Bemidji Concert Series to feature Minneapolis-based VocalEssence on Oct. 30

BEMIDJI, Minn. (Oct. 25, 2010) — The 32-voice VocalEssence Ensemble Singers will visit Bemidji on Saturday, Oct. 30, for the second concert in this year’s reknowned Bemidji Concert Series.

VocalEssence is recognized internationally for its extensive European tours, broadcasts via the European Broadcasting Union and two invitation-only appearances at the World Choral Symposium (1999 and 2002), the world’s most prestigious global gathering of choral music. The Ensemble Singers serve as the professional core of the larger 130-voice VocalEssence Chorus.

VocalEssence was founded in 1969 by conductor Philip Brunelle, an internationally renowned conductor, choral scholar and performer. Best known throughout the United States for their appearances on the internationally-distributed radio show “A Prairie Home Companion,” the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers are featured on two recent CDs with Garrison Keillor: “Over the River & Through the Woods” and “Hymn to Potatoes (and other choral masterpieces from A Prairie Home Companion).”

VocalEssence has released a total of 13 commercial recordings, including four WITNESS CDs of music by African-American composers and artists originally released on the Collins Classics label.

The VocalEssence recording of Britten’s Paul Bunyan was awarded the prestigious British Gramophone Award for Best Opera Recording in 1988.

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Thompson Recital Hall of Bemidji State University’s Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex. The Bemidji Choir will join VocalEssence for one selection during the program.

Conductor Philip Brunelle will be in Bemidji on Friday, Oct. 29, to hold rehearsal worskshops with both the Bemidji Choir and with Bemidji High School Choir students.

The Bemidji Concert Series, now in its ninth season, is presented by Bemidji State University’s Department of Music and attracts world-class musicians for performances as a service to the Bemidji community and the northern Minnesota region.

Single-event tickets are available for $20, or $5 for children under 18 and patrons with a valid student ID. Tickets are available at Bemidji State’s Department of Music office, second floor, Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex, or Lueken’s Village Foods North in Bemidji. Tickets, if available, will be sold at the door prior to each show.

Remaining 2010-11 BCS schedule
Jazz saxophonist Jeff Coffin will conclude the series on April 15, 2011, at 7:30 p.m. in the Bemidji High School Auditorium. The three-time Grammy Award-winning member of the Dave Matthews Band will perform with Bemidji State’s Jazz I ensemble and the Bemidji High School Jazz Band.

History and sponsorship
The Bemidji Concert Series began eight years ago with the goal of making Bemidji the cultural center for northern Minnesota and providing the Bemidji region with music that could not commonly be heard without traveling to the Twin Cities. The series is supported by sponsorships from the Bemidji State University Department of Music, Bemidji Pioneer, the Villa Calma Bed and Breakfast, Paul Bunyan Telephone and the BSU Student Activity Allocation Committee.

For more information, please call the Department of Music at (218) 755-2915 or visit