As the mid-term elections draw near, the rhetorical extremes of the campaign season are starting to get to me. There are some hotly contested, important seats up for vote in Minnesota at every level of government. Between wall-to-wall special interest ads on TV and calls we’re getting from pollsters at suppertime, not to mention the fractious debate I see happening among friends on social media, the issues that divide us feel amplified beyond reasonable proportion.
I think that’s why I find the project, “I Vote, I Sing,” so appealing. At noon on Election Day, members of the public are invited to come by City Hall over the lunch hour, pick up a song sheet and raise their voices together in song. It’s such an earnest, old-fashioned gesture: an opportunity to find fellowship and common cause at the same moment we're individually acting on distinct and deeply held convictions in the voting booth. The event description bills it as a moment to “celebrate our varied voices on the day we exercise our collective freedom.”
Backed by Public Art Saint Paul (a Knight Arts grantee), this civic choir is a project of City Artist-In-Residence Marcus Young and artist Molly Balcom Raleigh. At noon in City Hall, performers Gaosong Vang and Jayanthi Kyle (give a listen to her above), along with members of St. Paul’s City Staff Wellness Choir, will lead an ad-hoc community chorus in several familiar songs – “America, the Beautiful,” “Down By the Riverside,” “This Land Is Your Land” – as well as a few new tunes “to explore our common bond.”
“I Vote, I Sing” is a “sing-along celebration of Election Day” spearheaded by Marcus Young and Molly Balcom Raleigh, sponsored by Public Art Saint Paul. To participate, simply come to City Hall and take a spot in the choir on Tuesday, November 4, from noon to 1 p.m., 15 Kellogg Blvd W., St. Paul.