2051 Voices. 58 Countries. One Choir

Virtual Choir

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words, and that which cannot remain silent.”
– Victor Hugo

“I don’t know if it is a spiritual, physiological or psychological phenomenon, but I believe now more than ever that singing is a universal, built-in mechanism designed to cultivate empathy and compassion.”
– Eric Whitacre

Eric Whitacre is one of the world’s most renowned classical composers.

A dashing 45 years old, he hails from Reno, Nevada, and had originally planned on becoming a pop artist before having a transformative experience singing Mozart for the first time in a college class. Eric became enamored with, and began writing pieces for, orchestra and symphony and – most especially – for choir. Since then, he has gone on to win a Grammy, top the Classical music charts, and be performed more widely than any other living composer.

Even so, I only recently discovered Eric Whitacre and his amazing work – I was introduced by a video of the TED talk he gave back in 2011 where he discusses his incredible project which he calls the “virtual choir”.

Inspired by a fan’s singing on a video, Eric decided that he was going to take conducting to a global scale. He invited singers to submit videos of themselves performing parts of one of his pieces. In compiling them together into one video, he created a virtual choir. He has now done this 4 times. The result is both astonishing and inspiring.

Check it out (be warned – the video is almost 15 minutes long, but it’s 100% worth every second): Continue reading


In the Waiting Room

Waiting room Red Chair

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

“You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for.”
Craig Bruce

“Make space in your life for the inevitable arrival of what you want.”
Danielle LaPorte

How am I at waiting?  Let’s just say I have had puh-lenty of experience, am still not a fan of waiting for what I want (who is?), but I have finally learned to re-frame the waiting periods in a new way.

Inactive Waiting is Torture
Inactive waiting is torture! You’ve heard the expression, “A watched pot never boils.” It never seems to boil because you are inactively waiting for it to happen. Inactivity is a sure way to get stuck and let your creativity get all sloppy.  You put on the brakes.  You see things through gray One Day Some Day lenses.  You start complaining.  Everything around you doesn’t quite match the dream.

Inactive waiting is the direct route to Slumpville.  Trust me, you don’t want to go there.

As one who has spent so much time in the Waiting Room that they’re about ready to give me my own executive corner office, believe me when I say that there is a better way!  An active, empowering way. Continue reading

Roman Legends: Crossing the Rubicon

Caesar Crossing the Rubicon

“Alea iacta est.”
(“The die is cast”)
– Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

“So successful was Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon that it has come to stand for every fateful step taken since.”
– Tom Holland, Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic

Some decisions change everything.

Julius Caesar knew he was making just such a decision. It was 49 B.C., and Caesar stood paused on the banks of the Rubicon river marking the border between Gaul and Rome. His armies were gathered with him by the river, awaiting his orders to either advance or retreat.

It was the moment where the entire history of the west hung in the balance. To remain or retreat would mean an end to Caesar’s political career and everything he had worked for all his life. To advance was to forever put an end to the Roman Republic.

The fate of an empire was at stake as he stood at the Rubicon and pondered his choice.

Continue reading

But If Not

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the Furnace

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the Furnace

When thou passest
though the waters,
I will be with thee;
and through the rivers,
they shall not overflow thee:
when thou walkest
through the fire,
thou shalt not be burned;
neither shall the flame
kindle upon thee.

Isaiah 43:2

“It is not strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

Taken Captive
Our story begins in the Kingdom of Judah around 597 BC when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon laid siege (again) on Jerusalem.  But this time, he sacked the temple, rounded up the Jews – Hunger Games style – and brought them back to Babylon (2 Kings 24:8-14; Daniel 1:1-6).

Taken CaptiveAmong those taken to Babylon were four teenagers: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Daniel 1:6-7). You already know Daniel (who would later survive the Lion’s den), but his friends you might better recognize by their Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

That’s right, Babylonian names. Attempting to strip all Jews of their identity, Nebuchadnezzar removed them from homeland and changed their Hebrew names to pagan ones (Daniel’s name was changed to Belteshazzar, but the Bible text sticks with his Hebrew name).

Once situated in their new home, the king selected only the smartest and fittest Israelite young men to train for his court. From thousands of captives, guess who was among the best of the pickins?  Yep, our four friends.  Now enlisted in Babylon boot camp for a three-year training program, our boys brained and brawned their way up, ranking at the top of their class.

But real success came with a little test of integrity: to eat or not to eat of the king’s banquet. Continue reading