Exhibit: "Currents: Complaints Choir"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

We've all got our complaints, and sharing them can lighten the load. But while misery loves company, company doesn't always want to hear your bitching.

With Complaints Choir, a project that turns gripes into song, listening gets a lot more entertaining. Started by two Helsinki artists as a way to positively charge the energy expended on complaining, the project has spread from Juneau to Hong Kong through residency work and a website.

Earlier this year, Columbus Museum of Art associate curator Lisa Dent initiated a local version, with lyrics and music crafted by museum preparator and musician Dave Holm. The choir has performed twice publicly, debuting in June alongside other choral groups at First Congregational Church.

A video of this performance and the rehearsals leading up to it, shot by multimedia producer Jeff Sims, is now looping at the museum. The song is available as a free download on the museum's website.

Dent turned to Holm as someone who performs around town with Total Foxx and Ugly Stick and "works well with a lot of different people," she explained.

Using complaints and choral performers obtained through an online call, Holm put together a bluesy tangent on texting drivers, Thomas Kinkade, LeBron James and feeling fat, adding an interactive section to let the audience vent.

He found backup musicians - Happy Chichester, Derek DiCenzo and Sam Brown - among RJD2's touring band. Through their collective efforts, the dour material yields something light and tickling.

When she first heard it, Dent recalled, "I was trying to keep my composure, but it was so funny to me." The piece nailed what first attracted her to the project - "the joyfulness of the transformation."

And since completing the song, Holm has found that its interactive element lives on. People are still stopping him to share their complaints.

"Currents: Complaints Choir"

Through Jan. 16

Columbus Museum of Art

480 E. Broad St., Downtown