Chorus America is a prominent advocacy organization for our nation’s choral groups, and its Education and Community Engagement Award recognizes the best emerging program (less than four years in operation) that expands a chorus’s role in its community. In awarding this honor to VocalEssence, the judges noted that VESOTA program evaluations “have found that participants have gained confidence, found a sense of belonging, and realized the power of music to bring people together.”
Here is a video highlighting the VESOTA choir from Chorus America.
Our pioneering VESOTA choir program debuted just two years ago. Led by G. Phillip Shoultz, III, the program was designed to make it possible for kids who had a natural affinity for singing to access the benefits of participating in a choir. By encouraging students at underserved high schools to join and providing members with transportation, meals on rehearsal nights, and performance uniforms, we were able to assemble a diverse membership—one that truly reflects our community.
The students themselves bring so much creativity to the program—the first group even got to choose the name—students from 17 different Twin Cities schools whose repertoire spans the globe. In addition to singing music from many cultures and time periods, they also dance, rap, and create their own music.
Check out this award-winning group yourself this summer. They’ll be performing at the State Fair on September 1 and 2. Find them at the International Bazaar Stage with performance times at 10:45 am, 12:00 pm, and 1:15 pm each day.