A new virtual choir is forming with calls for aspiring singers to join The Australian National University (ANU) School of Music as part of a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The choir will prepare two works in the second half of 2021, starting with Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus for “serious singers” and another piece open to the public.  

“Our virtual choir will provide our students and the wider community the chance to make music in this most difficult of times,” Associate Professor Kim Cunio, Head of the ANU School of Music, said. 

“We have found that performers need to perform, and we know that part of the role of ANU is not just to do the research that is needed to overcome this pandemic but to also to bring us together.” 

The first piece by Mozart is aimed at people with some singing experience. Up to 50 participants will work with the ANU chamber choir, directed by Tobias Cole, and record from home.  

Ave Verum Corpus is one of the most beautiful pieces of classical music ever written. It’s an angelic piece and it’s also not that hard. We can get that to a high standard – even virtually,” Associate Professor Cunio said. 

“Mozart was able to strip back everything that’s non-essential when he wrote this work, every note is harmonically and melodically perfect; there’s really no other composer quite like him.

“This choir will produce this piece as an antidote to the anxiety we all feel in daily life right now. We hope it will be uplifting for people.” 

The second work, May Your Passing Not Be In Vain, will be specially made by the ANU School of Music. It will be suitable for wider participation and is aimed to provide a therapeutic experience. 

“We are putting this open and inclusive choir together to expresses our grief from COVID-19,” Associate Professor Cunio said.  

“It is important that we don’t pretend that things are all positive and only do the things that make us cope in the short term.  

“Music has a rare ability to help us process our feelings. We’ll open up this piece up for up to 100 singers to record their parts and our techs will put it together and make us all blend like magic. 

“Singers will be able to hear their voice with other voices, even though they were alone.” 

Guide tracks and instructions are available from the ANU School of Music.

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