When VocalEssence went to England for their 40th anniversary concert tour, they didn't take coals to Newcastle. They sang American choral masterpieces in some of England's most famous and beautiful spaces, including King's College Chapel in Cambridge, Birmingham's Town Hall, the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral, and Oxford University's Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
January 20, 2009 found them at St. John's, Smith Square in London, the 18th century church that's now a destination concert hall for a who's who of visiting A-list classical musicians. On the same night that America was celebrating the Inauguration of President Barack Obama, VocalEssence celebrated Inauguration Day in the UK with an all-American program spanning three centuries, including a brand new patriotic treat from Garrison Keillor. John Birge traveled with VocalEssence on the tour, and sent this broadcast back to Minnesota Public Radio listeners that evening.