Press Release

Raise Your Voice and Give Back at ‘Together We Sing’ Festival


Jennifer Weismann


Join VocalEssence MLK weekend to sing in the tradition of social movements throughout history—January 19

            MINNEAPOLIS — Dec. 7, 2018—Arts and community-building nonprofit VocalEssence is joining forces with the Minnesota Historical Society to make the third annual Together We Sing Festival the best musical celebration of social change and volunteerism yet!

The free Together We Sing Festival is open to the public, and families with no prior singing experience are invited to attend. The festival will be held Saturday, January 19, at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. Registration opens at 1 PM, and the event runs from 1:30 PM to 5 PM. The festival is open to people of all ages—children, teens, and adults. Families are especially encouraged to attend together.

“Music has always played a role in social movements for progress and justice, and when we as humans sing together, we align to sing with one heart and voice,” says G. Phillip Shoultz, III, associate conductor, VocalEssence. “This year, we are pleased to highlight songs of protest and progress from Eastern European and West African traditions. This also includes the African American spiritual and the American Civil Rights movement. By revisiting these songs and experimenting with expressing ourselves with more modern forms like spoken word, we build a connection between that transformative time and today—and with each other.”

Breakout sessions will be led by Shoultz and a team of artists. Attendees will get a chance to learn from and perform with the VocalEssence Singers Of This Age, Mila Vocal Ensemble, and Cameroon Choir.

Tickets are free, but registration is required. Participants will spend time working on a service project benefitting participants at the Ujamaa Place, a nonprofit that assists young African American men to help them rise above their life situation to become stable, productive members of the community. To register, visit Optional discounted museum admission to the 1969 and Somali American Exhibits may be purchased separately through the Minnesota Historical Society for $6-10.

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