In early 2013, I researched and invited two vocal groups based in Flint, Michigan to perform for the public and each other outdoors at Chevy-in-the-Hole, the now defunct Flint-Chevy production facility in downtown Flint.
The Flint Male Chorus is directly descended from the company-era Chevrolet-Flint Male Chorus of the Chevrolet Manufacturing Division originally located at the site, and the Flint City Wide Choir is an interdenominational group from more than 50 churches across Flint. Many of the performers worked at the car factory years ago, or have family and friends who did. As of now, the site is open to the elements, a cemented lot with weeds framing the downtown Flint skyline.
I asked each group in advance to choose songs from their repertoire in reaction to memory and thoughts about the place. The event was emotionally moving for everyone involved. I videotaped during the performance, and a few months later produced a DVD and sent it to all performance participants.
Happy Valley was an advance event of the Free City Public Art Festival, organized by Laura Napier and produced by Flint Public Art Project in affiliation with Flint Institute of Arts with support from ArtPlace.
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