the public domain, final rehearsal with Simon Halsey and Annie-B Parson

“Singing is the best example I can think of, of people who don’t necessarily know each other … form[ing] a community to create something.” — David Lang, quoted in the Wall Street Journal regarding the public domain.

I absolutely agree. I belong to many civic and arts organizations, and I have created the most diverse, enduring community ties through singing with others. I meet people of all backgrounds and ages. Sometimes we come together to rehearse regularly — working hard to create a vocal work of art. Sometimes we come together to express ourselves. Sometimes we come together to share our mutual love of music. No matter whether it is casually singing with my folk music club, memories of being in the audience singing with Pete Seeger at the Clearwater Festival, my community chorus, or a huge public performance like the public domain — we join our voices together and we are one. It is one of the most simple, primal examples of our connection as humans. It requires no props. In its purest incarnation, it doesn’t even require money. Not only that, the act of singing heals. Singing with community heals even more.

Last night our Brooklyn rehearsal group joined two other rehearsal groups in Manhattan for a combined group of 600 singers. We ran through the piece with conductor, Simon Halsey of the London Symphony Orchestra — see photo above — and it was humbling to hear that many voices blending as one. There were moments I wanted to cry, the experience was so powerful. The choreography by Annie-B Parson is touchingly human. I really can’t imagine what it will be like to perform it on Saturday with all 1,000 voices. I can’t imagine what it will be like for the audience. I hope they are moved as well. I hope the weather holds, and I hope you can attend. I would love to know what you think of the experience.

the public domain, last Brooklyn rehearsal
Choreographer Annie-B Parson giving rehearsal notes at the last Brooklyn rehearsal for the public domain.

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