Did You Know? A Glance at VocalEssence

November 29, 2022

Twin Cities native, VocalEssence pulled out all the stops to ring in the season of wonder. The centerpiece of this event featured—for the first time in concert—all of the VocalEssence singing forces together on one stage plus special guests. The choral group brought the audience special holiday season classics, featuring the joyous sounds of brass and percussion, and Northrop’s spectacular Aeolian-Skinner Opus 892 pipe organ.


Top image: Philip Brunelle conducting VocalEssence Ensemble Singers. Photo by Bruce Silcox

A large choir singing and clapping in unison.

History Making Harmony 

This christmas choral music concert marked the first time all of the VocalEssence ensembles performed at once! While VocalEssence has welcomed Christmas for over five decades, this was the first time they celebrated in Northrop’s newly renovated auditorium.

A large choir in formal attire singing from songbooks.

Award-winning and Adventurous

VocalEssence has been honored with more Chorus America awards than any other ensemble nationwide, including the once-in-an-organizational-lifetime Margaret Hillis Achievement Award for Choral Excellence. They have also received the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for adventurous programming of contemporary music six times.

Thirty Years in the Making 

Since its start in 1991, more than 120,000 students have participated in the VocalEssence WITNESS program. This program celebrates the contributions of African Americans to our shared American heritage through concerts, recordings, and comprehensive educational programs.

A conductor directs a large choir.

A Repertoire that Represents

VocalEssence has commissioned more than 300 new songs, more than half of which were written by composers of the global majority. 

A conductor in a black shirt and pants directs an orchestra.

Sharing Music Across the Globe

VocalEssence ensembles perform for and engage with more than 20,000 people each year! The award-winning concert series is in its 54th consecutive season and has shared the love of music with more than half a million people through performances across the globe from St. Peter, MN to Shanghai, China. Throughout the years, VocalEssence has shared the stage with artists such as James Earl Jones and The Rolling Stones.