History of the Virtual Choir
The Virtual Choir began in May 2009 as a simple experiment in social media when Britlin Losee – a fan of Eric’s music – recorded a video of herself singing ‘Sleep’ and shared it on YouTube. Moved by the video, Eric responded by sending a call out to his online fans to purchase Polyphony’s recording of ‘Sleep’, record themselves singing along to it, and upload the result. Scott Haines generously volunteered to cut the video together. Eric was so impressed by the result that he decided to push the concept to the next level by recording himself conducting ‘Lux Aurumque’, and asked Virtual Choir members to sing along to that. Once again, Scott edited the audio and video and produced the very first Virtual Choir.
The concept has since exploded into a global phenomenon, creating a user-generated choir and bringing together singers from around the world in their love of music making through the use of technology, whether singing alone in their living rooms, their dorm rooms, their garages or anywhere they can connect to the internet; these videos are synchronised and combined into one single performance to create the Virtual Choir.
Virtual Choir 1.0 received over 1 million hits in the first two months of its release (now over 4 million). Ever ambitious, for Virtual Choir 2.0 Eric called for 900 singers to record themselves singing “Sleep”. At the final tally he received 2052 contributions from singers in 58 countries. and Virtual Choir 3.0 attracted an amazing 3746 videos from 73 different countries.
The Virtual Choir has featured as news all over the world, Virtual Choir 2 premiered at TED and multiple radio stations, national radio and television across Europe with installations in several continents.
Partially funded through a Kickstarter campaign, run in association with DCINY / Soaring Dreams, Virtual Choir 4 ‘Fly to Paradise’ featured 8,409 video submissions, more than doubling the numbers for Virtual Choir 3. 101 countries were represented including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Cuba and seven nations from the African continent. Virtual Choir 4 was launched in the gardens of Buckingham Palace as part of the Coronation Festival Gala as was featured on BBC 1 (UK).
Upon previewing the VC2 video at TED 2011, Eric (and the choir) received two standing ovations – testimony to the power of the internet to connect people of all backgrounds and abilities and create something beautiful across time and space: