Sharing a special moment with a stranger can be a profound experience. There’s something freeing about the unexpectedness of it — a feeling that you operated beyond the bounds of polite social interactions. In those gray areas between friendliness and anonymity, we don’t have to worry about the past or future, about baggage or hopes — we are in the present moment. On Saturday, August 3, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Denver is hosting an event called “Singing with Strangers: A Make Your Own Music Show” which focuses on those precious present moments by having local artists and musicians collaborate with visitors to create a completely unique concert.

With the tag line, “come as a stranger, leave as a friend,” this event is geared toward connecting music and art lovers with artistic creators. During the day, six artist-led workshops will allow participants to make a variety of props, costumes and other items to add to the concert later in the evening. All of the artists are Colorado-based, and many have large followings and fan bases. According to the MCA’s announcement about the event, all of the workshops will “create cool shit for the massive evening concert.” 

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Artist collective Ladies Fancywork Society, for instance, will teach participants the fine art of using crochet to decorate the stage and venue area. Lewis Neeff — the founder of the block party Temple Tantrum — will lead the group in the creation of a large sculptural wave of color that will unfold in front of the stage. Andi Todaro offers “Everyone Wins!” a workshop where you’ll create “absurdist awards” for concertgoers who won’t know what’s coming when they arrive later in the day. Matt Barton plans to have participants help him create a huge drawing using a variety of materials which will then become animated during the concert. Laura Shill — a prominent local artist who has displayed within the walls of the MCA before — will use her expertise in textiles to lead participants in manufacturing costumes and accessories to wear, and then choreograph subtle dance moves for the entire group to practice. Stephen Brackett of the local band the Flobots will top the list, with a workshop exploring techniques of celebration, or “the art of keeping the party going.” 

Once the sun starts to set, the DIY art day at the MCA will transition into a high energy hip-hop party with The Reminders. A compelling husband-wife-duo, The Reminders blend soul music with modern poetry, creating rhythmic songs that transcend genres. Although they will play their own songs, they will also play well-known hits to encourage people to sing and dance along — a tactic to interact with the audience more. The art created in the first part of the day will complement, or maybe even aggrandize the concert experience.

If all of this sounds a little quirky to you — that’s because it should. Not only will it be a day of learning, but it will also be a day where unexpected things happen, comfort zones are stretched and you go home with stories about singing with strangers in an art museum.

The schedule for August 3 is as follows:

2 to 4 p.m. – Workshops led by local artists

5 to 7 p.m. – Communal dinner for workshop participants

7 p.m.. – Doors open for concert

8 to 10 p.m. – Concert with The Reminders and Stephen Brackett

Tickets for the entire day (workshop, dinner, concert) are $50 (nonmembers). Just attending the concert will cost you $25 (nonmembers). Find one here.

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