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August 23, 2013

ULM student wins solo in video featuring almost 6,000 singers

University of Louisiana at Monroe musical theater student and West Monroe native Claire Givens, is currently featured as one of 10 soloists in Eric Whitacre’s latest “virtual choir”—a project featuring almost 6,000 singers from 101 countries.

“My friends and family are really proud of me,” said Givens.

“I hope that more than anything, it inspires them to create more and put more positive things into the world.”

Whitacre’s virtual choirs invite thousands of people worldwide to record videos of themselves singing parts of a single song.

He collects the video submissions and with the help of his team, combines the voices of every participant, splicing them into one video – a choir of singers who never find themselves in the same room.

Givens found her voice in the fourth endeavor of the project, auditioning for the production of his composition “Fly to Paradise.”

She earned her place as the second soloist in the video.

“I first heard about the project on the director—Eric Whitacre’s—Facebook page,” said Givens.

“He announced he was auditioning soloists for his virtual choir, which involved thousands of people from all over the globe, who would learn and sing his new piece and record themselves on their computers. I learned the piece and recorded it in about 30 minutes, and then I forgot about it, assuming that nothing would come of it.”

About two weeks after Givens submitted her audition video, she was told that she had been chosen as the second soloist, “which was exciting and humbling,” she said.

The video currently has almost 350,000 views.

“I am very inspired by traveling,” said Givens of her musical motivations.

“Traveling helps me to see art, to experience different cultures, to meet people from various backgrounds, and shows me that there is so much more to life than a day-to-day routine.”

Givens transferred to ULM in the fall of 2012.

“ULM has a growing music program that I really wanted to be involved in,” she said.

“I was able to participate in lead roles in the operas and musical theater productions since the first semester I arrived, which was a huge change from my last university. The music department here is very inviting and gives anyone who is willing to work a chance.”

“ULM has so many hidden gems and talented, kind students,” she added.”

Of her spot in Whitacre’s video, “This honor has shown me that anything is possible if you work hard and put yourself out there,” said Givens

“I think people are afraid to be themselves, and when you finally realize you are capable of so much more than you think, opportunities come to you.”

To view Claire’s performance, visit

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