VocalEssence Celebrates Special WITNESS Anniversary and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
VOCALESSENCE CELEBRATES SPECIAL WITNESS ANNIVERSARY
AND DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
Local choral ensemble and high school students team up with Sounds of Blackness
in WITNESS: Let Freedom Ring—Feb. 8
MINNEAPOLIS — January 23, 2015 — Minneapolis-based choral ensemble VocalEssence will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — plus, the 25th anniversary of its nationally acclaimed community initiative WITNESS — alongside Grammy award-winning Sounds of Blackness and local South High School’s Varsity Choir in WITNESS: Let Freedom Ring at Orchestra Hall on Sun., Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. John Birge will also host a pre-concert conversation with Sounds of Blackness director Gary Hines at 3 p.m.
Founded in 1991, WITNESS honors the artistic contributions of African Americans to the shared American musical heritage through annual concerts, recordings and comprehensive educational programs. This year’s performance will trace the roots of African American music and rhythm through spirituals, gospel music and R&B.
“WITNESS began many years ago when we set out to commission new works as well as revisit long forgotten pieces by African American composers, and that led to collaborations with iconic artists such as Bobby McFerrin, James Earl Jones and many more,” said Philip Brunelle, founder and artistic director, VocalEssence. “Words can’t describe just how proud we are to be celebrating this program’s 25th anniversary, and we all agree that there is no better way to commemorate an occasion such as this than to sing along with a homegrown national icon and a wonderful group of local students!”
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 150 commissions and world premieres. For more information, visit www.vocalessence.org.