The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
By Elissa Weller, VocalEssence
Students from six Twin Cities elementary and high schools and one community choir performed at two VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! Community Concerts at Wayzata Community Church on Tuesday, May 21. The concert was the culmination of the fifth year of the organization’s annual ¡Cantaré! program. Founded and conducted by VocalEssence, the program pairs Mexican composers-in-residence with selected Twin Cities elementary, high school, and community choruses to explore Mexico’s cultural and choral heritage.
Students from the Latino Children’s Choir perform at the ¡Cantaré! Community Concert. Photo courtesy of Craig Bares
This year’s composers, Gerardo Cárdenas and Novelli Jurado, visited quarterly, working with Minnesota students to compose original pieces which had their world premieres at the community concerts. At 6 p.m., the VocalEssence Chorus performed with students from Minneapolis’s Windom Dual Spanish Immersion, St. Louis Park’s Park Spanish Immersion, St. Anthony Park Elementary, and the Latino Children’s Choir. At 8 p.m., the chorus performed again with the high school choirs from Blaine, Central (St. Paul) and Hopkins High Schools.
“If music is a universal language, then ¡Cantaré! is one of its tenderest expressions,” said Gerardo Cárdenas, composer. “This year’s residency with VocalEssence and the students has meant so much to me and my work.
“¡Cantaré! is an amazing experience that has overwhelmingly enriched my approach to writing choral music,” added composer Novelli Jurado. “Through my music, I strive to touch each one of those beautiful voices with the deepest emotions.”
Composers Novelli Jurado (left) and Gerardo Cárdenas (right) take final bows at the ¡Cantaré! Community Concert with VocalEssence Artistic Director Philip Brunelle. Photo courtesy of Craig Bares
The program was also featured on local television station Kare 11. Click here to see that story.