fuse8’s Virtual Choir project hits the right note

fuse8’s Virtual Choir project hits the right note


With the help of over 2,000 singers from across the world, accomplished composer and conductor Eric Whitacre has broken the world record for the largest virtual choir ever assembled.

Early in 2010, Eric Whitacre asked people to submit YouTube videos of themselves singing a piece of specially created music via their computer webcams. Users have been singing, recording and submitting videos since September last year, and submissions for the project closed on New Year’s Eve 2010.

Over the past four months, Eric and his team have combined these videos into an international virtual choir to create a spectacular example of how social networking and music can combine in this truly unique collaboration.

A project of this size needed an innovative idea behind it. Universal Music wanted an attractive destination for presenting the hundreds of submitted videos, but they also wanted a way of demonstrating the global perspective of the project.

The solution contained three main components: videos recorded and submitted on YouTube, Google Earth integration and Eric’s website CMS (Wordpress). The approach was to develop an application that pulls the videos directly from YouTube and places them on an instance of Google Earth for users to view.

In a recent TED talk, Eric Whitacre revealed that his new work, “Sleep,” comprises of 2,052 Virtual Choir videos from 58 countries. The United States and the UK provided a majority of the supplied videos, with Canada, Germany and Australia being the counties who supplied 3rd, 4th and 5th largest number of videos.

Damon Mangos, Creative Director at fuse8 London, added, “For us this was an ideal opportunity to utilise the power of the Google Earth API. We created a custom Wordpress plug-in that allows videos to be placed on Google Earth according to the contributor’s location. The result is a simple yet powerful combination of YouTube content and Google Earth which demonstrates how far the Virtual Choir project is reaching across the globe. ”

The world premiere of Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir is being held in New York on Thursday 7th April, with the video being uploaded to the Virtual Choir YouTube channel in the coming days.

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