Sparks & Wiry Cries (Sparks), led by Co-Founders and Directors Martha Guth and Erika Switzer, will now present its 2022 songSLAM Festival from January 13 to 15, 2022, entirely virtually, due to rising Covid case numbers in the area. The Festival includes the presentation of four emerging artist duos, fifteen world premieres, and the popular songSLAM competition.

The Festival kicks off on Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 7pm EST with Songs of Identity. Four singer and pianist duos present works that reflect the fullness and complexities of their diverse identities and lived experiences. Featured performers include tenor Bo Shimmin and pianist Natalie Sherer, soprano Shana Oshiro and pianist Brian Bartoldus, mezzo-soprano Hailey McAvoy and pianist Bethany Pietroniro, and soprano Paulina Swierczek and pianist Ania Vu. The recital will be available on the Sparks & Wiry Cries website and Youtube channel where it will remain available.

The following evening, Friday, January 14, 2022 at 7pm EST, Sparks premieres At the Crossroads, a virtual concert featuring four commissioned works that focus on stories advancing the critical dialogues around the issues of our time. The program includes two world premieres commissioned for the 2022 songSLAM Festival, After Him by John Glover, performed by baritone and poet Michael Kelly and pianist Howard Watkins, and From the Woolworth Tower by 2021 songSLAM Commission Prize winner Rachel DeVore Fogarty, to be performed by sopranos Maria BreaMartha Guth, and LaToya Lain, with pianist Myra Huang, and a reprise of two 2021 songSLAM Festival commissions, Ciudad perdida (The Lost City) by Reinaldo Moya, which will be performed by soprano Maria Brea and pianist Howard Watkins; Ramadan 20 vs COVID 19 by Andrew Staniland, performed by soprano LaToya Lain, poet jessica Care moore, and pianist Erika Switzer. The concert will be available on the Sparks & Wiry Cries website and Youtube channel where it will remain available.

The songSLAM Festival concludes on Saturday, January 15, 2022 at 7pm EST with the NYC songSLAM, a unique community event for composer/performer teams to premiere new art songs and compete for cash prizes, determined by audience voting. songSLAM prizes include First Place ($1,000), Second Place ($600), and Third Place ($400). Additionally, one team will be selected by Sparks & Wiry Cries for a paid commission in a future season. 

Recordings will be shared virtually on the Sparks & Wiry Cries website and YouTube channel between January 7 to 15, 2022. Teams will compete via a text-to-vote function through Give Lively and audiences can vote for as little as $1 starting January 7, 2022 through the Sparks & Wiry Cries website. Teams that raise the most funds will win songSLAM awards. Funds raised during the event are reinvested into larger commissions, future competitions, and new art song initiatives.

Sparks will host a Watch Party on January 15th at 7pm EST on its Youtube channel. The Watch Party features songSLAM songs, plus the announcement of the winners and the 2023 commission recipient.