Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #3 – September 11, 2017

September 6, 2017/Rehearsal #3
September 10, 2017
September 13, 2017/Rehearsal#4
September 15, 2017

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #3 – September 11, 2017

Dear VTG and Bravi:

Thanks for a productive — if BALMY — rehearsal last night.  There is so much information to cram into the beginning of the season, and I’m pleased with your ability to work hard in spite of a shortened rehearsal, lengthy orientation sessions, and an unpleasantly hot rehearsal room.  

The blog will be a little shorter this week since our fun-filled weekend retreat will take up a lot of your regular practice time on Saturday and Sunday! My expectation is that you will spend 30 to 40 minutes over the next couple days addressing the items below (rather than the usual 2 hours), so that you will be very prepared for this weekend’s retreat.  A few reminders:

  • Not all pieces of the repertoire are practiced at each rehearsal — it is simply impossible. You still have to review/practice/improve them on your own.
  • A schedule of learning/memorizing repertoire will be sent/handed out at the retreat. My apologies for not getting this to you last week.
  • Singers are to make notes in scores/notebooks to reflect interpretation, history, poetry and any other aspect/concept explored in rehearsal (not knowing composer’s name, place of origin and whether he/she is alive or dead is unacceptable.)  
  • LEARN YOUR NOTES AT HOME: In rehearsal, we come together to interpret the music together, hone our vocal artistry and explore the boundless creativity of a choral ensemble. Note-teaching in rehearsal is not what we’re here to do. We can help this process for sections that are tricky, but you must uphold your end of the deal.

Action items and reminders for this week:

  1. Make sure you review your call-times and expectations for the retreat (in the Scoop). Returning singers: you MUST bring your yoga mat. New singers: you will get your mats at sign-in.
  2. Practice the standing breathing meditation (see instructions below) and the first yoga flow every day for at least 10 min. It can be done any time but is most impactful before your practice.
  3. Watch and listen performance examples listed below for each composition mentioned – ones we learned on Monday and some new ones.
  4. Write translations from the Italian and Latin texts (Mass) into your score, if you haven’t already done so.
  5. Write in translations for “Convidando.”  Including the solos!  Even if you don’t end up singing a solo, it is crucial for you to know what others are singing and what the texts mean.  
  6. VTG singers — revisit all vocal exercises we covered in our warmup rehearsal — lip trills, “bo bo bo,” sirens, slides, etc. Even if you are having an no-practice day, you need to go through these exercises. It should take 7 – 10 minutes, maximum.

“Stacking up” alignment and mediation

  • With feet parallel, press down with 5 points of each foot: inner/outer heels, mounds under small and big toes, and big toes
  • Arches lift, calves and thighs activate
  • Micro bend in knees
  • Setting the frame: hips – ribcage – shoulders
    • neutral position of hips and pelvis
    • abdomen relaxed, ribcage soft, sternum lifted – space between pelvis and ribcage expanded
    • shoulders back and down, arms relaxed
    • chin slightly tucked in, back of neck lifts and softens
    • lips, cheeks, eyelids, forehead soft
    • tongue relaxed and fills the mouth
  • Eyes closed or slightly opened with soft gaze into an imaginary candle flame
  • Bring your attention to the belly and observe the rise and fall of each breath
  • Imagine your entire body as one hollow luminous space. Breathe normally or with extended breath, exhaling fully and inhaling from low- to mid-, to upper lungs.


Caribbean Mass (SATB), by Glenn McClure

Convidando (TTBB), the Zespedes, arr. Wittig

  • Drill the Spanish for the first juguete with this diction recording.
  • Practice the notes slowly first on “da” or “bo,” or some other neutral syllable. Please make sure syncopated passages (there are LOTS of them!) are practiced accurately.
  • Put notes and rhythms together with the text when both are very comfortable. Use these part recordings to help you!   There are recordings for each voice part in this folder — you can download the one for your part, or all of them. 
  • Use a similar method for the faster estribillo.  These words should be learned by next week.
  • Practice the claps for the estribillo, too — remember that Baritones and Basses are clapping the on – beats (pattern #1) while Tenor 1s and Tenor 2s are clapping the off-beats (pattern #2).

Amani (SATB), by Jim Papoulis

  • Review the French and Swahili diction with this recording.
  • Please be sure your parts are thoroughly and accurately learned — the notes are not always the same for each repetition of text (compare mm. 3 – 5 to mm. 6 – 8, for example).
  • These practice tracks might help!  Tenor track here…  and Bass track here.
  • Set a metronome while you practice to ensure that you aren’t rushing.  Set it for 96 beats per minute.  If you find this is too quick, slow it down to 86.

Twelve Days of Christmas (TTBB), by Straight No Chaser

  • Review your pitches for this, up through measure 45 (halfway down on page 5).  After this point, the arrangement becomes quite involved, and we did not spend as much time on the rest of it.  But everything up to that point should be learned confidently by next rehearsal.
  • If you’d like to sing along with the recording, you can do so with this YouTube vid, but please spend most of your time watching the score and not randomly singing along with them — you want to be sure you learn YOUR part, not the part that you hear most clearly on the video.
  • Tenor 1s and 2s: please remember that we changed your pitches to be lower in measures 40 – 41.  You must have these clearly and accurately pencilled in.


Other announcements and reminders:

  • Please be absolutely certain your forms are completed before retreat! Remember that you cannot attend the retreat unless the office has ALL of the required forms. You can click here to see if you have completed everything.  Some of you still need to finish these!
  • Retreat: all singers are required to attend the Cantabile retreat at YMCA Camp Campbell September 15th – September 17th.  Please make sure you read your handout!  Check-in begins at 4:30.
  • NO REGULAR REHEARSAL THE DAY AFTER RETREAT (Monday, September 18).  Enjoy an evening of rest.

See you soon!

Jace, Elena, and Lori

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