A Virtual Choir: Globalization and the True Community


Yeah, yeah, I know: “Globalization is tearing us apart.”

Mom-and-pop shops are shutting down, petty Facebook friending is ramping up, and people everywhere are self-destructing, resulting in an impersonal and isolated wasteland filled with self-absorbed do-nothings who are more fond of texting “ROFL!” than going to the pub for some “real” camaraderie.

Er, um…maybe you should watch this:

There’s a valid critique and concern amid all of the anti-globalization hullabaloo — not when it comes to economics (sorry, Lou Dobbs), but when it comes to community. At a fundamental level, conservatives like to take things slow for the sake of taking things slow, leading many to take up common cause with progressives on matters related to “community preservation.”

Yet as we all know, any community worth its salt is more than capable of preserving itself.

What many fail to see is that plenty of communities do thrive in today’s globalized world, without protectionist efforts and despite homogenizing industries. Indeed, it seems that the more obscure interest groups have largely benefited from such newfound interconnectedness.

With the internet, everyone from curlers to death-metal rockers to holistic foodies to anti-establishment libertarians have found significant and influential pockets of like-minded friends, providing each with enhanced opportunities for collaboration and community specialization (formerly known as diversity).

During my undergraduate studies, Eric Whitacre was a virtual rock star to me and my fellow music majors (nerd alert). Yet his music is largely unknown to mainstream America. If I went through my current neighborhood in Midwest suburbia, would I be able to find enough quality voices who were willing and able to join me in learning, practicing, and performing a complicated Whitacre piece? Would I be able to secure Whitacre himself as my conductor at the cost of a cheap video camera and internet connection?

As a real example, Whitacre mentions one isolated woman in Alaska who was empowered by globalization to accomplish something she had only dreamed of: being part of a choir.

Here is her letter to Whitacre, as read in the above video:

When I told my husband that I was going to be part of this, he told me that I did not have the voice for it. It hurt so much, and I shed some tears, but something inside of me wanted to do this despite his words. It is a dream come true to be part of this choir, as I have never been a part of one. When I placed a marker on the Google Earth Map, I had to go with the nearest city which is about 400 miles away from where I live. As I am in the Great Alaskan Bush, satellite is my connection to the world.

Virtual choir, Eric Whitacre, Sleep, Lux Arumque, globalizationGlobalization surely bodes well for wealth creation and widespread prosperity, which is typically how the argument is framed. Yet this is precisely true because the opportunities for collaboration are so drastically enhanced when restrictive walls are torn down (I’m looking at you, tariffs!).

The channels are there, ready and waiting to be tapped, and from a Christian perspective, Mark 16:15 demands that we exploit them.

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  • http://twitter.com/remnantculture/status/62566184205291520 Remnant Culture

    By leveraging the fruits of globalization, @ericwhitacre rallied a virtual choir. This is True Community at its best: http://bt.io/GxNp

  • http://twitter.com/josephsunde/status/63284759006167040 Joseph Sunde

    Is globalization tearing us apart? Composer Eric Whitacre and his 2,000-strong virtual choir say "No": http://bt.io/GxnL