City agencies put out plenty of press releases but rarely are they delivered via a television singing star, belting out the “where” and “when” in between the lyrics of an upbeat contemporary gospel tune.
But that’s how the Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks announced auditions for the “community youth choir” it is forming under the leadership of Davon Fleming, the semi-finalist from NBC’s “The Voice.”
In a video released today, joined by a guitarist and another singer, Fleming begins with a bit of Kirk Franklin’s “I Smile.”
I smile, even though I’m hurt see I smile
I know God is working so I smile
Even though I’ve been here for a while
I smile, I smile.
It’s so hard to look up when you look down
Sure would hate to see it when you give up now
You look so much better when you smile.
Then Fleming, who was hired by Mayor Catherine Pugh last month to develop a youth arts program, lets viewers know what’s up:
“It’s your favorite curly-haired kid from this season of ‘The Voice,’ Davon Fleming!” says the 26-year-old. “And I’m here to share some amazing, great news with you guys.”
“We’re looking for happy, fun, innovative kids with a passion, a desire and a love for music,” Fleming says, announcing upcoming auditions.
They are scheduled to take place Thursday, Feb. 15 and Tuesday, Feb. 20 from 5-8 pm at Baltimore City Recreation and Parks headquarters at 3001 East Drive, he tells listeners.
A Musical Answer
When the $65,000, no-bid contract for Fleming was zipping through City Hall earlier this year, it raised eyebrows. A city auditor asked what Fleming’s qualifications were to develop “a broad curriculum” for youth interested in the performing arts.
The answer from the mayor’s office was links to three stories about Fleming’s appearances on “The Voice.”
The Board of Estimates went on to approve Fleming’s contract on January 10.
“Make sure you bring a friend, bring your cousin, bring your mom – everybody,”Fleming urges, in the video. “It’s a choir and a movement for everybody!”
Fleming closed out with a few more bars of the song.
And a big smile.