Press Release

VocalEssence Singers Of This Age Recognized Nationally


Jennifer Weismann

Youth choir named “Best New Education Program” by Chorus America

MINNEAPOLIS — July 22, 2019 — VocalEssence is not just a revered performing ensemble, but an award-winning educational institution as well. Its groundbreaking high school choir, VocalEssence Singers Of This Age (VESOTA), was recently recognized in the 2019 Chorus America Awards with the Chorus America Education and Community Engagement Award — named as best emerging program.

VocalEssence Singers Of This Age (VESOTA) is a dynamic group of urban high school students from 17 different Twin Cities schools whose repertoire spans the globe. In addition to singing music from many cultures and time periods, students also dance, rap and create their own music. Under the visionary leadership of founding conductor G. Phillip Shoultz III, this ensemble revolutionizes the concept of choir, and reflects the diversity of the Twin Cities community in its membership.

Here is a video highlighting the chorus, from Chorus America.

“For more than a half century, our mission has been to explore choral music from all traditions, cultures and eras, and to promote it broadly within the community and across the globe,” says G. Phillip Shoultz III, associate conductor, VocalEssence. “VESOTA is one of the newest ways we deliver on that mission. Engaging with and reflecting the community in our learning initiatives is one of the most important roles we have, so it’s wonderful to be recognized for these efforts by the premier choral advocacy organization in country.”

Chorus America is one of the country’s leading choral advocacy groups, committed to the transformation of communities through the power of singing together. Its awards honor artistic excellence, artistic growth, creative and adventurous programming, education and outreach, selfless service and generous philanthropy.

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