There is nothing more magical and wonderful than when our voices unit.

Story time

As I write this, it is November 2020. Back in March when covid began to take over our world, both my daughters were in music programs, and both those programs and all the concerts were canceled. For most people, there just wasn’t a way to quickly pivot to save the semester of music. As a parent, I was super bummed. My kids were super bummed.

I know how to write software, so …

I started thinking more about virtual choirs over the summer and decided I wanted to commit some of my ideas to code. I finally got around to doing something this fall. I had some initial successes, so I reached out to the Virtual Choir Forum group on facebook. There I found some wonderful people willing to help stress test my code, submit tracks for testing, and make a variety of ideas of how my system could streamline their existing workflows.

In the course of working on the code, I also setup an online “cloud” system, so anyone could make their own virtual choir videos from any device, with zero software, zero experience, and zero cost. As much as possible I tried to leverage existing tools. So tracks are uploaded to a shared folder on your google drive. You fill out a short google form to submit your tracks for processing. And then you wait for the system to go fetch your tracks, align them, mix them, and generate your final gridded video.

Who benefits?

The audience I am focusing on is people who just don’t have the time to sit down and learn all the professional software tools and techniques; people who don’t have a beast of a computer to do all the video rendering; school choir directors who are simply overwhelmed with trying to do distance learning, while maintaining some concept of singing together.

But even professionals can use portions of the result to speed up their projects. These tools can return your individual clips alread time aligned which can save hours of fiddly work. For those that want to focus more on audio than video, you can take the gridded video and overlay your own audio mix. And for those that prefer to focus their creative energies on video more than audio, you can start with time aligned video clips and a matching audio mix.

These are challenging times.

My hope is that in some small way and maybe only for a fleeting moment, these virtual choir tools will help choral voices come together and lift up their community voice. I hope I can bring a small bit of encouragement to kids and choir directors and parents. There is beauty and power to singing at all levels and I hope I can do my small part to encourage that.

Intereseted?!? You are welcome to give the system a try or forward this link to someone who is up to their ears in choir and doeesn’t have time to become a technical expert along with all their other work:

Virtual Choir Maker

https://virtualchoir.flightgear.org