SAFN Video Of The Day

Here's a surprising statistic: According to a survey by Chorus America, one in six Americans, or 54 million people, sing in choral groups, whether that's community, school and children's choirs, religious groups or professional ensembles. But since stay-at-home orders have been issued across many states, choral music here and around the world has completely stopped. It turns out singing is a perfect way to spread coronavirus. So, what's a choral singer to do? Well, one could join a virtual choir, and that's what over 17,000 people did. Ten years ago, a teenage fan recorded herself singing the soprano line from one of Eric Whitacre's choral pieces and posted it on YouTube. And it gave composer-conductor Whitacre an idea: What if he could get several singers to record themselves in their rooms, doing one of his pieces in the same tempo and key, then stitch the videos together and make a virtual choir? "We tried it and it worked!" he says. "We had this little virtual choir, 185 singers from 12 countries. I never thought it would go further than my little group of choir geeks, and it went viral." More virtual choirs followed, each getting exponentially larger. Now of course, the word "viral" has more connotations, and when Whitacre put out the call to join his latest project, the response was overwhelming. "This virtual choir, Virtual Choir 6, has 17,562 different singers from 129 countries," he says. "When I look at the numbers and, more so when I look at the faces of the people from around the world, I'm just stunned." Wei Jiang, a professional choral singer and hematologist based in Sydney, Australia, says that Virtual Choir 6 has "a special and a very different meaning because of the state the world is in."

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