Mimi M.

At this point, I would hope we all have heard about the Coronavirus. It’s caused a pandemic, and general distress for the world. Corona has made us all turn to wearing masks, and as a theatre kid that has impacted my life differently because of singing. Singing requires more breathing than other activities, which increases the risk for spreading COVID-19, as the virus is transmitted through the air. Because of this, choirs haven’t been able to meet in person for the last few months.
Most people have been plenty resourceful in this time, and that has applied to choirs as well. During the beginning of quarantine, Italians spent time singing from their balconies, and this was only the beginning. Many choirs transferred to digital, and new choirs were created purely digitally, bringing people together that might have never met before. One such choir was created by Eric Whitacre.
Whitacre is a renowned composer, a Grammy winner, and a Juilliard graduate. He’s conducted at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Buckingham Palace, among other places. Recently, he’s been working on bringing people together through virtual choirs. He actually started virtual choirs back in 2010, with Lux Aurumque, a choir featuring 185 performers from around the world. Ten years later, he’s created his sixth virtual choir, Sing Gently, during the pandemic. Whitacre composes his own pieces for the choir to perform.
Of course, Whitacre isn’t the only one creating virtual choirs. There have been many others across the world, from Italian high schoolers to a New York Church choir. My own school choir has attempted to go virtual, but it hasn’t worked yet. It takes a tremendous amount of time to put together the videos so that every singer is in sync, and it takes a lot of work to make it perfect. There are some apps that can line up audios, such as the Acapella App, but it only works for up to 9 people, and so isn’t a good option for an actual choir. However, virtual choirs are still a beautiful thing to watch when done correctly and show perfectly how humans adapt to bring joy in times of adversity.

Check out the following links to experience virtual choirs for yourself:
Eric Whitacre’s choir - https://ericwhitacre.com/the-virtual-choir/about
Italians singing from balconies - https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-51886547

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