Whenever I first meet someone who finds out that I'm the host of a music blog, one of the first questions they inevitably ask is: Are you a musician? Answer: No. Other than childhood piano lessons and the clarinet I stopped playing in high school, I've never managed to pick up any instrument. And, my voice is much better attuned to speaking than singing. Suffice to say, I'm much better at appreciating music than performing it.
But, there's safety in numbers, and so when I heard about David Lang's new choral work The Public Domain, a co-presentation of Mostly Mozart and Lincoln Center Out of Doors, I jumped at the chance. Modeled after Lang's Crowd Out, first performed in 2014 in Birmingham, Berlin and London, The Public Domain is written for 1,000 singers, all members of the general public, whose only requirement is that they enjoy singing. The performance is being led by London Symphony Choral Director Simon Halsey, who in the above video provides just the right amount of encouragement for those of us terrified at the prospect of hearing our voice break during our Lincoln Center debut:
"If you get involved in these things, my experience always is that you begin a bit skeptical, you warm up as it goes along, and then in the end, you think it's the best thing you ever did."
I'll provide a diary of sorts of my experience over the upcoming weeks, culminating with the performance itself on Lincoln Center's Hearst Plaza on Saturday August 13 at 5pm. Also, there's still time to join if you want to participate - sign up on the website here.