Press Release

Twin Cities Students Come Together To Sing—Bilingually! at the VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! Community Concert


Jennifer Weismann


Cultural and artistic residency ends in celebration of song at the Ordway—May 21

    MINNEAPOLIS—October 21, 2019—Song has the power to unite, and students in the Twin Cities will come together to sing and celebrate the culture of our Mexican neighbors to the south at the VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! Community Concert at the Ordway, May 21.

Press images are available here.

One of the VocalEssence education and community engagement programs, ¡Cantaré!—Spanish for “I will sing”—each year brings a composer from Mexico to Minnesota to lead elementary and high school students through an in-depth exploration of Mexico’s vibrant musical traditions. Julio Morales is the composer visiting from Mexico for the 2019-2020 VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! program in the Twin Cities. He is spending four weeks total, over the course of three visits, with elementary, high school, and community choral singers across the Twin Cities, exploring Mexican cultural and choral music traditions. Julio Morales will create original compositions, which participating choral singers will rehearse and perform at the final concert.

The free, family-friendly VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! Community Concert 2020 at the Ordway Music Theater in St. Paul will take place on May 21, 2020 at 7 p.m. Tickets are currently available as part of a 2019-20 Family Series Subscription, and single tickets will be available March 24, 2020. Call 612-371-5642 for more information on ticket purchases.

The concert will feature students from this year’s partner schools:

  • Academia Cesar Chavez Charter School, Saint Paul
  • Mahtomedi High School, Mahtomedi
  • Sheridan Arts Spanish Dual Immersion, Minneapolis

The students will also be joined by the VocalEssence youth choir, VocalEssence Singers Of This Age.

“Singing is a beautiful expression of community and learning to sing in the style of other cultures gives students a pathway to insight and understanding lives beyond their own,” said G. Phillip Shoultz, III, associate conductor, VocalEssence. “The VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! program broadens viewpoints and uses musical engagement to build bridges, and after 12 years, we’re so proud of the lives it has touched—more than 5,000 students have created more than 175 new Mexican choral works just here in the Twin Cities. Working with actual composers from Mexico in their own classrooms has motivated the students to create unique works of artistry, and to be in the audience as they share their new talents is incredibly uplifting!”

VocalEssence provides partner schools with a map of Mexico, a toolbox of Mexican cultural objects, a teacher resource guide, and companion audio files to address social, historical, and cultural contexts of Mexican choral music that teachers can use as a springboard for integration into the school curriculum before, between, and after residencies.

The choral arts non-profit organization Chicago a cappella, with help from VocalEssence, will implement ¡Cantaré! Chicago in the Chicago metro area for the fourth year. Mexican composer, Julio Morales is working with students from four Chicago schools.

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