Saint Paul City Choir seeks to create a more “singable” city by exploring the concept of civic singing and investigating the limits of what a city choir can be. The project poses these essential questions: How is singing a practice of civic joy and belonging? How can an innovative concept of choir be a model of inclusivity and engagement? What new singing practices will emerge from this interplay of city and choir? Public Art Saint Paul, concept originator and project Co-Artistic Director Molly Balcom Raleigh, and City Artist Marcus Young conducted a series of experimental workshops, created civic singing etudes, formed a temporary wellness choir with the City’s Human Resources Department. They produced an Election Day sing-along at City Hall, each demonstrating the Choir’s motto: “Sing truthfully and live!”
Marcus Young 楊墨 (b.1970, Hong Kong) was a City Artist with Public Art Saint Paul from 2006 to 2015, when he worked across City of Saint Paul departments to help shape public spaces, improve city systems, and deepen civic engagement. He is a behavioral and social practice artist making word not only for the public realm but for the concert stage and museums. As a City Artist, Young initiated the project, “Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk,” which transformed the city’s sidewalk maintenance program into a publishing entity for poetry. The project continues as “Sidewalk Poetry,” with an ever-expanding collection of poems, written by residents of Saint Paul. Now numbering at more than 1,000 poems, these works are found throughout the City of Saint Paul, providing moments to reflect, smile, puzzle, or delight to anyone walking, running, rolling, biking, or roller skating on St. Paul sidewalks. This project has achieved national recognition and has been emulated by towns and cities throughout the U.S.
Marcus has a BA in music from Carleton College and MFA in theater from the University of Minnesota. He is a Collaborating Director with Ananya Dance Theatre, and a recipient of awards from the McKnight Foundation, Bush Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Franklin Furnace, and New York Drama League.