Stories & Results

Harriet Powers | 28 Days of Black Excellence

On today’s episode of 28 Days of Black Excellence we feature American folk artist and quilter, Harriet Powers, who weaved stories into her art to pass stories to future generations. Our musical pairing is “We are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder,” a traditional Negro Spiritual by a hidden figure. Harriet Powers (1837-1910) Notable Achievements: Although not recognized during…  Read More

Katherine Johnson | 28 Days of Black Excellence

  On today’s episode of 28 Days of Black Excellence we feature famous mathematician Katherine Johnson, whose mathematical calculations helped send Apollo 11 to the moon. Our musical pairing is “I Got a Robe,” a traditional Negro Spiritual. Katherine Johnson (1918-2020) Notable Achievements: Presidential Medal of Freedom, Silver Snoopy award, NASA Group Achievement Award, Congressional…  Read More

Dr. Percy Lavon Julian | 28 Days of Black Excellence

  On today’s episode of 28 Days of Black Excellence we feature Dr. Percy Lavon Julian. Despite considerable persecution due to segregation and racism throughout his life, Percy Julian became a steroid chemist and an entrepreneur who ingeniously figured out how to synthesize important medicinal compounds from abundant plant sources, making them more affordable to…  Read More

Frederick McKinley Jones | 28 Days of Black Excellence

On today’s episode of 28 Days of Black Excellence we feature local Minnesotan, Frederick McKinley Jones, an inventor best known for the development of refrigeration equipment used to transport food and blood during World War II. His invention radically altered American consumer’s eating habits; now people could eat eat fresh produce across the United States during…  Read More

Dr. Charles Drew | 28 Days of Black Excellence

  On this Valentine’s Day, GPS highlights the outstanding accomplishments of Dr. Charles Drew, who is responsible for the creation of what we’ve come to know as “blood banks.” We turn to Aretha Franklin for our musical inspiration which melds our faith in the Creator and love for each other in one classic song that…  Read More

F. Melius Christiansen | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer F. Melius Christiansen. F. Melius Christiansen 1871-1955 F. Melius Christiansen is an American conductor, educator, and composer of Norwegian birth known for founding and arranging music for the St. Olaf Choir. Born into a family…  Read More

Lloyd Agustus Hall | 28 Days of Black Excellence

Join GPS for the 13th installment in our series highlighting Black excellence. Today we honor the work of Lloyd Augustus Hall, a pioneer in the food preservation industry. The perfect musical pairing on this Valentine’s weekend–how about a little Four Tops and “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch (I can’t help myself)“? Join us! Lloyd Augustus Hall…  Read More

Mark E. Dean | 28 Days of Black Excellence

Happy Friday! Today marks the twelfth day of 28 Days of Black Excellence created by VocalEssence Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III. Phillip highlights the work of Mark E. Dean, computer scientist and engineer, who helped develop a number of landmark technologies for IBM, including the color PC monitor and the first gigahertz chip. He…  Read More

Arvo Pärt | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Arvo Pärt. Arvo Pärt b. 1935 Arvo Pärt is an Estonian composer known for his unique musical language, tintinnabuli. Born in Paide, his family soon moved to Rakvere, where he began to study piano at…  Read More

William Boyce | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer William Boyce. William Boyce 1711-1779 William Boyce is one of the foremost English composers of church music of his era, and also known for his symphonies and stage music. Boyce began his musical education under…  Read More

William Banfield | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer William Banfield.  William Banfield b. 1961 William Banfield is an award-winning African American composer whose symphonies, operas, and chamber works have been performed and recorded by major symphonies across the country. He received his Bachelor…  Read More

Craig Carnahan | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Craig Carnahan. Craig Carnahan b. 1951 Craig Carnahan is an American composer whose music has been commissioned and performed by prestigious ensembles throughout North America.  Carnahan received his B.A. from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) and…  Read More

Diana Syrse | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Diana Syrse. Diana Syrse b. 1984 Diana Syrse is a Mexican composer and singer, who studied composition at the Facultad de Música, further obtaining two Masters Degrees at CalArts and the Hochschule für Musik und…  Read More

James Edward Maceo West | 28 Days of Black Excellence

Today marks the eleventh day of 28 Days of Black Excellence created by VocalEssence Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III. Phillip highlights the work of James Edward Maceo West, a research professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University and member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. West…  Read More

Where in the World are the Conductors – February 2021

Artistic Director Philip Brunelle and Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III are hard at work this month preparing for a multitude of upcoming performances. Philip Brunelle The month of February is filled with rehearsals for our next concert, Call of the North; how wonderful to have the Ensemble Singers back together! The concert (to be…  Read More