VocalEssence is expanding upon the work we have done for nearly three decades in providing Minneapolis and St. Paul students access to choral music. We are creating a VocalEssence Youth Choir that revolutionizes our concept of choir and seeks to reflect the diversity of our community in its membership. Through this choir, we seek to empower young people through artistic expression, champion the community building capacity of group singing, and encourage a wider circle of participation in the art form. The choir will be conducted by VocalEssence Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III. VocalEssence is running a GoFundMe Campaign to help fund the youth choir. Click here to learn more.
80% of the funding for the pilot year comes from an Arts Learning Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. We need to raise the other 20% through gifts from people like you. Check out our GoFundMe page to learn more.
Rehearsals and performances will include singing, movement and dancing, spoken word, acting, and composing. Teaching artists will include Dessa, T. Mychael Rambo, Roxane Wallace, Chadwick “Niles” Phillips, and others. Songs will span everything from classical and popular traditions—including hip-hop, rap—and will also feature original compositions by the singers. Once selected, singers will choose a name for the choir.
VocalEssence is being intentional about reflecting the diversity of our community in its membership. Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III is visiting public high schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul extending invitations to students in music classes, school wide assemblies, and lunchrooms. He is working directly with teachers and administrators to identify students who might be a good fit for the program, and is placing an intentional focus on sharing the word with students of color who are not currently participating in a music ensemble.
The VocalEssence Youth Choir is open to all 9-12 grade students in the public schools of Minneapolis and St. Paul at no cost. After successfully completing an interview process, selected singers will receive access to free rehearsal transportation, performance uniforms, a hot meal before rehearsal, and complimentary concert tickets for two guests to The Ordway and Orchestra Hall performances.
The VocalEssence Youth Choir is being embraced by many high profile partners in our community. Augsburg University to be our principal rehearsal venue. Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis and the Ordway in Saint Paul are partners for special rehearsals and performances. Classical Minnesota Public Radio is also interested in Discussions with Classical Minnesota Public Radio are leading to a potential strategic alliance.
Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III has already had more than 200 young people sign up for more information, and he has only visited Saint Paul schools! He expects similar interest from Minneapolis young people. He has asked students to submit a video of them singing, and has already received 40 videos! The first rehearsal of the VocalEssence Youth Choir is Monday, October 30 at Orchestra Hall.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks go a legislative appropriation form the arts and cultural heritage fund.