“I am a VocalEssence Singers Of This Age alumni. I graduated high school and went on to bigger and better things. I wouldn’t change this experience for anything. I recommend this experience to anyone—anyone who wants to be themselves and create bonds and meet new people and perform in great places. This is definitely the place to be.” – VESOTA Member
VocalEssence Singers Of This Age (VESOTA) is a dynamic group of 40 young people from Twin Cities high schools who sing, dance, write their own music, rap, and—most importantly—reflect the diversity of our community in its membership. Under the visionary leadership of G. Phillip Shoultz, III, the students sing a wide range of music—from classical to hip-hop and everything in between, perform in world-class venues, awaken their creativity by studying voice, dance, theatre, and spoken word, rehearse at Augsburg University to provide exposure to life in college, and belong to an accepting community of peers from all walks of life.
VESOTA is open to all high school students upon successful completion of an interview process. There is no cost to participate. Upon making a year long commitment, singers receive free transportation to and from rehearsals and performances, performance uniforms, dinner and snacks, and complimentary concert tickets. The program focuses its attention on high school students in the Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, and Saint Paul Public School systems.
VESOTA engages an impressive team of guest artists. Past artists have included:
- Filipina-American rapper and hip-hop artist Dessa
- Emmy award-winning actor T. Mychael Rambo
- McKnight Artist Fellow and MN Sage Award winning dancer/choreographer Roxane Wallace
- Verve-winning spoken-word artist/arts educator Chadwick Phillips
- Karen Charles and Threads Dance Company
- NBC’s The Voice contestant, Ashley DuBose
- Mila Vocal Ensemble and Cameroon Choir
It takes a total of $209,400 to ensure VESOTA is possible and accessible for the students who need it. As of January 1, VocalEssence has raised 68% of our goal. If you wish to contribute to this opportunity, individual contributions can be made by visiting our Donation Page. Institutional funders including corporate foundations, sponsors, and private foundations can contact Elissa Weller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-547-1452.
“VocalEssence is simply the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. I’m so happy that Phillip decided to create this thing and I’m so glad that I decided to be a part of it.” – VESOTA Member
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Program funding comes from generous institutions, corporations, and individuals like you. Give here.