Jace Wittig

Hi, Bravi and VTG:

You have made beautiful progress this year.  During this past week’s rehearsal, I was exceedingly proud of your preparedness, your flexibility, and your beautiful singing.  And what an experience and incredible opportunity we have to make music with Laura Inserra!  This will be a concert to remember, for sure.

BUT!  (Isn’t there always one of these?) …

After hearing “Rain Music,” I asked how it went (since I was playing piano and couldn’t watch).  The response was: “They sound incredible!  But they look really unhappy.”  So while your singing is incredible, we must remember that a concert is also a visual experience.  There will be so much to hear and see at this concert — Laura’s incredible playing, a video and visual component as well… you must rise to the occasion so that you are also the focal point of the performance.  Rehearse this way. Practice this way in your own time.  Always perform.

Action Items/Expectations: all singers should be able to put a checkmark next to the items below.

  1. All pieces must be memorized  – Bridge Over Troubled Water and Imagine should be memorized by our rehearsal on Monday, May 1st. (Seniors — please memorize ALL solos so you can be called upon at any moment to sing any of them.)
  2. When reading the blog, enter all markings and comments into your score, per the detailed descriptions below.
  3. All solo parts are open for auditions: if you are interested, it’s best to send Elena your  recording of the solo.

Additional Announcements and Reminders:

  • We are rehearsing off-site at First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto (625 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto) this week and next week. Rehearsal will begin at 5 PM, 30 minutes earlier than usual. Plan to be there by 4:45 so that we may begin on time.
  • Sunday rehearsal will be held again this week at Simon’s grandparents’ home from 3:00 – 5:00pm.  Please attend if you can. Their address is 227 Verano Drive, in Los Altos.
  • Tell EVERYONE about our Spring Concert! This event is twice as big as it was last year, so we want to see twice as many people! Invite friends, family, teachers, etc. Direct them to www.cantabile.org/experience-cantabile/web-of-life

Repertoire Notes:

Only a portion of the pieces are covered below. All singers must practice all pieces each week.

Refer to previous blogs for details.

Famine Song

  • Make your movement natural in the “rain” sections – your hand position should be relaxed, not clawed or firm and straight-fingered – follow one of your hands with your eyes
  • Please sing with longer vowels throughout, but especially in the “Weave my mother, etc.” section – closing to the consonants early on “baskets” and “rushes” will not work.
  • Tenors, drop out after “Rushes” in m. 33 – return on the B in m. 34
  • Please sing with a head-voice tone on “Rushes wild” in each chorus.  Basses are excused from singing the high D here.
  • “Out of heat, under sun,” “Famine’s teeth, famine’s claw” can still be sung with more grit, more bite – singing with a snarling resonance will better contrast with the legato that immediately follows.

Past Life Melodies

  • Closely read the accompanying rehearsal notes and program notes in the score. Take a moment to internalize their meaning and be prepared to practice and sing with your whole self.
  • Please be 100% certain about your group number, and where your group was seated at this week’s rehearsal.
  • Always sing with a smile – your tone and face should exude joy at all times. It’s not a dirge!
  • When you are making your tone more resonant, do so with your breath, not by pushing and creating tension in your larynx.
  • Keep the sound bright and very resonant — never “yell-y” or oversung.
  • In the final section, Isaac, Alexy, and Nathan should sing the high B (tenor octave) rather than the low B.

Rain Music

  • Practice with a mirror, for your family, with a phone and take video of yourself… whatever it takes!  Insist that your visual presentation of this piece reflects the energy and power of the music during every second you are on stage.
  • Diphthongs should always be refined — especially in words like “Loud” and “Louder.”  Remember, the first vowel is “ah,” like “father” not a flat /ae/ like the word “rather.”
  • Crescendo throughout the final note and drive the sound to the end of the piece, with a strong cutoff.  Be confident about where this final “m” is placed.

Esti Dal

  • Unfortunately, there has been very little rehearsal time for this… I trust it’s in excellent shape.  🙂
  • Again, consider your facial expression and your physical presence for this piece.  It is an unfamiliar language for our audience.  How will you show them what the piece is about?
  • Sing legato 100% of the time.

Always our best,

Jace, Elena, and Justin

April 27, 2017

April 24 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #14

Hi, Bravi and VTG: You have made beautiful progress this year.  During this past week’s rehearsal, I was exceedingly proud of your preparedness, your flexibility, and your beautiful singing.  And what an experience and incredible opportunity we have to make music with Laura Inserra!  This will be a concert to remember, for sure. BUT!  (Isn’t there always one of these?) […]
April 21, 2017

April 17 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #13

Dear Bravi and VTG: Thank you for your hard work while I was rehearsing Vocalise.  Jazmine mentioned that she had a great time working with you and that you sang very beautifully. Our concerts are just around the corner, so we must take the music beyond the rehearsal process and focus on performance. Each time you practice, please consider: 1) […]
April 13, 2017

April 10 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #12

Hi, Bravi and VTG: We are quickly approaching the final rehearsals of the semester and the very exciting opportunities to perform our Spring concerts with our guest artist, Laura Inserra. (Take a few minutes to look  through her website, where she has lots of information about the instruments she creates and plays.) She’s a fascinating person and we are very […]
April 6, 2017

April 3 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #11

Hi, Bravi and VTG: Thanks for an excellent rehearsal last week.  We’ll have more photos and video this week, so please come prepared! PICTURES and VIDEO at next rehearsal! What to wear: Any cantabile T-shirt (tour, black Cantabile casual, Lord of the Rings…) Bottoms: Yoga pants Ok or stretchy jeans for girls (no skirts, please), boys — shorts or pants […]
March 30, 2017

March 27 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #10

Hi, Bravi and VTG: We are moving ever forward!  What an experience to work with Joan Szymko on her music, as well as some of our other repertoire.  I’d like each of you to spend some time this week, during your practice, reflecting on our time with her.  What did you learn?  What new insights did you gain?  Did she make […]
March 22, 2017

March 20 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #9

Hi, Bravi and VTG: Thanks for a great rehearsal on Monday night. I agree whole-heartedly with Elena’s remarks: VTG has risen to a more successful level of preparation and ability these past couple weeks.  Please keep the hard work — it’s really paying off. As Elena said in the Vocalise blog:  “Joan Szymko [composer of “We Are a Circle”] will be […]
March 16, 2017

March 13 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #8

Hi, VTG and Bravi: It was great to spend a full rehearsal with you all last week, following a couple unusual weeks while Elena was away.  Thanks for your hard work and flexibility while I was elsewhere! Action Items for this week: Bravi and VTG: learn all words and pitches (including added pitches) for “Rain Music” by Laura Farnell. Work […]
March 10, 2017

Vocalise Blog #8: 3/6/2017

Hi, Vocalise: Thank you for Monday’s rehearsal.  Learning a large amount of new material in one rehearsal is difficult, particularly when the music is so rhythmically complex.  Keep working on it — we’ll get there!  Elena will be very excited to return next week and see the beginnings of your work on this new repertoire… and you will have a […]