Updated: July 24, 2020 07:42 AM
Created: July 23, 2020 08:03 PM
(ABC 6 News) - A pair of Albert Lea elementary teachers were two of 17,572 people to sing in a virtual choir around the world.
Grammy award winning composer Eric Whitacre has been doing virtual choirs for a decade. So when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, he thought it was the perfect time to make another.
"It's about unity. At the end of the day our commonalities are much, much, much greater than our differences. And what we have in common across the world is that we sing," Whitacre said.
He put out an open invitation to people across the globe to submit videos of them singing a song he recently composed, "Sing Gently." The world responded. Singers from 129 countries are represented in the video which took five weeks to be pieced together.
People across the world are hoping to endure hard times. Whitacre hopes his project can bring a dose of hope.
"With the pandemic happening and society distancing. Not just socially, but I think emotionally. And what I'd hoped the song would say was, 'here's a way to live during these times. That sing gently is a metaphor for that. Just be kind, compassionate. Be gentle with each other,'" he said.
Seeing the open invitation from Whitacre, two Albert Lea teachers sent videos in.
"I was like, 'oh my gosh, I have to do this.' Even just with the recording I found myself like so emotional because I just miss so much singing with others. Just to even see a conductor was awesome," Hawthorne Elementary music teacher Maggie Kielas said.
"We have strong feelings as music teachers that music can really bring people together and it's really important for us model that for our students too in what we're doing away from the music room," Lakeview Elementary music teacher Brooke May said.
Whitacre believes music is the only universal language - something that can bind us together even in the hardest of times.
"I really think that singing together demonstrates the best of what people could be. That when you come together with a single, unified vision, you take that breath together, you sing together and make something larger than yourself; I think it points to how we could be as a people," Whitacre said.
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