Virtual Choir 4, I’m Dying of Suspense by Stacy Horn

UPDATE: Here it is. Once again, too impossible to find myself, and that’s not the point really (it would be fun though!).

Below is a screenshot from my Virtual Choir 4 submission. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Virtual Choir, it was created by composer Eric Whitacre. “The Virtual Choir began in May 2009 as a simple experiment in social media when Britlin Losee – a fan of Eric’s music – recorded a video of herself singing ‘Sleep’ and shared it on YouTube.” Whitacre invited others to do the same, and the videos were edited into a choir. It has since become something Whitacre does regularly and the 4th one debuts today.

I was in the last one and I’ll be in this one too, although I never found my face in the last one. I must admit I didn’t try very hard. It was too much work, there were 2,945 people in Virtual Choir 3! And there are 5,903 in Virtual Choir 4, so we shall see if I can spot myself this time. But this is what I looked like (beautiful earrings by Nora Brown of Ontario). I decided to sing the soprano 2 part. People who have already read my book will appreciate that.

Oh, I should post my behind-the-scenes setup for my video submission. Please scroll down …

Singing for Virtual Choir 4

In the video you see me singing in front of a blanket (we were asked to have uncluttered backgrounds). Out of camera reach you see the real story—my desperate attempts to look my best.

In any case, I’m dying to see the result!! It debuts at the celebration of the Queen’s coronation, so the UK is seeing it first. I’ll post a link to it as soon as it appears online.

My Virtual Choir 4 Set-Up, Eric Whitacre

My Barnes & Noble Solo by Stacy Horn

Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others
I love when friends send pictures of my book and I particularly love this one, sent by a friend who gave my book to a friend of his who is also a choral singer. How can you not love this smiling face?

If anyone who reads this could please do me this favor—if you go into a Barnes & Noble and they don’t have my book, please say something! Which brings me to my Barnes & Noble story.

Years ago I was hired to pick authors for a tv show that was being developed for Barnes & Noble’s website. Steve Riggio, then the president of B&N, interviewed me. For some god forsaken reason I decided it would be a good idea to sing to him at my interview. Insane. I cringe at the memory.

Seconds after I started my mind was screaming, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?? But at that point what could I do? I had to finish the song. The thing is, he hired me! The whole incident is particularly shocking to me because I believe I have a very so-so voice and even though I sing all the time I go out of my way to make sure no one can hear me. It’s the great thing about singing in a choir. You get all the joys and benefits of singing without feeling exposed about it.

Radio Interviews by Stacy Horn

Please excuse the “by Stacy Horn” thing. I’m experimenting with a Google search tip. So yesterday I was in the NPR New York studios for an interview on the show Airtalk with Larry Mantle (thank you Airtalk and Larry!!). I discovered long ago that even though you’ve spent years researching and writing about a subject, and your every waking moment has been dedicated to thinking about this subject, when you put on those headphones and someone asks, “So tell me about your book,” your mind sometimes goes:

“I wrote a book. Right. Well, what about it? Where to begin. Oh God. There’s so much to say. Pick one. [Blank] Just one point. [Blank.] Think. [No.]” And so on.

Now I always bring notes. Usually I just need to glance down to pick a direction for my answer, sometimes I’ll read a quote I like. Here’s what that looks like.

This is Bryant Park behind the main branch of the New York Public Library. It’s across the street from the NPR studios and I passed through it on my way to my interview. Such a lovely place (thank you Dan Biederman and the Grand Central Partnership, who restored it).

The Music from Imperfect Harmony

I made a Spotify playlist of the music I write about in Imperfect Harmony and it looks like my publisher has solved my technical difficulties. If you go to this new link the music should be playable now. I also put together this page with links to YouTube videos of the same pieces.

A German Requiem
Written by Johannes Brahms from 1865-1868

The Chichester Psalms
Written by Leonard Bernstein in 1965

Messiah (The Lift Up Your Heads chorus.)
Written by George Frideric Handel in 1741

Toward the Unknown Region
Written by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1906

Mass No. 11 in D Minor, aka Missa in Angustiis
Written by Joseph Haydn in 1798

Ave Maria
Written by Franz Xaver Biebl in 1964
The version written for men’s voices.
The version written for men and women’s voices.
(I’d be curious to hear which you like better.)

Missa Simile Est Regnum Coelorum, the Agnus Dei II
Published by Tomás Luis de Victoria in 1576
I really love this one (which you can tell when you read the book).

The Last Invocation
Written by Randall Thompson in 1922
This is a link to an album in the Apple store, so you’ll need to click on The Last Invocation.

Written by Dylan Chan in 2005

Let us Cheer the Weary Traveler
Written by R. Nathaniel Dett in 1926

O Magnum Mysterium
Written by Morten Lauridsen in 1994

The Peaceable Kingdom, the Ye Shall Have a Song chorus
Written by Randall Thompson in 1936

Water Night
Written by Eric Whitacre in 1995

Fate and Faith Songs
Movement 1
Movement 2
Written by Britlin Losee in 2011

Requiem, Dies Irae section, Lacrimosa chorus
Written by Giuseppe Verdi in 1873
This version of the Requiem was conducted by Herbert von Karajan, who makes a brief appearance in my book. He’s absolutely mesmerizing to watch. To see him go nuts, click here. He’s conducting another section from the Verdi Requiem. (I love this requiem. Okay, I love all requiems.)

A picture I took at the end of one of our concerts. I’m giving myself symbolic applause for putting this page together.

Singing: The Most Democratic and Affordable Entry Point to Great Art …

… as a participant. “To sing in a choir is the quickest, surest, and best way to become intimate with music, to get close to the seat of its emotional life, where its heart-throbs can be felt and heard; to ‘experience’ it … to hold communion with its gentle saints and glorious heroes …”
– Henry Krehbiel, a 19th century music critic.

I was searching around for pictures to use for a presentation about singing I’m giving later this month at the Observatory in Brooklyn when I found this photograph.

The caption reads: June 1940. An all-day community sing in Pie Town, New Mexico. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration.

I tried enlarging the image to see what they’re singing but it’s not clear. My guess was Handel’s Messiah, that’s what it looks like. With singing you’re not just looking at a masterpiece, as you would when you go to a museum, you become the masterpiece.