Every year at the annual Holiday Concert at Town Hall, alumnae of the Seattle Girls’ Choir gather to sing John Rutter’s arrangement of Personent Hodie under the direction of our Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus, Dr. Jerome Wright. Of course, not every alum lives in Seattle, and even those that do can’t always make it.
Enter the first ever Virtual Choir project for the Seattle Girls’ Choir!
A virtual choir is assembled digitally from individual videos. The concept was pioneered by the composer Eric Whitacre in 2009, when his Lux Aurumque was created from videos sent in by 185 singers in 12 different countries. His most recent project, Virtual Choir 4: Fly To Paradise, was comprised of 8400 videos from 5903 different singers in 101 countries! Read more about Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir projects here.
To try to include all those alumnae who can’t make it back to Seattle for the alum sing, I am creating a virtual choir video of Personent Hodie, to be featured on our website as well as our YouTube and Vimeo channels.
How it Works
To participate in the SGC Virtual Choir ’13, you will need the following:
- A quiet, well lit space to make a video in.
- Something to watch the guide video on: Computer, smartphone, etc.
- Something to make a video of yourself with: Camcorder, webcam, smartphone, etc. If you can make the technology work, you may even be able to use the same device for both viewing and recording, but you’re on your own for that!
- A black top with no logos or writing (think concert black).
- Your part! Most everybody remembers their part to Personent Hodie, but if you need a refresher you can view a PDF of it here. The lyrics are also displayed for you in the guide video.
- Optional: If you have some sort of microphone you can use that is better than the cheap built in mics in computers, cameras, and phones, use it!
Recording your Video
Once you have gathered your materials, follow these steps to record your video:
- Setup your space and equipment for recording. Have your headphones on but unplugged. You will be instructed to plug the headphones in during the guide video.
- Test out your recorder and set appropriate input volume levels. The last verse in particular can get loud for the first sopranos, so try out those Ideo‘s and make sure they aren’t distorting!
- Being playback of the guide video.
- When prompted by the guide video, begin your recording. Note: If you need to you can start recording before you start the guide video.
- The guide video will play a series of audio tones. These are present to aid in the synchronization of all the videos later on, and it is important that they are heard in your final video! Once they have played, it is time to plug in your headphones so that the rest of the guide video audio does not get picked up by your recorder (once again, the guide video will prompt you!).
- Sing your part along with harpist Juliet Stratton and me.
- Review your recording, paying attention to both your performance and general audio quality.
- Your final video must be no more than 300 MB to upload.
Here’s the Guide Video:
Submitting your Video
Once you’ve made a video you’re happy with it’s time to submit! Name your video “SGC_VC13_LastName_FirstName” (Mine would be called “SGC_VC13_Winkler_Jake”). Then click the following button and follow the instructions to send the file to my DropBox (Be sure to hit “start” after you select your file!):
Finally, take a moment to fill out the following information:
The deadline for submissions is December 8 so I can begin editing on December 9. Audio from late submissions may make it into the final mix, but probably not the video itself.
I hope you have fun with this project, and I hope you help me spread the word to the alumnae community. I know there are many more out there than we currently have contact information for, and I would love it if this project could change that.
Finally, if you enjoyed being a part of the Virtual Choir please consider donating to the Annual Fund at our Giving page. See you soon!
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P.S. If you have trouble uploading… And believe me you might… PLEASE email me and let me know! I can send you an individualized invitation to share a DropBox or GoogleDrive folder, which may work better. As a last resort, you could also post your video privately to Vimeo or YouTube and send me the link. This whole thing is a bit of a technological experiment, and I appreciate your patience and support! -Jake