February 7, 2018/Rehearsal #6

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February 7, 2018/Rehearsal #6

Dear Ensemble,

Thank you for a fun, rewarding rehearsal on Wednesday!  I am looking forward to exploring and learning all of the exciting repertoire we have for this spring.

Our next adventure is Cantabile’s Festival for Young Voices, March 23 and 24.  The Festival itself is on Saturday, March 24th.  This will be a day of meeting young singers from area schools while rehearsing together with a wonderful guest clinician, Dr. Daniel Afonso, from California State University, Stanislaus (check out his bio below).  Dr. Afonso is from Brazil and is an expert on Latin American choral repertoire, so we will learn several Brazilian folksongs for the Festival and we will get to participate in a Latin American drumming workshop that day as well.  Friday, March 23, we have the opportunity to receive a personal coaching session with Dr. Afonso on the songs that we will sing together with Intermediate on the Festival concert.  We are so fortunate to have this opportunity to learn from an expert in the field of Latin American music.  As a reminder, the events on Friday and Saturday, March 23 and 24 are required events in Ensemble’s season.

PRACTICE LOGS: if you are not turning practice logs in, you must begin doing that this week.  If you have been turning them in – huzzah!  NOTE – I would like all of you to include yoga/meditation practice in your logs as well as warm-ups/vocalizing. I will include a log in the blog each week.

Cantabile Ensemble Practice Log

OPEN REHEARSAL: Parents – we warmly invite you to our next Open Rehearsal, Wednesday, February 28th, from 6:40-7:00 pm.  Come and sit in (literally) with the choir to get a peek into the preparation process of our All Choir Concert.  The staff at Cantabile loves to see parents enjoying music with their singers, and to this end, we will invite parents to join us on stage at the All Choir Concert to sing several songs with us!  Don’t worry – we’ll get you prepared at the Open Rehearsals this semester.

If you ever have questions or need help with an assignment, don’t hesitate to email me at lori@cantabile.org .  Make it a great week!




Breathing meditation, standing position and a Yoga flow

Continue practicing breathing as follows (5 min a day.) Include your yoga on your practice logs each week! This technique will not only relax and center you but will also greatly improve your ability to sing long sustained phrases.

Mind and body are one continuum, reconnected through breath

  1. Sitting on the floor cross legged, close your eyes and lengthen your spine: crown reaching up/tailbone reaching into the ground, sternum lifted, chest expanded.)
  2. Notice your natural breath for several rounds, while relaxing your abdomen and facial muscles. Notice gentle expansion of the ribs and belly on the inhale.
  3. Empty the lungs completely by pulling the navel close to the spine but keeping the chest up. Inhale slowly and mindfully, filling up with air from bottom to mid- to upper lungs. Exhale slowly pulling the navel in. This is the extended breath.
  4. Continue with extended breath for a few more rounds. Feel your body expanding with shimmering luminous light and contracting into the belly. Notice your body relaxing and feeling lighter.

Standing Pose…

Is the most important pose to learn for anyone who wants to improve his/her singing, posture, health, wellbeing and creativity!  Here is your “template” practice daily and try to keep this posture intact while walking too!

  • Stand with FEET parallel, feeling “rooted” through the 5 points in connection in both feet
    • Inner heels, outer heels
    • Mounds underneath big toes and little toes
    • Big toes
  • Activate the arches of feet, relax the KNEES with a microbend
  • Tap THIGHS to activate them but stay relaxed
  • Tuck and tip pelvis slightly to find the neutral position of the HIPS: in line with knees and heels
  • Lift STERNUM noticing the space between hips and RIB CAGE
  • Relax SHOULDERS down and back (shoulder blades tucking into imaginary pockets)
  • ARMS relaxed and long, by your side
  • Reach up through sides of the SKULL, CHIN tucked in, JAW relaxed, NECK elongated.
  • Gentle smile – – feeling calm, present, rooted to the groups and open to the limitless sky of possibilities.

Flow #1 (Forward bend/monkey/chair)

  • Begin in standing pose (as described above)
  • Hands together in front, slowly raising them to a forward salute (inhale)
  • Exhale — forward bend: round the back, release neck, head, arms; let gravity pull you down, stretching the hamstrings, lower back, calves.
  • Place hands on lower back, bend knees, chin tucked: slowly unbend – vertebra by vertebra- to standing, neck and head come to place last — this takes INHALE and EXHALE
  • Slowly bring arms up as before, inhaling — forward salute and forward arch
  • Exhale- forward bend
  • Inhale — monkey (legs straight but relaxed, spine straight and long,hands on knees, back and head make a “table”
  • Exhale — forward fold, bend knees
  • Inhale — Chair (knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms raised above head)
  • Exhale — standing
  • Exhale into standing.

WARM-UPS (recordings coming soon)

Next, warm up your voice and stretch it with these vocalizes:

[mu-i-u-i-u, mu-i-u-i-u, mu-i-u-i-u]

[hu-u-u-u-u-u-u] 56—-54321

Lip trills



Banjo Pickin’ Girl, arr. Tim Sharp and Andrea Ramsey

Use this full recording and do your best to read your part as you listen.  Individual part tracks coming soon.

Begin to analyze the form of this song.  Are there verses?  Is there a chorus?  Is every verse exactly the same?  What are the differences in the sections?  We will briefly discuss how to label sections at next week’s rehearsal.  This will help you to accurately memorize the song.

Menina Me Da Sua Mao, arr. By Brad and Lucy Green

  • Use this track to learn the Portuguese pronunciation:
  • Use these tracks to practice your part:



Soprano 2

  • Answer these questions and mark in your music:
    • Where do the two voice parts sing in unison?
    • When the voice parts begin singing in harmony, who sings the melody?
    • Notice that the voice parts often sing in canon, meaning that one part begins singing and the second part begins singing the same melody a few beats later.  Are the two melodies exactly the same?  Can you explain why they are the same or why they are different?

Untraveled Worlds by Paul Halley

Listen to this recording and move your body to the beat and different subdivisions of the beat like we did in rehearsal.  Remember “step-step-glide” and putting the groupings of the eighth note in our bodies by tapping chest, head, legs and stomping feet, etc.  

Using the text printed at the beginning of your score, recite the poem as a dramatic performance.  Do not speak in the rhythm of the song, nor as the division of the lines dictates.  Speak as if you are a character in a play and this is your monologue.

Come and Sing by Wallace Hornady

Use these tracks to practice your part.  Then sing your part a cappella.  Consider recording yourself and listening back to analyze whether you sang correctly or not.  Mark the places you need to be especially careful to sing accurately.  Write it in your practice log if you do this.

Soprano 1

Soprano 2


Part testing:  I will ask you to record yourself singing your part a cappella and send it to me by February 28.  There are many free voice recorder apps available if you do not have one already.

Cantabile Festival for Young Voices 2018 Guest Conductor:

Dr. Daniel Afonso

Daniel R. Afonso, Jr. is professor of music and Coordinator of Vocal and Choral Studies at California State University, Stanislaus. He received a degree in Educação Artística from the Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI-Rio), a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa. Dr. Afonso is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has studied conducting with Carlos Alberto Figueiredo, Cees Rotteveel, Eph Ehly, and William Hatcher.

Dr. Afonso has performed with choral groups in Brazil, U.S., and Europe, and has previously taught music at the Conservatório Brasileiro de Música, Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI-Rio), and Doane College (Nebraska). He was the winner of the First Prize and the Best Performance of Villa-Lobos Work awards at the Concurso Villa-Lobos de Canto Coral, a national choral competition sponsored by the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro. Dr. Afonso is strongly committed to the performance of new music and has commissioned and premiered many choral works in the last few years, including several of his own works and works by young composition students.

He is the founding director of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Chorus and, since 2001, has prepared several choral masterworks with the ensemble. He often serves as a guest conductor with the Modesto Symphony and frequently conducts the orchestra and chorus in performances.

Dr. Afonso is a composer, arranger, and editor of choral music and has choral works published by earthsongs, Colla Voce, and Alliance Music Publications. He was composer-in-residence with the San Francisco Choral Artists during their 2014-2015 season and has also written works for the Los Angeles Children’s Choir, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and other ensembles in the US and abroad. He has written innumerous arrangements for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, including a new version of The Star-Spangled Banner for orchestra and chorus, premiered at the MSO opening concert for the 2015-16 season. Dr. Afonso is widely recognized for his research and performance of Brazilian choral music and continues to frequently present workshops and lectures about the Latin American choral repertoire—he most recently presented a series of lectures and conducting masterclasses at the Liszt Academy, in Budapest.

He is very active as a voice instructor, clinician, and guest conductor, and has presented hundreds of choral workshops, clinics, and coaching sessions throughout the United States and abroad. His professional affiliations include the Ordem dos Músicos do Brasil, the International Federation for Choral Music, and the American Choral Directors Association.


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