Music, a global language
Five students from Williamsport Area School District will have their moment in the spotlight as they are featured in the 2014 Virtual Youth Choir. The video, that premiered during the opening ceremonies at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, in Scotland on July 23, features 2,292 children, under the age of 18, from 80 countries.
The Virtual Choir was founded by American composer, Eric Whitacre, in 2009. According to ericwhitacre.com/the-virtual-choir/history, the project started as a simple experiment on social media when a fan of Whitacre’s music recorded a video of herself singing the song “Sleep,” and shared it on YouTube. Whitacre then sent out a call to his online fans to buy Polyphony’s recording of “Sleep,” record themselves singing along to it and upload their videos.
Whitacre decided to push the concept to the next level by recording himself conducting “Lux Aurumque,” and asked Virtual Choir members to sing along to that, and produced the first Virtual Choir video.
Since 2009 Whitacre has produced a Virtual Choir video every year, and this year he opened the choir to children under the age of 18. Children from around the world sang the song “What If,” while recording themselves and sent their video into the Virtual Youth Choir website.
Kaitlin Huggins, a music teacher at Curtin and Lycoming Valley Intermediate Schools and Williamsport Area Middle School, heard about choir being open to children and wanted to get students in the Williamsport Area School District involved.
“I have always been interested in the Virtual Choir project because I strongly believe that music is a global language and can be understood and felt by everyone, even non-musicians,” Huggins said. “When I found out that this year’s Virtual Choir was for kids 18 and under, I knew that I wanted to encourage music students of Williamsport Area School District to participate.”
The students who participated include, Neveah Williams, an incoming sixth grader at Curtin Intermediate School, who participates in band, jazz band, brass band and choir; Kayleigh Early, an incoming eighth grader at Williamsport Area Middle School, who participates in band, choir and chamber choir; Zoey Harding, an incoming seventh grader at Williamsport Area Middle School, who participates in choir, band, theater club and chamber choir; and two sisters, Megan and Libby Radspinner from Cochran Primary School.
The students sat in front of their computers, with parental permission, and recorded themselves singing the song and submitted their videos online. The videos were then cut together with other videos from children in other countries like the United Kingdom, Thailand, Germany, Ukraine, Sweden, Singapore, Australia and many others, to create the video.
Video submission was free to all participants, but the Virtual Youth Choir is in partnership and benefits UNICEF, and donations are accepted at www.virtualyouthchoir.com.
For more information on the Virtual Choir, visit virtualyouthchoir.com/.
To view the video’s premier at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, visit youtube.com/ watch?v=5rYn-TFZN0Q.