August 24, 2015/Rehearsal #1

September 23, 2015/Rehearsal #5
September 29, 2015
August 31, 2015/Rehearsal #2
September 29, 2015

August 24, 2015/Rehearsal #1

Dear Vocalise singers,

Welcome to the 2015-2016 season! It was wonderful to have you back in our rehearsal room on Monday, to see your happy and excited faces and hear your voices… Summer was surely nice but, boy, did I miss you!

Monday was a really great start for the year: we have many events this season and so much challenging and inspiring music to learn, we better move right away!

Thank you for your warm welcome to Cantabile’s new Associate Laney Armstrong and to the four new singers who just joined Cantabile this year. The generous spirit of our singing community is what I treasure the most. May you never lose it. To the eleven singers newly promoted from Ensemble — welcome! To our 13 seniors — we will strive to make every rehearsal and performance memorable for you. Enjoy your final year with “the company”

I am grateful to have Ms Melanie Tobias back as the Vocalise choir parent as well as our amazing Simona on the keys and I am looking forward the best year ever — with you.

Now on to NEWS and Reminders:

  1. The entire rehearsal block (from 5:30 to 8:15) will be a screen-free zone! This will allow us to put aside our devices for a few hours and truly commune together and with the music. Think of this as a great opportunity to let go of the stress of email, texting, and social media for a few hours a week. It will be freeing!
  2. You must arrive before 5:30 for the rehearsal to start on time. I will begin each Monday with a ritual of breathing together and it will start exactly at 5:30 with a sound of a little bell. If you get to the room and the door is closed, please, wait outside until called in.

The sign in sheet will be outside. Thank you for respecting the precious rehearsal time.

  1. Bravi will be joining us at each rehearsal, beginning after the break. At this time, we will be working on SATB pieces.
  2. Vocalise Rehearsal blog: You will be receiving updates every week. This week and possibly next week, the blog will come as an email. After that, it will go directly to the website and you will receive a short notice that the blog has been updated.

   NB: Please, do check out brand new and spectacular website (

  1. Calendar and Commitment Sheet: If you haven’t already, spend time reviewing Vocalise rehearsal, concert and event calendar (should be tucked into the front of your binder.)

Do it with your parent(s) and put the important dates into the family calendar. In a few days you will be receiving a link to a commitment form: you will need to fill it out promptly and completely.

Keep in mind that only 2 absences (6 hours of rehearsals) are allowed per semester. If you have any conflicts with events like concerts or dress rehearsals, email me (Elena) immediately.

  1. Pillow/beach towel for rehearsals: as before, there won’t be chairs. For the time when we rehearse seated, you will need a flat and firm pillow or a large beach towel which will be folded in a certain way.Remember to be dressed in comfortable, light and stretchy clothes.
  2. Mark your scores with your name (in pencil). Front cover or front page of music is best. Do not use pen as you have to be able to erase it at the end of the year.
  3. Voice part distribution: thank you for your patience and good will during this very important process. With the boys no longer in Vocalise, there is a shift and it means that some of you have to change your voice part.  Consider two facts: We have to be a well-balanced choir and You are NOT your voice part. Please, don’t identify yourself with it so deeply that moving just two chairs to the left or right gets you off balance!  
  4. Take your Family Manual and FAQs out of your folder, review them with your families, and leave them at home. Sign and bring back only the pledge (last page of the document)
  5. Here is once again the amazing events we are participating in this season:
  1. Happy birthday to Alto 1 Megan Tobias who turns 17 on Saturday!   

In Rehearsal This Week:

Chantez À Dieu: Have all notes, rhythms, dynamics, styles down. Write in solfege syllables (your part only)

A few things to remember about this piece:

–There is a tonality change to the relative minor (e minor) on page 9. Be aware!

–The meter shifts from 6/8 to 9/8 right before you enter each time. Write the counts in!

Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming/The Rose

This piece is a lovely combination of a 16th century hymn tune and a song popularized by Bette Midler. Kudos to Gwen on a gorgeous solo the first time through! Please memorize this piece for next week.

Also, Elena mentioned the arranger, Craig Hella Johnson, his group Conspirare, and their unique performance style. Here is a great youtube video of them performing that gives you a taste of what he is like. They will also be performing at the ACDA Convention in February!

I Wish You Christmas

This will be the closing number for our concert in December. In rehearsal, we sang through the whole piece once. This piece begins in B Major with five sharps. If you did not know this, or it took a while to figure out, review your key signatures!!

A couple of things to keep in mind as you work on learning your parts at home:

–Sopranos and Altos share one line, Tenors and Basses share another

–When the lines split into three, use your three-part divisi (e.g middle of page 8)

—Instead of humming, sing on “doo,” with a new “doo” for each new note you sing.

You Got Ta Move

As an introduction to this piece, be sure to read the performance notes on the first page of the octavo, as well as listen to the recording of Cantabile singing it (attached here). If you would like to read more about the Gullah islands and their people, try this very in-depth website.

In rehearsal, we took a first pass at this piece, focusing on the rhythms and syncopation. This piece gives you plenty of chances to practice both of those things! As you work on notes and rhythms, remember to feel the groove and that “syncopation only works when preceded by silence!”

Next Monday we will begin rehearsing Pakkanen by Rajaton. It’s in your folder. Listen to these youtube recordings and get to know the piece so we are learning it more effectively.

See you next Monday,

Elena and Laney

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