There is strength in number, especially in a choir.
Choral singing, for me, is one of life’s vitamins. When people come together and sing, they are:
- making music through the medium that is most innate to them,
- expressing emotions, nuances and phrases perhaps we cannot possibly express even with the most descriptive words,
- choosing to be with others to enjoy working on making something beautiful.
When I learned about Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque project, I was very happy. As a composer and conductor, Whitacre brought 185 people together.
So what’s the big deal?
The 185 people auditioned through YoutTube videos (much like last year’s YouTube Orchestra). 185 singers and 235 tracks after, the Virtual Choir was born. It’s a compliation of 185 individuals’ videos. These singers have never sung in a rehearsal together or worked with Whitacre in person for this project.
Have a listen:
I think it’s remarkable the way Whitacre planned for this project (you can read about it here) so that the end result would be more or less realistic. As I was watching one of the videos Whitacre made for the singers, I was struck by a couple of things that really attributed to why I think this virtual choir worked:
- First ~ Whitacre prepared the choir well. As a choral conductor, score reading or giving directions, is something that we all have to communicate to our singers. I noticed that Whitacre was very clear with his directions with score reading AND recording directions. This reminded me that short and clear directions make everyone’s life a bit more simple :-)
- Second ~ Everyone who were chosen to participate, prepared their best. Although the audition medium was a video and through a non-traditional method, all the singers clearly learned the music very well. I enjoyed watching small YouTube screens of people’s expressions. There’s so much we can express through singing! Beautiful!
- Third ~ What a creative concept! Compiling real people’s sounds (in essence, sampling their singing) into parts are what sound engineers do best. Who would have thought it to put together a choir together?
Here are some of my students who shared their thoughts in their blogs after hearing this virtual choir:
I thought that it was very cool that Eric Whitacre had the idea to bring all those singers together in a unique way. It amazes me that they were able to perform that song without even coming together to rehearse. I would think that everyone would have to come together at one point to practice. I also think that the way all the videos were put together made a good visual. Overall unique video….
I thought that it was a very interesting thing to listen to. I think it is sad that the people never got to meet each other and compare how they thought the virtual choir went. It was something new, and i thought that was interesting. it might be fun to be involved in something like that. I think it would be a great experience.
I thought the virtual choir was a big advancement in bringing people who are alike together through the internet. I felt like the music really sounded good and i can see why Eric Whitacre is a very renowned composer even in modern times. I can say that the music really moved me because so many people singing in this kind of way is very profound in that it can bring everyone together through music.
Aren’t they interesting thoughts from 8th graders? Although there are people like Chloe Veltman of the Arts Journal who wrote a review titled, “Lies Like Truth” (you can guess what her review is about by the title edit: I really enjoyed reading Ms. Veltman’s post; we just disagree on the possibility of real musicality that can be produced this way), but I think I took away more things I learned from Eric Whitacre and the choir. I loved the creative ways to bring people together to make beautiful music.
I hope I can participate in his next project.
So what did you think? I would love to hear from you!