Jace Wittig

Hi, Bravi and VTG:

Thanks for your work these last two weeks, which has largely been separate from my agenda with Vocalise while Elena has been out of town.  Next week, things should be much more like normal… if there is such a thing in Cantabile!  🙂

Here are some notes for your practice this week:

Action Items for next Monday:

  1. Make sure “We Are a Circle” is learned confidently with rhythmic accuracy and emotional conviction so that it is ready for Elena to rehearse next week.
  2. Review divisi and your “roadmap” for “Past Life Melodies.”  Unfortunately we didn’t get to rehearse this piece last week, so please refresh your memories.  Revisit last week’s blog for a reminder on parts and divisi.
  3. Spend some more quality time with “What I Have Done” (Bravi and VTG) to be sure that what you’re singing is REALLY what the arranger put on the page.
  4. Spend some quality time with “Esti Dal.” (Bravi only)
  5. Revisit all repertoire for the semester so it is fresh (“Turn the World Around,” “Famine Song,” “I Dreamed of Rain,” etc.).


We Are a Circle

  • Be confident and ON-TIME for every entrance. The vowel of the syllable must arrive on time, so prepare the preceding consonants early, and with lots of energy (ex: “WE” at the very beginning).  This requires that you always read ahead so you’re prepared!
  • This piece should be sung with energy and vibrancy – each repetition must mean something new.
  • Spend some time thinking about the “mood” of this song.  We came up with some very descriptive adjectives for this piece — insistent, convicted, aware, open-hearted, etc.  As you practice, please incorporate these emotions into your singing.
  • Sopranos at m. 21, practice that syncopation – the last syllable comes on the “and” of beat 4, immediately before the next downbeat.
  • Watch the changes in dynamic markings between repeats like in m. 22. – remember that piano singing shouldn’t lose intensity.  In fact, the diction must have even MORE energy when singing softly.
  • Everyone at m. 27 – Forte sempre!  (always!)
  • Practice the road map on this song – don’t let the repeats, D.S. al Coda, and coda take you by surprise.
  • No rit. at the end… and most importantly, follow your conductor.  🙂

What I Have Done

  • Correct your pitches, PLEASE!  Take the time to learn these on your own OR feel free to ask someone for help.  We don’t have time to relearn the notes together.
  • Lengthen your vowels, especially on syllables that are only an 8th note long – for example, place the last consonant of “amazing” at the very end of the note. Sing “Aaaa-maaaa-ziiiing,” not “Aaaa-maaaa-zng”.
  • Sing legato throughout. You might want to make sure that every pitch and rhythm is correct, but you are completely capable of doing so with a fluid line – don’t make it choppy.  Accuracy and beauty are not mutually exclusive.
  • Really listen to each other as you sing together. No one voice should stick out above the rest; conversely, everyone must sing with a beautiful, full tone to create blend.  Practice singing through these with a buoyant, head-voice tone as a foundation and observe how maintaining a breathy sound feels and sounds. The blend already improved quite a bit when you were all singing like this.  Gradually add core and body to the sound, but never so much that you feel like you are producing a sound with a harsh edge.

Esti Dal (Bravi only)

  • Practice speaking through the Hungarian text with the pronunciation guide we went over and listen to this diction guide I made:

    …as well as this YouTube clip of a Hungarian man speaking the text.  Pay close attention to his vowel colors and the energy in his consonants (particularly the doubled ones!).

  • Everyone – look at this before next week. All of these pitches should be learned by then. No excuses!
  • Please write in the translation.  Here it is:
    • Verse 1 (tenor)

      Evening darkness overtook me near the woods.
      I have put my coat under my head as a pillow;
      I have put my hands together
      To pray to the Lord, like this:

      Verse 2 (all)
      Oh, God, give me a place to sleep,
      I am weary with wandering,
      With walking around and hiding,
      With living in foreign woodlands.

      Verse 3 (mostly tenor)
      May God give me a good night,
      May he send me a guardian angel,
      May he encourage our hearts’ dreams,
      May he give us a good night.

  • Lower voices (Baritones, all Basses) – You can phrase long notes even if you think nothing is happening. Singing should generally move toward something or away from something. There are some nice chromatic changes that provide a sense of motion even when things are not moving that much.
  • Lowest basses – keep your breath support solid and breathe when you need to. If you waver, you will make it harder for things to lock in place above you. The sound should be easy and relaxed.  Always use a warm tone.
  • Basses singing the upper part on the bottom staff (Alexey and Charlie) – count-sing through this. It is easy to get lost when you’re not focused.
  • Tenors – once you have the pitches and rhythms down, focus on singing this as legato as possible. Try singing the melody on a single connected vowel and pay attention to where you unintentionally stop the sound.

Additional Announcements and Reminders:

  • Check your emails for our updated season calendars! Print them out and remind your parents that dates, times, and locations for our Spring Concert Dress Rehearsal, Spring Concert, and Recording Sessions have been updated.
  • If you are going on tour, PLEASE make sure your tour forms are filled out on cantabile.jumbula.com as soon as possible. You have until Wednesday, March 15th to fill these out!
  • Joan Szymko, the composer of all three selections from last week’s rehearsal, will be in Residency with Cantabile on Monday, March 27. This is a great opportunity for you all to work with a composer on her compositions!
  • NO SUNDAY REHEARSALS for the next three weeks while the Requiem is happening at Symphony Silicon Valley (or on the 26th, which is a concert day for Bravi).  Enjoy your weekends, but please work hard so that rehearsals on Monday are productive.  Sunday rehearsals will resume in April.
  • A huge thank you to Justin and Jazmine, who both stepped in to cover while I was busy.  Please take a moment to thank them for sharing their time with you!

Many thanks, and enjoy your practice!

Jace, Justin, and Jazmine

 

March 9, 2017

March 6 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #7

Hi, Bravi and VTG: Thanks for your work these last two weeks, which has largely been separate from my agenda with Vocalise while Elena has been out of town.  Next week, things should be much more like normal… if there is such a thing in Cantabile!  🙂 Here are some notes for your practice this week: Action Items for next […]
March 3, 2017

Vocalise Blog #7: 2/27/2017

Dear Vocalise: Thank you for a productive rehearsal last week while Elena was away.  She and I are in contact and will continue to set clear goals and dig into deeper levels of your repertoire in her absence.  She misses you greatly, as I’m sure you know! With anything you sing, you will receive what you put into it.  This is incredibly […]
February 23, 2017

Feb. 13 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #5

Hi, Bravi and VTG: I hope you’re enjoying your week off, and that you all had a chance to rest, celebrate, and re-focus!  We have lots of new repertoire coming your way over the next few weeks, and all of your conductors are looking forward to getting back to work. Simon’s notes from last week’s rehearsal are below.  Please review […]
February 9, 2017

Feb. 6 – Bravi Rehearsal #4

Hi, Bravi and VTG: VTG singers should refer to the Vocalise blog, which will be posted very soon, for their rehearsal this week.  Hang in there, VTG — your work will be very helpful in bringing Bravi up to speed as they rejoin you with Vocalise in rehearsal next week! Bravi: First and foremost, thank you for your hard work […]
February 2, 2017

Jan. 30 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #3

Hi, VTG and Bravi: This week, for the last time this semester, the blog will address Bravi and VTG singers separately, since we’re working on different goals until next week’s gala.  Most of the blog is devoted to Bravi since VTG spent most of last Monday with Elena and Vocalise.  We’ll be back on the same page soon enough, but in […]
January 27, 2017

Jan. 23 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #2

Hi, VTG and Bravi: This week’s blog will address Bravi and VTG singers separately, since we’re working on different goals for the next few weeks.  Most of the blog is devoted to Bravi since VTG spent all of last Monday with Elena and Vocalise.  The next few weeks will be intense for the singers in Bravi, while VTG will be […]
January 12, 2017

January 9 – VTG / Bravi Rehearsal #1

Hi, VTG and Bravi: This week’s blog will address Bravi and VTG singers separately, since we’re working on different goals for the next few weeks.  The next few weeks will be intense for the singers in Bravi, while VTG will be focused more on longer-term goals for the Spring.  We’ll be back on the same page soon enough, but in […]
December 1, 2016

November 30 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #12

Dear VTG and Bravi, Thank you for your time, energy, and beautiful voices at both Monday’s rehearsal and last night’s dress rehearsal. We know that the week before the final performance can be the most exhausting time of the season. Thank you for taking that in stride and devoting yourselves to some meaningful, emotionally energized performance.  You’ve come a long […]