The largest, record-breaking choirs in the world
What is the maximum of singers a choir can have? You won’t believe the answer!
“One voice is a solo, two a duet, three is a trio, and four a quartet…
But when many voices join together, then you have a choir.
Singing with one voice, one hope, one heart’s desire…”
Anthem of the World Choir Games, by John Rutter
“Many voices join together, then you have a choir”... but have you ever wondered whether there is a maximum to how many of these voices can sing together? Or have you ever asked yourself who is the biggest choir in the world and how many choristers does it include?
The answers will absolutely blow your mind!
In fact, there is absolutely no limit to the number of choristers that can sing together in a choir, and if you struggle to imagine what this can actually mean, here are the largest choirs in the whole world who broke world records and delivered incredibly emotional and almost surreal performances.
1. The one, largest choir in the world
The record for the world's largest choir was broken on January 30, 2011, and was organized by The Art of Living (India), in Perungalathur, Chennai, India. The choir consisted of…121,440 people!
The organization for the event used a surreal number of 2,429 stewards and the choir sang in unison for over 5 minutes. Not surprisingly, since 2011 the choir has been listed in the Guinness World Records as the largest choir in the world ever existing.
2. Emotional, Gospel choral performances
breaking world records
Gospel choirs have had a history of attempts at breaking world records. On October 12, 2015, singers coming from different parts of the world, cultures, religious backgrounds, and faiths decided to gather with a common goal: sing together during the 35th-anniversary celebration for Ang Dating Daan (Philippines' longest-running religious program on television and radio), in order to share the same passion and spread positive messages through music.
The members of the choir Church of God International (Philippines) thus traveled both from various local churches as well as countries in the Americas and Africa to the Araneta Coliseum in Manila, Philippines. The incredible performance eventually amounted to a total of… 8,688 singers!
It therefore ended up forming the largest gospel choir ever, shattering the record of 4,745 people, achieved by the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Philippines) the previous year. The songs that the chorale performed were all the original composition of choir member and mentor Mr. Norman Caraballo Rueda and the remarkable concert lasted for an impressive length of 15 minutes:
It is not surprising that in front of this stunning performance, Guinness World Records adjudicator Fortuna Melhem - who had traveled from the UK to verify the record - was overcome with emotion.
A year later, on May 22, 2016, the choir Iglesia Ni Cristo (Philippines) gathered in Ciudad de Victoria, Philippines, for a new attempt at breaking the world record. The gospel choir ended up consisting of... 21,262 participants! The choir collectively sang 3 hymns accompanied by an organ and won the Guinness World Record as the Largest Gospel Choir in the World - a title that they still hold today.
3. The largest contemporary choir
Speaking of astounding numbers, the Rock Choir cannot be excluded from this list.In November 2017, Rock Choir registered more than... 25,000 members rehearsing in 400 locations throughout the UK!
Not only is it currently known as the world’s largest contemporary choir, but it also holds three Guinness World Records: “biggest hit act in the UK”, “largest musical act to release an album (signed)” and “largest song and dance routine held at multiple locations.” Rock Choir was established in 2005 by musician and singer Caroline Redman Lusher with the goal of offering teenagers and adults from all over the country a chance to sing contemporary songs without the need to audition, be music experts, read music, or even have any previous experience!
The beautiful message behind this record-breaking choir has been praised by many and it was described in Coutts Woman Magazine as "a community singing phenomenon that is sweeping the country."
4. The largest virtual choir
In 2009, long before the pandemic prompted the entire world to connect virtually, composer Eric Whitacre first had the idea to create a virtual choir. “This idea came up which was pretty simple,” Whitacre told David Pogue on CBS Sunday Morning:
“I would upload a video of myself conducting the piece.
And then people sat alone in their rooms and followed my conductor’s track, and sang along to it.
If I uploaded all of those videos and I started them at the same time, this choir would have to emerge, a virtual choir.”
The first video with a virtual choir consisted of 185 singers and it went viral and, by 2018, Whitacre and his team created a virtual chorus of 8,000 singers, aged from 4 to 87, from 120 countries, to complement his composition “Deep Field.”
At the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, when everything about singing in a choir seemed against the safety guidelines, Whitacre decided to create the greatest virtual choirs with… exctly 17,572 singers from 129 countries!
All these choirs are certainly remarkable, but they are not only fascinating in terms of capabilities and logistics: their performances are the tangible demonstration of the power of singing in defying differences, borders, limits, and even pandemics. They are driven by INTERKULTUR’s same purpose: bringing together people of all countries, cultures, and world views in peaceful competitions.
This has been precisely the mission of all our events for decades and, if this resonates with you and your choir too, you can check them out here: