Singers, YouTube celebrities and any fans with access to a camera and a microphone have been invited to join with the Mormon Tabernacle choir this Easter season in performing in a virtual “Hallelujah” chorus.
The event is the Grammy- and Emmy Award-winning choir’s first virtual collaboration.
Digital public performances of the “Hallelujah” chorus from George Frideric Handel’s Messiah will be combined with video of the choir’s performance for a special video performance.
Scott Barrick, the General Manager of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, said the choir functions as an ambassador of the church. He said the choir hopes to help people have an unforgettable experience in a “new way.”
“We are trying to reach out to a new generation of listeners,” Barrick said. “One of the things that we are doing with the virtual choir is exactly that. Trying to extend our reach to the BYU student age bracket and to people that we know will enjoy this music.”‘
Participants were able to access the sheet music, a sing-along video for each part and conducting by music director Mack Wilberg during the online submission process. After recording their video, singers uploaded one of the four parts of the chorus to YouTube and copied the URL into a submission form. Entries were accepted up to March 1 and, the final virtual choir performance video, which will include the best submitted voices, will be featured in the “virtual choir” performance to be released on Sunday, March 13.
YouTuber Peter Hollens and his wife, Evynne, provided the vocals for the sing-along videos and are encouraging fans to do the same.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this experience,” Hollens said. “Singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has always been a dream of mine, and since I don’t live in Utah, this is definitely the next best thing. For anyone who is considering it, opportunities like this are so rare, and it would be a serious shame to miss.”
Artists like Tiffany Alvord, David Archuleta, BYU’s Vocal Point and BYU Noteworthy have also submitted their entries.
BYU Noteworthy director Keith Evans said that they were grateful for the chance to participate in the project.
“We immediately saw what a wonderful opportunity it was to combine our love of the gospel with our love of music,” he said. “The chance to combine our voices and testimonies with thousands of others all over the world is thrilling.”
The sheet music to join the 360-member choir has been downloaded more than 8,500 times. The choir released a video compilation of submissions from singers who are now part of the virtual choir on Feb. 19.
According to Ryan Murphy, associate music director for the choir, Handel’s Messiah is a powerful and well-known piece, which is part of the reason why it was chosen.
“Handel’s Messiah is an extremely powerful oratorio, especially the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus,” Murphy said in a press release. “It is well known and well loved. It’s an honor for us to perform it, and we are delighted to extend the invitation to join us to singers all over the world.”
Video of the virtual finished product will be released on Sunday, March 13, and will be streamed on Good Friday, March 25, from a performance in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.