Crowd Out group Yellow One

The Participants

Absolutely amazing, loved being part of it and singing as a choir with the other groups.

Participant feedback

The 1000 participants/performers for Crowd Out were recruited from: local primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities; community groups and projects; social action groups; community choirs; and hundreds of individuals that signed up for the project following a recruitment campaign by BCMG – including many young participants and their families. The project brought together groups who are under-represented in arts participation. In addition, in November 2013 and March 2014, we hosted public ‘try-out’ workshops led by Simon Halsey, to encourage the hundreds that attended to sign up either as a group or individually by performing excerpts of the piece. Videos featuring David Lang, Simon Halsey and vocal leaders were also produced to both aid recruitment and the learning of the piece.

Participants learned the piece in their 50 sub-groups (categorised by colours and numbers: ‘Yellow One’, ‘Yellow Two’, ‘Orange One’, ‘Green Three’, ‘Blue Four’, and so on…), in the weeks leading up to the performance weekends, in a range of community venues to allow as many people as possible to take part. Taking part was completely free of charge and all sessions with participants included vocal warm-ups and exercises on vocal health.

The girls and their parents were so moved by the power of the final performances, it was so meaningful, and touched everyone. It gave the girls a chance to develop their confidence and sense of expression and large ensemble skills…

Teacher, St Paul’s Girls’ School, Birmingham

Crowd Out saw a huge range of participants with different backgrounds, performing experience, and ages – including school children, nurses, and lawyers – from the Midlands, Milton Keynes, Bristol, London and beyond, using their voices and bodies in the world premiere performances of Pulitzer prize-winning composer David Lang’s extraordinary piece for “a community of people”.

Included among these participants were:

  • One group from Birmingham Ormiston Academy (a local Academy specialising in the creative, digital and performing arts for students aged 14 – 18)
  • Two groups of individuals gathered together by community musicians
  • Three groups comprised of young singers from the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Conservatoire (18 – 25 year olds)
  • Three groups of individuals recruited by BCMG for the project
  • And nine established choirs.

The 20 vocal leaders/conductors that were recruited to lead each group where chosen with great care to ensure we had a good balance between established vocal leaders and community musicians that could help draw together groups. All vocal leaders were given extensive workshop training and contributed to the development of Lang’s draft score in the initial stages.