Hi, Bravi and VTG:
Thank you for your honesty and hard work this past week. I asked you last week to take a critical look at your music and identify the pieces that needed the most work. When asked what you decided, most of you responded “THE MASS!!!” …with a look of some concern. These concerns were made evident when we sang through “Altissimo” at the end of rehearsal. To be fair, you were not alone… plenty of Vocalise was struggling, as well. But the time for struggling MUST be behind us. As Elena said, we are now effectively out of rehearsals. There is no more time to trudge through this together. What are the reasons for this struggle? And, more importantly, how do we address the problem? Let’s answer these questions one by one:
First: Why is it that the Mass is causing us trouble? I believe there are two answers:
- It sounds “easy” and it’s quite repetitive. So you think “It’s not so hard… I sort of know it, so I should probably practice something else that is harder.”
- We have spent less time “banging notes” in Bravi/VTG rehearsal for the Mass, as we have spent more time focusing on our Bravi repertoire. This is because, frankly, the Mass is not as challenging, technically… and your skills as an advanced singer in the upper echelon of Cantabile should allow you to learn this music at home quite easily. Nonetheless, I have provided you additional tools in this blog to help facilitate this process. 🙂
Second: How do we address this issue?
- Prioritize this piece and make a practice plan! You have three days before our next rehearsal with the entire “band” (steel drums). There are five movements — one of which is very short (“Agnus Dei”). A suggested plan:
- Friday: spend Friday solidifying “Agnus Dei” after school. (~10 min total)
- Saturday: “Santo” is in good shape, so review it Saturday along with “Kyrie,” which is in mediocre shape but could benefit from some dedicated time (especially the “Christe” section and the Italian bits). (~20 min total)
- Sunday: …and finally, spend a LARGE chunk of time on Sunday learning (and re-learning!) the last half of “Altissimo.” End with a little time on Sunday for “Credo,” which is highly repetitive and fairly straightforward. (~35 min total)
- Approach this piece with the same fervor and dedication that you show to things that seem harder. Remember — you will be the only tenors and basses on stage with all of Vocalise and Ensemble. 16 voices is all we have to carry all of that weight next to about 100 sopranos and altos. You will not succeed by out-singing them, but you CAN succeed by singing with unity and precision.
Onto your action items for the week, then:
- MASS: Altissimo is priority #1. Especially pages 9 – 13. Use part recordings (below).
- MASS: Kyrie is priority #2. Spend meaningful, critical time on pages 3 – 4. Use the piano to check pitches on every phrase.
- MASS: Santo is priority #3. Review pages 7 – 10. Prioritize rhythm.
- MASS: Credo is priority #4. Do the math in terms of repetitions and memorize THE PRECISE PATTERN.
- 12 Days of Christmas: Pages 8 – 14 need work with new voicing (reminders below). BASSES RECORD AND EMAIL ME.
- Merry Christmas / Happy New Year: Memorize with part recordings (below).
- Blue Christmas: memorize the new road-map (reminders below).
- Convidando: review.
- Amani and Agnus Dei: review.
Caribbean Mass: ALTISSIMO
Always practice with attention to detail. HERE IS A LINK TO PART RECORDINGS.
- m. 2 – 3: no breath, crescendo.
- m. 6 – 7: no breath..
- m. 8 – 9, breathe!
- m. 47 : watch Elena for the fermata!
- m. 71: this unison is very important — please review transition from previous measure.
- m. 76: basses, please review these pitches.
- m. 90 – 91: basses, this octave drop must be clean and pre-meditated! 🙂
- Tenors: join the bass part at m. 92.
- Tenors: in m. 99 sing your part on “onnipotente”and then re-join the basses.
- Tenors: please return to your part on m. 108, until the end of the piece.
- All: LOTS of work on the last two pages, from letter E until the end.
Caribbean Mass: Kyrie
- m. 55 – 56: basses, review notes. Make sure you land on a C, not a low A.
- All: Letter D – Review notes very carefully. They are tricky. They cannot be approximate.
- Letter E: basses, review notes. Many times you are resolving too low on the ends of each phrase (ex: “Dio” in m. 81 ends up on an E, but many incorrectly walk down to a low C).
- All: Letter F: The last syllable of “Christo” is only three beats. Please cut off in time.
Caribbean Mass: Santo
- Letter G: Be 100% confident of rests — where they happen and how long they last.
- Basses: review notes from measure 92 – end.
- Tenors: if m. 92 – end is too high, you may jump down to the bass part (alto 2s are assisting on the tenor line).
Caribbean Mass: Credo
- Most work is already done here, but you MUST do the math. Memorize the chords and how many times you sing them. The pattern is generally: I – I – IV – I – V – IV – I, but there are occasionally repetitions (on the last page, especially).
- Memorization strategies: If you are visual person, try to visualize the page. If you’re an aural person, listen to the recordings on previous blogs while you study or ride in the car.
12 Days of Christmas
- BASS 2’S : Each of you should record your part from letter F through the end of the piece and send it to me via email before Monday. This is a tricky section and needs lots of work.
- New voicing on page 11: All Tenor 1’s plus Ninaad and Chris sing the T2 line at “I had Christmas down in Africa.” All lower tenor 2s and baritones sing Bar. line. Basses stay on bottom line. This lasts until m. 95. Then return to previous parts.
- Everyone review motions / choreography.
Merry Christmas / Happy New Year
- Review, memorize. Use these part recordings. MUST BE 100% memorized by Monday.
- Practice an animated, joyful expression. Remember — this is a spoof. It has to be humorous and light-hearted!
- Reminder: Sing opening as written through m. 9 – 10.
- Then all jump to melody, shortening downbeat of m. 9 to staccato eighth note.
- Sing the echo “without you” from m. 12 – 13, then jump immediately back to melody.
- Sing the echo “thinkin’ bout you” in m. 16 – 17, then jump to choral parts.
- Back to melody in m. 5 (the real melody, not the jazzy solo melody).
- Sing the echo “They start fallin” from . 28 – 29, then jump back to melody.
- Sing the echo “Callin'” from m. 32 – 32, then jump to choral parts.
- Sing melody from m. 37 – 40.
- Choral parts as printed from m. 42 – 57.
- Sing melody at m. 58
- Sing the echo “and that’s certain” from m. 61 – 62, then jump back to melody.
- Sing the echo “hurtin'” from m. 65 – 66, then jump to choral parts.
- Sing melody in unison from m. 71 – 73 (with jazzy Elvis “blue blue blue” at the end of m. 73), finishing the phrase.
- Sing last page as written, until the end. We cut m. 79, adding a chord at the final bar.
Announcements and reminders:
- Class Schedules for Thanksgiving Week
- Please note that all classes (Prep 3, Bravi/VTG, and Vocalise SSA) WILL meet on Monday.
- Holidays with Cantabile Dress Rehearsal Information
- Call Time: 4:45 PM
- Release Time: 8:45 PM
Please be aware that we work exceptionally hard to ensure that not a moment of time is wasted at these rehearsals. Sometimes, however, these rehearsals need an extra few minutes to ensure that the hard work that the singers have put into their artistry all semester can come through in their performance. As such, despite our very best efforts otherwise, we sometimes do run behind schedule. We appreciate your patience and understanding if this becomes the case.
- Drop off location: Singers will be dropped off at the curb on the Artist’s Entrance: East side of Market Street, just south of the Hilton Hotel.
- Pick Up: Singers will be picked up in the back lobby of the California Theater, off of Market Street.
- Attire: Black long sleeve button down shirt, black dress pants, black dress socks, black dress shoes, plain black belt. Cantabile will be providing a new tie for this event which will be distributed at the Dress Rehearsal.
- Holidays with Cantabile Concert Information
- Morning Rehearsal Call Time: 9:30 AM for Morning Rehearsal
- Morning Dismissal: 11:30 AM
- Afternoon Call Time for Concert: 5:30 PM
- Check Out: Check out will happen in designated areas throughout the theater, after the concert has completed.
- Attire: Full Concert Dress for all choirs: see above.
- Please make sure you eat a good dinner before coming to the concert.
- Please bring with you: Water Bottle (with your name on it)
- Holidays with Cantabile Tickets Now On Sale
- Please visit the Cantabile website to buy your tickets today – they are going quickly! Additionally, we need your help in filling the hall, so invite your extended family, friends, teachers, and neighbors today!
- End Of Semester/Last Rehearsal Dates
- Please note that we will not have any more rehearsals after the Holidays with Cantabile concert on Sunday, December 3rd. Please refer to your calendars for your first rehearsal dater after the 1st of the New Year.
- Tour Registration Reminder
- If you haven’t already told us about your plans to attend tour, please either register via our website or email Jazmine (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us know your status. Thank you!
Thanks, and happy practicing!
Jace, Elena, and Lori