For those of you who don’t know about the Virtual Choir, the concept is pretty simple. Singers from around the world upload their videos. They’re singing alone in their living rooms, their dorm rooms, their garages; we cut all the videos together and start them at the same time to create a Virtual Choir. Somehow it all comes together and we’re making music as one choir.
The idea all began with a single video from Britlin Losee. She uploaded a beautiful video of herself singing the soprano part to my piece, Sleep, and it sparked this idea in me: ‘what if we could get 50 people from around the world to do the same thing’. So I uploaded a video of me conducting and people started sending in their submissions. It worked. The original Virtual Choir had 185 singers from 12 different countries and it went viral. Since then the phenomenon has continued and exploded. We’ve been featured on news items all over the world, we premiered VC2 at TED and the most recent VC3 had 3746 videos from 73 different countries.
We are thrilled and honored to announce that the Virtual Choir has been invited to present VC4 at the Coronation Concerts in July at Buckingham Palace.
- First are the video technicians who sort each submission, catalogue them and edit them. Each video we receive is accepted so there are plenty to get through.
- Secondly there’s the audio team who clean up the audio, isolate it and remove background noise, and mix our choir together.
- Finally there’s the team who make the gorgeous final film that we know as the Virtual Choir.
We will be working hard to make the final music and film as good as possible, but the beating heart of Virtual Choir is the community, the family, and this is what we want to enhance more than anything. We aim to improve every process, beginning with the user experience. We want the music to be easier to learn and the teaching to be more global. Secondly, we want to improve the technology itself so that we capture each video better, cleaner and more efficiently. Finally, we want to evolve the community itself so that it’s easier to connect with each other. It’s not only about the music making, but to find people in your area or other parts of the world who share common interests and the same love of choral music.
I don't know if it is spiritual, physiological or psychological phenomenon, but I believe now more than ever that singing is a universal, built-in mechanism designed to cultivate empathy and compassion. As we prepare for Virtual Choir 4, I hope that more people from across the globe will support and join our fun, loving group, made up of every sort of personality, nearly every nationality, and a group bound together by a simple vision: to be a part of something larger than themselves. Thank you!
Risks and challenges
The single greatest risk is the unknown number of singers that will take part in Virtual Choir 4. Since everyone is welcome to join the Virtual Choir and every video of sufficient quality received is used in the final film, creating a full budget before submissions are received is not possible.
Audio-visual synchronisation has been our biggest challenge. The technology to edit in large batches is limited, so it is a largely manual process. The hours spent by engineers editing the audio and video are proportional to the number of videos received and this carries a large cost. The unknown number of singers also affects the creative for the final film and the amount of work required by the production team.
Alongside this, there are costs in creating the infrastructure to capture singers' videos and in developing the Virtual Choir community.
This Kickstarter campaign is being run in association with DCINY / Soaring Dreams.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Absolutely not. All singers are welcome, regardless of whether you are able to contribute. And remember, there is no audition to be part of the project. If you make a video, you're in the choir.
Before we can open the submission period for the Virtual Choir, we need to raise the funds to make it happen. Once we have met our target, we will be able to develop the infrastructure to capture singer's videos. At that point, we will share further information regarding the timescale, how to access and learn the music, and how to submit your video.
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