VocalEssence Fast Facts

About VocalEssence

  • Founded in 1969, as a music outreach program of Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis
  • Incorporated as an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1979
  • Annual Budget: $2 million
  • Endowment/Artistic Advancement Fund: $6 million (established 1987)



VocalEssence champions choral music of all genres, celebrating the vocal experience through innovative performances, commissioning of new music, and engaging with diverse constituencies.


We transform lives by singing together, assuring a place for everyone’s voice. We live out our artistic vision by:

  • Championing singing together
  • Engaging diverse constituencies
  • Creating innovative performance and learning experiences
  • Commissioning new music


  • Concert Series: 4-6 events annually in the Twin Cities area
  • Learning & Engagement Programs: annually reach thousands of Minnesotans ages 0 to 100
  • Regional and international concert appearances
  • Recordings for radio broadcast by Minnesota Public Radio, National Public Radio, and more
  • 21 commercial recordings released to date


  • 32-voice adult professional VocalEssence Ensemble Singers
  • 110-voice adult volunteer VocalEssence Chorus
  • 40-voice radically diverse youth choir, VocalEssence Singers Of This Age
  • More than 60 voices engaged in singing from several Twin Cities area assisted living communities and senior centers through Vintage Voices
  • Professional orchestra drawn from top freelance musicians in the Twin Cities
  • National and international guest artists have included Dave Brubeck, Aaron Copland, Dessa, James Earl Jones, The King’s Singers, Sweet Honey In The Rock®, Dr. Billy Taylor, Sounds of Blackness, Eric Whitacre, and William Bolcom.

In more than 50 years, VocalEssence has:

    • Shared the love of music with more than half a million people at concerts everywhere from St. Peter, MN to Shanghai, China, sharing the stage with everyone from James Earl Jones to The Rolling Stones;
    • Inspired more than 185,000 people ages 0 to 100+ to sing together through our learning and engagement programs;
    • Commissioned more than 300 new songs. More than half (55%) of the songs were written by composers of color and indigenous people;
    • Balanced its operating budget every year;
    • Consistently received funding from the Arts & Culture Legacy Amendment of the Minnesota State Arts Board for new initiatives implemented throughout the state.