Songwriter & Activist Melanie DeMore Returns to Minnesota for VocalEssence WITNESS: Leading with Love
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SONGWRITER & ACTIVIST MELANIE DEMORE RETURNS TO MINNESOTA FOR VOCALESSENCE WITNESS: LEADING WITH LOVE
WITNESS, the annual initiative celebrating Black contributions to American arts, will culminate in concert at Orchestra Hall–March 17
MINNEAPOLIS—October 2, 2023—Taking that first step forward can be scary when you’re unsure if anyone will follow, but you can find the courage if you lead with love! VocalEssence WITNESS: Leading with Love is a concert program reminding us that progress is possible when we draw on the power of our connections as a community and the love we have for one another.
Vocal activist, soulful singer, and composer Melanie DeMore, a frequent collaborator with VocalEssence, will lead stick-pounding workshops and conversation groups with Twin Cities community members culminating in the world premiere performance of new works. The VocalEssence WITNESS: Leading with Love program includes works by contemporary Black composers Damien Geter, Marques Garrett, and Joel Thompson, and songs from the African diaspora.
“This year is the second of a visionary two-year WITNESS artistic journey focusing on the power of love as we engage with struggles in our community tied to the Black experience,” says G. Phillip Shoultz, III, associate artistic director, VocalEssence. “Last year’s theme was ‘Reawakening Love,’ and now that our hearts are open again, we’re calling for the rebirth of peace and the emergence of a community where violence ceases.”
“It’s so rewarding to see the power and impact of the VocalEssence WITNESS program as it moves into its 34th year,” says Philip Brunelle, VocalEssence artistic director and founder. “Our teaching artists make hundreds of connections in our community as they lead workshops, many in public school classrooms. They don’t just spread the message of WITNESS, they bring the experience of WITNESS and its celebration of Black American artistry to life.”
The VocalEssence Chorus and Ensemble Singers, diverse teenage choir VocalEssence Singers Of This Age, VocalEssence Vintage Voices, and pianist Casey Rafn will be joined by members of the local Twin Cities community for VocalEssence WITNESS: Leading with Love. Philip Brunelle and G. Phillip Shoultz, III will conduct.
VocalEssence WITNESS: Leading with Love will be performed at 4 p.m. at Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Single tickets are available online now. Tickets are also available as part of a VocalEssence Season Subscription package.
VocalEssence, the choral organization Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones says “sings magnificently,” provides opportunities that draw upon the power of singing together to nurture community, inspire creativity, affirm the value of all persons, and expand the impact of choral music. VocalEssence was founded in 1969 and through its performance series has debuted more than 300 commissions and world premieres. VocalEssence Learning & Engagement programs help people of all ages bridge, create, and learn across cultures by connecting them with renowned choral experts to provide exceptional role models, grow community self-esteem, self-expression, and engagement. For more information, visit www.vocalessence.org.
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