If you watched the Prince of Peace Easter worship service last week, you heard the Prince of Peace Band and Choir leading the hymns. This was not recorded last year, but put together in a few days by many volunteers. It sounded amazing!
A virtual choir or virtual band starts the same way any worship music plan begins, with selecting music appropriate for the season and specific message of the day. Music Director Barbara Day Turner starts weeks, or months in advance, working with the Pastors to choose music that enhance the service.
The difference between a live choir and a virtual choir is that you don't have a director standing in front of you counting the beats to keep you on track. You have to use other tools to keep the choir singing together and in the right places. To make that happen, pianist Michael Touchi records the piano music early in the week before the service as a rhythmic foundation for the piece. That music is sent to Marc F. who records a couple of guide voices with the piano track. The music and voice over serves as a reference track to help each individual record their part. Each contributor then listens to the the reference track while recording their own voice.
Barbara Day Turner wanted this to be accessible to everyone. "We didn't want special equipment or barriers to prohibit anyone from participating" according to Marc, who spearheaded the virtual choir project. All you need to participate is a way to listen to the reference track while recording your voice digitally. This can be accomplished with a computer and a cell phone, or two cell phones, or two computers, and the included microphone or some simple earbuds. We were impressed with the number of people willing to participate. "It takes hutzpah to record and listen to yourself sing. It is not a comfortable thing to do. They bent over back wards to make it work."
The Band goes through a similar process for their pieces. Mike H. assists Steve C. with the Band music tracks.
After recording, the individual files are sent to Marc, who matches them up to the music, equalizes volume, and compresses them into one file. It's a big job, taking 20 hours over a few days to make it sound right. Marc feels that the results are worth the work. We agree!
Thank You Virtual Choir Members!
Listen again the Easter Hymns using these links:
5:22 Hymn: Alleluia, Alleluia, Give Thanks to the Risen Lord (Band)
28:16 Hymn: Day of Arising (Choir)
38:17 Hymn: Jesus Christ is Risen Today