ordered in advance through the Minnesota Orchestra Box Office. For more information, please 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”—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 250 commissions and world premieres. For more information, visit

Jennifer Weismann