Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Virtual Choir 4: Fly - A Paradise of Bliss

Hello everyone!
Well I've been up to a lot recently and one of the things includes one of my ambitions for this year - to become a member of Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir. Eric Whitacre, who is a modern composer, has invented this incredible thing which allows people from all over the world to join together to create a choir through the computer - a Virtual Choir.

It began in 2009 with Virtual Choir 1 and his piece 'Lux Aurumque' that included 185 singers from 12 different countries and has recieved nearly 4 million views on Youtube! In 2011, Virtual Choir 2.0 'Sleep' was released and involved over 2,000 singers from 58 countries. Virtual Choir 3 'Water Night' which was written in 1995 recieved 3,746 videos had been uploaded by 2,945 people in 73 countries! You can see how much the Virtual Choir has evolved over the years, and now with Virtual Choir 4: Fly - A Paradise of Bliss, it has expanded to over 8,000 singers from 101 different countries! Absolutely mindblowing! It has been a complete joy to be apart of this virtual choir and to be apart of a huge array of really talented singers from all over the world - I am certainly going to be joining every single one from now on.

For Virtual Choir 4, Eric Whitacre composed what was originally called 'Bliss' from his musical Paradise Lost (now called Fly - A Paradise of Bliss) and he wanted the focus to be on tall vowels, a pure tone, because getting loads of 'f's and vibratos together can be difficult! I was really worried when I first decided to do this about the technology and the fact you have to sing on your own but when I cracked it, its fairly easy!

I used the tools on the website to learn the soprano 1 part with the video of Eric Whitacre conducting. You could select the parts you wanted to hear when you practised, whether if it was just your part or all of them together with the beat and piano which was really helpful, so when I got to the recording I knew what I was doing!

When I was ready to record I put a nice black dress on and set up the laptop so it was against a plain, light wall, set the microphone up and I was ready! You can see how the video would look from the laptop camera picture. The website linked the microphone and camera onto the page so I see the video as as being able to see the conductor video. So I gave a big smile and tried to look directly at the camera throughout the recording.

To make things even easier to record, the system on the website allows you to listen to the piece whilst you record - you just have to plug your headphones into the computer, laptop, or the microphone in my case as it was an external microphone. That was a really nice touch because I felt like I was part of a choir, rather than just singing on my own.

I am so glad I pursued to do this, depsite my apprehensions because it was an excellent experience. The idea of being part of something so big and international is beyond my comprehension at the moment, but nonetheless wonderful. The finished project will be peformed in front of HM Queen Elizabeth II for her diamond jubilee celebrations! What an honour!

So that was my experience of doing the Virtual Choir! Have any of you done or thought about doing the Virtual Choir? I'll leave with the video of the first Virtual Choir and see what you think! Speak soon everyone!

Love Alice xxx

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