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The Virtual Youth Choir is now LIVE! Visit virtualyouthchoir.com for all the information. #whatifyourvoice #virtualchoir
Singing to drown out the riots in Turkey
  • Hello from country #63! (I think)

    I just wanted to share a little story of what happened the weekend I decided to upload my video.

    As you may have seen in the news, there have been massive protests and brutal police violence on the streets in Istanbul this week. And not only in Istanbul--all over Turkey, including Ankara, where I live. Yesterday and today I had to leave work early because there were protesters directly outside my building, and gas bombs being thrown. You couldn't breathe properly even several blocks away.

    Today it's even worse, with reports spilling in about people being killed and injured. Facebook is flooded with angry notes about freedom and dictators and all these horrible things. Seeing the riot police lining the streets on my way to work, hearing my friends talk about running from the police, all of it has made me feel unsafe for the first time in this country. It's an ugly place at the moment.

    But I remembered something that Leonard Bernstein once said, “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely,more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” And so I decided to distract myself from the danger on the streets by recording my VC4 video anyway. I decided that in response to the destruction and violence on the street outside, I would do the opposite and create, add some beauty to the world in my own small way.

    For the first time I thought about the words "fly to paradise," this idea that people are hoping for a better future and trying to escape the nightmare reality around them. It was so much more meaningful to me in the midst of this uncertainty, thinking about the ways in which humanity has this common dream of seeking a place they can call paradise. And whether or not these protests are a step toward a better future for my Turkish friends, the Virtual Choir is absolutely a place of refuge, of togetherness, of beauty. It is paradise.

    Thanks for listening, I just wanted to share that. :) Peace!

    Heidi

    PS- I'm not Turkish myself, just a foreigner living here. But we are certainly hoping and praying for peace here soon, because our Turkish brothers and sisters deserve it!
  • @heidigidelim

    I love that quote from Bernstein!  I posted that same quote to my wall on facebook after the horrible mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut here in the USA.

    I have seen the news about Turkey and hope you are safe.  I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments about creating something in the name of beauty, peace, and humanity in the face of fear and violence.  That is exactly what this whole project is about.

    Please be safe and know that you and those in your community are in our thoughts and prayers.  The world can be a terrifying place, but it is also full of so much beauty and light as well. 

    Peace to you from Chicago, USA!

    Ben


  • @heidigidelim Thank you for writing here.  Thank you for expressing what the Virtual Choir means to you in your place in the world right now.  Stay safe and thank you for choosing to sing :)  I think Eric would be interested to know of your story @ericwhitacre
  • @heidigidelim, I'm covered in goosebumps and my eyes are teary. 
    Much love from New York, and hopes for a peaceful and quick resolution. 
    Thank you so much for joining us, for singing for peace and for being such a brilliant light in our world! 

  • @heidigidelim, Thank you for sharing a piece of your world and you beautiful pure voice with us. We are a little richer for having both, and keep singing for the joy of it.
  • @heidigidelim Be safe and continue spreading peace with your singing. Just puts everything in perspective of not taking any moment for granted.  (*)
  • @heidigidelim Wow. Thank you so much Heidi for sharing your story and your voice. I totally believe in the healing power of music in both those who are creating it as well as those who are hearing/receiving it. You recording your voice for VC4 not only provided you with some comfort and respite from what is going on in your part of the world, but it will also be a part in providing some light and beauty to those who hear and are touched in some way by the final product. Please be safe and continue to raise your voice against the negativity in positive and healing ways!
  • @heidigidelim That is so deep. Please stay safe, and thanks for reminding me the real meaning of music. :) 
  • i am sending all my best wishes to turkey - take a stance for what you believe in! 

    stay safe and take care!

    (i have got a friend in ankara whom i haven't seen for months now, i hope he is ok) 
  • @heidigidelim Hello Heidi - how are things today? Thinking of you and your country 
  • @heidigidelim
    i just found your take and it is done well! you did an awesome job and sung so beautifully so i guess you reached your goal. don't give way to destruction - create! 
  • Heidi, this is so moving. Would you mind if I post it on Facebook?
  • @ericwhitacre I'd be honored if you posted it :) 

    @sally_goodwin it's not actually my country but I'm quite fond of it. :) Things were calmer in Istanbul today but Ankara's a mess again. I guess that's what happens in the capital city. I'm hoping that tomorrow things will calm down when people go back to work for the week.
  • Heidi, just posted it. THANK YOU. Worried that I got your name right?
  • @heidegidelim I did wonder that your name did not suggest it was your home country. Good to hear from you and I too hope some calm comes around soon.
  • AnnaBAnnaB
    Member
    @heidigidelim - Thank you so much for this, so moving, so important a perspective.  Wonderful that your story will also be on FaceBook for more to see.  Love and hope from California, USA, and continuing thoughts and prayers to you and your community.  Thank you for the bright beauty of your voice and heart!
  • @heidigidelim - This is very moving. It makes me feel as though I am part of something more than just a song. I like that sense of purpose you've given to us in the virtual choir. Stay safe. God protect you in the midst of all that confusion in Turkey.
  • @heidigidelim - Thank you so much for sharing! As others have expressed, your story is very moving.  It's a honor to sing with you!
  • Thank you so much for sharing this! It makes us all know music is so important to life! Please stay safe!
  • @heidigidelim Thank you so much to stop the fast world for a while. Your story bring me back to what is really important...my big big problems are so smal...stay safe..
  • punkypunky
    Member
    Music is so powerful in so many ways. Glad you're safe and i'm praying that peace will find its place in Turkey. Lots of love from Puerto Rico ^_^
  • Good to hear that you are safe, I have a friend in Ankara and think of him too.  I shared this on facebook, I'm sure he will appreciate the message in your article too
  • O blessings and prayers for your safety and those around you! Thank you for sharing your story, it makes me quite tearful but so glad you are able to join us! I look forward to singing with you. Peace Heidi.
  • I was out to lunch this afternoon and ended up watching coverage of the Gezi Park altercations today and recalled this post as I was watching. My thoughts are with you and all of Turkey as you go through this time of change and adversity. Thank you for having the strength to spread joy and hope through your music instead of the violence that is emerging there. *hugs*

    ~Michelle
  • I'm so sorry I just now found this post.  This is truly inspiring and moving, and I am so sorry that you and those around you have to endure such terrifying things like that.  sending blessings your way, and thank you for expressing the beauty through your music!  It's amazing how much we can take for granted sometimes, but I truly hope that through projects such as this amazing Virtual Choir that maybe (just maybe) we can attain peace in our world just merely by connecting with each other here and sharing these things with each other. =]

    Wishing you well from sunny / slightly stormy Florida! :-p
  • @sally_goodwin I just realized I haven't seen anything on the forum from @heidigidelim. Do you know if anyone has?

About Eric

Eric Whitacre is one of the most popular and performed composers of our time, a distinguished conductor, broadcaster and public speaker. His first album as both composer and conductor on Decca/Universal, Light & Gold, won a Grammy® in 2012, reaped unanimous five star reviews and became the no. 1 classical album in the US and UK charts within a week of release... view full bio

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