About the Virtual Choir
Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir is a global phenomenon, joining singers from around the world, crossing cultures, and time-zones to create musical experiences through the use of technology. The Choir celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2020, creating the most significant project to date.
It began as a simple experiment in social media when one young woman – a fan of Eric’s music – recorded a video of herself singing Sleep and shared it on YouTube. Moved by the video and with the spark of an idea, Eric responded by sending out a call to his online community to purchase the recording sung by Polyphony, record themselves singing along to it. He invited them to upload the result to be combined to form a virtual choir. Eric was so intrigued by the result of this beta version that he decided to push the concept to the next level. He filmed himself conducting his piece Lux Aurumque for singers to follow, asking them to record & upload their voice-part. Virtual Choir 1: Lux Aurumque was born.
For each Virtual Choir project, singers from around the world record and upload their videos from their home, car, church, or workplace. The individual files are synchronized and combined into one single performance to create the Virtual Choir. The VC has grown from 185 singers in VC1 (2010) to over 17,500 singers from 129 countries in Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently (2020).
With more than sixty million views, the VC videos have featured on worldwide TV (including CBS & ABC in the US and stations across Europe, Asia, and Australasia). It has also been presented in unusual scenarios across the globe including a sound-installation on Millennium Bridge, London, as part of the 2012 Olympics; projected at the opening of Titanic Belfast Visitor Center (N. Ireland) and as part of the closing plenary of the World Economic Forum, Davos (Switzerland). The VC has also been seen on the main stage of the revered TED conference, the Paley Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and at events for Google, UNICEF, and the United Nations amongst others.
At TED 2013, Eric conducted a real-time Live Virtual Choir, performing live from 28 countries around the globe, alongside a 100 person-strong choir on stage, streamed live through Skype. Later in 2013, Eric teamed up with Disney to produce a song, Glow, written especially for World of Color – Winter Dreams show which premiered at Disney California Adventure® Park, California. 1473 singers, representing all 50 American States, submitted recordings, most of which were chosen, to be part of the World of Color Honor Choir. The first-ever Virtual Youth Choir launched in 2014 featuring 2,292 young singers from 80 countries across the world. The film, in partnership with UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organization, premiered at the opening ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Eric launched Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently in Spring 2020 as a response to the global pandemic. VC6 created an incredibly close community of 45,000 singers from 145 countries in a time of need. More than 17,500 of these singers contributed their voices to the final recording. 2020 also saw the release of “Sing as One: Ten Years of Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir”, a commemorative album set with a 220-page full-color booklet charting VC1-6, the Virtual Youth Choir, and the World of Color Honor Choir. With an introduction from legendary composer, Stephen Schwartz, the booklet features essays on each production from Eric, the names of every singer and contributions from members of the Virtual Choir and community are featured.