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May I Give You the Gift of Song?

Last Thursday was opening day of Sonnic Blossom WOW!

What is Sonic Blosson?

It is a work of participatory art by Artist Lee Mingwei. Participatory performance art that is inherently a performance in which the audience becomes part of and engages in the creative process.

How does it work?

We get ready down in the director’s studio which feels really official!!!. The performer

wears all black, and then a beautiful kimono-esk cape costume. This cape is a integral part of the performance. Mingwei says that this cap helps transform us into "Demigods." We walk up to the great hall, and search for our first audience member. We slowly walk, as to help people see that we are not a normal museum goer but rather a moving piece of artwork. When we find someone that we want to ask, we say, “May I give you the gift of music?” If they say no, we thank them and continue onward. If they say yes, we ask them to follow us and sit down in a chair. We stand about 7 feet away from them and we sing them one of our Schubert Lied’s that we have prepared fror the performance.

First Thoughts

I woke up the day of my first performance feeling so full of excited nerves. They were much higher than usual! I think it was because my body knew what I was about to participate in was much different than my usual day. I warmed up and mediated before it was my turn. As I went up the stairs, I could tell how much press was there by the constant camera clicking and people following me with cameras as I wandered the galleries.

As I was finding my first audience member, I walked around slowly trying to find someone that looked ready for a intimate and authentic experience. The first two people that I asked said No. Then one woman said yes and changed her mind once I asked her to follow me! This really set my nerves aflame. The fourth person I asked was an older woman, and she said yes right away and was eager to listen. Once I started singing, most of the nerves fell away. It felt more intimate than I could have imagined singing to just one stranger, looking at them in the eyes. I could also see her getting very chocked up. Afterwards she hugged me and thanked me. That’s when I knew that this was going to change me as a performer in a positive way.

The rest of the two hours were interesting as well. I ended up seeing a man who is on the board for the orchestra that I work for. Little did I know that him and his co-workers were there to try to “find the professional singer who was wandering around the halls.” He realized the "professional singer" was me right before I started to sing for someone else. Next, I picked him. It was also totally different singing to someone I know who is also a musician. He said he really enjoyed the experience and couldn't believe that he has participated in a Mingwei piece!

The feedback I got was overwhelmingly positive. I am excited to get back out there this Thursday April 12 from 12-2. If you live in DC, I hope to see you there!

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Here is a link to a FB live that one of the curators did with Lee Mingwei

Click here to watch Lee Mingwei

My Favorite quotes:

“Please be very open, this is going to be something very unusual.”

"The tension in the work is a singer singing to a complete stranger, face to face, eyes to eyes, voice to voice."