While some art forms have pivoted to the online world more easily than others, the limitations of video streaming platforms can turn choral music and other group musical performances into virtual cacophony. But through the use of a "virtual studio," Ragazzi Boys Chorus has been making beautiful music online since the fall and is now presenting its third online concert, "Joy, Awe, and Wonder," on May 2, 4 p.m.
The chorus has been using the Ragazzi Virtual Studio for online rehearsals and performances to diminish the delay time (also known as latency) of video streaming so that the choristers can actually sing and harmonize together in real-time from their own homes.
The virtual studio, which was tested by Ragazzi's singers, was developed by the JackTrip Foundation, which was launched by Ragazzi parent and software engineer Mike Dickey in collaboration with Chris Chafe and Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics.
Ragazzi choristers range in age from 5 to 18, and "Joy, Awe, and Wonder" will feature members of four of the chorus' six groups for different ages and skill levels. The wide-ranging program draws on traditional choral literature as well as more contemporary pieces and spans the globe. Among the works featured are Ross Whitney’s stirring "Pentatonic Alleluia," "Cuckoo!" from Benjamin Britten’s “Friday Afternoons” with words by Jane Taylor, "Amen" from Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater" and the a cappella "Akekho Ofana No Jesu," a traditional South African song, arranged by Daniel Jackson.
Other works on the program include "Stars" by Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds with text by Sara Teasdale, which, unusually, features music played on water-filled glasses, and Leon Dubinsky’s anthem of hope, "We Rise Again."
Suggested donation is $25 per viewer. For information, visit ragazzi.org or call 650-342-8785.