Eric’s Virtual Choir

During the summer break I’m enjoying listening to more music. I recently discovered Eric Whiteacre.

Eric is a remarkable composer and conductor. He has published some 50 choral works to date; has been Grammy nominated several times and topped the iTunes classical charts.  In 2009 he came up with the idea for a social media experiment, inspired by a young fan who recorded herself singing his composition ‘Sleep’, and then uploaded it to YouTube. (The story behind Sleep itself is both interesting and moving and I urge you to read it). Eric was touched by the video, and the idea for the experiment began to form. He called for his online fans to purchase a recording of Sleep, then record themselves singing along to it. He then requested that they upload the videos to YouTube.

Eric was so impressed by the results that he decided to push the social media concept to the next level and create a virtual choir. He recorded himself conducting ‘Lux Aurumque’, and asked people to sing along to that, and his user-generated Virtual Choir was created. It began with 185 members from 12 countries and has grown to include some 8000+ videos from 101 countries!

This is the original Virtual Choir singing to Eric’s Lux Aurumque.




Raunds Community Choir had a lovely meal out at Krumbs recently. While it’s lovely to sing together each week it was great to be able to relax and chat for a night. Krumbs is very friendly and they made us all extremely welcome. All the food was good, but the plum crumble was amazing, better than any I’ve ever tasted.

Thanks so much to Mary, our lovely soprano, who organised the evening but then sadly couldn’t join us on the night.

St. Peter’s Church Concert

Soprano Clare sent me this piece for the blog following our concert on Saturday. It was such a fun concert to perform in. The church is beautiful and a really uplifting place to sing. Thanks Clare.

“Looking back on our concert last weekend, I am still glowing with pleasure. I don’t think we have ever sung half as well and the wonderful acoustics of St Peter’s Church in Raunds really helped to carry the sound. What a beautiful building and how privileged we are to be able to sing in it! The money raised by the concert went to the restoration fund. The church has been at the heart of Raunds for over 800 years and I would love to think that it might be there for another 800 for all to enjoy but sadly it is in dire need of repair.

By far my favourite song in our concert was “Beautiful Rainy Day” by Crystal LaPoint Kowalski. I’ve found a Youtube version of it here which I will be sure to listen to whenever I need cheering up. I do like watching rain and this beautiful song sums up my feelings exactly. Perhaps one day, we will record ourselves singing it in the church and maybe we will sound just as good!”

Clare Jones


And then bass Neil, who hasn’t been with us long also sent me a lovely contribution. So this week it’s two for the price of one!

“It’s me again, the Raunds Community Choir newbie, following the Choir’s concert at St Peter’s Church, Raunds on 11th July.

To say the that the repertoire was wide-ranging would be an understatement, with music that moved from traditional North American and British Isles folk to more recent music written by Michael Bublé and G M Sumner (better known as ‘Sting’). All the music had been arranged for the traditional four part harmonies of mixed choirs and the lyrics covered many subjects from the sensible and romantic, to the absolutely absurd.

Oh yes, you read it correctly, ‘absolutely absurd’. Would Gioachino Rossini have imagined in the 19th Century that his ‘William Tell Overture’ would have been lyrically arranged to describe the ownership of an inanimate spherical object made from a substance that would not have existed when he wrote his music. The logically curious amongst you are now hopefully thinking what this object is. Well, it was nothing less than a Ping Pong Ball. Yes, we sang a song about a man’s ownership of a ping pong ball and what fun it proved to be. Our musical director Sally coaxed us through a multitude of pings and pongs whilst other parts of the choir were ponging and pinging. I think !!!!

I hope all of this illustrates that the Raunds Community Choir is a fun place to come and sing music which is excellently directed by Sally and her assistant Chris. We treat the music very seriously, most of the time, and at other times Sally delivers her teacher’’s stare and we once again are brought under control. The choir all come from varied background but have one thing in common – we enjoy music as a form of relaxation and we enjoy sharing that music with anyone who wishes to come and listen.

If you are one of those closet or bathroom singers who would like the opportunity to learn about choral singing you would be very welcome to come and join us.”

Neil Sheppard


P.S. I didn’t manage to get any photos of the choir singing because I was singing too! But I did get some of the ukes, who played afterwards. And lots of our choir play in the ukulele orchestra too.

Perform and get high!

Raunds Community Choir is performing at St. Peter’s Church in Raunds, on Saturday along with Raunds Ukulele Orchestra.

As a choir it’s nice to perform together for the pleasure of others. It gives us a goal to aim towards, helps focus our minds and raises our game, but did you know that performing can also give us a high! That rush of pleasure we feel when we’ve just managed to sing something to the best of our ability, or when we’ve pulled off a tricky piece we’ve wrestled with for weeks, that feeling is caused by a sudden release of endorphins (the body’s natural opiates).

It’s true! Scientists at Oxford University and the University of Liverpool measured the pain tolerance of subjects before and after they performed activities including singing, drumming and dancing (can’t believe they missed out ukulele-playing!), and also before and after the subjects listened passively to music or watched dancing. In all cases the subjects who performed exhibited significantly higher tolerance to pain afterwards, indicating that their endorphin levels had increased, but there was no measurable increase in pain-tolerance for those subjects who just listened or watched.

So maybe we are actually physically addicted to singing. At the very least our aches and pains should be less after Saturday’s performance. See you there.


Photos from our recent recording session are now in the gallery.


Ferrers Recording Session

This week, thanks to our committed assistant director Chris, we were fortunate to be invited to use Ferrers’ School recording studio. We managed to pick the hottest day of the year so far for our session and the studio was hotter than any sauna! I think we all shed about half a stone each during the couple of hours we were there!

The heat made it difficult to stay in tune and there were several re-recordings but we rallied to the occasion and had a great time. We recorded some of our favourites, including The Pace Egging Song, L’il Liza Jane and Lark in the Clear Air.

Some images from the session are available to view in a gallery.