Cover Photo: VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! composer, Jimena gives a student a high five.
Photo Credit: Laura Alpizar

VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! is an education program created in 2008 in response to a growing need in the Twin Cities community for educational and performance programs that teach and celebrate Mexican musical traditions.

Through this program, selected composers from Mexico participate as artists-in-residence with elementary schools, high schools, colleges, and community organizations. The composers work directly with student choirs and community choruses throughout the year, helping them understand Mexican music and the beauty and influence of Mexican culture. In addition, the composers become familiar with the ensembles and write new music specifically for each. At the end of the school year, community and school partners present world premieres of new music at the annual VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! Community Concert.

VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! composers, Julio Morales, left, Jean Angelus Pichardo, right, sing at the ¡Cantaré! Community Concert.
Photo Credit: Bruce Silcox

To aid teachers in preparing students, VocalEssence created a VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! Teacher Resource Guide that is available for all teachers to access and use in their classrooms. The guide is available here:

Several compositions created through VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! are available through VocalEssence Music Press, distributed by Graphite Publishing, and can be found here:

VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! actively engages VocalEssence audiences and the wider community in the discovery, celebration, and creation of music from Mexican traditions of the past and present. The goals for VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! include:

  • Goal 1: Nurture the creation of new Mexican choral music
  • Goal 2: Program participants demonstrate improvement in musical skills and knowledge
  • Goal 3: Create greater appreciation for and awareness of Mexican culture and heritage

VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! composer, Jean Angelus Pichardo conducts at the ¡Cantaré! Community Concert.
Photo Credit: Bruce Silcox

Over the course of the program, VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! has engaged 21 composers, produced over 180 new works, and reached more than 6,000 students in its residencies as well as an additional 12,000 for the concert audience since its inception. Most recent composers engaged have been Julio Morales, Jimena Contreras, Bernardo Feldman, Rodrigo Cadet, Samuel Pascoe, Novelli Jurado, and José Galván.


About Amanda Timmer

Amanda Timmer joined VocalEssence in 2014.  As the Director of Marketing and Communications, Amanda plans and oversees communication strategies that promote all that VocalEssence creates.

Prior to joining the VocalEssence staff, Amanda earned a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She also received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Flute Performance and Music Management Studies from Luther College. Amanda enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, coloring, and supporting the Green Bay Packers.