One faith, one song, one video

Music connects: more and more New Apostolic choristers are joining online singalongs to tackle isolation caused by coronavirus. The choir that is currently preparing for Pentecost is to sing to the world. Here is more on the IVC Project.

Théo Rohmer from Saint-Louis in France is very busy: hundreds of video clips have reached him by WhatsApp. He is responsible for the video part of the virtual choir, while Cédric Rung is responsible for synching the audio files. Théo has no one else to blame but himself. The idea for the International Virtual Choir (IVC) was his.

The project follows the popular trend of online choir projects, for which people record their contribution at home with their smartphone. This is then combined into a choir with the other videos on the computer. This time, however, the singing is not only to help people break out of social isolation, but also make its way across language barriers and national borders.

Offline and online at the rostrum

Wielding the baton is Nicolas Jean from Strasbourg. Together with Fabrice Coulon they are the music representatives of the New Apostolic Church France. Nicolas makes his living as director of two music schools. And he is not entirely unfamiliar with a large stage and audience: he conducted the youth choir during the service of the Chief Apostle at the 2019 International Youth Convention.

Either way, he has already been able to gain experience as a conductor of virtual choirs: with the Collegium Cantorum de Strasbourg, which has temporarily morphed into Collegium Confineum (“confinement”); and with the joint project “I will praise the Lord” with nearly 200 New Apostolic choir members from France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.

The lead singers make all the difference

How do you conduct such a choir—so completely without any interaction between conductor and ensemble? “It only works indirectly,” Nicolas Jean explains. He can only influence the lead singers, he says. For every part there is an accompaniment track, which the participants listen to on headphones and then record their singing.

He is very glad to have a team of enthusiastic volunteers at his side, who are making the project possible in the first place: Laurent Boetzlé, the organist, for example, or the twelve lead singers. This also includes helpers from neighbouring countries, such as Burkhard A. Schmitt from West Germany or Alexandra Junker from Switzerland..

The text, music, and the accompaniment tracks are available on the dedicated website www.international-virtual-choir.org. And not only in French, but also in German, and in English. The chosen hymn, “What a friend we have in Jesus” (Hymnal 226), is to resound in all three languages.

The deadline for submissions: 20 May

Those whose mother tongue is something different entirely may sing the song in their own text version. And those who would like to bring out their instruments are invited to do so and send their contribution in.

The project started on 14 April 2020 and was made public on 24 April. By 4 May the team had already received more than 300 videos from Asia, Europe, and South America. And on 14 May Théo Rohmer already counted 700 individual clips.

The closing date for entries is 12 noon on May 20th (Central European Summertime). Then it will only be a few days until the worldwide webcast of the Pentecost service with the Chief Apostle, during which this joint choral project with brothers and sisters from across the world will be presented.

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Andreas Rother
16.05.2020
International, Music