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Star Tribune: Choral opera ‘The Radio Hour’ a new kind of looking-glass

Composer Jake Heggie takes VocalEssence through a new kind of looking glass. By Kristin Tillotson, Star Tribune Posted: March 12, 2015 By its title alone, the choral opera “The Radio Hour” suggests images awash in nostalgia — 1940s families gathered around a talking machine broadcasting the latest single by the Andrews Sisters. But it’s also…  Read More


VocalEssence is able to accept in-kind donations. If you have new material or equipment that you believe would be suitable for VocalEssence, please contact the Director of Finance and Operations Jeff Bina, at All gifts will be acknowledged. Wish List: LightScribe Disc Labeler Kitchen cupboards or organizer for dishes, etc. Database programming and maintenance…  Read More

MEET OUR MUSIC MAKERS: Chorus Member Kristi Mueller Finds Something Special in Each Performance

The VocalEssence Chorus is an exceptional group of 90 talented, committed singers from many walks of life—doctors, lawyers, nurses, educators, homemakers, business people and others—most with college-level or higher training in classical music and voice. Our 32-voice professional choir, the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, is known as one of Minnesota’s most highly trained and experienced group…  Read More

Join the Board

VocalEssence Board members represent a range of backgrounds from throughout our community. Click here to see a list of our current board members. VocalEssence actively seeks and welcomes members representative of all race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, national origin or with a disability. What does the Board of…  Read More

Quarantined classical: What you can do to get an earful of orchestra or opera

By ROB HUBBARD | Special to the Pioneer Press March 28, 2020 at 1:37 p.m. Article: While you sometimes have to look long and hard to find positives amid the COVID-19 crisis, one may be that folks who used to think of themselves as consumers of art now recognize that they are part of an artistic…  Read More

COVID-19 Update – March 25, 2020

Our thoughts are with you and your families as we write this. While VocalEssence is physically distancing, we continue to look for ways to use the healing power of music to socially connect and keep people thinking positively. We encourage regular visits to, and will offer updates by email on how we can continue to sing together…  Read More

Where in the World are the Conductors – February 2020

For Artistic Director and Founder Philip Brunelle, February is always ‘planning month’ putting together all the music for the 2020-21 season—choosing the repertoire for each concert, working with composers on commissions and also looking at plans for 2021-22!  And with Philip’s creative mind it is also an important time for him to help find those…  Read More

‘All Is Calm’ is filmed for PBS; ‘Dog Act’ at Gremlin Theatre

By Pamela Espeland | MinnPost PUBLISHED: December 13, 2019 Photo by Joseph Scheller Theater Latté Da spent part of this week with a film crew from New York Public Media (WNET). They were there to film Peter Rothstein’s award-winning “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” for national broadcast on PBS in 2020. For three days,…  Read More

Postcards from Mexico-Days 8 & 9

SUNDAY 9/1/2019 and MONDAY 9/2/2019 The End and the Beginning   We are home, and after the whirlwind of Saturday and Sunday, the dust has settled.  I’m late in writing about our last days of our trip because I’m dazed, and it all seems like a dream.  But then I open my Facebook page, and…  Read More

Postcards from Mexico-Day 5

THURSDAY 8/29/2019 COLORES   It is such a pleasure to sing with the Coro and Orquesta de Mineria. For starters, they are kind and warm and hilarious. But also, the colors in their voices. Tonight, I asked my seatmate Roxanne if she heard a difference in the vocal colors of the American and Mexican singers.…  Read More

Postcards from Mexico-Day 4

WEDNESDAY 8/28/2019 WHAT LASTS   “¿Listos?” Maestro Prieto said. He spoke in both English and Spanish, often switching mid-sentence. “¡Coro! No anxiety, sin ansiedad, about an early ‘s’, por un ‘s’ temprano, on the word ‘agnus.’” His speech was quick, and his gestures animated.  Giving direction to the basses, he said, “You sing like…” He…  Read More

Postcards from Mexico-Day 2

MONDAY 8/27/2019 On Singing Softly   Six hours of painstaking rehearsal notes with our Mexican Coro de Mineria friends on the Verdi Requiem: we are exhausted, but happy. As all 80+ singers crammed together, we sat literally shoulder to shoulder. “I hope you enjoy being close,” Philip said after we greeted one another warmly. “Because…  Read More

VocalEssence Ensemble Singers to Present a Homecoming Concert

The VocalEssence Ensemble Singers under the direction of Philip Brunelle will present a Homecoming Concert featuring music from their Mexico tour on Saturday, September 7, at 7 PM at Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Prior Lake. The concert is free of charge, but a free-will offering will be taken at the event. VocalEssence…  Read More

A Legacy of New Music

David Vogels: The American Organist TAO August 2019 Many of you recognize Philip Brunelle as a world-class choral conductor, based on his tenure with Plymouth Congregational Church and the VocalEssence ensemble in Minneapolis—he’s currently celebrating his 50th anniversary with both organizations. You may also know him as an opera conductor and a director of music festivals…  Read More