women

VocalEssence choir to launch its virtual season with a celebration of women’s suffrage

Amid continuing uncertainty over when live performances will be possible again, Twin Cities choir VocalEssence has announced its plans for an all-digital 2020-21 season.

Eight specially recorded programs will be presented on a new website called “VocalEssence on Demand,” for streaming on a variety of devices including computer, tablet, smartphone, or smart television.

“The coronavirus pandemic has placed stresses on all performers, performing arts organizations and venues,” VocalEssence artistic director Philip Brunelle commented.

“But the crisis is not without opportunity, and VocalEssence is thrilled our audiences new and old can listen and watch whenever they choose, wherever they happen to be.”

Four of the new programs feature the main VocalEssence Chorus and the Ensemble Singers, its chamber choir.

The season starts Oct. 18 with “Rightfully Hers,” a concert commemorating the centenary of women’s suffrage in the United States, with music by Mabel Daniels, Alice Parker, Jocelyn Hagen and others.

The four remaining programs in the new season showcase the VocalEssence Singers of This Age, a cross-community youth choir. At 30 minutes these are family-friendly in format, with themes including the holiday season, American history and the music of Mexico.

“Story and Song” is another series aimed at families, each 20-minute video focusing on a particular book and author.

Online masterclasses with Philip Brunelle will also be offered, including lectures on Handel’s Messiah, Benjamin Britten and Aaron Copland.

A subscription pass for the entire season costs $49, and is valid for one household. Tickets for single concerts will also be available, at $15 per household.

VocalEssence is offering free subscriptions to essential workers, unemployed people and those diagnosed with COVID-19 and their caregivers.

For further details, go to vocalessence.org/subscribe or call 612-371-5642.

Terry Blain is a freelance classical music critic for the Star Tribune. Reach him at [email protected]

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