Press Release

VocalEssence Says ‘God Jul!’ To All As Christmas Concerts Go Nordic


Jennifer Weismann


Carols from Sweden, Finland, and Norway star in this year’s Welcome Christmas program, including a world premiere from Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen

MINNEAPOLIS — July 30, 2019 — The Welcome Christmas concerts from the VocalEssence Chorus & Ensemble Singers are a can’t-miss holiday tradition for many. This year, the program of well-known carols, folk music discoveries, original commissions, and Carol Contest winners finds its inspiration in Nordic culture.

The performance will include the world premiere of Nordic Christmas, a suite of Norwegian carols arranged by composer Kim André Arnesen and commissioned in honor of the 125th anniversary of Sons of Norway. The audience will hear Christmas songs well-known in Sweden, Finland, and Norway, as well as traditional American favorites— they’ll even have a chance to sing along!

Carols by contemporary female choral composers Alice Parker and Minnesota’s own Jocelyn Hagen will remind us new classics are born every holiday season. There’s no greater proof of that than the Welcome Christmas Carol Contest, and this year’s two winning songs will have their place of honor in the program as well.

Images are available here.

Welcome Christmas 2019 performances include:

Tickets are currently available as part of a 2019-20 Concert Series Subscription. Single tickets go on sale on Monday, August 5, 2019.

“Celebrations, even when designed with tradition in mind, have a way of evolving, and our Welcome Christmas concerts reflect this transformation,” says VocalEssence Founder and Artistic Director Philip Brunelle. “Our inclusion of new music breathes life and vitality into the program. We’re so proud to be able to offer our Welcome Christmas family special experiences like the Kim André Arnesen premiere. He’s an established talent in his home country with an increasingly high-profile reputation on the international stage, and it’s thrilling to have him contribute. Of course, we’re equally excited to share two new carols by winners of the 22nd annual Welcome Christmas Carol Contest, which has allowed us to infuse every concert with creative energy.”

The Welcome Christmas Carol Contest is sponsored by the American Composers Forum and VocalEssence. The challenge this year called for composers to write a carol for chorus featuring the violin, and winners were selected from entrants across the country. The winners are Travis M. Ramsey from Etna, New Hampshire with “Little Lamb, Who Made Thee”; and Paul John Rudoi from Eugene, Oregon with “The Orbit Carol”. Besides the award of $1,000 in prize money, they will hear their compositions performed on a national radio broadcast of the Welcome Christmas concert from American Public Media.

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