Dear Bravi and VTG Singers,
Well done this past Monday. Thank you for your flexibility as we navigate the added element of the Vocalise Monterey competition rehearsals. It was nice to get some work done on Music Down in my Soul. You will add SO much to this piece.
As always, please review the Vocalise SATB blog from this week when it is posted — it will likely include notes for the tutti repertoire, some of which could very well apply to you.
VTG Singers: Remember to practice your vocal exercises every single day. It should take 5 – 10 minutes, but you must dedicate the time to growing your command of your lower range and your passaggio. If you don’t remember these exercises, ask another singer in VTG!
Everyone: here’s your practice agenda this week for Bravi and VTG repertoire, as well as tutti repertoire from the retreat:
Sing We Now of Christmas (arr. York)
We spent a good bit of time addressing tuning on descending lines. Check your intonation against the piano and insist on good intonation — always — and especially at the ends of phrases where descending lines tend to drag the pitch flat.
Please review the transition from the opening section in E-minor (Dorian) to the ending section, which modulates up a fourth to A-minor (Dorian). This is a tricky shift. Hold your final notes in measure 57, and find your first pitch in measure 58 (tenors) or 59 (basses/baritones). Bounce back and forth between these pitches to solidify this transition and check your accuracy against a piano or keyboard application on your phone. Then back up to put this in context — sing from measure 51 through measure 61 to be certain the new key “sticks.”
Letter D through the end: Tenors, please sing lightly and beautifully. If the tessitura is demanding, it might be helpful to learn your notes in falsetto or even down an octave. This will save your voice.
Measure 80 through the end: VERY IMPORTANT — please do not spend time learning the divisi as it is written in the score. This section has too much divisi and the tessitura is too extreme. I will re-work and re-write these measures to make them sound better and feel more comfortable in your voices.
Suo Gan (arr. Wiliford)
The rhythmic figure in measure 1 (which Jerry sang so beautifully!) is used pervasively — long-short-short-long. Please practice clapping and speaking this rhythm so that it becomes second-nature.
Pitches for pages 1 and 2 should be learned by next week, please.
Review the phrasing/dynamic scheme for the “oo” section on the bottom of page 1.
Remember this piece is translated “Soothing Song.” Sing it beautifully, with a warm and relaxed tone, never pushing. Enjoy it!
Diction recordings will be available soon. I will add them to this blog posting once I receive them.
Music Down in My Soul (SATB)
I’m so excited about this. Again — your vocal strength adds so much to this wonderful piece.
Review your pitches from page 1 through page 6.
At m. 16: remember the first time through you will say “music in the air” rather than “singing in the air.” The text changes on the repeat/first ending, which we added in m. 30.
mm. 20 – 22: basses please stay on a D — do not sing the low G, as it is not in the chord.
m. 27 – IMPORTANT — tenors, there is a typo (wrong pitches) in your part. “Singing in the air” should be G, G, A, A, G. The B’s will clash too much with the alto line. Please re-mark your scores.
m. 34: basses please stay on the pitch D for “God Some-where” (moving up to the G on “-where,” as notated).
There will likely be additional pitch changes and underlay (text) adjustments. These will be given to you in a separate document for the sake of simplicity and clarity.
Review the choreography before next week. The steps should be small and close to your body, and try to feel your center of gravity as rather low.
Most Wonderful Time (SATB)
We discovered in last week’s rehearsal that pickups were a bit messy in terms of pitch. Every instance of “It’s the… (most/happiest/etc.)” should be reviewed, as they are all slightly different.
In your exuberance (which is very much appreciated) please be sure you aren’t shouting. 🙂 Always sing beautifully.
Other announcements and reminders:
Guest Conductor next Monday
Next Monday’s rehearsal will be partially led by a guest conductor who is auditioning for the role of Ensemble’s permanent conductor (a position which has been open for some time now). It is Cantabile’s practice to audition all prospective conductors with all ensembles, so our guest will direct a large portion of Bravi’s rehearsal, as well as VTG, next Monday. Thanks for your cooperation and flexibility — it should be a good experience and we all think you’ll enjoy meeting her.
Sunday rehearsals (possible)
Keep an eye out for an email to your parents in the today regarding this potential additional rehearsal. Again, this is for your benefit, and we will grow so much from it if we’re able to make it happen. Please be sure your parents are quite clear that this rehearsal is encouraged but not required — no one’s participation in Bravi will be jeopardized if they are unavailable.
Reminder: please make sure your parents have ordered the correct uniform for you.
Bring your yoga mats! Every week we will start at exactly 5:30pm on the floor with our shoes and socks off, and our yoga mats half-rolled beneath us. (Several yoga mats were left at rehearsal last night!) New singers will be getting their Cantabile yoga mats at retreat.
Have a wonderful week. Looking forward to rehearsal next Monday.