VocalEssence Announces New Full-Time Associate Conductor

We are very excited and honored to announce today a wonderful addition to our VocalEssence team.

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VocalEssence Artistic Director Philip Brunelle and Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz III

G. Phillip Shoultz, III will be joining Philip Brunelle as the new full-time Associate Conductor of VocalEssence this July. This is an expanded position with our organization, one that we hope will have far-reaching impact on both VocalEssence and our community.  Phillip replaces part-time VocalEssence Associate Conductor Sigrid Johnson, who announced her retirement in February 2015.

Support and investment from a number of generous donors allowed us to create and expand this position, to provide a learning opportunity for the next generation of American choral artistic leaders. Phillip’s first official foray as Associate Conductor will be at the VocalEssence concert Dreams of the Fallen in October. He will also serve as artistic leader for the VocalEssence WITNESS and ¡Cantaré! programs, rehearse with the Chorus and Ensemble Singers, and conduct the 2015-2016 River Songs and Tales tour. This year, Phillip will work with the group part-time as he finishes his doctorate. He has committed to stay with VocalEssence for at least three seasons.

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G. Phillip Shoultz, III, VocalEssence Associate Conductor

The winner of the 2015 National American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Graduate Conducting Competition, Phillip is pursuing a doctorate degree in conducting at the University of Minnesota where he conducts two choral ensembles. He sings professionally, adjudicates vocal festivals, and frequently appears as a guest clinician and workshop leader. Recently, he was awarded an F. Melius Christiansen Graduate Study Scholarship by the Minnesota chapter of ACDA, participated in the inaugural Weimar Bach Cantata Academy with Helmuth Rilling, and was selected as one of six Conducting Fellows for the Oregon Bach Festival this summer. In addition to joining VocalEssence, he is director of music, worship, and the arts for Good Samaritan United Methodist Church, and is also currently working with the VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! program. He lives in St. Louis Park with his lovely wife, Michelle (a native Minnesotan!), their adorable 18-month-old son, Malachi, and cat, Rusty.

Phillip earned degrees with high honors from the University of Georgia (B.A. and B.M.) and Georgia State University (M.M.). During his time in Atlanta, he served as Artistic Director to an adult community choir (Gwinnett Choral Guild) and a youth organization (Atlanta Institute for Musicianship and Singing), founding director of the Georgia Young Men’s Ensemble, a part of the Grammy Awardwinning Gwinnett Young Singers, and the Assistant Director for the professional chamber choir, Coro Vocati. His work in public schools garnered school- and county-level Teacher of the Year honors on three separate occasions by different organizations.

We selected Phillip from a pool of 66 candidates from around the country through an extensive search process that included a video audition, classroom work with elementary and high school music students, meetings with board members, and an intensive rehearsal/audition process with the VocalEssence Chorus and Ensemble Singers. We know you’ll be as engaged with—and inspired by—Phillip’s charm and artistic talent as we are.

We look forward to introducing Phillip to you, and ask you to join us in welcoming him to VocalEssence!


Philip Brunelle
Artistic Director and Founder


Mary Ann Aufderheide
Executive Director