Press Release

VocalEssence Reveals Fresh Lineup for Uplifting 48th Season

Jennifer Weismann


Choral superstar organization unveils new season of  performance, education and community engagement in Twin Cities

MINNEAPOLIS—February 22, 2016—It’s finally time—the 48th season of programming for nationally acclaimed leading arts organization VocalEssence is ready to share, and it’s a schedule of uniquely uplifting choral performances that speak—and sing—to a range of audience interests and ages.

VocalEssence has decades of history as one of the world’s premier choral music and arts organizations. But despite its global influence, VocalEssence has kept its focus local—consistently pioneering ways to strengthen Minnesota’s community through thrilling musical experiences. This season is no exception, offering unforgettable performances and community engagements, including:

  • Community Sing with Alice Parker & Ysaÿe Barnwell, October 15, 2016: No one knows better the power of singing together than the queens of choral music, Alice Parker and Ysaÿe Barnwell. Join us at this immersive community sing to feed your soul and rediscover the power of your own voice. No experience necessary.
  • The Voyage, October 16, 2016: As a chill hits the air, wrap yourself in the warm sounds of choral music and recall times when the kindness of others created a path out of loneliness. Sit back and enjoy two premieres that chart a course from solitude to security using singing as a compass. Bob Chilcott’s The Voyage unites voices from three generations to amplify ageless truths, while Quilt Songs stitches together folk art, poetry, and the music of five prominent women composers to celebrate the seasons of life.
  • VocalEssence Welcome Christmas, December 3, 9, 10, 11, 2016: Journey to Bethlehem this Christmas to experience the wonder and awe of the nativity with Conrad Susa’s Carols & Lullabies. This playfully charming setting of the Christmas story weaves in music of Mexico and the American Southwest accompanied by harp, marimba and guitar. Tap your toes to contest-winning carols for choir and vibraphone, and round off your experience with a sing-along of your favorites to create a new tradition of Christmas spirit for you and yours.
  • Star of Wonder, December 10, 2016: Clap, wiggle and sing along to your favorite carols at our 45-minute family holiday concert. Sit up close and experience the wonder of choral singing (maybe even for the first time). Pillows, baby bottles and teddy bears welcome!
  • Community Sing with Melanie DeMore, January 13, 2017: No one knows better the power of singing together than self-described “vocal activist” Melanie DeMore, returning to Minnesota for a rousing community sing to ramp up the excitement—in preparation for her joyous return to lead VocalEssence WITNESS in February.
  • VocalEssence WITNESS: Underground Railroad, February 19, 2017: Come prepared to sing, clap and stomp along the path to freedom with Melanie DeMore. Following her sold-out concert in 2014, Melanie returns to raise up immigrant voices past and present through songs of liberation and freedom, illuminating Minnesota’s historic role as a sanctuary for the oppressed.
  • Miracle Mass, April 22, 2017: Join world-renowned pianist and composer Stephen Hough on a spiritual journey from unquestioning faith to doubt to profound joy. The Basilica’s majestic setting makes the moving and deeply personal work of this MacArthur Genius even more poignant. The experience will inspire you to reflect on your own journey and, ultimately, remind us all of the miraculous gift of life.
  • VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! Community Concerts 2017, May 2, 2017: Hear our community come together as more than 500 students join VocalEssence to celebrate Mexico through song. The culmination of a yearlong composer-in-residence program, these bilingual concerts include premieres and an audience sing-along that will leave you with a renewed hope that music can change the world.

“This is a very special season for us as we take our listeners on a musical journey of the heart,” said Philip Brunelle, VocalEssence founder and artistic director. “Song is the voyage for the human spirit as it flows out of isolation into fellowship and communion. In diverse ways, we will shine a light on the power of voices from diverse backgrounds and individual viewpoints as they join together in song.”

“We’re very inspired by this new season—it holds great gifts for longtime and new audiences alike,” said G. Phillip Shoultz, III, associate conductor, VocalEssence. “Everyone at VocalEssence is particularly enthusiastic about our programs that go beyond the concert stage—including WITNESS, Vintage Voices and ¡Cantaré!—amazing experiences that weave education and community outreach into our world of song.”

VocalEssence season tickets will go on sale starting February 22, 2016. Single tickets go on sale July 25, 2016. For season tickets, details about the season, individual tickets and other information, please visit, call 612-371-5642 or find us on Facebook.

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”—is a leading arts organization that impacts thousands of students, singers, and composers each year through its initiative programs, contests, and support for innovative art. Featured on “A Prairie Home Companion,” VocalEssence is in demand whenever choral music is required—performing with everyone from the Rolling Stones and Rufus Wainwright to James Earl Jones and the Morehouse College Glee Club. Founded in 1969, VocalEssence has debuted more than 250 commissions and world premieres. For more information, visit