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For more than half a century, VocalEssence has inspired our community through innovative choral concerts and engagement programs, but now we must do more to meet the rapidly changing needs of our community. The time has come for VocalEssence to harness the power of singing together and channel it into solutions to address some of our greatest challenges, including the widening achievement gap, dramatically changing demographics and racial and socioeconomic inequities.
Here are some of our accomplishments already through the Bridge to the Future Fund:
VocalEssence SOTA (Singers Of This Age)
- Expanded work with VocalEssence SOTA (Singers Of This Age) High School Choir to include more family services, neighborhood work, and alumni connections and mentorship.
- Established a scholarship stipend for graduating SOTA members to continue their creative education after graduation.
- Expanded touring for SOTA with two tours to Southwestern Minnesota and Chicago.
- Expanded the Urban Choral Initiative to include open-sings for Middle School students to increase opportunities for Middle and High School students to sing together.
- Created more inter-generational programming with all four VocalEssence ensembles, including opportunities for all four choirs to sing together in concert for the first time!
- Developed a new Vintage Voices location in Saint Paul in collaboration with Keystone Community Services.
Engaging Other Cultures
- Continued to work to ensure VocalEssence constituencies reflect the vibrant diversity of our community, including appointing the first female Latina as president of the VocalEssence Board of Directors.
- Started a weekly music class for mothers and their babies. Singing from the Heart initiative engages Black and Latina mothers at Longfellow Alternative High School in Minneapolis.
- Reimagining school initiatives by implementing new ways to deliver our legacy programs (WITNESS and ¡CANTARÉ!) with more in-depth interactions between cultural diverse teaching artists and students.
- Exploring potential expansion of ¡Cantaré! to San Diego.
- Invested in Chorus America Executive Leadership Program for emerging leaders from global majority communities.
- Produced Neighborhood Block Parties, led by SOTA, which allowed the organization to develop meaningful relationships with individuals and organizations in the Harrison Neighborhood of N. Minneapolis and the West side of St. Paul.
- VocalEssence was a leading force behind “Let Freedom Ring: Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington.”
- Plans for recording with artists Joe Davis and The New Renaissance and Jovonta Patton in the near future.
Singers of Culture Quartet
- Continued work on increasing inclusion, access, and equity at VocalEssence through intercultural development work with board, staff, and singers.
- Revitalized the VocalEssence mission, vision, and values and created a new strategic plan that aligns current programming with BTTF initiatives to support the future of VocalEssence.
- Invested in the Emerging Artist Program of the Bach Roots Festival with GPS serving lead Mentor.
- Researching other programs with similar goals.
- In process of completing cultural competency and racial healing work with the staff, singers, and board so that the organization is fully prepared for the official launch of the initiative.
Learn more about our work by watching the videos below, or make your pledge by submitting a pledge form to VocalEssence.