Tina Bartholomew's big dream for the Day of Song is that it will eventually extend around the world. But the first annual Day of Song will start small, in Utah. Bartholomew's own contribution this evening will be to sing "Don't Rain on My Parade" for her family.
"Our goal is to get as many people in as many places as possible to make music," she explains. Should you want to participate, she points out, you don't have to actually perform. "It could include whistling on the way to work in your car or singing your kids to sleep at night. There doesn't have to be a witness to it."
Bartholomew recently graduated from the University of Utah, where her final project for her urban planning degree included an academic paper about the Day of Song. The idea for the day started with the folks at the Temporary Museum of Permanent Change, whose goal since launching their museum-without-walls last spring has been to add an element of playfulness to downtown Salt Lake City amidst the rubble of renovation.
The founders of the Temporary Museum of Permanent Change photographer John Schaefer, graphic designer Gilberto Schaefer and former Salt Lake City planning director Stephen Goldsmith have installed small artistic billboards on Broadway, projected a video about urban life onto a downtown building during the Sundance Film Festival and are planning the World's Largest Scrapbook. Their goal for the Day of Song is a bit more fuzzy but still sincere: "One whole day of song devoted to our common humanity, using the universal language of song, will be our simple way to express our desire to bring moments of change to all people and places in need."
The Day of Song, which will take place annually on the summer solstice, "is not necessarily about performance but about harmony and relationships," says Goldsmith, whose own Day of Song contribution will include an a cappella version of "Thunder Road" primarily, he says, because he knows all the lyrics, but also because "it's a song that sort of leans forward; it's about what's possible."
His desire to make music with other people, he says, goes back to being a Jewish member of an Episcopalian choir at Rowland Hall school. "It didn't matter that it was about some other belief system," he recalls. "We began the day with harmony.""The idea is that we all have something to share; we all have commonalities worth celebrating," Bartholomew says. She said she envisions people from Times Square to Red Square making music on the same day, with the intention of working for social and economic justice. She figures the event will draw a smaller turnout this year than in future years. Being an agent of change isn't easy: She sent press releases to major newspapers in other states and hasn't heard back from anyone.