Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

VocalEssence launches youth programme

2:57, 10th November 2017

VocalEssence, a choral arts nonprofit based in Minnesota, has launched a youth programme.

The Youth Choral Arts Initiative will allow VocalEssence to offer Minneapolis and Saint Paul students access to choral music opportunities. Funded by a Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Learning grant with matching funds through a GoFundMe page, the nonprofit will partner with Twin Cities-area schools, arts organisations, and artists from multiple artistic disciplines.

The initiative includes a new youth choir, with a membership reflecting the diversity of the local community. The VocalEssence Youth Choir is an eight-month choral arts apprenticeship for Twin Cities high school students. Those participating will have the chance to learn from and make music with leading artists, and have the opportunity to perform on stage in professional performance venues including Orchestra Hall and the Ordway.

The choir will be open to all students in the Minneapolis and St Paul school systems, at no cost, and students will even choose the official name for the choir themselves. Singers will receive free transportation, performance uniforms, healthy snacks, and complimentary concert tickets for two guests. VocalEssence is partnering with Augsburg University, Minnesota Orchestra, and The Ordway for rehearsal space for the choir.

Conducted by VocalEssence associate conductor G. Phillip Shoultz III, the choir launched in early November with school visits with teachers, students, and parents to recruit and interview potential singers.

‘The motto of VocalEssence is “Together We Sing” and we’re so excited to bring this to life with our new Youth Choral Arts Initiative,’ said VocalEssence associate conductor G. Phillip Shoultz III. ‘We’ve worked in schools with our VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! and WITNESS programs for years, and have seen the positive engagement from kids as they work with visiting choral artists. This new pilot program, launched with help from the Minnesota State Arts Board, will provide an unparalleled opportunity for students who want to deepen their involvement in choral arts and give them an extraordinary experience they can draw on for a lifetime.’


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