encounters in song and dance

A free, public, participatory event, Open Choir is a non-denominational singing occasion that creates an oasis of belonging, active participation, and out-of-the-ordinary human contact, through song and dance. People of various walks of life explore possibilities of new community and individual and societal transformation at the border of social contact and performance — the co-creation of a unique and ephemeral work of art.

The event is facilitated by the Open Program’s Mario Biagini, who has worked for 30 years with songs of Afro-diasporic traditions as tools of human contact. The Open Program has hosted Open Choirs in Italy, Brazil, Argentina, and, for several seasons, in New York City, in conjunction with the NYC Seed Group. Hundreds of people have participated in the Open Choirs in NYC since they began here in January 2014.

With the awareness that art can be a vehicle for a higher quality in our personal presence and communal relations, we host Open Choir gatherings at our home, West-Park Presbyterian Church, and several community venues in the city with our partners and mentors, artists from the Open Program of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards. With a committed focus on process and collaboration, we aim, through the work, to rediscover a performative form that can function as a catalyst for positive social change across socio-cultural boundaries, and together.

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