Voters' Broadcast

Lisa Bielawa, Director & Composer

A transformative Election Year musical work for public spaces by Lisa Bielawa

with text from Sheryl Oring’s I Wish to Say

Local musicians, volunteer participants, and passersby come together for this 20-minute public-space musical performance, designed to stimulate voter registration, political awareness, and community fellowship through the joyful act making music.

Bring Voters' Broadcast to your community
Contact Christina Jensen for more information:
christina@jensenartists.com, 646*536*7864 ext. 1

Objectives of Voters’ Broadcast

  • To “broadcast” the thoughts, hopes, fears, passions, petitions, and questions of a broad spectrum of Americans, raising awareness of the diversity of voices – both figuratively and literally – that make up our society.

  • To bring a transformative artistic experience to audiences, including passersby and participants, opening a space for heightened awareness, sensitivity and compassion at a vulnerable time in our country.

  • To stimulate voter registration leading up to the 2020 elections.

  • To serve as an example for ways to bring music-making communities into civic life in ways that have great social and artistic impact.

Overview of Voters' Broadcast

 

Voters’ Broadcast is a 20-minute public-space, participatory musical performance for an unlimited number of voices made up of locally based choral ensembles as well as members of the public, two Sing Leaders, plus trumpet, trombone, horn, and saxophone. The work is directed, conceived and composed by Rome Prize and American Academy of Arts & Letters Award-winning composer Lisa Bielawa, with text taken from celebrated artist Sheryl Oring’s I Wish to Say.

Voters’ Broadcast’s mission is to stimulate voter registration, political awareness, and community fellowship through the joyful act of giving voice to the concerns of fellow citizens, during the lead-up to the 2020 Presidential election. 

Bielawa’s music for Voters’ Broadcast is composed and constructed in ways that makes it perfect for performance in public spaces, indoors or outdoors. Listeners will be able to walk among the performers. Anyone who wishes to raise their voice can participate, guided by four instruments, choirs, and singing leaders. The text for Voters’ Broadcast is excerpted from Sheryl Oring’s ongoing project I Wish to Say, which consists of performances in which she and sometimes a pool of typists, dressed in vintage 1960s clothing and working on vintage manual typewriters, set up stands in well-trafficked public areas where people can walk up and dictate their messages to the current President, or – in election years – to the next President. Launched in 2004, the project has now garnered over 3,500 postcards to the President. Voters’ Broadcast unfolds in sections based on the nature of the postcards that Bielawa selected to include in the work: Salutations; Petitions (statements starting with the word “Please”); Exhortations (requests and demands without the word “Please”); and Questions. It does not focus on the qualities or identities of the Presidents and candidates addressed, but on the feelings and views of American people addressing their elected leaders. 
 

Lisa Bielawa says, “The project is poised to energize and inspire people in a unique way, inciting them to think, to vote, to consider their relationships to their political leaders and to each other. It is designed to deliver equal parts beauty and community mobilization. In German when one votes, one ‘gives one’s voice’ (‘I voted’ = ‘Ich habe gestimmt’ [I gave my voice]). Voters’ Broadcast is dedicated to all of those who give their voices, through singing and by voting.”

 

Opportunities to register to vote on-site during performances and at preceding open rehearsals (or “Sing-ins”) will be explored in each performance city. The project also includes an online portal with voter registration information and an online musical Learning Tool to facilitate public participation.

Voters’ Broadcast is developed in partnership with the Kaufman Music Center in New York City (as of 2020, a polling site as well as a music center for youth and adult amateurs) and the Brooklyn Public Library.

All photos from Lisa Bielawa's previous work with Sheryl Oring, Mauer Broadcast, which honored the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

For booking inquiries:

Management & PR:

Christina Jensen, christina@jensenartists.com

Gina Meola, gina@jensenartists.com

646.536.7864

Acclaim for composer Lisa Bielawa:

"a dynamic and innovative composer"

- The Boston Globe

 

"Bielawa’s music is thoughtful and approachable"

- Gramophone

"the formal sophistication and lyrical richness of Bielawa’s music go deep" - The New Yorker

 

"prodigious gift for mingling persuasive melodicism with organic experimentation" - Time Out New York

 

"one of the most brilliant and unforgettable new scores I’ve heard in years" - San Francisco Chronicle

Performances of Voters’ Broadcast

 

​The 20-minute performances of Voters’ Broadcast can take place as “pop-up” events at different times of the day, at different locations, indoors or outdoors. The piece requires no amplification, electricity, or production elements. In each location, youth and/or amateur choirs, recruited through local partners, will provide structure and stability to the performances. Choirs will receive materials for learning the music well in advance of the performance. Two Voters’ Broadcast Sing Leaders will be at the public sites to encourage passersby to participate in the many call-and-response sections of the piece that, like protest chanting, require no rehearsal. It is not necessary to know how to read music to sing in the piece. Texts will be made available at performances as well, for singing or just following along. In addition, members of the general public can prepare by using the online Learning Tool or coming to a two-hour “Sing-in” open rehearsal, held in advance. The Learning Tool for Voters’ Broadcast will allow the public to listen to and learn pre-recorded singing parts and will have downloadable PDFs of the sung texts. Each Sing-in serves as preparation for performances but can also be a “Get Out the Vote” event and advertised as a public event for audiences to enjoy singing together, or just listen and watch.

Lisa Bielawa's previous public-space works

Tempelhof Broadcast, Berlin, 2013

Crissy Broadcast, San Francisco, 2013

Mauer Broadcast, Berlin, 2019

Lisa Bielawa, Composer and Director, Voters' Broadcast
with text from Sheryl Oring, Artist, I Wish to Say project, Postcards to the President, 2004-2019

For more information about Lisa Bielawa, visit:

www.jensenartists.com/lisa-bielawa

Bring Voters' Broadcast to your community

Contact Christina Jensen for more information:

christina@jensenartists.com, 646*536*7864 ext. 1

© 2020 Jensen Artists