Music: VocalEssence


For 40 years, the VocalEssence Chorus has been delighting audiences, engaging communities in educational outreach programs, exploring culture through music, enriching the choral art, and encouraging creativity.

The 130-voice Chorus, along with its core group, the 32-voice professional mixed chorus the Ensemble Singers, was founded in 1969 by musical entrepeneur Philip Brunelle as the Plymouth Music Series as an arts outreach program of Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. The Series immediately established the marks of its future success: world, United States, and Midwest premieres; famous guest artists; commissions of new works (over 115 to date); and a reputation for surprise.

In the very first season Aaron Copland came to conduct his choral works for the Plymouth Music Series — the first time he had ever been asked to conduct his choral music.

By 1979, the Plymouth Music Series was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation governed by its own independent board of directors. In 1991, international recording successes convinced the board that the Series was ready for new artistic challenges. Over the next three years, the organization professionalized its performing ensemble, creating the Ensemble Singers, and hired its first full-time management staff.

Internationally recognized as a leader in choral performance and organizational management, the Plymouth Music Series hosted the annual Chorus America Conference in Minneapolis in June 1999. At the invitation of the Series and other Minnesota choral organizations, the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music was held in the Twin Cities in August 2002. Philip Brunelle served as the president of this international event.

In 2002 the Plymouth Music Series changed its name to VocalEssence, capturing the essence of its mission to explore music for the human voice, from spoken word to choral singing.

In addition to championing lesser-known works of the past, VocalEssence has an unwavering commitment to today’s composers. It has received the ASCAP/ Chorus America Award for adventurous programming of contemporary music an unprecedented five times it has been eligible, and it was awarded the once-in-an-organizational lifetime Margaret Hillis Achievement Award for Choral Excellence.

Don’t miss these amazing 2009/10 performances: Of Love & Angels September 25 (Central Lutheran Church); British Invasion (conducted by Grammy award-winning Simon Halsey) October 24 (Basilica of Saint Mary); Star of Wonder December 5, a one-hour family holiday concert (Guild Hall, Plymouth Congregational Church); Welcome Christmas 2009 ­— 4 Performances — on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009 (4 pm) – Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis, Friday, Dec. 11, 2009 (7:30 pm) – Normandale Lutheran Church, Edina, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009 (7:30 pm) – Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009 (4 pm) – Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis; Sing in the New Year (Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church); WITNESS: Sweet Honey In The Rock February 14, mixing blues, spirituals, gospel, African chants, Hip Hop, ancient lullabies, and improvisation at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts; Undiscovered Copland March 13 at Ted Mann Concert Hall; and Mallets & Melodies April 30 at Cathedral of St. Paul.

Create your own custom season ticket package and save over 30 percent. Subscribers get the best deals, receive the best seats in the house, are able to exchange tickets for any performanced uring the season at no cost, and pay no processing fees. To order your tickets, call 612-371-5642 or visit