“I’ve been inspired for years by the photograph taken by artist Art Kane in 1958 titled Great Day in Harlem. Not only is the image beautiful, the sense of community is enduring, and the accomplishment of gathering so many people together is noteworthy. Wanting to connect with my community, I decided to write on the theme of our shared humanity, arrange the songs for a lot of voices, make the public rehearsals fun and fed, and document the whole process on video. Once the songs were ready I started looking for singers.
My audiences have always been musos, some who play, some who quit, some who never got a chance, some who wish. I know them from artist development, supervisors, managers, agents, producers, engineers, builders, and promoters. They are the makers, accountants, bartenders, beer reps, designers, stylists, publicists, actors, bookers, cooks, waiters, festival directors, tour managers, arts foundation and granting office administrators…the list is enormous. So I invited some of the ones I know, and then then people started hearing about it and before I knew it there were almost three dozen people who wanted to sing. And they were all excited about following the process of unknown songs, public rehearsals, live concert recording, and ongoing video-documentation without being able to predict the outcome – they all signed on in the spirit of creative and musical adventure.
Great! I felt like a success before I even started, and I had a name for the large group doing it with me: The Spirit of Adventure.” says Arlene.