For the first time ever, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is inviting musicians around the world to participate in the world’s largest virtual chorus.
Due to the large success of the 2014 Easter concert, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir will again be accompanied by the Orchestra at Temple Square to perform Handel’s Messiah in its entirety for this year’s Easter concert, according to a Mormon Tabernacle Choir press release.
“The Choir is asking for singers, choirs and fans alike all over the world to upload a YouTube recording singing one of the four parts (soprano, alto, tenor or bass) of the well-known ‘Hallelujah’ chorus from George Frideric Handel’s Messiah,” according to a Mormon Tabernacle Choir press release.
Over 4,000 people have already downloaded instructions to participate in the “Hallelujah” chorus, according to a Mormon Tabernacle Choir Media Advisory.
Downloadable sheet music for each part, along with sing-along videos, are available on virtualchoir.mormon.org.
Peter Hollens, an American pop singer and producer best known on YouTube for his a cappella work, and his wife, Evynne, sing the part-specific vocal tutorials.
“We’re accepting anyone who does it,” Peter Hollens said. “It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
YouTube video submissions are due Tuesday, March 1, according to a Mormon Tabernacle Choir press release. The complete virtual choir performance video will be released Sunday, March 13.
Kevin Brower, BYU-Idaho college dean of performing and visual arts and BYU-I voice faculty member, emailed an invitation to all BYU-I choral students to participate in the virtual ‘‘Hallelujah’’ chorus.
Steven Johnson, a member of BYU-I’s Collegiate Singers and a junior studying communication, said he is going to accept the invitation to participate in the chorus.
“Being given the opportunity to perform with them, even in just a virtual setting, is something that is impossible to turn down,” Johnson said.
In order to submit an entry, participants must record a video of themselves singing their chosen part and upload it to YouTube, putting #Hallelujah in the title of their videos, according to Mormon.org.
After this step, participants need to fill out a brief submission form on Mormon.org giving their first and last name, email, the URL of their YouTube video and permission to use the video in the virtual chorus, according to Mormon.org.
“Just take half an hour of your time, listen to the recording eight times, learn your part and submit,” Hollens said.
The only requirement is that participants must be 18 years of age, or 13 years of age with legal parent or guardian consent to submit a video, according to Mormon.org.
“It does not matter if you are LDS, Catholic, Baptist or another denomination — you are invited to participate,” according to Mormon.org. “The purpose of this Easter initiative is for Christians from around the world to come together to sing praises and proclaim that Jesus Christ the Messiah lives!”
Korin Karford, a member of BYU-I’s Women’s Glee and a freshman studying recreational management, said she is participating in the ‘‘Hallelujah’’ chorus.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m totally going to do this’,” Karford said. “It’s just singing the ‘‘Hallelujah’’ chorus. And then it’s really cool because I actually have always watched the Eric Whitacre videos, his virtual choir videos, and I have always wanted to be a part of one of those because they’re so cool.”
Of the more than 4,000 people that have showed interest in the project, YouTube sensations Peter Hollens and Tiffany Alvord have shown their own interest in the chorus, according to a Mormon Tabernacle Choir press release.
“I remember watching PBS specials of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and I always wanted to sing with them,” Hollens said.
Hollens said he has worked very closely with the choir in conceptualizing the virtual chorus and in much of the pre-production that has been done to this point.
“I’m petrified that I’m going to come and sing with these people that know their parts like the back of their hand,” Hollens said. “I’m petrified that I’m going to be just a dorky digital guy that doesn’t know his part.”
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square will also be joined by four New York Metropolitan Opera soloists: Erin Morley, soprano; Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Paul Appleby, tenor; and Joseph Barron, bass-baritone, according to a Mormon Tabernacle Choir press release.
“Music has buoyed me through the worst of times in my life and sustained me during the best,” Johnson said. “Music reminded me of the love of my Savior when nothing else could do it.”
Hollens said music is who he is. He did not have any confidence as a child until his mom forced him to do choir when we was 14.
“Quite simply, music has given me life,” Hollens said.
The Choir and Orchestra will release two new versions of Handel’s Messiah: a 2-CD version of the complete oratorio with a bonus DVD and a 60-minute highlight version, according to a Mormon Tabernacle Choir press release.
“Handel’s Messiah has touched the minds and hearts of countless people since it was first performed,” Johnson said. “I believe the choir wants to continue that tradition in a very personal way for all who have the opportunity to join them in singing.”
The Choir is streaming Messiah live on March 25, which is Good Friday, at 7:30 p.m. MST, according to a Mormon Tabernacle Choir press release.
“It’s going to be really cool,” Karford said. “You should do it. If you sing, you should do it.”