Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir has become a global phenomenon since its launch in 2009. Past Virtual Choir videos have garnered more than 40 million YouTube views. Whitacre’s latest creation, Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently, brings together 17,572 people from 129 countries who recorded and uploaded their videos. Each of the thousands of individual videos have been synchronized and combined into one single performance, which premieres on YouTube this Sunday, July 19 at 10:30 am PDT.
Recent worldwide events related to COVID-19 inspired Whitacre to write Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently in April 2020. “With everyone unexpectedly far apart from one another, I found myself thinking about the virtues of empathy, community, and service,” he said. “A new Virtual Choir felt like a deeply human way to address all of those virtues.”
To make Virtual Choir 6, Whitacre and producers, Music Productions, have teamed-up with two organizations that share their commitment to expanding access to the performing arts—the Colburn School and the NAMM Foundation. Students from the Colburn Conservatory of Music worked with Eric to record the piano and string quartet parts for Sing Gently. Students, faculty, and alumni from multiple units of the School also contributed Think Tank videos on the Virtual Choir site.
Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently will also be featured in The Way Forward, a film that captures performances by Colburn students, faculty, alumni, and guest artists during the COVID-19 pandemic. Filmed remotely following social distancing protocols in Finland, Australia, England, Spain, Canada, and across the United States, The Way Forward re-imagines the concert-going experience for the digital age.
A special private premiere event for The Way Forward will take place on Sunday, July 19 at 10:30 am PDT. Learn more here.
As part of the event, Eric Whitacre will receive the Richard D. Colburn Award, an annual honor named for the School’s benefactor, which recognizes individuals and organizations whose dedication, work, and reputations enhance the teaching and performance of classical music and dance in Southern California.