St. Olaf College | News

St. Olaf Choir to perform concert with VocalEssence

The St. Olaf Choir, conducted by Anton Armstrong '78, performs during the ensemble's 2023 tour of the West Coast.
The St. Olaf Choir, conducted by Anton Armstrong ’78, performs during the ensemble’s 2023 tour of the West Coast.

The St. Olaf Choir will join forces with VocalEssence for a collaborative concert at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis on Sunday, October 29 at 4 p.m. The concert will be conducted by Anton Armstrong ’78, conductor of the St. Olaf Choir, and Philip Brunelle and G. Phillip Shoultz III, conductors of VocalEssence.

This special concert not only brings these world class choirs together for an evening of music, but also celebrates the legacy and memory of Sigrid Johnson, who passed away in 2022. Johnson was the former associate conductor of VocalEssence and longtime conductor of the Manitou Singers and member of the voice faculty at St. Olaf College. A newly commissioned work by St. Olaf alumna Jocelyn Hagen ’03 will be premiered at the concert, celebrating the Johnson’s legacy and profound impact on both choirs and the choral community.

Founded in 1969, Minneapolis-based VocalEssence has decades of history as one of the world’s premier choral music organizations. The ensemble has been an active partner and collaborator in choral music making with the St. Olaf Choir. Despite its global influence, VocalEssence has kept its focus local — consistently pioneering ways to strengthen Minnesota’s community through thrilling musical experiences.

The connection between the St. Olaf Choir and VocalEssence goes beyond their shared home state; many alumni from the St. Olaf Choir have sung with VocalEssence after graduation, a tradition that still continues to this day. Along with Hagen’s work honoring Sigrid Johnson, the concert will also feature a performance of Requiem by José Maurícío Nuñes-García, and music by Moses Hogan, Ralph Johnson, F. Melius Christiansen, and more. 

Tickets for the concert are available online, and range from $14.50 to $45.