- Marc Royce
- You have until May 22 to upload your video for Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 6.
As businesses are slowly starting up again following the statewide stay-at-home order and everyone is doubtlessly antsy to immediately clump into crowds of 10 once again, here’s something to chew over. The notorious carnival-adjacent hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse and their associated label, Psychopathic Records, recently followed MeadowGrass Music Festival’s lead and announced their decision to cancel 2020’s edition of Gathering of the Juggalos, ending two straight decades of the annual festival.
The announcement, posted to the group’s social media on April 22, was filled with remarkably sound wisdom, a clear-eyed assessment of the current musical landscape, and heartfelt consideration for their fans’ well-being: “With tens of thousands of deaths due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we can’t possibly in good conscience even consider trying to put on a Gathering during these difficult times. Aside from the serious health concerns, there are numerous other factors that have destroyed any possibility of the Gathering taking place this year. The entire music industry is at a dead halt due to the quarantine, and this, along with the uncertainty of how things will eventually pan out, has made it impossible to move forward with [the festival].”
“That aside,” the announcement continues, “the bottom line is simply that we REFUSE to risk even ONE Juggalo life by hosting a Gathering during these troubling times.”
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, folks: History will vindicate the Juggalos.
Now, while everyone will have to wait patiently for music festivals — and music venues, in general — to resume operations, musicians are nonetheless finding ways to keep listeners engaged, and this is especially true in the realms of art music, where pedagogy goes hand-in-hand with performance.
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s ongoing “Interludes” series has provided free, intimate living room performances and discussion from the orchestra’s musicians and conductor Josep Caballé Domenech, and the next installments take place May 6 and 7. Registration information is available at csphilharmonic.org. The Colorado Springs Conservatory recently announced it will offer virtual lessons for voice, piano, guitar, composition, and more. Jazz bassist extraordinaire Colin Trusedell is offering private online lessons.
American composer and conductor Eric Whitacre successfully realized the internet’s potential as a unique collaborative tool back in 2010, when he arranged a Virtual Choir, synchronizing 185 singers from 12 countries for performances of his choral works Sleep and Lux Aurumque. Since then, Whitacre’s global virtual choir endeavors have massively widened in scope, with multiple projects featuring over 20,000 vocalists worldwide. On April 22, the composer announced the upcoming Virtual Choir 6, where vocalists can come together for a performance of his new piece inspired by the times, Sing Gently. Anyone who is interested, regardless of vocal training or background, can register to participate at virtualchoir6.com.
“You don’t have to be a great singer,” said Whitacre in an April 24 interview with the NAMM Foundation. “You simply have to lend your voice to the choir so that together we can create something simple, delicate, and beautiful.”
Whitacre is one of the most popular and acclaimed composers of the past 30 years, earning honors from, among others, the American Composers Forum and the Barlow International Composition Competition. In 2012, his LP Light & Gold was awarded a Grammy. His remarkably original compositional voice has proven to be notably accessible, described at turns as lush, pastoral and neo-impressionist. His much-beloved choral works, such as Water Night and Cloudburst, have essentially become “canon” in the art music world, while his compositions for other ensembles, like his genre-bending operatic setting of Paradise Lost and the orchestral piece Equus have garnered equal praise.