Music mastermind and composer/conductor extraordinaire Eric Whitacre has launched a Kickstarter campaignÂ for the fourth installment of his Virtual Choir (VC), with a goal of raising $100,000 by January 31, 2013. On December 15, the campaign went live. Within the first twenty-four hours, over $13,000 had already been pledged. Now, nearly a week in, VC4 is on the brink of reaching 25% of its total goal. (See Kickstarter campaign pageÂ here.)
The concept of the Virtual Choir was inspired by the enthusiasm of one fan, who sent Eric Whitacre a video of herself singing the soprano part of one of Whitacreâ€™s most famous works, â€œSleepâ€ (later featured in Virtual Choir 2.0).
The first official Virtual Choir production, featuring Whitacreâ€™s piece Â â€œLux Arumqueâ€ from his Grammy Award-winning album â€œLight and Gold,â€ went viral following the video submissions of 185 singers from twelve countries. In a domino effect, thousands of people have joined the phenomenon over the past three years. Eric Whitacreâ€™s Virtual Choir has grown into a vibrant communityÂ of music enthusiasts from all over the world. VC3, “Water Night” included over 3,000 videos from more than seventy different countries. (See official website hereÂ andÂ facebook page here.)
So how does it work, you ask? Each and every video submission of an individual voice singing one of the choral parts of the featured piece (while following a video of Whitacre conducting) is accepted and compiled into a video presentation of Whitacre virtually leading a web of singers from their various pockets of the globe in making music as one choir.
According to the VC4 Kickstarter campain video, Whitacre is “thrilled and honored to announce that the Virtual Choir has been invited to present VC4 at the Coronation Concerts in July at Buckingham Palace.â€ The selected piece for this installment of VC is â€œBlissâ€ from Whitacreâ€™s electronica opera â€œParadise Lost: Shadows and Wings.â€ (For a demo track of the song, click here.)
Contributions towards the Kickstarter campaign can be as small as $1, but every donation of $5 or more yields a reward (see full details on the VC4Â Kickstarter campaign page). The first person to Â pledge $10,000 will be the proud new owner of the very baton Whitacre used to conduct â€œParadise Lostâ€ at Carnegie Hall. If the goal of $100,000 in total funds raised is met by January 31, the project will commence in the Spring of 2013.
I am amazed at Eric Whitacreâ€™s magical ability to continually defy the patterns and atrocities of modern-day popular music, and yet maintain a fan base of thousands from all generations and walks of life. Every time he writes a new piece, releases an album, or launches a project like VC, he takes the world music scene by storm unlike any other present-day classical composer. There is something about his music that just draws you in.
Like many other Whitacre fans, Iâ€™m not sure how I feel about the music selection for VC4. Choosing an electronica piece will certainly bring a new flavor to VC. But â€œBlissâ€ is not just any electronica track. It has elements of just about everything, and manages to stay true to the Whitacre charm and style we have all come to love. Whitacre himself has described it as being â€œcloser to tranceâ€ than anything. I have full faith in Mr. Whitacre, so I’m game. He has promised an original arrangement of the piece just for VC4, which Iâ€™m sure will be very tasteful and beautiful. And I just can’t wait to see how many people become a part of what I’m pretty sure is the world’s biggest choir. (Yeah, it’s virtual, but there’s gotta be a Guinness World Record somewhere in there!)
I am personally ecstatic that the Queen will be one of the first to witness this extraordinary new chapter of this remarkable project. Letâ€™s just hope the fundraising campaign goes well, so the world can see what Eric Whitacre has in store for what is guaranteed to be a very unique musical and visual sensation.
Until next timeâ€¦.