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The making of the virtual Alma Mater

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It was no small feat getting hundreds of people, scattered throughout the globe, to sing in unison. Director of Choirs Jamie Armstrong organized the virtual chorus by first recording a video of himself conducting the Alma Mater, which was sent to W&M choral alumni and current members of the W&M Choir.

The response was overwhelming, 230 choral alumni submitted videos of themselves singing the Alma Mater. When combined with submissions from the W&M Choir, the chorus was nearly 300 voices strong.

University Advancement’s motion graphic designer, Brianne Charnigo, was charged with fitting all the individual videos together, which proved to be quite the task. “Some people were recording from webcams, some shot vertically instead of horizontally,” she said. “Just getting them all the same size and shape was a big challenge.”

Jake Loyd, associate director of video for University Advancement, pulled together the final piece, synching the voices to sing in unison. “Even as we were editing it, we felt like we were doing right by this community,” he said. “Honestly, the first time I watched the finished product, I started crying. That’s when I knew we had really made something good.”