Creator Interview: David Wesley

A screencap from the video "The Solid Rock." Centered is an ASL interpreter in a light purple shirt. Above and below are five horizontally scrolling singers, each wearing a shirt color corresponding to their part (see video alt text). In the background is a mosaic of singers and interpreters.

David Wesley was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. He is a father of 3 boys and works as a registered nurse. When he is able to spare the time, Wesley dedicates hours of work to his projects such as virtual choirs. 

As per our commitment to accessibility, we recognize the talents and efforts of creator David Wesley, who arranges, performs with, and harmoniously unites collaborators into what he calls virtual choirs. The parts are all recorded separately and then combined later into the finished product. His latest piece, an a capella rendition of “The Solid Rock (My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less),” includes 329 singers and 7 interpreters! Check it out below, and read on to learn a little more about the inspiration behind these virtual choirs!

Click here for the video transcript and alt text!

This is such an interesting project, the virtual choir. What inspired this idea? 

The Solid Rock is my sixth virtual choir project. I was going to do another one eventually – it was just a question of when.

How do you choose which lyrics/songs to arrange and perform? 

I choose songs based on a number of factors, but in the end it comes down to what’s really speaking to me at the time and what I can arrange in a way that sounds interesting to me. I also choose songs that are either in the public domain or available to be licensed easily for distribution of sheet music and accompaniment tracks.

In just Virtual Choir #6 you have included 329 singers and 7 interpreters! That is very impressive. How do you find so many participants? Is there some kind of application process, or do you reach out to individuals or groups? 

I don’t really have to do much active recruiting now. My past projects have generated enough interest that there is a ready pool of people eager to participate. I make an official announcement video on YouTube and make social media posts to inform potential participants that a new project is started. I set a deadline and consider submissions until the time is up. The COVID-19 pandemic created a demand for both participants and consumers of virtual choirs, which probably boosted submissions without any additional effort by me.  I received over 500 submissions from over 400 people (some were redos because of technical and/or performance issues).

As a creator, how do these works feel for you? Are your feelings different during the labor of creation vs. the finished product? 

Creating a virtual choir can be a roller coaster of emotions. There are phases of excitement, anxiety, frustration, disappointment, inspiration, boredom, and then – relief. My favourite phase is actually writing the arrangement. Reviewing submissions is the most tedious part – listening to hundreds of videos, identifying issues that might prevent inclusion in the final video. There is a great deal of frustration on account of would-be participants that overlook/ignore important instructions!

You can watch more of Wesley’s works on his YouTube channel. His arrangements are also available on iTunes / Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, and Google Music
You can support Wesley on Patreon!

Published by modcasters

We’re a group of graduate students studying English Literature and Language on a mission to discuss literature, provide access to those on the deafness and/or blindness spectrum, and rock mustachios.

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