Sing Gently Eric Whitacre
I had the time finally during the pandemic to participate in this global choir experience. The end result is beautiful, but the process was hair-raising and humbling. It took me 4 takes to get a submission that I was satisfied with and it STILL was not perfect. It was that darn drop of an interval of a 7th in the alto part that I struggled with time after time. Oh well. You can’t tell by listening that one alto out of 17,000 singers was slightly inaccurate in that one spot! I did find myself floating in the forefront at one point. can you find me?
The experience left me cold, though. This type of choral singing is all about the technology that allows the final project to look and sound beautiful and abandons all the excellent things about choral singing that is important to me: breathing together, the vibrations we feel as we hear each other, the ability to tune with each other, the sense of ensemble, the common intention of a room filled with different singers…in short the “each other.”
It is true that the 17,000 of us created a sort of on-line community during that time in which we rehearsed, recorded, and submitted our parts. There was a lot of on-line chatter before the premier. I remember chatting with excited strangers all around the globe as we counted down the minutes before its release on the web. It is a beautiful piece and an impressive bit of editing and production. Kudos to those who made it possible.
However, once you’ve experienced the real in-person thrill of a perfectly in-tune chord, or a gorgeous pp passage, or the acoustic echo/ring in the singing space of the final chord cut off, virtual choir will always be like carob to me compared to in-person ensemble singing that is the most delicious dark chocolate.