blending musical artistry, passion, and camaraderie -- to create, to grow, to connect, and to enliven the human experience...


The Vocal Art Ensemble is now rehearsing again, preparing for its first full season since 2019!
Save the dates for:
CHRYSALIS: Reach for a New Day, December 9-11, 2022
Davis United Methodist Church
(1620 Anderson Road, Davis)


How did this unique group start? What are we all about? And what’s next on the horizon? (Well, even we don’t know the answer to that last one quite yet…)
If you care to give us a listen, check out:

VAE’s YouTube Channel

Meet the artists of VAE, and discover interesting aspects of their background you may have never guessed!

Want to audition? Email:


CHRYSALIS  Reach for a New Day
December 9-11, 2022

This fall VAE presents CHRYSALIS, a choral exploration of change likened to the metamorphosis of caterpillar into butterfly.

We will carry audiences through each stage: naive innocence, the shock of separation from life as we knew it, confusion, and adaptation through reconnection. Ultimately, we arrive at a richer understanding of ourselves:
transformed, we see the world through new eyes.

We invite you to embrace the emotions that surround transition, as this varied program of compelling choral pieces echoes our global and personal crises and recoveries. We are united as we emerge from isolation into a new day.

Featured Collaborators: Julia Butler, piano,  Laura Harrington, English horn/oboe,  and Sonja Brodt, dance

Fri Dec 9, 2022 – 7:30 pm
Sat Dec 10, 2022 – 7:30 pm
Sun Dec 11, 2022 – 4:00 pm

Davis United Methodist Church
1620 Anderson Road, Davis


VAE presents:  A Virtual Concert

The Vocal Art Ensemble has been proud to perform for  loyal audiences every December since 2008. In 2020 we were unable to perform live, so we adapted and crafted a ‘virtual’ concert instead.

This “Revisiting” collection combines one piece for each of the last seven fall concerts, sampling our signature variety of music styles. We hope you enjoy experiencing (or re-experiencing) these past favorites, and that you perhaps even learn something new along the way.

We conclude by revisiting a piece from our roots that we very recently re-created together: The Missa Brevis #4 of Eleanor Daley. We find it particularly fitting in this very unusual time, as this was the same piece of music that VAE’s director, Tracia Barbieri, says is responsible for VAE’s initial creation. In 2008, Missa Brevis #4 was the catalyst that inspired her to create a new group out of 15 singing friends. Now it symbolizes hope and resilience, finding new ways to connect with each other — and with all of you.

Thank you to all our supporters for listening to our music for the past 12 years. We hope this performance helps catalyze a rebirth into many more years of music to come.



In Davis, California, The Vocal Art Ensemble brings together experienced musicians pursuing artistic expression through finesse of the human voice. Formed in February 2008, VAE’s mission is to blend musical artistry, passion, and camaraderie — to create, to grow, to connect, and to enliven the human experience.

VAE aims to present exquisite evenings of music, appealing to both the discerning musician and the casual music lover. Incorporating visuals and storytelling into their themed programs, VAE connects with other artists to celebrate the elegance of Renaissance madrigals, tonal color of modern works, and exotic flavor of music from other cultures. Please visit our YouTube channel to see videos of VAE in action.

VAE has been recognized nationally for its work, winning the 2012 American Prize for Creative Programming and Collaboration for featuring a capella choral pieces along with intimate instrumentals and mesmerizing dance. They also were featured in half of the concerts at the inaugural 2014 SacSings! choral festival in Sacramento, and in each of the festivals in 2015 and 2016.

The ensemble toured Ireland in 2010, England and Scotland in 2014, Pennsylvania, New York, and Toronto, Canada in 2016, and Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary in 2018. Soon they will reschedule their  tour of Holland and Belgium (it was originally to take place in June 2020, now scheduled for June 2022). 

Group rehearsals are every Wednesday evening and every other Saturday morning. Optional sings on Monday nights help gel the different vocal colors into a cohesive and rewarding sound.

Concerts typically take place in December and May throughout Yolo County, California and include performances in Davis, Woodland, Sacramento, Dixon, and Vacaville. VAE is occasionally available to perform at special events, such as weddings, Christmas parties, or retirement community performances. Though scheduling times are limited, possibilities include everything from singing quartets for at-home Christmas parties, to full choral works at large church weddings.

For inquiries, please contact traciabarbieri@gmail.com


Don’t take our word for it – here’s what our audiences say:

“A richly varied evening of sentiment and humor that was a visual and auditory feast.”

– Dick Frantzreb

Sacramento Choral Calendar

“Loved the movements and costumes. I know it takes a great deal of work and dedication by all members to provide these wonderful concerts – thank you!”

-Audience Member

“An excellently chosen programme and delivered with great musicianship and style. Your group makes a really beautiful sound. I really enjoyed the entire performance!”

– Dr. David Mooney

Dublin, Ireland

“Just about every selection was performed with a different combination of singers, starting in different formations. This resulted in sometimes overt, sometimes subtle differences in the sound, plus created visual interest in refocused the audience’s attention.”

– Audience Member

“It was a fantastic program: beautiful choreography, talented and expressive singers, and a wonderful narrator. The opening number was breathtaking! Thank you for sharing your talents with the community!”

– Audience Member

“You all cast a spell over me for the evening that is still with me when I close my eyes to remember. The subtle touches of percussion and costume and movement were simple yet eloquent. What a privilege to enjoy the Vocal Art Ensemble as it matures.”

– Audience Member


VAE is a highly dedicated and highly varied family of musicians. We are proud of the diverse backgrounds and life experiences that enriches this incredible group of artists. If you are interested in joining VAE, please contact traciabarbieri@gmail.com.


Director / Alto

Tracia aims to unlock the musical expressiveness and polish in her singers, taking a hobbyist venue and finessing a professional level commitment and skill. She maintains a private piano lesson and voice studio, and loves teaching music appreciation at Woodland Community College.


Baritone / Bass

Bill is a semi-retired science and environmental education consultant. He began choral singing when he was 7, and is honored to be singing with the highly dedicated and accomplished musicians in VAE.



Ashlyn has been singing with VAE since 2013, but was a dedicated audience member as a young child when her mom started the chorus. Ashlyn is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree and teaching credential in Special Education and enjoys weightlifting, skating, and hanging out with her two dogs.



Kian also had the benefit of listening to VAE rehearsals in the house since age 6, and has developed an intuitive musical talent. He has received many awards for his trumpet playing. He currently works the drive-thru at McDonalds, and enjoys playing Magic and video games online.



Steve collected degrees in Anthropology and Electrical Engineering, then worked on test instruments or medical devices for most of his career. He’s now drawn toward tinkering. Now in several choirs, Steve is learning just how much there is to know. He also longs to play his didgeridoo.



Sang is a director for a technology company by day (servicenow.com) and a guitar builder by night (viacali.com). Sang was a lifelong trumpeter and didn’t start singing until late in high school, but since moving to Davis in 2006 his singing had been limited to strumming guitars and ukuleles around a campfire—until discovering VAE.



Kay is a professor in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis. She has been singing alto since she was a little girl in the family church choir. She enjoys hiking, birdwatching, and enjoying great food/wine/company (preferably all three at once!)


Tenor / Baritone

George is a retired music teacher who has been rocking in Northern California for three decades as a folk/rock singer and guitarist. In addition to singing with VAE, he performs with the acoustic string band Tree-O.


Soprano / Alto

Isabelle is a plant genetics researcher at UC Davis. Originally from Belgium, she joined her first choir when she was 12 and has since sung in choirs wherever life brought her. She is also a member of the early music ensemble Baroque and Beyond. 



Lori manages the Foundation Plant Services diagnostics lab at UC Davis. She grew up singing folk songs and show tunes with her family, but in college discovered the magic of choir music. She loves cooking, soap-making, being outdoors, and traveling with her family.



Jeanine rediscovered her long-lost passion of choral singing, and finds VAE to be unique in refining her listening and blending skills — as well as transporting her to ethereal new worlds. She enjoys cycling, hiking, birdwatching, and just being at one with nature.



Pat recently retired after being a family physician for 20 years, specializing in hospice care. She used the power of music to reach those with dementia and to soothe those at the end of life. She has been singing harmony since age 10 and in school, and loves blending with VAE’s rich harmonies.



Cliff worked with growers to develop sustainable farming programs. He sang as a child, but after a thirty-year musical hiatus joined VAE and rediscovered a love for choral singing (and the release it provides). He also enjoys photography, cooking, hiking, and camping.



Jeri recently retired from the UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute, where she spent years fostering hands-on education and bringing fresh, locally-grown produce to school lunch programs. She calls herself a “culture vulture” fond of literature, art, and textiles.



Alice graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where she sang with Voce Femina. When not working or rehearsing, Alice enjoys playing outside (soccer, pool, beach, or trail).



Laura started choral singing in eighth grade and wound up with a degree in voice from UOP. She has since created a body of work as a community musician and arts instigator such as Café Panache, the Free Range Singers, and studying Ancestral Healing.



Liese grew up in a family surrounded by classical music, and loves singing with her VAE family in local concerts to European choral tours. She is a Senior Hydrogeologist and Canine Codependant, enjoying hiking, traveling, wine tasting, and hanging with her family, friends, and puppy dog.


Tenor / Baritone

Dave is a recently retired botanist and restoration ecologist whose career spanned 30 years with the State of California. He enjoys staying in shape, bird watching, outdoor photography, rock hounding, exploring Death Valley, Broadway singing, and Guinness.



Jeremy began singing at the age of 11 and earned his BA in Music. Jeremy also works two jobs and is playing multiple sports. He loves tennis, writing, and is creating his own card games.


Members of the Vocal Art Ensemble must be strong musicians, as rehearsals are all a capella and the focus of this ensemble is blend, balance, and musicianship. Auditions consist of a basic display of your voice and your ability to blend in a choral situation.

To schedule an audition, please contact traciabarbieri@gmail.com.



VAE would love to hear from you! 

We are always eager hear your feedback about a past performance, or are happy to answer any questions about an upcoming one.

If you are interested in singing with VAE, please contact traciabarbieri@gmail.com to schedule an audition.

Or you can sign up for our low-volume concert announcements e-mail list. Then you’ll never have to miss a future performance!

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