Choirs

Connection During Separation: Premiere of Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 6

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Presented by Beltone – A leader in audience health care.

On Sunday July 19, Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 6 (VC6) music video premiered, bringing the joy of music to many. Singers from all walks of life have signed up to participate in this choir. Some singers were trained singers, some were part of choirs in their hometown. Still others, like me, love beautiful music. Regardless of skill level, people from all over signed up, recorded their videos and sent them in to be a part of this choral experience.

I’m a fair, unprofessional singer by any stretch of the imagination but knowing that all video submissions were accepted for the choir, I decided to take the plunge and participate. In early spring 2020, while Arizona was under stay-at-home orders, I received an email notification of the launch of the VC6 project by none other than the incredible conductor and songwriter. , Eric Whitacre. He had decided to create a new piece of music to celebrate the togetherness at a time when so many people around the world were isolated due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The desire to bring the singers together was reflected in the reactions of the singers who took part in this major project. Victoria White, a VC6 participant said: “[VC6] Helped me meet other singers and really helped me during lockdown to feel like I was part of something special musically.

Throughout the preparation process for the recording, several online choir rehearsals were held for the entire choir and individual sessions for the different parts of the music. Whitacre took some time during a rehearsal to explain his vision in this article he wrote specifically during this period of quarantine and isolation. He mentioned a craft called Kintsugi, a centuries-old Japanese method of mending broken pottery by mending areas of fracture with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Using this technique, the repair pottery piece is now stronger than ever.

In the video, Kintsugi is reflected as individual videos of singers slowly began to merge into a bigger and stronger whole. “In the lyrics of the song, it says ‘Sing together as one’. At a time when most of us were alone and yearned for unity, this song brought healing and brought us peace, togetherness and new friendships, ”said Tamara Fugate, another VC6 singer. .

Although I am not a strong singer, I found myself fully engaged and committed to submitting the best video possible. Everywhere I went, I pulled the guide track provided on my cell phone to practice the viola part. I sang in the parking lots while waiting for take out. I plugged in my headphones and practiced driving to and from work. I even sang when I was alone in the office at work. The day I submitted my video I spent 2 hours recording and recording to get the perfect take. I was not alone in this case. I knew several other people who commented on our community’s Facebook page that they had taken 50 takes or spent several hours to get the perfect video. One thing was obvious, everyone was determined to do their best.

In total, 17,572 singers participated from 129 countries around the world. Of the 17,000 or more singers, there were 6,262 sopranos; 6,414 violas; 2,209 tenors; 2,671 bass; and 16 who performed the song in sign language making the experience a unique experience. For me, this experience gave me the chance to meet other people around the world. Through a communication on the VC6 Facebook page, I am leaving this experience with new friendships and open invitations to visit them when the pandemic is over and travel is safe again. During the period of isolation, participating in Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 6 really provided an opportunity for many to connect and bring the world together to “sing softly as one.”

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