Pioneer Press: VocalEssence lineup includes Dave Brubeck tribute, Tchaikovsky favorite
By Ross Raihala
VocalEssence has announced its 45th season and no one is happier to hit that milestone than founder and artistic director Philip Brunelle.
“For me, it means I’m halfway to 90 years,” he said. “I’m going to do this forever. There’s so much more choral music that needs to be heard and celebrated. I look forward to sharing that music with concertgoers for many years to come.”
Season tickets go on sale Saturday, March 9, in conjunction with the VocalEssence concert at Ted Mann Concert Hall. Packages are priced from $150 for five concerts to $102 for three. Single tickets will go on sale July 1.
For details, call 612-371-5656 or see VocalEssence.org.
The Minneapolis-based choral ensemble’s 45th season includes:
“There Was a Child,” Oct. 27: The St. Olaf Choir will share the stage with VocalEssence to perform the U.S. premiere of Jonathan Dove’s “There Was a Child.” The program also features audience favorites from Eric Whitacre, Rene Clausen, Egil Hovland and F. Melius Christiansen. “Dove is a terrific young composer,” Brunelle said. “It’s a great way for us to launch the season.”
“Cocktails and Cabaret,” Nov. 18: Local musical theater stars Simone Perrin, Bradley Greenwald, Greta Oglesby and Dieter Bierbrauer will be backed by Brunelle on the piano for this benefit show.
“Welcome Christmas,” Dec. 7-8, 13-15: This holiday show pays tribute to the late jazz legend Dave Brubeck and his Christmas cantata “La Fiesta de la Posada.” Guests include pianist Dan Chouinard and local mariachi band Mariachi Mi Tierra.
“Star of Wonder,” Dec. 14: A one-hour family concert with kids invited to sit up close as members of the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers perform holiday songs.
“Witness: Stomp and Sing,” Feb. 9: Vocal activist Melanie DeMore will take the audience on a journey through the Sea Islands of Georgia and South Carolina and the music of the Gullah people who live there.
“John Rutter Jubilee,” March 21 and 23, 2014: John Rutter, conductor of the world-famous Cambridge Singers, leads VocalEssence in some of his favorites, including music from English romantic composers Charles Villiers Stanford and C. Hubert H. Parry. “John Rutter is probably the most-sung English composer alive today. Churches and schools and colleges all sing his music. He’s a wonderful person, too,” Brunelle said.
“Tchaikovsky for Voices,” April 27, 2014: Four of the region’s most acclaimed college choirs will join VocalEssence, with 350 voices re-creating an 1880 performance Tchaikovsky called “one of the happiest moments” of his career.
“Cantare Community Concert,” May 20, 2014: A multi-generational, family-friendly fiesta, with school and community choruses teaming up with VocalEssence to perform the work of Mexican composers.
Pop music critic Ross Raihala can be reached at 651-228-5553. Follow him at Twitter.com/RossRaihala.