Duluth Musician Gaelynn Lea To Appear at Mass Choral Singing Event in Duluth

Duluth musician Gaelynn Lea will join Classical MPR for "Bring the Sing," a community event that is equal parts sing-along and community gathering. Organizers are seeking singers of all musical abilities for the event to be held Saturday, April 30, at the College of St. Scholastica. Led by choral works initiative manager and conductor Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, "Bring the Sing" is part rehearsal and part performance.

In March, Lea was named the winner of NPR Music's second-ever Tiny Desk Contest. Her music video entry rose to the top of over 6,100 entries from around the nation, chosen as the unanimous favorite among the contest's six judges. The very next week, she performed a moving Tiny Desk Concert, at which the show's host Bob Boilen said "there was hardly a dry eye."

Lea, who has garnered praise for her recent solo album debut, "All the Roads that Lead Us Home," will perform the haunting ballad that won her that contest, and the Bring the Sing choir will sing along with her.

"I am so honored and excited to be participating in this event," says Lea. "I am a big believer in music as a shared experience that is available to everyone, so the idea of a mass sing is really appealing to me. I think it's going to be a lot of fun!"

Lea has been playing violin for over twenty years. First classically trained, she began learning traditional Celtic and American fiddle tunes at the age of 18. During her college years, she started sitting in with various folk/rock musicians and developed an improvisational style all her own. Eventually she also began singing and dabbling in songwriting. She has played alongside many notable Minnesota musicians over the years, including Alan Sparhawk, Charlie Parr, and Billy McLaughlin.

"When I first heard Gaelynn sing, I was as completely captivated as millions of others who've heard her Tiny Desk Concert have been. How wonderful that she's one of Minnesota's own," said Tesfa Wondemagegnehu. "The chance to collaborate with her and hundreds of singers from Duluth and across the Northland is incredibly exciting, and I can't wait to bring the arrangement of her song to life at the event itself."

In addition to performing and recording, Lea loves to do speaking engagements about disability, overcoming challenges, and the joy of music. She has a congenital disability called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or Brittle Bones Disease. In recent years, she has used her music as a platform to advocate for people with disabilities and to promote positive social change.

How to participate:
• Singers MUST register in advance at classicalmpr.org/choral. Registration for each voice part will be capped on a first-come, first-served basis.
• Information about where to pick up the sheet music will be provided once registration is confirmed.
• Singers are expected to rehearse on their own before the event using online practice tracks. The ability to read music is not necessary. Access to practice tracks for each voice part are available for streaming and download after registration.

The performance portion of each event will be recorded and shared at a later date on The Choral Stream, and also considered for broadcast on Classical MPR.

Event details:
Bring the Sing Duluth
Saturday, April 30, 2016, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Mitchell Auditorium, College of St. Scholastica, 1200 Kenwood Avenue, Duluth
Visit classicalmpr.org/choral to register.
Deadline is Wednesday, April 20.

The schedule for the event day is divided into three segments--a rehearsal, a long break, and a performance - for a total duration of about 3 hours. During the long break, singers will have time to get to know one another through icebreakers and other social activities. These events are open to registered singing participants only -- the massed choir is the audience -- and not the general public.