Today at 1:30 p.m., VocalEssence will perform on the stage in Carousel Park as part of MPR Day at the Minnesota State Fair. Classical MPR's John Birge hosts.
Called "one of the irreplaceable music ensembles of our time" by Dana Gioia, past chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, VocalEssence is renowned for its exploration of music for voices and instruments under the direction of artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle. Each season, the organization presents a series of concerts featuring the 130-voice VocalEssence Chorus, the 32-voice professional Ensemble Singers, guest soloists and instrumentalists.
VocalEssence was founded in 1969 as the Plymouth Music Series, an arts outreach program of Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. Ten years later, the organization was incorporated as a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit. In 1991, the first full-time executive director was brought on board to expand its local and national reach.
In 2002, the Series formally changed its name to VocalEssence, reflecting its mission to explore music for the human voice, from the spoken word to choral singing.