The Big Reveal of Virtual Choir 3.0's Water Night

Yesterday was truly a magical day. After going through a rough morning (Murphy's Law prevailed), I was looking forward to seeing the cheerful faces of my students and the "premiere" of Virtual Choir 3.0. Both were the balm that I needed.


My students had heard about me struggling with my submission for Virtual Choir 3.0 (those pesky trouble spots). How apropos that I watched the premiere with two of my music students via Lincoln Center's live stream.


From the moment that lone water drop touched down and we sang our opening chord, the hairs on my arms stood up and my arms tingled. My students and I were just speechless for several minutes:

Our "performance" of "Water Night" by Grammy-winning composer Eric Whitacre, is a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. Spiritually, it's a balm and a booster. Truly magical. 

It's a powerful reminder of the power of music, of how art builds community and breaks barriers. A total of 3,746 videos from 2,945 people (singing one or more parts) in 73 countries were submitted.Now pundits can complain about how the cut-offs aren't exact and those "esses" drag on forever, or that we were blended together artificially. To them, I say that the virtual environment is never meant to replace the live environment. Just augment it.

I already sing in my church choir (and play piano AND cajón). I do a bit of collaborating with other musicians. Virtual Choir gives me a new world to explore. Technology to master. "Rehearsals" and "performances" that don't require me to give up teaching time. New repertoire to challenge myself with. New friends.

The singing part of Virtual Choir is only a fraction of the entire experience. I blogged about my Virtual Choir preparation and recording experience here. The real magic of Virtual Choir is "virtual choir makes real connections".

Some Virtual Choir members have been inspired by their experience to join a choir in their neighbourhood. I know of a couple who have signed up for singing lessons as a result of their Virtual Choir experience.

People from my generation may remember having international pen-pals as a child. Now, I have a whole army of pen-pals. With a VC member in numerous timezones, there is always someone available when I am.

We're exchanging gifts, planning visits and so on. I know of one couple who have come together through Virtual Choir.

We celebrate the joys, such as a job interview, a new composition or relationship. We support each other through the rough patches, such as surgery, relationship break-ups and cancer.

I was chatting with some of my choir buddies from the Virtual Choir Army last night and after celebrating the culmination of our hard work with "Water Night", we looked towards the future. Immediately on the horizon is our next multi-track project (singing Morten Lauridsen's "O Magnum Mysterium"). We dreamed about future real-life reunions and Virtual Choir 4.0. We are riding the wave of community and artistry created by Virtual Choir and seeing where it (and technology) will take us next.

So when we see that video, we see the breakdown of barriers. People in isolation coming together. People from countries who aren't on amicable terms singing "beside" each other. We see the we see the growth of those connections. We hear the magic created by people who may never meet, in communion with one another, drawn together to bring the haunting strains of "Water Night" to life.

Bravo Eric! Bravo VC Team! Bravo to all of you, my fellow choristers in Virtual Choir. We've made something truly special here.

Click on image below to check out Eric Whitacre's newest CD, Water Night: