VocalEssence and the St. Olaf Choir Digital Concert Program

The St. Olaf Choir with Anton Armstrong, conductor, looking up.FEATURING:
The St. Olaf Choir
VocalEssence Chorus
VocalEssence Ensemble Singers
Jocelyn Hagen, piano
Catherine Rodland, organ
Anton Armstrong, conductor
Philip Brunelle, conductor
G. Phillip Shoultz, III, conductor


Welcome to the opening concert of the 55th season—we are thrilled to be joined once again by the St. Olaf Choir and our friend, Dr. Anton Armstrong! As has been our musical mission, the program today includes works from the past and present, including two world premieres, and features music that evokes memories of those we love.
Today we remember our friend and colleague, Sigrid Johnson, who was my associate conductor for 24 years. Sig was a woman beloved by so many…just ask any of the singers who knew her! I don’t know how to describe her talent except to say that she touched each of us in a positive way, wanting us to do our best for the music…and then go a bit beyond!
It is fitting that we share two world premiere commissions in Sig’s honor. The first, written by composer Ralph Johnson, will be sung by the St. Olaf Choir. The second, written by Minnesota composer and St. Olaf alumna Jocelyn Hagen, will feature all the sopranos and altos of VocalEssence and the St. Olaf Choir. Jocelyn has a special connection with Sigrid—she served as accompanist for 2 years for the Manitou Singers of St. Olaf College which Sigrid conducted.

After hearing the treble voices, all the tenors and basses will sing three beautiful prayers by St. Francis of Assisi with music by Francis Poulenc—and sung in French, a first for us!

We conclude the concert with Afro-Brazilian composer José Nuñes García’s Requiem, which was first heard on our WITNESS concert in 1993. It is a work that bears repeating and will be conducted by Anton Armstrong, G. Phillip Shoultz, and yours truly—3 conductors! As you hear this music you may think of Mozart or Cimarosa, and that would be correct as all three composers lived about the same time.
As I reflect on these 55 years, beginning with Aaron Copland coming here the first season, and all the amazing artists and music that we have celebrated over these years…it is truly remarkable! None of this could have happened without YOU who believed in the vision of VocalEssence and supported it—thank you SO much! Of course, it has involved the incredible singers who have given tirelessly of their voices. And I cannot conclude without a word of thanks to the VocalEssence Board and Staff—such incredible people! All of you are the reason that VocalEssence has continued to grow and inspire countless music lovers near and far.
—Philip Brunelle
Artistic Director and Founder


Florence Price (1887-1953)
St. Olaf Choir
Ralph M. Johnson (b. 1955)
St. Olaf Choir
F. Melius Christiansen (1871-1955)
St. Olaf Choir
Jayne Southwick Cool (b. 1947), arr. Eric Nelson (b. 1959)
St. Olaf Choir
arr. Moses G. Hogan, Jr. (1957-2003)
St. Olaf Choir
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Timothy C. Takach (b. 1978)
VocalEssence Chorus
arr. Marques L.A. Garrett (b. 1984)
VocalEssence Chorus & Ensemble Singers
Steven Stucky (1949-2016)
VocalEssence Ensemble Singers
Dominick Argento (1927-2019)
Chloe Johnson, soprano solo
VocalEssence Chorus & Ensemble Singers
Jocelyn Hagen (b. 1980)
Combined Choirs: Soprano and Alto Voices
Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
Eli Baumgartner, tenor solo
Combined Choirs: Tenor and Bass Voices
José Maurícío Nuñes-García (1767-1830)
Chloe Johnson, Carolyn Nuelle, Eli Baumgartner, David Gindra, solo quartet
Elsa Buck, soprano solo
St. Olaf Choir and VocalEssence


PRAISE THE LORD, Florence Price
Praise the Lord, all ye nations;
Praise the Lord, all ye people.
For God’s merciful kindness is great toward us:
And the truth of the Lord endureth forever.
Praise ye the Lord.
—Psalm 117
LISTEN!, Ralph M. Johnson
In loving memory of Sigrid Jean Johnson (1952-2022)
Listen to the voices
Peace, be still
I know the plans I have for you
for the still small voice
Listen to the voices;
feel the warmth of the sun
on your back
the hand of someone you love
gently touching your shoulder
Where is your voice
O God of future and hope
Help us to hear
Listen to the voices
The songbirds are singing.
Their wide eyes follow
the dance of her eyes,
her arms, her hands.
And oh, such light in her face!
Listen to the spirit-voices,
their perfect unison and harmony
singing the seasons of life.
God of love and light
Lift our eyes
Open our ears
—David Bengston (for my dear friend Sigrid, a fabulous listener)
Hosanna, a new Hosanna, within is ringing,
New glory bringing to God on high
Who has exalted this lowly mortal
To heaven’s portal beyond the sky.
Hosanna, a new Hosanna all life embraces,
While growing praises to God arise;
Soon my spirit shall sing,
Shall sing victorious,
With him, the glorious, in paradise.
A new Hosanna shall arise.
A new Hosanna now is ringing, and my heart is singing:
—Oscar R. Overby, alt.
WHEN MEMORY FADES, Jayne Southwick Cool, arr. Eric Nelson
When memory fades and recognition falters,
When eyes we love grow dim, and minds confused,
Speak to our souls of love that never alters;
Speak to our hearts by pain and fear abused.
O God of life and healing peace,
Empower us with patient courage, by your grace infused.
As the frailness grows, and youthful strengths diminish,
In weary arms, which worked their earnest fill.
Your aging servants labor now to finish….
Their earthly tasks as fits your mystery’s will.
We grieve their waning, yet rejoice, believing,
Your arms, unwearied, shall uphold us still.
Within your spirit, goodness lives unfading.
The past and future mingle into one.
All joys remain, un-shadowed light pervading.
No valued deed will ever be undone.
Your mind enfolds all finite acts and offerings.
Held in your heart, our deathless life is won.
—Mary Louise Bringle
WALK TOGETHER CHILDREN, African American spiritual, arr. Moses G. Hogan, Jr. 
There’s a great camp meetin’ in the promised lan’.
Oh, walk together, children, don’t you get weary.
Walk on, my children, don’t you get-a weary.
Just walk together, children, don’t you get weary.
There’s a great camp meetin’ in the promised lan’.
Gonna walk an’ never tire,
There’s a great camp meetin’ in the promised lan’.
Gonna sing an’ never tire,
There’s a great camp meetin’ in the promised lan’.
Gonna shout an’ never tire,
There’s a great camp meetin’ in the promised lan’.
Oh, walk together, children, don’t you get weary.
Sing on, my children, don’t you get weary.
Just shout together, children, don’t you get weary.
There’s a great camp meetin’ in the promised lan’.
—African American spiritual
And I believe. So I believe.
I will lift my eyes to the hills.
There, dost thou well believe, no storm should come
To mar the stillness of that angel-home;
There should thy slumbers be
Weighed down with honey-dew, serenely blessed.
And I believe. So I believe.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
Neither angels, nor demons, nor powers,
Neither things present nor things to come,
Neither height nor depth, nor any other creature,
Shall be able to separate us from the love of God.
I do believe.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
—Psalms 121:1, Felicia Dorothea Hemans, Romans 8:38-39, Revelation 7:17
WE SHALL WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY, Negro Spiritual, arr. by Marques L.A. Garrett
Lamb of God, grant us peace.
We shall walk through the valley in peace.
If Jesus Himself will be our leader.
There will be no more weeping there,
There will be no more sorrows there,
If Jesus Himself will be our leader,
We shall walk through the valley in peace.
We will meet our loved ones there,
If Jesus Himself will be our leader
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil.
We shall walk through the valley in peace.
—Additional text from Traditional Latin liturgy and Psalm 23:4
O world invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!
Does the fish soar to find the ocean?
The eagle plunge to find the air—
That we ask of the stars in motion
If they have rumor of thee there,
Not where the wheeling systems darken,
And our benumbed conceiving soars!—
The drift of pinions, would we hearken,
Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors.
The angels keep their ancient places;
Turn but a stone and start a wing!
‘Tis ye, ‘tis your estranged faces,
That miss the many-splendoured thing.
O world invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee.
—from In No Strange Land, by Francis Thompson
There’s singing up in heaven, Oh, Jordan,
There’s singing here below
Oh, River of love.
Singing of Kindness in the morning light
Praising of Truth in the season of night.
They’re singing Glory, Amen.
There’s praying in the East, Oh, Zion
And praying in the West, O city of Love.
Singing of kindness in the morning light.
Praising of Truth in the season of night. Glory, Amen.
—African American Spiritual Text
SONG IN MY HEART, Jocelyn Hagen 
In dedication to Sigrid “Ears” Johnson, an amazing musician who inspired thousands of singers to sing with their voices and their hearts.
Now is a moment between birth and death
That I must fill with song; infinity
Trembles upon my lips with every breath
And must cry for beauty endlessly—
Beauty that lies in small and simple things:
One note that breaks against the heart’s warm bars,
Joy on the rim of pain, the light that sings
In silver metaphysics of the stars.
There will be time for silence soft and deep
When springtimes brimmed with blossoms shall go by
Unheeded by the singer who will sleep
With winds and robins under a wide sky—
The tangle of songs in her heart no longer heard
For beauty articulate in one infinite Word.
—Sister M. Thérèse
MOVEMENTS II-IV, Francis Poulenc
sung in French
Almighty, most holy, most high and sovereign God;
sovereign, universal and all good; You alone are good;
We offer You all praise, all glory, all gratitude, all honor, all blessing;
may we always bring to You everything that is good.
Lord, I beg You, that the burning and gentle force of Your love pervade my soul
and remove from it all that is beneath Heaven,
That I might die through love of Your love
since You did deign to die through love of my love.
O my very dear brothers and children blessed for all eternity,
Listen to me, to the voice of your Father.
We have promised great things, we have been promised even greater than them:
let us keep the former and long for the latter.
Pleasure is brief, punishment is eternal. Suffering is light, glory is infinite.
Many are called, few are chosen. All will receive what they have merited.
So be it. So be it.
—Saint Francis of Assisi
REQUIEM, José Maurícío Nuñes-García
sung in Latin
1. Introit (Chorus)
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them.
A hymn, O God, becometh Thee in Zion and a vow shall be paid to thee in Jerusalem.
Hear my prayer for all flesh shall come before you.
2. Kyrie (Chorus)
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
3. Graduale (Chorus with Alto and Bass Soli)
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord: and let perpetual light shine upon them.
They shall be justified in everlasting memory, and shall not fear evil reports.
Forgive, O Lord, the souls of all the faithful departed
from all the chains of their sins and by the aid to them of your grace
may they deserve to avoid the judgment of revenge,
and enjoy the blessedness of everlasting light.
4. Dies Irae
This day of wrath shall consume the world in ashes,
as foretold by David and the Sibyl.
What trembling there will be when the judge shall come
to weigh everything strictly!
The trumpet, scattering its awful sound across the graves of all lands
Summons all before the throne.
(Quartet and Chorus) Death and nature shall be stunned when mankind arises
To render account before the judge.
The written book shall be brought in which all is contained
Whereby the world shall be judged
When the judge takes his seat all that is hidden shall appear
Nothing will remain unavenged.
(Tenor) What shall I, a wretch, say then? To which protector shall I appeal
When even the just man is barely safe?
(Chorus) King of awful majesty You freely save those worthy of salvation
Save me, fount of pity.
(Quartet) Remember, gentle Jesus that I am the reason for your time on earth,
do not cast me out on that day
Seeking me, you sank down wearily, you saved me by enduring the cross,
(Chorus) such travail must not be in vain.
Righteous judge of vengeance, award the gift of forgiveness
before the day of reckoning.
(Soprano) I groan as one guilty, my face blushes with guilt;
spare the suppliant, O God.
Thou who didn’t absolve Mary and hear the prayer of the thief
hast given me hope, too.
My prayers are not worthy, but Thou, O good one, show mercy,
lest I burn in everlasting fire,
(Chorus) Give me a place among the sheep, and separate me from the goats,
placing me on Thy right hand.
When the damned are confounded and consigned to keen flames,
call me with the blessed.
I pray, suppliant and kneeling, a heart as contrite as ashes;
take Thou my ending into Thy care.
That day is one of weeping, on which shall rise again from the ashes
the guilty man, to be judged.
(Quartet) Therefore spare this one, O God, merciful Lord Jesus:
(Chorus) Give them rest. Amen.
5. Offertorio
(Bass) Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory,
deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of Hell and the bottomless pit.
Deliver them from the jaws of the lion,
(Chorus) lest hell engulf them, lest they be plunged into darkness;
but let the holy standard-bearer Michael lead them into the holy light,
(Bass) as once you promised to Abraham and to his seed.
(Chorus) Lord, in praise we offer you sacrifices and prayers,
accept them on behalf of those who we remember this day:
Lord, make them pass from death to life,
as once you promised to Abraham and to his seed.
6. Sanctus & Benedictus (Chorus and Quartet)
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed are they that come in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!
7. Agnus Dei (Chorus)
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Grant them rest.O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Grant them eternal rest.
8. Communio (Lux Aeterna) (Chorus)
Let everlasting light shine upon them, Lord, with Thy saints for ever,
for Thou art merciful.
Grant them eternal rest, Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them,
for Thou art merciful.

In Loving Memory of Sigrid Johnson (1952-2022)

Sigrid Johnson was the associate conductor at VocalEssence for 24 years, where she worked closely with Founding Artistic Director Philip Brunelle.

So many thoughts fill my mind thinking of dear Sigrid, affectionately known to all singers as “Ears Johnson” for she truly had the most amazing way of discerning the sound of each individual voice. She was my colleague, my musical conscience, a joyful supporter for a great realm of music, and a deep, dear friend to me, to my wife Carolyn, and to the thousands of singers, conductors, students, and listeners she touched. Her generous spirit as a musician and human being embraced us all, making her unforgettable and beloved.
–Philip Brunelle
Artistic Director and Founder, VocalEssence

Let us honor the sagest of sages,
To whom music and mirth paid their wages,
Whose renown is secure
And whose glories endure:
Sig Johnson is one for the ages.
—Christopher Brunelle
  • Dr. Anton Armstrong and Sigrid
  • Robert “BJ” Johnson and Sigrid
  • Sigrid rehearses members of the VocalEssence Chorus
  • Sigrid conducting
  • Jorge Córdoba, first VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! Composer, Sigrid, and Philip Brunelle
  • Philip Brunelle and Sigrid
  • Sigrid and Philip model hats

About the St. Olaf Choir

For more than a century, the St. Olaf Choir has set a gold standard for choral singing, performing for millions around the world. Composed of 75 mixed voices, the St. Olaf Choir is hailed as one the nation’s premier a cappella ensembles, renowned for its artistry and beauty of sound. Conducted by Anton Armstrong, the St. Olaf Choir is internationally renowned for its unique combination of advanced choral singing and the presentation of challenging choral programming with a vast repertoire that includes sacred and secular choral standards, traditional hymns, new compositions, spirituals, and more.
“We seek to be a transforming force in society through choral performance, bringing understanding, mercy, justice, peace, and hope to a world that desperately cries out for these things.” —Anton Armstrong
Charlotte Buchman, Waupaca, Wis.
^Cate Crockett, Rochester, Minn.
*Taylor Dirks, Dekalb, Ill.
Rachel Du Four, Fair Oaks, Calif.
Ava Messinger, Edmonds, Wash.
Katie Nail, Ashburn, Va.
Lilly Schneider, Bellevue, Wash.
—Meredith Wallace, New York, N.Y.
Ella Yarris, Portland, Ore.
Claire Bouma, Omaha, Neb.
Abigail Carter, Longmont, Colo.
Ellsie Covert, St. Michael, Minn.
Abby Engbrecht, Faribault, Minn.
—Emily Hagel, Parkers Prairie, Minn.
Lydia Hill, Ankeny, Iowa
Sierra Penning, Stillwater, Minn.
Joanna Perez, Houston, Texas
Ilsa Weigel, Bellevue, Wash.
Jaclyn Duellman, Downers Grove, Ill.
Grace Knowlan, Stillwater, Minn.
Abigail Lundeen, Golden, Colo.
Annalisa Nardiello, Barrington, Ill.
*Hannah Paulson, Woodstock, Ill.
Ella Pike, Lincoln, Neb.
• Emma Silvestri, Lawrence, Kan.
Zoe Vorbach, Marshall, Minn.
Maria West, Ankeny, Iowa
Darby Wilson, Virginia Beach, Va.
Jan-Rose Davis, Cold Spring, Minn.
Sabe Dunlap, Hamden, Conn.
Freya Gordon, North Mankato, Minn.
Rachel Milt, Winchester, Mass.
• Alexys Sayegh, Corona, Calif.
• —Tove Trelstad-Larsen, Tacoma, Wash.
Maleah Upton, Tillamook, Ore.
Heather Wallace, New York, N.Y.
Julie Xiong, Stillwater, Minn.
Kazmer Beaudry, St. Michael, Minn.
Zach Bushard, Lincoln, Neb.
William Fecko, State College, Pa.
Obsa Kedir, Minneapolis, Minn.
• Thomas Krueger, Lakeville, Minn.
Thomas McCarthy, Albuquerque, N.M.
Elijah Ojo, St. Paul, Minn.
Liam Seaton, Weybridge, Vt.
Jake Vidervol, Andover, Minn.
Julian Colville, Ipswich, Mass.
Huy (Harrison) Do, Rach Gia, Vietnam
Luke Goeddeke, Minneapolis, Minn.
Jakeb Hunter, Castlewood, S.D.
Noah Hubbard, Elbow Lake, Minn.
^Aaron Looney, Bridgewater, Va.
Rand Matheson, St. Michael, Minn.
*Jake Olson, Lake Elmo, Minn.
Noah Carlson, Marysville, Mich.
Paul Freelove, Pillager, Minn.
Nolan Fuzzey, Minneapolis, Minn.
Tyler Hansen, Magnolia, Texas
Kevin Kodalen, Eagan, Minn.
Henry Vermeer, Des Moines, Iowa
Devon West, Dallas, Texas
Landon Davis, Springfield, Mo.
*Aiden Kocian, League City, Texas
Andrew Kramer, Bloomington, Minn.
Murali Meyer, San Francisco, Calif.
Nicholas Rhodes, Kennett Square, Pa.
Demitrius Urban, Urbana, Ill.
Alden Wright, St. Paul, Minn.
* Section leader
• Officer
^ Manager
— Librarian
The 2023–24 season is Anton Armstrong’s 34th year as conductor of the St. Olaf Choir, marking him as the longest tenured conductor in the ensemble’s storied 112-year history. He is the Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Professor of Music at St. Olaf College, the fourth conductor of the St. Olaf Choir in 1990 after ten years in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he served on the faculty of Calvin University. He is a graduate of St. Olaf College and earned advanced degrees at the University of Illinois (MM) and Michigan State University (DMA). He is editor of a multicultural choral series for Earthsongs Publications and co-editor of the revised St. Olaf Choral Series for Augsburg Fortress Publishers. In June 1998, he began his tenure as founding conductor of the Oregon Bach Festival Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy. Dr. Armstrong currently serves as Chair of the National Board of Chorus America and has returned to serve on the National Board of The Choristers Guild.

About VocalEssence

For 55 years, VocalEssence has provided opportunities for singers from the Twin Cities area to create incredible music together and build connections as part of the vibrant arts community in Minnesota.
VocalEssence is known for introducing audiences to music and artists who are not yet known, often welcoming guest artists, composers, and conductors who are emerging, have unknown works, or represent a variety of cultures. Welcoming all members of the greater community, VocalEssence embodies the motto: Together We Sing.
VocalEssence draws upon the power of singing together to nurture community, inspire creativity, affirm the value of all persons, and expand the influence of choral music.
Artistic Director and Founder
Philip Brunelle, artistic director and founder of VocalEssence 55 years ago, is an internationally-renowned conductor, choral scholar, and visionary. Philip has conducted symphonies, choral festivals, and operas on six continents. He holds five honorary degrees, served 9 years as Vice President of IFCM (International Federation for Choral Music), and has been recognized for his commitment to choral music by the governments of Norway, Hungary, Sweden, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. In 2019, he was awarded the American Prize in Choral Conducting and, in 2020, was given the Honorary Member Award by the Society for American Music. Last fall Philip was appointed a National Arts Associate of the Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity. Philip is also Organist-Choirmaster at Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis. During the pandemic Philip recorded 300 “Musical Moments” which can be accessed at https:// www.vocalessence.org/what-we-do/virtual-projects/musical-moments-with-philip-brunelle/ and his thoughts on music are at RenaissanceManpodcast.com. Philip and his wife Carolyn, a studio artist, have 3 children (Tim, Christopher and Elise) and 7 grandchildren.
Associate Artistic Director
G. Phillip Shoultz, III, associate artistic director, uses the power of the spoken word and song to foster community and inspire action among people of all ages and abilities. Phillip conducts festival choirs and leads workshops across the United States and beyond. He serves on the faculty of the University of St. Thomas and guides the ministries of worship, music, and the arts at Westwood Lutheran Church. An accomplished curator of multi-disciplinary community collaborations, Phillip is the Artistic Director of the University of Minnesota Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert. The Minnesota Orchestra regularly engages Phillip to host their Young People’s Concerts and his online presence continues to grow as his pandemic livestream, Take 5 with GPS, recently reached the 500-episode milestone. The winner of numerous honors, including the ACDA Graduate Conducting Competition and multiple Teacher of the Year awards, Phillip founded “Table for More” in the summer of 2020 to help organizations address issues related to innovation, equity, racial justice, and belonging in the arts. Phillip lives in St. Louis Park with his wife, Michelle, and their two children (Malachi and Lydia Grace).
Learning and Engagement Manager
Conductor, Vintage Voices
Robert Graham is the Learning and Engagement Manager at VocalEssence where he serves as the conductor for the VocalEssence Vintage Voices choirs, and oversees the renowned VocalEssence WITNESS School Program. Robert has a Master of Music degree in both vocal performance and choral conducting from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and a B.A. in vocal performance from Xavier University of Louisiana. Robert currently serves as a section leader of the adult choir at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, sings second tenor in the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, and also performs around the Twin Cities as a solo and chamber musician.
Pianist Casey Rafn enjoys a varied career as a collaborative pianist both in the United States and abroad, in Europe and
Latin America. He is a member of ‘Trés’, whose saxophone-piano trio was just nominated for a Latin Grammy for Best Instrumental Album for their new album
“Romance al Campesino Porteño.” Casey often collaborates in concert or recordings with members of the Minnesota Orchestra,
the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and University of Minnesota School of Music faculty. As a piano soloist he took top prizes at the
International Liszt-Garrison Competition in Baltimore, has appeared with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, and has taught at both the University of Minnesota School of Music and the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts.
Accompanist, VocalEssence Vintage Voices
John Jensen received his music degrees in Southern California, where he attended Occidental College and University of Southern California. While there he free-lanced as a studio musician, playing on the Andy Williams show and touring the country with prominent singers through Columbia Artists Management. He moved to Iowa and taught for 15 years at Grinnell College as an artist-in-residence. In 1990, John moved to St. Paul and has played with VocalEssence, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. In November 2022, John appeared with the Yale Symphony Orchestra at Yale University to play and record a piano concerto by the late Paul Reale, for Naxos records (to be released in 2023).

VocalEssence Chorus 2023-24, photo credit-Bruce Silcox

The VocalEssence Chorus is a group of talented and enthusiastic singers from many different walks of life, united by their love of singing and community. Performing a wide variety of musical styles, premiering new works, and sharing the stage with a diverse array of guest artists, the Chorus is a welcome home for singers who wish to continue making music throughout their adult lives.
Ann Ambach
AnnaLisa Anderson
Madison Asher
Jessica Belt
Christine Boone
Kara Carrier
Corey Cellurale
Lorinda Chagnon
Amanda Connolly
McKenna Cromwell
Emily Dyrdahl
Eva Gibney-Jones
Lillian Gray
Kristina M. Guiffre
Becca Hovsepian
Claire Huber
Sally Jaffray
Elinor Jones
Magdalena Koebele
Laura Langan
Clara Lind
Lisa D Moncur
Christina Pederson
Emma Schlabach
Emily D. Seifers
Ashley Slattery
Leah Sovick
Abbie Sulik
Dana Terres
Katherine Tonn Eisinger
Amanda Troolin
Jennifer Vickerman
Laura Walket Jacobsen
Dannika Wright
Akosua Obuo Addo
Nancy Jo Aldrich
Azure Anderson
Johanna Beaupre
Jo Beld
Katelyn Belden
Mary Depew
Grace Dokken
Maggie Driemeyer
Susannah Eckberg
Becky Gaunt
Emma Goos
Autumn Gurgel Valentini
Marjorie Rose Hakala
Meg Hanna
Dee Hein
Grace Alice Herbertz
Brianna Hill
Emma Jirele
Jenny Kisner
Katie Kovacovich
Jessica Laven Johnson
Jeenee Lee
Ana M. Levya
Carly Lunden
Danica McDonald
Rebecca Modert
Rachel Moniz
Kristi Mueller
Elizabeth Neuenfeldt
Liz Raimann
Marty Raymond
Miriam Sahouani
Erin Sandsmark
Katie Sandsmark
Lisa Kathleen Schalla
Sydney Schoeberle
Forrest Schrader
Laura Tanner
Claire Campion Walsh
Steve Aggergaard
David Ampaabeng
Brett Bacon
Jason Bendezu
Larry J Brandts
Cheryl A Calloway
Justin Clark
Ryan Coopergard
Ben Demaree
Grant Gilbert Dunne
Tim Emery
Reagan Lee
Owen Metzger
Kurtis Parlin
Thomas Sasdi
Jonathan Sussman
Barry John Tikalsky
Ethan Williams
Robert Atendido
David Castro
Adam Hecker
Russ Kaplan
Evan Clay Kelly
Jordan Kiffmeyer
Jacob Koshiol
Phil Lowry
Noah K Lucas
Nicholas Marcouiller
Thomas Mondry
Nicholas Mroczek
Declan O’Higgins
Milo Oien-Rochat
David Olson
Brian D. Ruhl
Josh Snapp
Trent Stenoien
Dave Toht
Jacob Hurley Weindling

VocalEssence Ensemble Singers 2023-24, photo credit-Bruce Silcox

The VocalEssence Ensemble Singers have established an international reputation because of their extensive catalog of recordings and broad range of unique repertoire. This chamber choir, whose members hail from a wide variety of professions, is bound together by their skilled artistry to create what The Times of London has described as a “flawless” sound.
Jennifer Bevington
Elsa Buck
Chloe Johnson
JoAnna Johnson
Natalia Romero Arbeláez
Kathryn Rupp
Mari Scott
Carey Shunskis
Robin Joy Helgen
Patty Kramer
Audrey Lane-Getaz
Judith McClain Melander
Anna G Meek
Carolyn Nuelle
Kristina Rodel Sorum
Catherine Terres
Peter Aldrich
Eli Baumgartner
Will Berendsen
Ben Brunnette
Jared Campbell
Robert J. Graham
Jonah Herzog
Phil Reilly
Joseph Ellickson
David Gindra
Joe Kastner
Erik Krohg
Nathan Petersen-Kindem
Dr. Michael P. Schmidt
Benjamin Shermock

VocalEssence Singers Of This Age, photo credit: Kyndell Harkness

The VocalEssence Singers Of This Age (VESOTA) is a community of Twin Cities teenagers engaged in expanding what it means to be a choir and, encouraging a wider circle of participation in the artform. Presenting music ranging from classical to hip-hop, they use creativity and collaboration to build an accepting community, equipped with the skills to lead social change in our society.

VocalEssence Vintage Voices 2, photo credit Kyndell Harkness
VocalEssence Vintage Voices, Photo Credit: Kyndell Harkness

VocalEssence Vintage Voices is an exciting choral program that integrates the arts into the everyday lives of older adults. Guided by a desire to create a welcoming atmosphere and remove barriers for participation, these choirs sing to build community, combat loneliness and isolation, and improve physical and emotional wellbeing.

VocalEssence Board of Directors and Staff

Carolina Maranon-Cobos
Torrie Allen
Vice President
Daniel Fernelius
Kristen Hoeschler O’Brien
Mary Ann Aufderheide
Anna Boyle
Tanya M. Bransford
Philip Brunelle
Ben Brunnette
Amber Cales
Mirella Ceja-Orozco
Margaret Chutich
Dan Dressen
Martha Driessen
Cassandra Garnett
Autumn Gurgel
Valton Henderson
Daniel Kantor
Lisa Merklin Lewis
Rhoda Mhiripiri-Reed
Richard Neuner
Kristine Oberg
Jim Odland
Doug Parish
Joanne Reeck
G. Phillip Shoultz, III
Jeff Smith
Amanda Storm Schuster
Timothy C. Takach
Bob Thacker
Elizabeth Truesdell Smith
Ann Barkelew
Ann Buran
Art Kaemmer
Nikki Lewis
Mike McCarthy*
Dave Mona
Fred Moore
Don Shelby
Dorene Wernke
Dominick Argento*
William Bolcom
Dave Brubeck*
Stewart Copeland
Aaron Copland*
Håkan Hagegård
Louise Heffelfinger*
Eskil Hemberg*
Betty Hulings*
Sigrid Johnson*
James Earl Jones
Garrison Keillor
Donald Mitchell*
Helmuth Rilling
John Rutter
Peter Schickele
Dr. André J. Thomas
Eric Whitacre
*In remembrance
Philip Brunelle
Artistic Director and Founder
G. Phillip Shoultz, III
Associate Artistic Director
Robert Graham
Learning and Engagement Manager | Conductor, Vintage Voices
Casey Rafn
John Jensen
Accompanist, Vintage Voices
Azure Anderson
Executive Assistant
Mary Ann Aufderheide
Executive Director
Jeff Bina
Director of Finance and Operations
Rhiannon Fiskradatz
Learning and Engagement Manager
Laura Holst
Development and Marketing Associate
Emma Jirele Sandhurst
Learning and Engagement Manager
Ethan Johnson
Director of Artistic Operations
Amanda Timmer
Director of Marketing and Communications
Elissa Weller
Director of Development

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Thank you, VocalEssence Supporters

VocalEssence has a large group of committed supporters and is honored by the many gifts received in memory, appreciation, and celebration of friends and family that are too many to list in this concert program. Please click the button below to see a full list of supporters and special tributes.

VocalEssence Supporters

Special Thanks for the Support of this Concert

Productivity, Inc., Greg and Lisa Buck

Thanks to Those Who Contributed to the Sigrid Johnson Memorial Fund

Mary Ann Aufderheide
Kevin Bailey and Ken Kieffer
Carol Barnett
Jo Beld and Tim Delmont
Carol Brandenburg
Chris Brunelle and Serena Zabin
Philip and Carolyn Brunelle
Ann Buran
Steve and Karen Burger
Barbara Butcher
Katryn Conlin and Ben Manning
Steve and Judy Drobeck
Glenace Edwall and Joe Peschek
Kent and Katherine Eklund
Cathie Fischer
Kathleen Grammer
Frank Steen and Lisa Habeck
Dob and Janis Hardy
Jeffrey Masco
Susan Nicol
Sue Shepard
Ruth Spiegel and Brad McNaught
LeAnn Stein and Jack Stamp
Susan Marie Swanson and Tom Hysell
Laura and Matt Tanner
Paul and Elissa Weller
Reid Mortensen and Sue Zemlin

Special Thanks

Central Lutheran Church and Staff
Ethan Johnson
Anna Meek