When the spring choral concert season comes to an end each May or June, singers all over the city breathe a sigh of relief that the rehearsal and concert pressure is over and summer fun is just around the corner. But for many choral singers, the sense of freedom is soon replaced by a yearning for that choral experience – sharing and shaping extraordinary music together – that keeps us all going from week to week.
Unlike most summers, when the only singing opportunities are weekly summer sings – informal evenings sight reading through masterworks – this year 1,000 choral singers are engaged in a real choral event.
Melodia Women’s Choir is one of the choral groups represented in a performance of the world premiere of David Lang’s the public domain, presented by the Mostly Mozart Festival and conducted by Simon Halsey, Choral Director of the London Symphony Orchestra. 2,000 audience members will join this vast choir on August 13 at 5:00 PM for a choreographed performance around the fountain on Lincoln Center Plaza, NYC.
In an interview about the project with Melodia Board Member Amanda McBlane, composer David Lang said: “the public domain is about building a large community around the things that people share. We live in a very fragmented world. We go to different kinds of entertainments, we watch different kinds of programs on our various different devices, we have different political opinions. And there are things that are encouraging us to identify ourselves in such a way that we push other people away. I wondered what it would be like to build a piece out of the things that we all agree on, that could bring us together to forget those other things that tear us apart.” Read the full interview, Teaching the World to Sing.
In the final week before the performance, Melodia singers and others will rehearse three more times to perfect the music and choreography. All we hope for now is good weather, a great crowd, and an experience that accentuates the things we share over the things that pull us apart – a theme so pertinent to our time.
In rehearsal for the public domain: left, Ashley Paskalis, Melodia singer; right, David Dabbon, conductor (red group) and Tymberly Canale, Dance Captain, demonstrating some choreography.
(If you’re not singing but would like to be involved in the public domain, you can sign up as a volunteer here.)