As an antidote to recent postings about Christmas on Pharyngula, which have nothing to do with science or holiday cheer, I would like to share with you a wonderful innovative example of bridging science and technology with the arts: the Virtual Choir.

Composer Eric Whitacre embarked upon an experiment in online social media: he invited singers to post their performances on YouTube and then blended them into a single, integrated performance using Google Earth.

According to his website, the Virtual Choir –

“Featuring 185 voices from over 15 countries worldwide, The Virtual Choir began as a simple experiment in social media, but it seems to have grown into something much bigger than I ever dreamed possible. Lux Aurumque has amassed over 1.2 million views.” {As of today, more than 1.5 million views.}

If you’re in the mood for a joyful, meditative, musical experience, you can watch Lux Aurumque, about six minutes, here: in case you haven’t already seen it…

If you have the Google Earth plugin installed, you can take a virtual world tour to view the individual performances.

Bravo to Eric Whitacre for such a creative use of science and technology!

There is still time for singers to participate (deadline December 31); some of my musician friends will be adding their voices. If you are so inclined, here are instructions for how to add your part to the global effort.

It’s a nice reminder during this holiday season that the toolbox of scientists and engineers can be applied to realms beyond molecules, transgenic mice and nanobots.

I believe that the scientist’s role is to understand our world and that of the artist is to reveal its beauty. Isn’t it great when the two get together?

Below are the current participants and their locations:

Number of Entries by Part

Soprano 1 51
Soprano 2 56
Alto 1 40
Alto 2 53
Tenor 1 37
Tenor 2 34
Bass 1 37
Bass 2 43

Total 351

United States 153
United Kingdom 51
Canada 6
Singapore 5
Philippines 4
Portugal 4
Norway 3
Australia 2
Germany 2
Ireland 2
Japan 2
Mexico 2
Netherlands 2
Spain 2
Argentina 1
Belgium 1
China 1
France 1
Hong Kong SAR China 1
Italy 1
South Africa 1
Taiwan 1
Total 248


  1. #1 orjin krem
    December 16, 2010

    I’ll go on vacation last summer where I watched first with google earth.

  2. #2 Jeffrey Toney
    December 17, 2010

    If you have listened to this global performance, I would like to hear your reactions. Thanks!

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