VOCALESSENCE TO DELIVER POWERFUL “WITNESS”—ON DEMAND
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VOCALESSENCE TO DELIVER POWERFUL “WITNESS” — ON DEMAND
Music that calls us to “be the change” is a timely offering from famed choral music organization highlighting movements of social change in our country
MINNEAPOLIS—April 8, 2021—VocalEssence, one of the world’s premier choral music organizations, brings its 31st annual VocalEssence WITNESS concert to life virtually, highlighting music from movements of social change, including the voting act, sit-ins, police shootings, civil rights, abolition, and Black Lives Matter.
This year, the concert will also be televised across Minnesota on Twin Cities PBS. Here are the air dates and times on stations TPT 2 and TPT Life:
- TPT 2: Sunday, May 30 at 2 PM
- TPT 2: Sunday, May 30 at 6 PM
- TPT LIFE: Saturday, May 29 at 7 PM
- TPT LIFE: Sunday, May 30 at 12 PM
- TPT LIFE: Sunday, May 30 at 1 AM
“This year for WITNESS we are returning to audience favorites—like Melanie DeMore, Rosephanye Powell, Alysia Lee, and Ysaye Barnwell—Black, women and ally composers who have been part of VocalEssence WITNESS programs over the years. Their voices and stories will help us speak our truth and stand for justice, to inspire us all to take steps toward making the change we want to see in the world,” says G. Phillip Shoultz, III, VocalEssence associate conductor and director of learning and engagement programs. “Pieces like Laura Caviani’s “Rise Up and Lay Down Your Arms,” written in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and arranged for our choir; B.E. Boykin’s setting of John 3:16; or Joel Thompson’s “Prayer for Unity” will connect music to the inflection points in history when people came together to effect social change.”
This performance connects with the VocalEssence WITNESS program, one of the nation’s best-known initiatives celebrating the contributions of African Americans to our shared American heritage through concerts, recordings and comprehensive educational programs. It will first be available on VocalEssence On Demand as part of the digital 2020-21 concert season, beginning Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 4 p.m., and will feature the VocalEssence Chorus, Ensemble Singers, and Singers Of This Age, as they travel through time to explore music birthed from activism and fueled by the unwavering commitment to equal rights and equitable treatment for all marginalized communities in the United States.
Photos of WITNESS, performers and teaching artists are available here.
“In the wake of so much violence against Black and Brown bodies, including the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis Floyd before our very eyes, it is important our artistic choices are in complete alignment with the world we want to see. As an organization, VocalEssence recognizes it is time for us to face our fears and speak for common ground.” adds Shoultz. “Music and art are part of the healing process that we can leverage to transform our thinking, so we can begin to see each other and hear each other. This performance is part of our journey to bear witness to change we want to make for the future.”
“Music and art are woven into the social movements in our country’s history, and for decades, WITNESS has helped us share the stories of African American trailblazers,” says Philip Brunelle, VocalEssence artistic director and founder. “VocalEssence is honoring those voices from the abolitionists to Black Lives Matter. It’s another way we are upholding our motto—together we sing—and demonstrating the power of art to change the world.”
Tickets are currently available as a digital stream for $15, or as part of a VocalEssence On Demand 2020-2021 digital season subscription. The On Demand season is available in high definition anytime, anywhere, for $49. Featuring stunningly clear audio and crisp, high-quality video, these performances will provide intimate and engaging experiences that are the next best thing to attending events in person. VocalEssence is also offering essential workers, unemployed people, those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and their caregivers a free VocalEssence On Demand subscription for the 2020-2021 Season. To subscribe, visit www.vocalessence.org/subscribe or call 612-371-5642.
Aside from convenience, audiences will be able to enjoy performances in new ways, with an option to play, pause, rewind, and fast-forward concerts as well as live chat during each premiere broadcast. The videos can be accessed through the VocalEssence On Demand website and streamed through a private Vimeo link anywhere online videos can be accessed—computer, tablet, smartphone, or smart TV. Each $49 subscription is good for an entire household and gives access to all performances during the season. Subscribers may share login information with those with whom they cohabitate.
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 vocalessence.org.
Twin Cities PBS (TPT)’s mission is to enrich lives and strengthen our community through the power of media. Established 63 years ago, TPT now operates as a public service media organization that harnesses a range of media tools to serve citizens in new ways—with multiple broadcast channels, online teaching resources, educational outreach and community engagement activities reaching more than 2 million people each month. Over its history, TPT has been recognized for its innovation and creativity with numerous awards, including Peabody awards and national and regional Emmy® Awards. Find more information at https://www.tpt.org.
# # #