TED Conversations

Dave Lim

TEDx Ambassador, TEDxSingapore


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If you were a member of Virtual Choir, Eric Whitacre's incredible global collaboration please share your story & journey with us & the world

... plus, do tell us which country-city you're from, and add the link to your YouTube audition link, if you wish.

Thank you.

  • Apr 2 2011: On May 14th 2009, I was in my room in the morning writing in my journal. I had recently become friends with Eric Whitacre on Facebook, and was delighted to know that I could possibly get in touch with him just to thank him for his tremendous inspiration. I knew it would be difficult for him to respond to fan mail, since he's quite a busy man! Out of no where, an idea popped in my head as I was singing along to a cd of Eric's music in my room. I wrote down that I was I going to contact Whitacre by making a video for him of gratitude and song. I took out my camera, kept my Polyphony CD playing, went over to my bedroom window for sufficient lighting, and clicked RECORD. My hands were trembling but I kept going. I recorded myself a few times, but decided that my first take was the one to send. Within hours, I went back on Facebook to see a notification: Eric Whitacre has commented on your video. I was floored. I was speechless... at least for a moment while I read his response. I jumped and screamed for joy with my Mom as my witness! He had come up with an "OMG" kind of idea, which we can all see is the best kind ;) From that point on, everything changed. My inspiration knew me, and saw me for who I am. To be recognized and understood, is one of those feelings that leaves you tremendously joyful and fulfilled. Meeting him at Lincoln Center, and then performing with him for Paradise Lost at Carnegie Hall, was all a part of a dream I didn't even know was possible. Throughout this journey I've always believed in the words he told me personally, to never give up. By believing in yourself, and sending love consciously into the world, the world will consciously love you back. Eric is a giving, beautiful soul, and that is why he deserves everything this world has to offer. I cannot wait to see him again at the premiere of the Virtual Choir at the Paley Center on April 7th, 2011.
    • Apr 6 2011: I was hearing about this project about ten days before the Deadline. The learning Process was more than fast, the same day I was singing Sopran 1, but my voice was not good enough to record it and I had to do a lot because of Christmas, two days later I got the flu and lost most of my voice, I was completely sad because I could not sing the hight notes of the soprano 1, I was trying all kind of medicines, Tee , trying not to speak too much (with two little kids not the eassiest thing :).

      One day before Endline (30 Dez) I have decided to learn the soprano 2 and to try to sing the high notes from it, after some hours it was working a little bit better, but not good enough to make a record, frustration number two :(. At 31st Dez I have decided to make a third try, but my voice was worst and worst, no chance, I have to let it, we were celebrating at friends and at first Januar came to your page to see how many people could make it, what a surprise when I read I have another chance, we can make it till 10th Januar, YAHOOO,,,this was my best present in this new year, I could make it,,,,yesssss. Second Januar, no voice……sixth Januar,,,,no chance….Ahhhhh, if I just wanted to scream a lot and cry,but I had four more days….waiting for a miracle….

      One day before the endline I could sing again the high notes of Soprano 1 but without energy, I was still sick, but I had to try…lets make a record of it, maybe they can use my face without sound I have tried with a programm called Camtasia, but the sound was terrible, it was coming always a noise I could not eliminate it, two hours later,,,,nothing, four hours later after many youtube videos explaining how to delite the bad noices, nothing….after six hours I had to go to bed, I was just KAPUTT (german word for something like DONE).

      The next day, my last chance, I brang my kiddies to kindergarden and tried and tried to make a good video, but I had big problems to keep the air and my voice was worst than ever, then the noises at the video,,,,I have decided to make a break of some hours, at seven PM I have decided to make my last try, some hours later it was not done, the horrorrrrrr. Suddenly came a thought : Why don´t you record directly from youtube?“ let´s try, what a surprise, the video quality was not the best, but the sound…..jaaaaaaa, but the video was not appearing, nooooo, one hour break, over last try….it worked, it was there, first soprano 2 and after a while I have decided to make the soprano 1 too and it worked too, not the best at all, but decent, I was sooo happy, some hours later I have seen that the first video was also there, so three tries which worked, that night I could really SLEEP like an angel with a big smile.

      Why did I sing at this virtual choir? I was singing here, because I have sung in manychoirs in Venezuela as I a little kid was, When I was 20 I was directing a choir and singing at some good choirs. Then, when I was 28 I felt in love with a german man ,married him and came to Germany and created my german family with two kids. Here I have sung at two choirs, but they are not professional, they sing just for fun and what they sing had nots a high degree of dificulty. I have missed to sing something which is asking for more concentration , I love dissonances and Sleep had this element too, and what about the lyrics of this song? I was singing it and I was living what I was singing, because I live all these words everynight when I get sleeping, many things are coming to my mind, nice and bad things, depending on the day, depending on what I am leaving at the moment, it does not matter what we have for sorrows or wishes, at the end we get into sleep, it was a real pleasure to sing it and this can you see in my face when I made my videos, maybe I was not singing perfect, I could not breath too well and keep the notes how I would like, but I can tell you for sure that I was singing with an open heart and that I enjoyed it a lot.

      Thanks a lot for giving me this opportunity,it was a marvellous experience.
    • Apr 6 2011: Thanks, Britlin, for sharing your story and for your courage and inspiration. Wishing you continuing joy in your journeys!
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    Apr 2 2011: WOW, the VC experience has been a great one. It is difficult to express in words what a unique, challenging, and fun journey it has been. We are strangers that have come together to meet a common goal and have done so from the comfort of living and dorm, and even bath (HA!) rooms stretched out from sea to sea to sea. We are professional and amateur, young and old, confident and shaky, rich and not so, students, unemployed, working, and retired. What we all have in common is drive, determination, will to work hard and risk feeling embarrassed (come ON! Some do, but many of us DO NOT, sing a capella in front of our computers, or anyone else for that matter, then upload it for the world to see!), patience, and love for music. Worth mentioning also is perseverance. I’m sure that most of us recorded many times over before we uploaded. For me, probably 25 takes on different days, and I will admit I was sometimes frustrated in the beginning. I uploaded at the 11th hour on Dec. 31 and was grateful for the extension and the opportunity to upload again, attempting to hit more of the correct notes! Well, I did so at the 11th hour of the extension, and guess what? I still didn't get all the notes correctly!! But I did it!!! I, for one, am thankful for this neat experience and am looking forward to hearing the fruits of our labor and for the next VC too.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJIG1FVw2OU I can't believe I am posting this but if the other members are brave enough, then I think I should be too. : )
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      Apr 4 2011: You go Julie! I have enjoyed becoming friends through our VC experience and will be with you in spirit on Thursday night. It's gonna be great! Four more days!
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        Apr 4 2011: Thanks Jack! I'll be thinking of you!
    • Apr 4 2011: Nice video, Julie!
      I'm dreaming of an opportunitiy to meet the VC singers and sing with each other LIVE! With Eric conducting it off course....
      The 2012 Olympics in London would be suitable, don't you think?
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        Apr 4 2011: Henny, too bad you couldn't have come for the premier and then to "Sing with Eric" at the Lincoln Center 4 days later!! You said your sister and brother in law are coming, right? Who knows. Maybe we will meet!
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        Apr 6 2011: I just can't see that happening really. It would be hard just in the US to hold such a thing so to do it worldwide, with the nature of the choir, virtual, I somehow think that is how we will always sing together. I'm not wishing away all the fun that this week will hold but I am so looking forward to VC 3.0 too!
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        Apr 6 2011: And EEEK! You watched my video??? Someone actually watched it?!?!?!?! It is so funny that I haven't taken it down and that I actually posted it here because I had the HARDEST time ever making it and then getting the courage to post in on Youtube. And there on Youtube it stays...hahaha
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    Apr 3 2011: It is so moving to read these comments. The Virtual Choir project was an extraordinary highlight of the TED conference last month, and I know it's going to have a huge impact across the world. Everyone who participated is a hero as far as I'm concerned....
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    Apr 1 2011: I am David. My daughter Mikayla and I submitted for the VC, and today we see ourselves in the TED video @ 12:35, side by side on the far left. How'd we get here ???

    I sang with various high level choirs in Vancouver, before moving to a much smaller town in the interior of BC, Canada. This 100,000 pop town in comparison, just does not have the same level of choices available. And then we found the Eric Whitacre Virtual Choir. Mikayla sings with a very accomplished choir here as well, but given the chance to sing and be directed by Eric ... personally (virtually), we both jumped at it. This video of Sleep will show little 'ol us singing "alongside" world class singers. Knowing that they all had moments struggling with and learning the piece, just as we did ... is a comforting and communal place. Although our (the choirs) "performance" actually occurred over months as apposed to minutes, I think of it as a group performance. Me ... while standing in front of the camera ... at the same moment 2000 others did. The difference is we gotta wait for the public performance.

    Remove the stretched time-line, and I feel like we belong to a chorus and a community, the likes of which we never could have found in little Kamloops, B.C., Vancouver or London or anywhere.

    Belonging is the natural consequence of community. Mikayla and I belong to something that is very important to us, we have shared with a camera, in silence, an incredibly exposing moment of our face and voice alone, uploaded to Youtube. The magic of video rendering brings forth what we call ... a work of art. And then there's communicating with other VC members on FB. We have all shared our stories, we have all anxiously awaited the release, like kids waiting their turn at the sandbox.

    Now we have been seen on TED ... a week from now our video will go viral.
    And we belong.

    If your on facebook, go here, and read hundreds of testimonials.
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    Apr 3 2011: Eric Whitacre's music — to me — is healing in sound form.

    Unlike most participants, not a singer and wouldn't do well at an audition. So a virtual choir, where I could pick from many takes, is the only way I could sing with my favorite composer.

    Experiencing my own body creating these vibrations, singing these sweet, sweet words, was an out-of-this-world experience. Throughout the day when I catch myself singing or humming, it's usually a pop song about a breakup, unrequited love, cheating, anger — and the contrast of filling my body with this sweet song was truly a healing experience.

    I'm so moved by the fact that my contribution was WANTED, and welcome. My voice? Really? Anybody's voice? It's so democratic and welcoming and loving, and I'm so moved by the openness. What I couldn't offer in clarity, a skilled sound engineer made up for by scrubbing my video. My energetic contribution is there, and so much of my heart is in this video, because I feel so much love from the song, from Eric, and from everyone who participated. It's an experience of resplendent unity and acceptance, despite weaknesses, above competition, where everyone came as they were, and we sound and look glorious for it.

    A girl from New Zealand will stay with me in New York for the premiere on April 7. I'll meet Britlin that week too, and Jack, when he comes to NYC. We are friends because of the choir. The vision we now share, of creating experiences that unite people across borders, across space and time, despite individual differences, is thanks to this Choir. Thank you, Eric, and thank you, everyone, for your missives of love in this galactic experience. We truly took part in something that matters.
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      Apr 4 2011: Beautiful words from a beautiful soul. I'm looking forward to meeting you too, Maria, and I'm so glad we were in the VC together. Four more days!
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      Apr 7 2011: Maria, I'm so glad to read your story. I've seen you posting on Eric's Facebook wall. It is extraordinary, isn't it, to come as we are and all be made beautiful for it.
      I'm sorry I didn't know earlier about the member conversations going on. I'm envious of the connections so many of you have made. I look forward to reading your reports on how it feels to experience the premiere together!
      My special good wishes to the 'girl from New Zealand' who is staying with you. Tell her it's from another girl from New Zealand. =)
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      Apr 8 2011: Beautifully put, Maria! That made me cry :-) I too feel it has helped make me a different / better person.
    • Apr 17 2011: YES! That is one of the many great things music can do-heal. Thank you for your inspiring story! Have you noticed you don't have to teach music to little kids? Music is a universal gift we are born with. And Eric Whitaker's music definitely sings to us!
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    Apr 2 2011: I'm a 49-year-old video producer and technology columnist for a large newspaper and web site in Tampa Bay, FL. I grew up in a musical family and throughout high school and college I was in many bands and choral groups. I found Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir using Stumbleupon last year.

    I was stunned by the beauty of "Lux Aurumque" and amazed by the wonderful technology that made it possible. But I also struggled with another feeling, one that made me wonder if the intimacy of choir singing would someday be lost in the technology. There are few things that feel as pure as making music with your voice. When you do that standing shoulder-to-shoulder with others who share that vision; when you hear and feel their breath; when the overtones (notes that are heard but not sung) soar from the ensemble from the depths of perfect harmonies...there is nothing else like it. I wasn't sure I was ready to trade intimacy for the Internet.

    Watching the videos of Eric describing the "Sleep" project, I admired his vision and passion. Then it dawned on me that although I would be trading the personal, physical experience of singing in this choir I was gaining a chance to sing with people from all over the world lead by an acclaimed composer and conductor. When again would I have that chance?

    When I made my recording, the one thing that really surprised me was the virtual connection I made with Eric as he conducted me through the piece on YouTube. I haven't met him but when I was done I felt as if I sort of knew him. He conducts with so much emotion and exuberance that the experience was much more intimate than I ever imagined.

    Currently I'm organizing an effort by VC members to produce a special song for the people of Japan in the wake of the devastating tsunami. It's not an official Virtual Choir project but one that comes form the hearts of people who have been inspired by Eric and the VC experience to create some beauty and give back to the world.

  • Apr 3 2011: It was probably the oddest thing I have ever done, sitting at my computer with pajama bottoms and black on top, singing a song composed for SATB into a web cam....alone.

    When I first discovered Eric's "Lux" virtual choir, I was speechless.I have sung in choirs for years, and know full well the importance of not just learning the music together, but feeling the music together, breathing together, experiencing it together. It's what good choirs do. But this. This video showed that same emotional and musical connection even though I knew none of them had ever even met, much less rehearsed together. So when Eric announced his intentions for Virtual Choir 2.0, I knew I had to be a part of it.

    That's how I ended up in a rather ridiculous outfit, wearing headphones and singing high As into a webcam. Alone. It was rather hard at first, not because singing by myself was difficult (years of singing in a college a cappella group kicked that out of me) but I had never realized just how much I drew from other singers. A half dozen technical glitches later, I was officially part of the virtual choir.

    When the final total for the video came out, I was amazed. Over 2000 voices, singing alone, at different times, in different places...united. People who may never meet, might not speak the same language, and live very different lives...together, united in song for a brief moment. Unified, in harmony. Across the world...yet together.

    Call us what you will...choir geeks, divas who will take any oppertunity to show off our voices, perfectionists, one-take-wonders, dorks who may never have the courage to sing outside the shower, friends on a dare, or professional musicians. And maybe we are.

    Or are we just ordinary people, living ordinary lives, who will do anything to be part of something bigger than ourselves? Something extroidinary? Something beautiful? Something..heavenly?
    • Apr 3 2011: Dear Anna. I was thinking of commenting myself, of adding my story and thoughts about what the Virtual-choir-experience means to me. There´s no need to do so anymore. You just wrote down what I think and feel - and beautifully as well. Thank you so much!
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      Apr 3 2011: I absolutely love your words, Anna! And I totally understand what you are saying about how much you gain from having other singers around you. They tag off of you, you tag off of them, you need a breath, they cover it up...etc. It was very revealing, this singing "a capella" into a webcam. : )
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    Apr 3 2011: I wrote this note on the VC Choir wall 10th January:

    It's five minutes before midnight here in the UK and I just uploaded my alto 2 part - lots of croaky attempts, technical challenges but it's out there. I am not in a choir, never recorded myself (since aged 16!) and certainly not made it public, thank you for the opportunity to give it a go. I am excited to see the final piece.

    I wrote this note to Eric soon after I had up-loaded my video:

    I am sure you have heard this a thousand times in the last few days, however I will express it my own way. Thank you so much for facilitating such a coming together of voices, not only that, the beautiful music and the post production that will ensue now the singing is complete.

    I could not believe how "close" I felt to the piece, down to the intimacy of singing alone I guess, as well as having my own personal conductor on screen! Once I got over the "am I in time?" "what about the other voices?" - needing a witness in some way, it was such a great experience. I should not have procrastinated and you might have got a better final submission - but the sense i might not do it at the last minute probably spurred me on. I was part of the collective procrastinators. Can't wait to see/hear the voices come together.

    Since I recorded:

    I am singing! A lot. The Virtual Choir project has been part of my journey to embrace music in my life again, my voice and the voice and sound all around. It provided the platform for a tentative toe in the water experience, practising the piece, listening and watching as more and more submissions were made, it allowed me to "grow" into really wanting to contribute, take a place and give it a go. I do feel that the intimacy of the piece was key in the success of people joining, somehow it suited. Being alone while learning and practising meant you had to really get in touch with it and make it your own almost, I do believe the intent and personal expression will come through with each and every rec
  • Apr 3 2011: I love to sing in the car, in the shower, at family gatherings, at weddings and funerals. People tell me I have a nice voice, but before the Virtual Choir, I had never, ever in my 51 years sang as part of an organized group. It was harder than I imagined to learn a part that wasn't the melody, but I found the beauty in it, especially when I practiced with other singers on YouTube. I worked really hard on my alto II part and am very proud to be a member of this amazing choir. Thank you Eric, and my fellow Virtual Choir members!
  • Apr 3 2011: I have always enjoyed singing, in High school I was in ALL the Choirs but the moment I left High School I started doubting myself. There had been many times were I was told that I didn't have a voice that would make any money. Broken hearted I almost gave up on music. That was when I ran across Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir. Watching all these people sing brought tears to my eyes. I thought it was one of the most beautiful things. So I waited till the next project. when that time came up I got nervous. To post a video of yourself singing and letting everyone in the world see it, no way.
    But I kept close on what was happening and listened to many of the other singers. I don't remember who's video it was but when I saw it I decided I'm going to do it. If this person can do it so I can. On the last day (before extension) I sat in front of my webcam and sang. After hundreds of takes, dozens of tears, and me being sick I finally came to a video that I liked enough to post. SO I did. And it felt great. So now I decided I will still being going to college for music performance and go on from there. I'm actually excited about singing now and I will never, ever let anyone tell me that I can't or won't be able to do what I dream.

    Here is my video- http://youtu.be/y-WWlo34IS0
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    Apr 1 2011: I'm a 23 year old college senior from North Carolina and have been singing in operas and choirs for the past four years. Choir has been a major part of my personal and musical life thus far, and I hope that never changes.

    As a fan of Eric Whitacre's music I stumbled upon his first big request for singers for "Lux Arumque", the project that took place before Virtual Choir 2.0. The final result of hearing all the voices mixed together -knowing that all of them are people I have never met, from all over the world- really blew me away; I knew I was a part of something special and exciting.

    So as many of us thought, the video captured a great deal of media attention and publicity. All of us that had sung in the video had joined a Facebook fan page in order to stay in touch, but all of a sudden hundreds of people were joining and asking how to take part in the next virtual choir. I'm still amazed that over 2,000 people entered... just, wow.

    Later this summer I'll be leaving North Carolina to attend grad school for a Masters in Voice Performance, but I nothing will come close to seeing the end-product of this work... and that's simply because there is nothing else quite like it.

    I feel very blessed and fortunate to have taken part, and I hope this video will spark a renewed interest in music and the arts.

    Here's my audition video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRjy_8HxIJA
  • sable c

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    Apr 1 2011: I've actually documented my entire Virtual Choir process here on my blog: http://thechoirgirl.blogspot.com/search/label/Virtual%20Choir
  • Apr 1 2011: I am a 35 year old Mom, wife, and English teacher. I was in school choir, show choir, county honor choir, state honor choir, and All Eastern choir in high school. I've performed in community theatre and college choirs, and direct my own church choir. I also sang with a contemporary Christan quartet until I had my daughter. I miss performing with larger, challenging choirs, so this virtual choir gave me the opportunity to do so from my own home in rural America while my daughter was napping! What an experience! I am so looking forward to seeing the entire final project! Thank you, Eric! (My YouTube channel is piedmontpresby.)
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    Apr 10 2011: I was in my music studio and preparing for that day's lessons with the usual weekday line up of students. Weary from some of the curves life had been hurling, I had become so discouraged over the months, and it seemed my passion and inspiration had long since boarded a train with a south bound destination. Then out of the blue, though I prefer to think it was a divine appointment, I was struck by something that I found on my computer that morning. I was immediately captivated. I read and watched all of the videos I could find on something callled VIRTUAL CHOIR and a man named Eric Whitacre. I attend a small church and we have a praise and worship band, so I was not up to date on choral music at all. But as I listened to VC 1.0 and LUX, I was smitten. This was definitely something I had to do. Simple, I thought. So when the time came, I downloaded the music and began practicing in my free time. I cannot believe it, but I have to say it is one of the most challenging things I have done in a long time. I must have recorded the piece 50 times before I got the results I felt I could release for the world to see, and still it was not at all something I was very proud of. However, time was running out. Worn to a frazzle, 10 minutes before the deadline had come and gone, my husband uploaded my video to Youtube, January 10, 2011. Undoubtedly, I must have been the last entry.

    Well, since that time passion and inspiration have returned. What an amazing and fascinating experience this has been for this teacher. I cannot explain it, but my motivation has been kicked into overdrive and many new and exciting possibilities are waiting for my attention. As a child, I learned a song that began with the words "It only takes a spark to get a fire going and soon all those around will warm up to its glowing...." I thank God for Virtual Choir, a much needed spark at this time in my life.
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    Apr 4 2011: I'm not a vocalist...not even close. I like to sing. I love Eric's work. My daughter, a gifted oboist, and I share the bond of his music. At least I didn't sing in the rests or rest in the sings. I'm moved beyond belief to be a part of this.
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      Apr 4 2011: You ARE a vocalist, in the largest online choir in the history of the world. You can take that one off your bucket list now. Well done!
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    Apr 4 2011: Summer....several years ago....Chautauqua Institution, an artist colony in the southern tier of New York.....our choir director extraordinaire Jared Jacobsen introduced a composition Lux Aurumque....and forever after I am changed....lifted to a higher plane....the intensity we all felt in performing this work was extraordinary. I am a singer....my Mom says I sang before I could speak. I have spent my life singing....college degrees.....music teacher....performing .....it has been so wonderful. I, like Albert Schweitzer, have found music....and cats...to be my bliss. I adored the Virtual Choir performance of Lux....it brought me to tears. I am now an Eric Whitacre....apostle...I sang in the Chicago performance of Paradise Lost:Shadows and Wings...I uploaded my video to Youtube for Sleep, VC 2.0 after much techno stress...I am an experienced singer and yet I had to practice and practice....and learn how to upload a video....no technogeek students to help me as usual.....god, I miss them...I have heard EW speak, I have sung his music, I am one of over 2000 who are singing in cyberspace...epic...in the exclamations of EW......WooHoo!!!! Much love to EW and my VC family xoxoxoxoxoxo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y49tLUbmDdk
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    Apr 3 2011: ok, this is pretty heavy. my husband died in 2004 under extraordinary circumstances and i was devastated. i had loved singing many years ago (at least 25), but i hadn't done it since then for many reasons. in november 2010 i went to a local chorale concert and heard the work of eric whitacre, with whom i was unfamiliar. i thought it was some of the most beautiful music i'd ever heard. went home and looked him up online. when i read about the virtual choir and listened to "sleep", i wanted very much to participate. however, it had been so long and my voice, never the best, was very rusty. but the more i thought about it, the more i wanted to give it a try. so i did. definitely not sharing the video because it just isn't great. the notes are correct, though, so i'm assuming i'll be included in the final take. but the most extraordinary thing about this is that i have rediscovered the one thing that makes my life worth living again. and that is singing. i've joined a local classical choral group and a local Episcopal/Anglican church choir and i am happy to be alive for the first time in a decade. i'm practicing daily and am actually sounding not half bad :). But it is because of Eric and his sincere desire for people to connect through singing that has brought me to this wonderful place in my life. And that's a very good thing!
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      Apr 4 2011: I'm so glad you joined us, Linda!
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        Apr 7 2011: and i'm so glad i met you, maria. your comments are so thoughtful and right on!
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      Apr 7 2011: Your story back to singing really resonates with me Linda. Grief and Joy go hand in hand with my relationship with singing, I lost my father suddenly when very young and music was a key part in my life then, it disappeared, it came back, it disappeared. I lost my mother suddenly in 2007 - I came across Eric Whitacre and the Virtual Choir via a wonderful women who had been visiting me regularly to listen and witness my journey through bereavement. I entered the Virtual Choir at the last minute, I practised many many times - I am now singing every single day :-) Another musician I know said that music has the power to fill the spaces between us and it surely seems to have done with this project, within it and beyond. My kindest wishes to you and your voice Linda
  • Apr 3 2011: I am so happy to be part of this amazing choir. Last night my choir here sang Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, and during it I thought of all the VC2.0 members all over the world; I have been lucky enough to sing in lots of choirs, but now, getting older, the notes don't float like I plan them to! I get turned down for the sort of chamber choirs that would do any of Eric's compositions now.
    A few months ago I was clicking away on the internet and found Eric's short interview on the Amazon page selling his works. I had Polyphony's recording, but there was the clip of Eric's choir singing it (some of whom I have links to), and I had the most amazing 'bliss' moment that took my legs away from me and it stayed with me for about an hour - it was incredible.
    So, when I saw that Sleep was the next piece for the Virtual Choir, I HAD to do it! Even though I knew I would (a) not sound very good in that sort of piece any more and (b) would really struggle with having to hear myself sing with the recording method, I went for it. It also was such an amazing thing to know that so many of us would be connecting all over the world through this opportunity - the real power of music, voice and song. Wonderful.
    Telling no one, I found a day just before I moved house and balanced my laptop on two stacked djembes (African drums), camera on tripod balanced on the kitchen stool, towel over the door behind me to hide the moving mess (!), packing case beside me to take the sheets of music silently as I finished with them - it was hard to clamber inside the 'equipment' to do the recordings!!! And the sound of my own voice was depressing - but the feeling I was, by my 'effort', connecting with so many people and going to be a part of this wonderful result...that carried me through.
    Now I am telling people - I daren't before when they could have heard my clip; they are all pro singers! And I am so proud to be able to say, "Yes, amazing isn't it - and I am part of it!!! And I cried at TED's ovation!
  • Apr 3 2011: I am 58 years old, always looking for a great musical experience that I can be involved in.

    After learning about Eric Whitacre's VC 1.0, I knew I had to participate in VC 2.0. It was an amazing experience. Learning and practicing Sleep was very enjoyable. Eric provided all items necessary for reading, listening, and support. The most frustrating experience in this were my multiple recordings, in a attempt to get the perfect combination of no background noise, and musicality. Almost every time I thought it was going great either a dog would bark, a phone would ring, children outside would start playing loudly, a UPS truck would rumble by, someone would ring the doorbell... Almost every time background noise cooperated, I would mess up singing.

    Finally, my last recording, everything went well. I always judge myself harshly, so I didn't think my recording would be used. IT WAS! Thank you Eric! As a matter of fact, my image is on one of the first large photo bubbles! I thought I would have to look forever to find it, and doubted that my image would even be used. Again, THANK YOU ERIC!

    This was an amazing experience. I have many friends involved in music and Bowling Green State University in Ohio, who wish they would have taken part in this. I am so glad I did.

    Again, THANK YOU ERIC!
  • Apr 3 2011: After I watched the VC-Lux Aurumque video I was determined to join the next project. My brother and sister liked it too so we joined forces and rehearsed a lot, trying to get the notes (and the breath) right and record everything.

    I allready posted this on the VC Facebook page, but I will tell in short what it was like to make a video for VC 2.0 Sleep:

    Take 1: We manage to get three headphones in one computer, have to adjust the audio output and then we start singing. My brother has a cold, he's fighting the snot that wants to come out of his nose.
    We sing very out of pitch, have problems not to laugh but we reach the end of the song...sort of...

    Take 2: My brother starts laughing...my sister is the first one to regain control. I step aside too much and end up
    outside the camera view...And I sing the wrong note ("I cannot sleep my MIND 's aflight"), but I'm not aware of that...
    My brother is loosing his snot fight...it has reached his throat...

    Take 3: I have to plug in the headphones as soon as we hear THE BEEP. Because I am about to burst out laughing and desperately try not to I forget the headphones...my brother steps in. We start singing, it all goes pretty well, promising sounds and no laughter. Then my brother's snot problem kicks in...laughter kicks in too...eventually we manage to continue but again I step out of the camera view...and now my sister starts to caugh! And still I sing the wrong note...
    It looks like three drunk singers in a boat on a stormy sea...

    Eventually we all manage to record our own video!


    We had a marvellous time! We'd love to do it again!
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      Apr 3 2011: I'm going to tell you again....I so love your story!
  • Apr 3 2011: I'm 16 years old. I live in a small town in Florida, where nothing ever happens.
    At my school, my choir director told us that we'd be taking a trip up to New York to sing in Carnegie Hall with Eric Whitacre conducting his choral version of "Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings". I had no idea who he was at the time, but I was just excited to be singing in Carnegie Hall. I've always wanted to perform in Carnegie since I could remember... who wouldn't be excited about that?
    So I looked up Eric Whitacre to see just who he was.
    I fell in love with his music instantly. It was so beautiful. So gorgeous. I had never in my entire life been so inspired and so breath-taken by such beauty.
    I had never listened to a song that made me cry out of pure... gosh, I can't even think of a word. But it's nothing bad.
    Whenever I was in his mass choir during the performance of PL, that was the happiest moment(s) of my life. Specifically during this song Bliss. I remember exactly how I felt at that moment. "If there be a paradise of bliss, it is this."
    I changed that night. As indecisive as I am, I finally figured out what I want to do with my life... classical music. Whether it's performing or composing it.
    So then! I heard about his virtual choir. That immediately caught my attention.
    And oh. My. Word. When I saw Lux Aurumque... So many people coming together to produce such gorgeous harmonies all as one, I knew that that was something I just had to partake in.
    I'm so glad I did. I am so proud to be in such a fantastic, inspiring project. I'm tongue tied when I try to find the words to describe my emotions and how exactly I feel about this...
    I feel a certain connection with all of these people, even if I don't know them. They have that love that I have, and I don't find that where I live.
    Thank you so very much, Eric Whitacre.

    It's a little rough, but I'm too excited about this project and the fact that I got to partake in it to be upset haha
  • Apr 2 2011: I am a viewer who sings and writes music.

    I think Eric Whitacre should receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his virtual choir projects. Can you imagine the protests lodged with the various international war departments? "Please do not bomb (country/region of choice), the soprano/alto/bass/tenor/etc. section live there."

  • Apr 8 2011: I love music. I can't imagine my life without it. When I heard Eric Whitacre talking about his idea of Virtual Choir in September 2010 on the NPR show, I immediately knew I have to be a part of it. The idea of connecting with other people from different cultures, languages, religions etc. through music was so appealing to me. I spent a week or more singing my part almost every day to record the video properly. My neighbors were smiling when we crossed outside and I was thinking - it was all because of that fortissimo part at the end of the piece!! (The walls in our apartment complex are very thin)
    My husband, who was very patient during this time, couldn't stop singing my part for a while - he learned the dynamics, lyrics and everything! (Usually he is very reluctant to sing) It was so funny. Next time I will drag him in too :)
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    Apr 8 2011: Having become a fan of Eric Whitacre's choral music, two years ago I joined my Chamber Choir just because they were going to sing "Lux Aurumque" soon. Having seen the original Virtual Choir and loved it, I was overjoyed when I heard about the new one. I was so excited about having the chance to join in, I told everyone about it and tried to get them to do it too. But time went on, and although I learnt my part (and meanwhile sang it with my choir too!), somehow I just didn't get around to recording it - until the day of the original deadline, when I realised I was afraid - afraid that I wouldn't be good enough. I am so grateful to you for extending the deadline! I knew I had to get over my anxiety and just do it. I have to say the technical side was trickier than I'd thought it would be, and hearing yourself singing alone is very revealing! But determination set in and 3 days and many "takes" later, it was done. Not perfect, not even great - but OK - and I felt a HUGE sense of achievement. Thank you Eric, for giving people all around the world the opportunity to feel proud. xo
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    Apr 7 2011: Hi everyone! I got here late, but I'm doing my best to catch up with what's going on. I'm loving reading about you all. Your stories are wonderful.

    How I heard about Virtual Choir:
    In July 2010, while camping online with hundreds of Susan Boyle auditionees for 12 days past the promised winner announcement date, I found Virtual Choir 1.0 via Melody Myer's Susan's Search auditon video, and with awe and delight shared Lux Aurumque with my fellow squatters. It served as an inspiration for us to form our own virtual choir (SuBo), just for fun and open to anyone who auditioned for Susan. Melody's videos (i.e. Animal Crackers) led me to find out more about Eric Whitacre. It was a comment on his Facebook wall in December that alerted me to a second Virtual Choir project. I let SuBo VC know, hoping we could be one of the choirs represented, but only one other member managed to upload a video. Bravo for persevering, Corina Acosta!

    The brief on me:
    I’m ill, and isolated because of it. Fifteen of my 34 years have passed like this, but my dream is to share music with others. Virtual Choir gave me that opportunity. I’m stunned and deeply grateful to be part of it. Thank you, Eric and Team Whitacre.
    • Apr 17 2011: I am impressed with your virtuosity- in the fullest meaning: purity, power,nobility, honesty, I too have been ill all my life but now I am totally disabled w/stage 4 acute heart disease. So hang strong. You gave me a lift tonight when I truly needed it along with the choir. While I do not consider my voice a solo quality I have sung in many choirs since I was very young. I have even plowed through The Messiah and Brahms' Requiem. Because of you I am going to search out this next choir. Thanks!!
  • Apr 5 2011: I got involved in the Virtual Choir in the beginning when we did the Sleep experiment 2 years ago. I’d never sung any of Eric Whitacre’s work and I REALLY wanted to. The Sleep experiment was difficult because there was no conductor, we sang from the Polyphony recording, and I only had the alto part. I spent an entire morning doing take after take. Lux Aurumque and this version of Sleep were so much easier because Eric was conducting and I had the full score.
    I live in a large city and sing in a number of choirs and I’m surrounded by a lot of really good musicians. But none of them could really understand WHY I wanted to participate. And the criticism was more along the lines of – and I’ve heard this often about the Virtual Choir – it’s not the same as singing live with a conductor and other singers. And that’s completely true. I certainly didn’t get the same rush – I didn’t get any rush! I was too nervous. You have to sing your line like a solo and just IMAGINE the rest of the choir singing along with you – except they’re not. There’s no one to cover for you if you mess up, and you know that if you actually get a good take, you’re going to upload this to youtube and anyone in the entire world can listen to you. My answer to my critical friends at the time was: Well, why not? It’s not detracting from my experience of singing in a ‘real’ choir because I have that anyway. This is just something new, different, exciting and challenging.
    And about that missing rush? Well, I got something similar when I heard and saw Lux Aurumque and Sleep 2.0 for the first time. Not quite the same of course, but how often can you be in the audience of one of your own performances? And how often are we as amateur, semi-professional and even professional singers able to bring the beauty and power of the human voice to a potential audience of millions? With Sleep, people from all over the world have created something FOR people all over the world!
  • Apr 5 2011: My 16-year-old daughter and i both participated in this. She has been given the honor of singing the Eyze Sheleg solo in the Five Hebrew Love Songs in both the Georgia Regional Girls Choir and the Cherokee Chorale; that is how she became familiar with the works of Eric Whitacre. She then did the ol' "let me do all the Lux parts on my garage band thing "and then found out about the first virtual choir which was recorded and released by then, and she was sad she missed out. I got an email from our chorale about the Sleep project and we both decided to do it, and now i am humbled by the results. When i saw the TED clip, i cried, as many others commented. But, i cried because this is such a wonderfully visual medium for a young teen to see that they are part of a whole world that can work together for something extraordinary. Her dream job to sing around the world, well she got to do it with one small video clip! Thank you so much.
  • Apr 5 2011: I live in Argentina, and I've been singing in choirs since I was 7. I'm 26 now and I can say that this experience was wonderful: knowing that I would be part or something as big and vast as the internet, and as music that will last a life time, is awesome. This is what makes the internet feel like something real, something that is formed by real people, who love beauty and music, and who can come together to form something amazing and expectacular like this. Thanks Eric!
    Mariana, soprano 2, Argentina
  • Apr 4 2011: Breathtaking, beautiful Music and an idea, that a mere 20 years ago had made us feel like being beamed direktly into Star Treck...
    What is there not to love? Being connected - and though it´s "just virtual" this connection feels pretty real - in peace with people all over the world through one of the most beautiful expressions that exist: music!
    I knew I had to be member of this the minute, I saw "Lux aurumque". Even bought a videocamera then, just in case there´s going to be a VC2!
    We singers are thoroughly thankful towards Eric Whitacre for his wonderful music and his initiative, to create something bigger as the sum of just 2000 singers. And though I´m still holding out to listening to the VCSpleepchoir in unwavering impatience (a mere 84 hours and counting...) I´m sure, all listeners will do so as well!
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    Apr 3 2011: When EWVC relaunched, I registered my choir, and I keep persuade my choristers to submit, however, no video until 29 Dec, (maybe they are not interested in the autographed CD? LOL), and the deadline is approaching.

    We had our performing tour in Guangzhou during 29 Dec 2010-2 jan 2011, we have a free night on 30 Dec. A singer suggested, "why not shoot for EWVC tonight?" So, here we go.

    It's not an easy task, because of the poor internet service of the hostel and the famous internet-restriction in People's Republic of China-- we CANNOT access to YouTube.

    A singer and I spent 2 hours for seeking a place covered with network, and then breakthrough the internet blockade by the Chinese government. To save time, we even didn't check email, right after the downloading of the materials, we rush back to the hostel.

    I never see my singers as hard working as this. They keep practise, and get used to Eric's conducting in group with the several notebooks provided by the singers.

    However, only 5 clips made till 4am. It's painful, but I asked them to stop, while all of us know that even we insist to do, we cannot make any good take in such exhausted condition.

    31 Dec, we moved to another hotel, which mainly serve business men, so there is a very good internet connection (both wired and wireless).

    The first thing I did (and I guess all singers who brought notebook too) was checking email while we didn't do so for 2 days already! Then I found an email from EWVC:

    *****Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - Deadline Extension*****

    What a GREAT NEWS to us!

    Therefore, we continue our works after we back to Hong Kong. As a result, 11 singers submitted 22 clips! We are the ONLY Chinese choir joined this project, and we are the THIRD in the world!!!!

    This clip is a memory of our 11 singers' passion on singing: