Update: The NAMM Foundation and Eric Whitacre Present: "Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently"

Elizabeth Dale

Eric Whitacre is the Grammy® award-winning composer and conductor behind the virtual choir movement. With projects uniting over 120 different countries, the virtual choir is described as “a global phenomenon, creating a user-generated choir that brings together singers from around the world and their love of music in a new way through the use of technology.”

Deep Field: The Impossible Magnitude of our Universe

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UPDATE: Whitacre's Virtual Choir 6: "Sing Gently" made its debut on Sunday, July 19 and welcomed 17,572 singers from 129 countries, ranging in ages 5-88, who all independently recorded their voices to contribute to "Sing Gently." "Sing Gently" marked Whitacre's largest Virtual Choir to date since his first more than ten years ago. The film includes videos from each of the participants, unified in a unique collection, which serves as a testament to diversity, accessibility, and inclusivity to be much more than a musical project, it's a community. "With everyone unexpectedly far apart from each other, I found myself thinking about the virtues of empathy, community, and service, and a new Virtual Choir felt like a deeply human way to address all of those virtues," says Whitacre. "I tried as best I could to keep the lyrics of 'Sing Gently' straightforward and unadorned to say what I felt needed to be said simply."

The original article in its entirety can be found below.


 

  • Eric Whitacre Virtual Choir
  • Eric Whitacre Virtual Choir

Participating in a virtual choir brings the spirit of Make Music Day to the forefront of hearts and minds during a time in which the ability to physically assemble and make music is limited. Make Music Day, the global celebration of making music is held on June 21, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Make Music Day has gone digital. Whitacre’s newest project, “Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently,” embodies this sentiment, as it calls for singers of every level to record and upload their videos from locations all over the world. The videos are then synchronized and combined to create one single performance. Whitacre’s “Virtual Choir 5: Deep Field,” inspired by the work of the Hubble telescope, is an excellent example of the power of music that the virtual choir experience can showcase.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently

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On the goals Whitacre is hoping to achieve with “Sing Gently,” he said, “This moment in history is going to be remembered as one of great suffering for many people, and a time of growing division and dissent. My hope for Virtual Choir 6 is that it might give some comfort for those who need it and that it might point the way to a kind of living where we are simply gentler with each other.” At the time of publication, there were over 200 videos from 30 different countries submitted to the project in the first few days that submissions were open. Whitacre wants to remind people that “Everyone can join! In our past virtual choir programs, we have had singers as young as two and as old as 102, with experience ranging from full professionals to people who have never before sung in a group. You don’t have to be a great singer; you, simply have to lend your voice to the choir so that together we can create something simple, delicate, and beautiful.”

The NAMM Foundation in collaboration with Whitacre hosted a webinar providing more information about the upcoming event, which can be viewed at https://www.namm.org/video/pagr/virtual-choir-6-sing-gently-conversation-eric.

For more information about “Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently” and to sign up, visit https://virtualchoir6.com/. The deadline for video submissions is 12pm PT on May 22. To learn more about Make Music Day, including the 2020 virtual programming visit http://www.makemusicday.org/