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Virtual Choir 4 Joins 6,000 Global Singers

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 4: Fly to Paradise

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes

Just fly… Spread your wings and fly… Fly like an eagle.

These are all metaphors for what we a humans, conscious, really want – to realize our dreams, our destiny… Maybe the best way to do this is through collaboration, by being with a diverse group of other people.

Here is what makes living in 2013 so incredible – all the possibilities… We are living in a time when we are witness to new technology almost daily. At its best, this technology can connect people in a way that makes this big, crazy world seem really small. Today technology can connect us to all parts of the globe instantly. How many “friends” do you have on Facebook from other countries that you’ve never had a face to face meeting with? And you can literally have a chat with them any time you like. Kickstarter can be used fund projects that otherwise might never see the light of day, with the help of donors all across the globe. YouTube can be a place where musical geniuses can assemble virtual groups – like one of my favorites: Virtual Led Zeppelin.

So, what happens when you take over 8,000 videos of almost 6,000 singers all singing their parts, add of a beautiful piece of music and put it all together?

Done right, the results are stunning!

Actually, you get Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 4: “Fly to Paradise”

And stunning is what Grammy Award-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir project is. He takes 8,400 voices from nearly 6,000 singers that ranged in age from six to 98 -  representing 101 countries, as far north as Tromsø in Norway all the way down south to Christchurch, New Zealand. The huge choir has a representative in each of the 50 United States. Then for the “Fly to Paradise” video, he puts them all together on one virtual stage, each singer is a face in the windows of virtual skyscrapers – and the result is really awe inspiring and beautiful!

He first got the idea in 2009, when a friend emailed him a YouTube video of a fan, Britlin Losee, singing the soprano part of his a cappella piece, Sleep. He realized that if enough singers recorded their respective parts (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass), he could put them together to create a Virtual Choir. He wrote this on his blog on May 14th, 2009:

When I saw Britlin’s video today the idea hit me like a brick: what if hundreds of people did the same thing and then we cut them all together, creating the very first virtual choir?

Whitacre’s first Virtual Chorus featured 250 YouTube submissions from 12 countries.

So what does this all mean? For me it means that we have the ability to become part of a global community – we can choose to honor our differences, our uniqueness, and be scared or judgmental of them.

Whitacre writes on his website, “We have truly become a global choir.”

For the first time, the Virtual Choir also features virtual soloists drawn from crowd submissions, the lead soloist is Grammy® Award-winning soprano, Hila Plitmann, who is also Whitacre’s wife.

For the music on the track, Whitacre says,

I collaborated with renowned producer, Guy Sigsworth, to make the electronica track for Fly to Paradise. Guy is a classically trained musician with all the skills of a modern producer. We first worked together last year when he wrote a classical piece for my professional choir, the Eric Whitacre Singers. Through that process, my admiration only grew and when it came time to make Fly to Paradise, I knew that there was no one else I would rather work with.

The song itself is really gorgeous and and reminds us that all we really want to do is fly, so spread your wing and let loose your dreams on the world.

Watch the video above to hear the incredible performance.

Watch Eric’s invitation video for his Virtual Choir 4.

Photo Credit: Mark Manning

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