Friday, April 08, 2011

The "Virtual Choir"

YouTube chorus of 2,052 voices

Orchestral musicians had their date with Internet destiny a few weeks ago with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. On Thursday afternoon, the spotlight moved to choral singers with scheduled release of the Virtual Choir. Los Angeles-based choral composer Eric Whitacre created a choir that allows lone choristers from Lebanon, Kazakhstan and Madagascar to join 2,049 other singers from 50-plus countries in a performance of Whitacre's composition "Sleep."

The logistics of a virtual live performance are unworkable with current technology, but the ubiquity of YouTube made it possible for participants to upload their parts individually. Some mammoth data crunching by the Virtual Choir team produced a single track containing all 2,052 voices and a video montage using submitted footage.

Interest in the project has been intense, with more than twice as many videos submitted than Whitacre dared hope for and many more than the 185 singers in last year's Virtual Choir. "It's just a beautiful, poetic expression of a seemingly fundamental human need to connect," Whitacre said.

—Marcia Adair

No comments: