Thousands of Internet users sing together in a virtual choir
Is it possible to sing together with people from all over the world without leaving your living room? Yes it is. Thanks to the Internet project “Virtual Choir” launched by Eric Whitacre, a US American, anyone can participate in a global choir from his or her own home.
Whitacre got the idea when he saw a video a girl had recorded of herself singing one of Whitacre’s songs, and shared on Youtube. Inspired by the video, Whitacre called on his fans to perform the song “Sleep”, record themselves, and share the result on Youtube. That was in 2009. “Lux Aurumque” followed the same year: it has been viewed 3 million times and performed by 185 singers from 12 countries. Both videos can be viewed on the website especially designed for German fans.“Sleep” was released again in 2010. Using video instructions, Whitacre conducted the singers as in “Lux Aurumque”. The production was much more professional and more successful. The result can also be viewed here. In 2011, Whitacre released his next project: Virtual Choir 2.0 including a remake of “Sleep2” and “Lux Aurumque”. This time 200 singers from 58 countries participated in the project.
The choir’s greatest highlight so far was in April 2012, when the Virtual Choir 3 performed “Water Nights” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. This video was shown at the official ceremonies in Belfast. “Water Night” is based on a text by Octavio Paz, a Mexican writer and is about the force of water. A total of 2945 singers from 73 countries have contributed to a greater or lesser extent to “Water Nights”. The production is well-organized and the singers are grouped according to their respective pitch.
Eric Whitacre’s productions fascinate the audience with the complexity of their audio-visual experience. By working together with a global Internet community he can access undreamt-of resources. Although a few professional singers contributed to the project, the majority are amateurs. The project is not unlike the Youtube symphony orchester (YTSO). Launched in 2008, this project casted musicians for a symphony orchestra and compositions were recorded online (http:/www.youtube.com/user/symphony). The difference between the virtual choir and the YTSO is that the later have already given two live performances together and the choir is only virtual.