Fun Fridays – July 24, 2020

An extraordinary musical event is our feature today.

17,572 singers from 129 countries came together to perform Eric Whitacre’s “Sing Gently” in a virtual choir.

At the end, all 17,000+ singers are shown on screen. You simply must watch to experience it.

The song is a little over three minutes long, the credits last for seven! (They list every singer involved.)

Below today’s video is a story from one of the participating singers, our daughter. Read it to see how much this event meant to singers who are not allowed to sing together during these trying times.

[If you cannot see the embedded video in your newsletter email, please click the headline and go directly to our site to view it.]

Her story:

For so many singers, in early April it became a jolting reality that we might not be able to sing together for a very long time. Eric Whitacre, one of my favorite choral composers, decided to write a piece for a Virtual Choir. He has done 5 other virtual choirs, the last involving Deep Space which he thought would be his final one as there was no way to top that. But as the choral community started hurting, he decided we all would need this as a way to come together. He has never written an original piece specifically for these, they always use ones from his old catalogues of originals. He is known for writing pieces with immense 10 parts, and usually uses previously written poetry for the lyrics.

This time Eric wrote the words first himself.  It is about the power of singing gently …as one. He then wrote the music making it a much more simple composition than normal, accessible for any level of singer. He gathered his team at lightning speed to see if this could all happen. A website was designed with information on how to submit the videos, He was having parts recorded for us to practice with.  We all saw the announcement in late April.

With my music life all but shut down, I thought I’d join  just to have something different to do. Am I glad I did. By the time I submitted my video I was number 2,752 SOPRANO out of a total of 9,000+ submission of parts overall. I joined the Virtual 6 Choir facebook group where everyone was kind, helping people with technical difficulties, running virtual rehearsals, all of us going through the same ache of music loss, and cheering each other on.

By the time submissions were closed, over 17,000 people in 129 countries had sent in videos. 17,000!!!! They made the music accessible to blind singers, there were deaf signers, there were people with illnesses who can’t often participate in a choir, and so many more.

Because there were so many of us, the task of spending hours going through every submission and putting the audio and video together took until just recently. From May 15th-July 10th, which is incredibly fast!  We did not have to pay to participate. The Colburn School of Music and Namm Foundation covered the cost of production. No one made a profit.

The concept of the “look” of the video itself is based on Kintsugi which is a Japanese art – a way of a broken piece of potter being put back together with gold lacquer – an object more beautiful being put back together after it had been broken. There is intention and thought behind every second of the video.

“The care and love expended on the shattered pots should lend us the confidence to respect what is damaged and scarred, vulnerable and imperfect—starting with ourselves and those around us.”

Through Facebook we have all kept in touch sharing bloopers or sharing tough times together, with Eric often popping by to update us on the process. July 19th was the world premiere. We singers from around the world sat and watched it launch with tears and a feeling of being together in a unique way. Afterwards, Eric Whiticare did a youtube video live explaining the entire process, which we were able to chat throughout and have an “after party” together. If you are curious you can watch the “Virtual Choir 6 After Party.”

I did not know, until I watched the after party, that once the music is published it will be dedicated to all of us who participated. On July 24th (*today*) the audio will be released on Spotify and elsewhere.

With most of what I do with choirs not taking place again until February, this event was a very special moment I will remember forever.

27 Responses to Fun Fridays – July 24, 2020

  1. Avatar
    marilyn pardine July 24, 2020 at 5:58 am #

    Eric Whiticare’s extraordinary labor of love creates a moving and timely experience for all who are fortunate to observe his gift. Thank you for sharing this beautiful work.

  2. Avatar
    Colleen Snyder July 24, 2020 at 6:00 am #

    That is absolutely beautiful. God-given talent in harmony, from all around the globe, singing one song… I can’t wait to hear the choirs in Heaven doing the same for our Creator and Lord.

  3. Avatar
    Marie Wells Coutu July 24, 2020 at 6:11 am #

    Amazing. Beautiful voices and faces blended with a creative design. Like Kintsugi, the result is more beautiful and stronger than the original.

  4. Avatar
    Nancy Massand July 24, 2020 at 6:31 am #

    Thank you for sharing. There is healing in music.

  5. Avatar
    Shirlee Abbott July 24, 2020 at 6:35 am #

    A beautiful audio-visual representation of 1 Peter 2:5:

    “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house”

  6. Avatar
    Kay Hall July 24, 2020 at 6:41 am #

    Oh, my. How glorious. Thank you so much for this blessing. May great Jehovah God bless and watch over us.

  7. Avatar
    Deanna Stalnaker July 24, 2020 at 6:54 am #

    This is beautiful!

  8. Avatar
    DAMON J GRAY July 24, 2020 at 7:01 am #

    That moved me to tears. But then, for me, that’s no surprise.

  9. Avatar
    Cindy Fowell July 24, 2020 at 7:10 am #

    Thank you! The tears are flowing but in a healing way. Tomorrow is my third memorial service in little over a month. All dear friends. (None to Covid). This video brings healing. Thank you again.

  10. Avatar
    Rebecca Barlow Jordan July 24, 2020 at 8:44 am #

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Steve. I had seen a small clip of this on the news but was so glad to be able to hear the entire piece. This was like a preview–a piece of heaven on earth–of what it will be like to hear that many voices times a gazillion all singing together in heaven before the throne of God. So beautiful!

  11. Avatar
    Roberta Sarver July 24, 2020 at 8:45 am #

    What a phenomenal performance and a great blessing. There’s something special about blending your voice in a choral group. -Reminds me of the blessing awaiting us in heaven

  12. Avatar
    Barbara Harper July 24, 2020 at 8:54 am #

    Beautiful. Thank you for the story behind it.

  13. Avatar
    Lila Diller July 24, 2020 at 9:28 am #

    That was amazing!! I loved how they were all separated and then began to be fused together! And the song itself was beautiful — my son said it reminded him of what the multitude of angels at the birth of Jesus must have sounded like. 🙂 Thank you for sharing the story and the thought behind the Japanese art.

  14. Avatar
    Joyce Erfert July 24, 2020 at 9:38 am #

    He is an extraordinary composer. His Alleluia is on my bookmark list. Sing Gently as One is going on my bookmarks, too. Soul lifting music!

  15. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. July 24, 2020 at 10:21 am #

    This is awesome. Our church, Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA., has had two virtual choir performances and our children’s choir also did one a couple of months ago. Your daughter is right that the choir community has really been hurting since COVID 19 shut things down.

    Thanks so much for sharing this incredible musical experience.

  16. Avatar
    Janette Johnson Melson July 24, 2020 at 10:37 am #

    So beautiful. Loved how the separate continents came together as one united mass at the end.

  17. Avatar
    Linda Riggs Mayfield July 24, 2020 at 10:49 am #

    No. Words. (Tears)

  18. Avatar
    Kay DiBianca July 24, 2020 at 10:52 am #

    Magnificent. Thank you.

  19. Avatar
    Diane July 24, 2020 at 11:42 am #

    Stunningly beautiful, touching the soul. Thank you for sharing this.

  20. Avatar
    Marlene W Anderson July 24, 2020 at 12:48 pm #

    I am a singer as well as a writer. I sang with the Skagit Valley Choralle that during their last rehearsal over 14 people were infected and later that number rose. This recording is amazing. I will be forwarding it to my music friends. Thanks so much for putting it into this blog post.

  21. Avatar
    Patti Lee July 24, 2020 at 3:17 pm #

    Thank you, so very much. My soul is soothed. I now have a picture of what all the redeemed coming together in peace will sound and feel like. As an artist, the Kintsugi composition was breathtakingly beautiful; the meaning so clear. I’m sure you are very proud of your daughter. Thank you for sharing her letter.

  22. Avatar
    JB Blake July 24, 2020 at 3:29 pm #

    Beautiful music for the soul. Brings peace to one’s heart.

  23. Avatar
    georjean July 24, 2020 at 4:35 pm #

    This is beautiful, thank you!!! With faith and caring – there is always a way!!!

  24. Avatar
    Susan Pettit July 24, 2020 at 6:19 pm #

    Glorious! A tiny snapshot of the beauty of us all together singing with the Angels in our Father’s Heavenly Home…as one.

    Thank you for sharing Steve. Blessings to all!!

  25. Avatar
    Cheryl D Coffman July 25, 2020 at 4:12 am #

    Wonderful music and a wonderful story! Music can help heal a wounded soul.
    Thank you for bringing us all the great Fun Fridays.

  26. Avatar
    Paula Geister July 25, 2020 at 4:22 am #

    Having sung in several choirs, I can relate to your daughter’s story about not being able to sing with them. Choir members become like family. This is glorious and so calming, I’m waiting eagerly to add it to selections on Spotify. When I need a little something to help get me through a weird place in my day, I’ll just listen to this. All 10 minutes of it.

    Thanks Steve, for sharing the Fun (on) Fridays.

  27. Avatar
    Tammy Karasek July 25, 2020 at 5:28 am #

    Thanks for sharing this, Steve. How beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. Truly a work of art.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get New Posts by Email

Get New Posts by Email

Each article is packed with helpful info and encouragement for writers. You can unsubscribe at any time with one click. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!