You're all invited to join the virtual choir

Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:26pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - American composer and conductor Eric Whitacre has invited the world to sing-a-long online in an attempt create the world's largest virtual choir.

The Juilliard-trained Whitacre -- whose first Virtual Choir became a hit on YouTube -- aims to combine thousands of individual choral parts sung by people around the world and submitted as video clips for his composition "Sleep."

"I'm delighted to lead what I anticipate to be a big step forward for classical -- and indeed, all -- music," Whitacre said in a statement on record label Decca's website. "I hope this will be a moment in music history for the YouTube generation."

Whitacre has persuaded Blur bassist Alex James to be the first participant to add his voice to his "Virtual Choir 2010" in an effort to smash the virtual choir record of 900 voices.

"This proves that you no longer have to live in a major city to be a part of a significant cultural scene; this project is accessible to anyone from Manhattan to the Maldives," James said in the statement.

Whitacre's original Virtual Choir became a YouTube hit, receiving 1 million hits in just 60 days. While that project included many professional singers, this is the chance for everyone and anyone to become involved.

Entries to the record attempt will be via YouTube ( and will include an online tutorial explaining how to record and upload their chosen part. The closing date for entries is the end of 2010.

The Californian composer is known for his richly harmonized choral works.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato, editing by Patricia Reaney)