What the world needs now is not only love, but peace, togetherness, and harmony. A LeClaire woman found exactly that by being part of a huge virtual choir, with 17,562 singers from 129 nations.
Lynne Stukart, a veteran flute teacher, is a fan of popular choral composer Eric Whitacre and his ambitious virtual choirs – a project that started in 2010 with individual videos from 185 singers from 12 countries, blended to perform a piece of his in perfect harmony. Previously, he’s orgainized five of the virtual choirs with each one bigger than the last.
Stukart saw on Facebook that Whitacre was looking for entries for a sixth, and a new piece he wrote the lyrics to, “Sing Gently.” Very fitting during the Covid-19 pandemic, when people can’t gather to sing in the same place. His verses say: “May we stand together, always. May our voice be strong, may we hear the singing, always, and may we always sing along, sing gently, always, sing gently as one.”
She says about 40,000 people signed up to get the free music to the new piece, and over 17,000 recorded their individual three-minute video from home, singing along with video of Whitacre conducting and piano accompaniment.
“I’m sure that the pandemic played a huge role in the numbers as well, because so many people don’t have that outlet to sing with others right now.”
Stukart, who has sung in many choirs, performed the alto part, along with 6,400 other altos, 6,200 sopranos, 2,200 tenors, 2,600 basses, and 16 who did sign language. She found the whole experience very inspiring.
“Right now, so many people are reaching to one another and how we can share this video with one another. His whole message was healing – music is joy, music is joyful, it’s community, it’s comfort.”
Each of the more than 17,000 videos was listened to separately and merged to create a seamless whole. Stukart first saw the finished video July 19th, when it was released to the world, and following the piece it took seven minutes to list all the participants.
“It’s stunning. As I listened to it, on full stereo, I had goosebumps. I was really struck by the generosity of Eric and his team, how much so many people use music as comfort and joy, and also can reach one another when we’re supposed to be keeping distance.”
She thinks the project revealed a sympathetic side of humanity, true camaraderie, that's needed right now more than ever.
“We have a lot going on worldwide, especially in our country, but it shows you there is goodness, there is kindness, there is compassion, and music really brings the best of all that together.”
(thanks to Michelle O'Neill for production help)