Fort Worth voters will find something good at the polls on Election Day: mini-concerts to help pass the time while waiting in line.
"Voices for Votes is an initiative born out of Fort Worth Opera's FWO GO, which is our mobile opera truck initiative in this time of COVID and not being able to gather in theaters," said Afton Battle, the new general director of Fort Worth Opera.
The company debuted FWO GO, Fort Worth Opera Go, in October, rolling a flatbed trailer on a pickup truck and setting up in parking lots to sing for those who showed up. Now on election day, the trailer will roll up to select polling sites for the opera's Voices for Votes pop-up performances.
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"This idea came to fruition through a conversation with Opera America that general directors have once every other week, and it got me thinking, 'when we will have a large mass of people? Election Day! Let's go,'" Battle said.
She took over the reins in September and made clear one of her priorities is to take opera into communities and meet people where they are.
"When I arrived here, my mission was to get out into the communities, meet the people, sing for the people, bring art to the people," Battle explained.
Voices for Votes will do that.
And the socially-distanced, mini-concerts featuring classic opera arias, musical theater selections, and beloved standards from the Great American Songbook - just may give opera a big win on election day.
"We all need some levity, what brings us together more than music? So, why don't we get on our opera truck and go to some polling sites and literally just give folks, five, 10 minutes of beautiful singing, engaging music, toe-tapping, maybe finger-snapping numbers that help to bring some levity, lighten the day also give you something to listen to while you might be waiting in line to cast your vote or coming out of casting your vote?" Afton said.
"They know we're coming, it's not a flash mob if you will. It is very much timed and thought out where we will be at each polling site."
VOICES FOR VOTES - Election Day performances:
- Northside Community Center (12:00-12:45 pm)
- 1100 Northwest 18th Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76164
- Charles F. Griffin Sub-Courthouse (1:00 - 1:45 pm)
- 3212 Miller Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas 76119
- William McDonald YMCA (2:01 - 2:45 pm)
- 2701 Moresby St., Fort Worth, Texas 76119
- Southwest Sub-Courthouse (3:05 - 3:50 pm)
- 6551 Granbury Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76133
Next weekend, Fort Worth Opera will take the show on the road again. The company's Texas-themed Stone Soup shows, in association with the Tarrant Area Food Bank, will be presented in the parking lot of First Saint John Cathedral this weekend will be full performances and not just pop-ups like FWO GO. These 2 p.m. shows will be 30 minutes in length and the artists will be singing in full costume. It is the first time this new children’s opera has been presented in public, and it was written by FWO’s Artistic Director and resident composer Joe Illick and Pulitzer Prize & Grammy-winning librettist/lyricist Mark Campbell. The performances are in partnership with the Tarrant Area Food Bank.
This 2-day event combines the joy and excitement of a live musical performance with the much-needed lesson of unity in the community. The age-old story presents an unlikely hero(ine) that comes to a community with nothing and leads the townspeople down two very important life-changing paths. Those who had more gave more. Those who had less were fortunate enough to be a part of the overall show of community support. Day one, food distribution day, allows families to watch the live performance of Stone Soup, then receive their food distribution from our life-sized cauldron. Day two, the food drive, allows families to watch the live performance of Stone Soup, then place their food donation in our life-sized cauldron in a show of support for other families in the community. The children are taught a beautiful lesson on how their community has come together to support them just as they did in the story.
First Saint John Cathedral
2401 E Berry St, Fort Worth, TX 76105
Saturday, Nov. 7: Food distribution will be held immediately before the performance. Families participating in the food distribution will receive a free ticket.
Sunday, Nov. 8: Food drive day is open to the general public with a suggested food pantry donation of 4 kid-friendly, non-perishable food items and a suggested ticket price of “pay what you can.”
Saturday, Nov. 7
1 p.m. - Gates open
2 p.m. - Performance begins
2:30 p.m. - Food distribution
Sunday, Nov. 8
1 p.m. - Gates open
2 p.m. - Performance begins
2:30 p.m. - Food donation