There’s something special that happens when a room of people start to sing together. Suddenly, your voice is a part of something much bigger and more beautiful than you. But what happens when 17,000 voices all come together? Here’s the story of the largest choir ever assembled!
Imagine the goosebumps you’d have if you witnessed a choir of 17,000 people, all perfectly in sync, in harmony, and singing with the kind of heart that can only come in a time when we need art most. We don’t have to imagine what that would sound like anymore. We can get a taste of what that might be like with the beautiful song “Sing Gently” sung by the largest virtual choir ever assembled! It’s a story of beauty and resilience that will remind us all of our shared humanity.
Even as a listener, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the sounds of a choir. There’s something truly awe-inspiring, even transcendental about these musical experiences. Unfortunately, choirs have all but disappeared in the era of COVID-19, but in the hands of composer Eric Whitacre, a new kind of choir has emerged; one that is giving us a renewed sense of hope in these times! It’s a beautiful reminder of the ways we feel like we are together, even when we have to be apart.
As the world is finding ways to adapt to the new normals that have come about since the start of COVID-19, we have learned a lot about ourselves, our resilience, and the beauty that’s possible when we find ways to creatively come together.
As we’ve missed out on hugs with friends, summer concerts, and the activities we love, perhaps a virtual choir of more than 17,572 singers from around the world can remind us that we are all still very much connected!
This is the latest, and largest, of Eric Whitacre’s brilliant virtual choirs. The first virtual choir he assembled came together in May of 2009 as he turned to social media for the song “Lux Aurumque“.
This first choir brought together 185 voices. Now, at over 17,000, Eric’s little virtual choir has become a true testament to the power of music and, of course, the internet.
So, why create a virtual choir in the first place? What’s the point when we’re in a global pandemic?
Hear Eric answer these questions firsthand in this great piece from CBS Sunday Morning, as their own David Pogue sits down (virtually) with Eric and even adds a track of his own to the choir of “Sing Gently“. If you’re anything like me, you might find yourself in tears of joy, so you have your fair warning to have your tissues at the ready!
If you aren’t already a fan of CBS Sunday Morning, go check out their YouTube channel for excerpts from their shows! Their content is always uplifting, inspirational, and provides a meaningful perspective on our world. Go check them out!
Together in New Ways
There’s something magical in the way a choir sings and breathes together, the way a band hits those first notes, actors play off of one another, dancers move in time, or how athletes work as a team. These moments, when individuals join together to create something bigger than themselves, are always exhilarating; always so moving.
I think we always found them moving. But now, after the world was shut down by COVID-19, we have the perspective to miss these moments a little more. Whether we’re listening to a virtual choir or watching the NBA come back on television, it feels as though we savor these moments a little more these days.
I find myself consciously pausing to experience the small moments of human connection I have: being a little more friendly at checkout, cheering a little louder from home when a great play is made, joyfully going to get a haircut. If you haven’t noticed yourself doing this, take a moment to try it out. You’re sure to end up smiling a little more under your mask and seeing a whole lot more beauty around you, every day!
These times are certainly difficult for so many of us; the world can feel like it is in a strange state of flux. But it’s moments like these that can ground us and help us see and revel in our shared humanity. We can find ways to be together, even in the times when we need to be apart. We can find moments to sing and laugh together even when we cannot be in the same room. Part of what makes us human is our incredible ability to adapt and be creative, and we are certainly seeing people come up with remarkable ways of coping with these strange times!
If you want to see a few more stories I would recommend that point to our shared humanity and creative spirit, check these out next!
Stay beautiful & keep laughing!
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- CBS Sunday Morning. “The Largest Virtual Choir Ever Assembled.” YouTube, 19 July 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=uS0ioMnVdHw&feature=emb_title. Accessed 16 Sept. 2020. ↩