Sophomore soloist beats thousands for spot in virtual choir project

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Sophomore Lisa Rogali, who is studying voice at Penn State, appears as a choir member and featured soprano soloist in Grammy-winning composer Eric Whitacre's current virtual choir project, Virtual Choir 4: Fly to Paradise. One of the members chosen from 8,409 video submissions representing 101 countries, Lisa was also selected to be one of the eight soloists appearing in the video from a field of 500 auditionees.

Virtual Choir 4: Fly to Paradise is the latest in an ongoing series of virtual choir projects composed and produced by Whitacre, including Lux Aurumque, Sleep and Water Night. Philosophically, the projects are dedicated to bringing musicians together from all over the world to participate in a common experience and to "have their voices heard." This year's choir includes singers ages 6-98 and represents people "of every race, creed and color, coming together for one reason and one reason only: to be a part of something larger than themselves."

To become a member of the choir, Lisa created an account on Whitacre's website, and then downloaded and learned the Soprano I line to "Fly to Paradise." Once prepared, she recorded herself singing a cappella on her webcam and submitted the video file electronically.

"It's a tad bit strange singing to your computer screen in your room alone," she said, "but once you realize that eventually you'll be singing with thousands of other people, it puts things into perspective."

A music education major from Hawley, Pa., Lisa is a voice student of Jennifer Trost. She was the winner of the Margot Bos Vocal Award in spring 2013, awarded to the outstanding vocal candidate in the School of Music's spring scholarship competition. She was also featured in the April performance of Leonard Bernstein's "Mass," jointly produced by the School of Music, School of Theatre and the Center for the Performing Arts in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the College of Arts and Architecture.

Of the Whitacre virtual choir experience, Lisa said, "I feel so blessed to be a part of something so much bigger than myself ... and to have been chosen by Eric Whitacre himself. The most significant thing I learned through this experience is to not be afraid to try new things, no matter how obscure or farfetched they seem."

Virtual Choir 4: Fly to Paradise can be seen on YouTube. Lisa's video appears at the 3:50 mark. For more information regarding the virtual choir project, visit ericwhitacre.com/the-virtual-choir.

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Last Updated August 01, 2013