“VAE is made up of some of the finest voices in the Triangle. They are chosen by Wynkoop based on ability, musicality, and the best possible blend of vocal qualities. His rehearsals are always focused and disciplined, a great pleasure, and often fun. Concerts of superior choral quality such as what was experienced in Duke Chapel this evening are the consequence of all of this. How fortunate we are!

– Ken Hoover,, 12/16/17

“Most of us who love the expressive beauty of fine choral singing look forward to the once-a-year Vocal Arts Ensemble concert, and most of us who are fortunate enough to be able to attend that concert are bowled over by the quality of this group.This chorus under this conductor knows how to sing from a whisper to overwhelming intensity, how to shape a phrase, how to build to a climax, how to sing so well pitched that they take the audience into realms of possibility beyond the ordinary. The concert was simply choral music at its best sung as it should be sung: artfully, precisely, meaningfully.”

– Ken Hoover,, 6/9/13

“If once in your lifetime you find yourself at a concert like this consider yourself among the most fortunate of people. It is not however as though it was unexpected. The Vocal Arts Ensemble of Durham under the direction of Rodney Wynkoop has long been acclaimed for their extraordinary performances, their precision of technical vocal skills as well as their keen interpretive aptitude. Wynkoop is a master conductor and, in addition, his artistic skill in choosing and ordering program selections often goes unmentioned but is no small thing. It was an emotionally overwhelming experience to hear this challenging music sung with such knowledge and skill.”

– Ken Hoover,, 6/10/12

 “The VAE chorus of thirty-four was perfect… the ensemble was light and nimble enough for busy, complex contrapuntal passages, yet there was enough power in reserve to turn up the amp to eleven when needed.”

– Jeff Rossman,, 6/12/11

“It proved to be one of the supreme musical highlights of the year, thanks to superior voices, the superior leadership, and the astonishing—indeed, often breath-taking—precision of the execution, with every note fraught with meaning and emotion.  It was a truly remarkable concert for a faithful description of which mere words are inadequate.”

– John Lambert,, 6/10/09

“Almost every piece the VAE sang produced sighs of appreciation and wonderment in the audience.”

– Ken Hoover,, 6/14/09

“This group sings with a lovely sense of balance and shading, perfect intonation, stylistic variety, intensity, and a very clear impression of truly listening to each other.  I can recommend this [CD] to anyone who enjoys choral music.”

– Henry Vogel, FANFARE, listed on, 2006

“Wynkoop’s standards are in full force, including clarity of line, razor-sharp precision, clear enunciation and nuanced dynamics.  The singing has a welcome warmth and spirit, often missing in other chamber choirs.”

– Roy C. Dicks, The News & Observer, 2004