Jace Wittig

Hi, VTG and Bravi:

Thanks for a productive rehearsal this past Monday.  For those of you (Bravi only) who showed up at the Sunday rehearsal, we thank you for your dedication and the extra time.  Let’s strive to see even more participation this Sunday!  Here are a few things to think about before next Monday… and remember, we DO have regular rehearsal, even though the SSA singers will be in Monterey.  It’s just us (woo-hoo!).

This week’s blog will cover bigger concepts and general ideas more so than usual–the specifics are largely in place, so we need to work on bringing this music alive.

Action Items for Monday:

  1. Memorization! At this point, everything should be completely memorized for the performance.  For all of you: Sing We Now of Christmas, Winter Wonderland, and for Bravi only: Suo Gan.
  2. Make sure you review all your repertoire–even the pieces we didn’t touch last week (Amovolovolo, Allunde Alluya, Grace, Most Wonderful Time, etc.).  We’re going to check ALL of the tutti repertoire at this coming week’s rehearsal, so PLEASE review them.
  3. …this includes the Sing-along repertoire.

Concepts from this past week:

  1. Memorization (Intellectual) –> Internalization (Emotional) –> Performance (External!)
  2. Refined diction
  3. Beautiful tone / balanced vocal parts


  • Please practice this piece omitting mm. 21 – 36, going directly from the end of m. 20 to the downbeat of m. 37.  
  • At the downbeat of m. 37, all basses should sing the highest E and NOT the low B.  This will improve the overall effect.  No matter how good your low B is, it won’t be heard in a dry theatre when singing with 90 sopranos and altos.
  • Diction reminders:

— do not over-aspirate “K’s.” They should sound more like a hard “g” than an English/American “k.”

— Sing through the double consonants (for example, “KaNNNa”)

— Use a similar treatment for “kai-ki” even though the “k” is not doubled.

  • Keep the dynamic energy contained at the beginning — the first “forte” marking isn’t until m. 53, and there is still a long way to go at that point!
  • m. 53 should use a very resonant, bright sound in alto and tenor lines.  Focus the sound in your cheeks and use your resonance.
  • Accent the note-changes at both m. 68 and m. 91. Crescendo through those measures and give a lively pulse to the note change without singing a break between those two notes.
  • Review where the final syllable of four-bar phrases changes and doesn’t (for example: the note changes at m. 68, but does not in the next phrase at m. 72).
  • When you get to the section at the key change (m. 77), continue to sing strong downbeats throughout. Those should be very firm landing points at every measure. This is exciting! Don’t let up at the climax.
  • Quick breaths at the end of m. 101 and at the end of m. 102. Watch Elena for the ritardando and these breaths.

Sing We Now of Christmas

  • Memory is good on this piece with the exception of the divisi on the last page, which needs to be repeatedly checked and solidified.
  • Do not rush moving eighth notes (ex: m. 10, m. 14, etc.).  Settle into the rhythm of the piece and resist the urge to let these trip ahead.
  • Tenors, please review the T1 / T2 split at the octave jump “Noel” sections.  This is in the background, but it remains important to the texture.  It creates an air of excitement.  Think of it as a distant shout of excitement that is heard echoing.
  • All voices (and especially tenors): remember that there is more power in good tone and solid unison than in singing loudly.  The higher ranges of this piece will be helped be breathing well, singing with a relaxed throat, and keeping the vowels tall.

Winter Wonderland

  • Keep working at the new words.  Remember that they must be enunciated carefully–particularly the ends of words.
  • Good words to describe this piece: debonair, stylish, laid back, entertaining.  Bad words: campy, over-the-top, rushed, overstated.  As you practice, try to embody the good descriptors with your facial expression, your posture, and your ease of stage presence.
  • Review the cut on page. 8:  mm. 47-50 are completely cut.

Suo Gan (Bravi only)

  • Review the diction recordings!  Your Welsh pronuncation came a long way since last week–keep up the good work.
  • This should be completely memorized now.
  • Rubato means “give and take.”  This piece must breathe, and rubato will help it to do so.  Review your markings for the various rallentando and ritardando markings at the ends of phrases and verses.  Then make sure these are incorporated into your final memorization process.
  • Imagine singing this to a newborn or a very young child you care about very much.  That sense of love and comfort must flow continually as you sing this song.  It is rather understated, but can be communicated most effectively with your eyes.

Ya viene la vieja (Bravi only)

  • Please practice this with a metronome!  Set it for 80, which can be the dotted quarter note.  Then gradually increase it until you get to 100, which is approximately the performance tempo.
  • Learn the words and rhythms and make sure you’re quite accurate with pitches.  This does not need to be memorized, but it does need to be polished and lots of fun!
  • Remember that asterisks are finger snaps.

O Come All Ye Faithful (Bravi only)

  • V. 1 should be memorized at this point.  Please work on memory for the rest of the verses.
  • Remember that the third verse (“Yea, Lord, we greet thee”) begins in unison, then splitting to parts on the fourth bar.
  • Don’t oversing.
  • Watch some videos of Vocal Spectrum–an international award-winning Barbershop Quartet.  Watch their synchronicity of purpose, listen for their finessed tone and delivery, and their unbelievable breath control.  That’s what we’re shooting for in this style.   Here’s a video of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jawmji4Caas&list=RDjawmji4Caas#t=37


Other announcements and reminders:

  • Tour to the Crescent City: Our registration deadline has been extended! You now have until December 1st to register for tour. Let us know if you have any questions. We hope you come with us. It would be excellent to have a complete representation of Bravi and VTG on this tour!
  • Uniform follow up: If your vest was overly large or loose, please ask your parents to adjust the strap in the back of the vest.  If you haven’t shown me your uniform yet, you owe me a photo of yourself in it, including your shoes!  Send it to my email address:  jace@cantabile.org
  • Sunday rehearsals for Bravi singers only:  Sunday rehearsals will continue this week and next week from 3:00 – 5:00pm.  Simon will lead these rehearsals… and you have received logistics via email.
  • Monday, Nov. 21 — Standard VTG and Bravi Rehearsal: While the Vocalise SSA singers are away competing in Monterey, we’ll have regular rehearsals that evening.  It should be a very productive night–thanks for your attendance.

Always our best,

Jace, Elena, Jazmine, and Justin

November 17, 2016

November 14 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #11

Hi, VTG and Bravi: Thanks for a productive rehearsal this past Monday.  For those of you (Bravi only) who showed up at the Sunday rehearsal, we thank you for your dedication and the extra time.  Let’s strive to see even more participation this Sunday!  Here are a few things to think about before next Monday… and remember, we DO have […]
November 11, 2016

November 7 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #10

Hi, VTG and Bravi: Thanks for a productive rehearsal this past Monday and congratulations on a very good performance at last Saturday’s rehearsal workshop.  I was so pleased with how “Sing We Now of Christmas” came together–you really embodied a professional spirit and you sang very well. Action Items for Monday: Keep practicing EVERYTHING and working toward complete memorization for […]
October 27, 2016

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Hi, Bravi and VTG: As we said on the Vocalise blog (which you should all read!)… Thank you for your focus, energy, and commitment while Elena was away.  We’re nearing the home stretch — the concert is just over a month away.  You’ve done a lot of good work, so keep it up! Just a reminder, we WILL be having […]
October 21, 2016

October 17 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #7

Hi, Bravi and VTG: Nice job this past week.  I get the sense that the music is finally coming alive, and we’re getting a sense of how to get out of scores and perform.  Your progress is impressive, but it’s the time of year when we must press onward to finer details like phrasing, finesse, character, and presentation.  And we […]
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Hi, Bravi and VTG: Thank you for your work last week — it was our longest, most intense rehearsal yet.  Longer rehearsals require a lot of focus, and will be increasingly common, so please prepare yourselves for them by being well-rested and practicing everything below!  The more we can get done in a focused rehearsal, the more you will enjoy […]
October 7, 2016

October 3 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #5

Dear Bravi and VTG: Thank you for your hard work in my absence last week.  As I said before, I do not take lightly the decision to miss rehearsal.  Only in a case of serious illness would I stay home.  Thank you for understanding Simon deserves your respect and gratitude for working to lead you through a lengthy rehearsal — Bravo, […]
September 29, 2016

September 26 – VTG/Bravi Rehearsal #4

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 […]
September 22, 2016

September 16-18 – VTG/Bravi Retreat Rehearsals

Dear Bravi and VTG Singers, Nice work at retreat!  It was a full weekend but your participation, as Elena often remarks, adds so much to the overall sound of Vocalise and Cantabile as a whole.  It’s quite a responsibility to balance a room of 100+ sopranos and altos, but you all do it admirably. Please be certain you also review the […]