Thank you for the professionalism and the warm welcome to our guest from Colorado Springs, Lori Bammerburger at the last rehearsal. We all learned a great deal from her — vocal production, diction and interpretive insights. (Please note that the Kyrie was only for Lori’s work with you this past week: we might work on it in the future but at this time you don’t need to practice it, unless of course you want to!)
A note about today’s blog post – we’ll be adding the links to the practice files and Youtube clips over the weekend (technical glitch today!) Check back soon for updates!
Another learning moment for the singers and the teachers was dealing with a lower than expected preparedness of the music. Unfortunately, many of you did not have the pieces memorized this past week, and the rehearsal didn’t go as planned.
Let us learn from this: review and reconsider your home practice time and effort.
For each home practice, set a goal according to the action items below.
During practice, focus your attention on details, follow blog instructions for each song
There are only 6 full rehearsals left before concert — we can’t waste any
Action Items for Next Rehearsal, Oct 12th:
- Rise up Shepherd: memorized (should have been memorized last week!)
- Old Fox Wassail: song learned fully, memorize to the end
- Caverns in the Clouds: we finished learning the song, memorize to m. 58
- Amavolovolo: review words and choreo (you can watch it here)
- Stars Tonight: finish learning you part (work on last page especially)
- Most Wonderful Time: review
Old Fox Wassail
This was surprisingly weak in rehearsal on Wednesday. Please, make sure you can sing your part with 100% confidence and fully memorized by next rehearsal.
- Altos: make sure you’re singing harmony at m.29 – staying on the D and not moving up to the F natural with the Sopranos.
- Sopranos – make sure your harmonies are clear at m.31
- Sopranos – make sure your notes are correct in m.38: it’s just a descending major scale from La to Re.
- On the word “Now” in m.37 say the word “Nawh” and then add an “oo” vowel at the end.
- Continue to particie with the same level of enthusiasm, presence, and gusto that you demonstrated in rehearsal two weeks ago. Keep a steady beat while practicing: recommended practice tempo is 90-95 bpm, or you tapping the beat
- Have fun with the text – practice just reciting it, and even better, do so in front of a mirror so you can see if you would buy what you were selling. 🙂
- The last phrase (last four bars) was rocky for both the Sopranos and the Altos – listen to Elena’s recording to help you memorize
- You can listen to a great recording here!
- Elena’s part recordings:
Rise Up Shepherd, and Follow
This is another piece that you’ll be performing with Intermediate for the Holidays with Cantabile concert.
- Entire song learned in class. Memorize your part from beginning to end!
- Throughout the piece each phrase of “Rise…up shepherd” must grow and move the entire time. Remembering pulling your partner off the ground? Use the entire five beats of “Rise” to make the phrase build and come alive.
- As a reminder, the back row of sopranos are singing an additional line (starting on high mi) at bar 57. (Here is your line
Rise Up Shep- herd, Rise Up Shep- herd and fol- – low
E E D C C C A A A A G
- Practice the last two measures: the chords must sparkle and not waver!
- We practiced rocking forward (1, 2, 3) and backward (4, 5, 6) to help feel the groove and not rush or drag through the song.
- Focus on singing with exuberant and joyful tone while keeping the voice light and focused. Feel the groove of gospel style and move to it while practicing!
- Remember: these are exciting lyrics! Rise up, Shepherd!!! There’s something amazing coming! We should be able to hear the excitement in your voice, and see it on your faces during this song.
- Altos: to get the proper sound for this piece, practice “scooping up the earth” with your sound – not slamming on the brakes. Put your hand on your chest and practice singing your part as if you were the world’s greatest Shakespearian actor.
- Elena’s part recordings to help you learn your part:
This is the choreographed opener for our Holidays with Cantabile concert on Dec 4th.
- Please learn your parts this week. The notes are not hard!
- We will begin working on choreography next week.
- Here is a recording of Cantabile performing it in 2012 to help you practice both the music and the movement.
Caverns In The Clouds
Thank you to those of you who hung in there for this final piece of rehearsal.
- Please have your parts fully memorized by next week (from last week)
- Reminder: keep your long notes moving, growing, going somewhere, and connected to the next set of text when there isn’t a rest.\
- M.58 is the climax of this piece – it needs to sound that way. The whole piece leads up to this point – keep that in mind when you practice.
- Please pay attention to your dynamic markings throughout the last page: it’s not all loud all the time.
- Also, we worked on making more out of the swell in m.68 and m.70. However, in an effort to make the swell happen, never push or make an ugly sound. Always keep your sound beautiful and pure.
- Make sure that all of your vowels are nice and tall – use your hand (moving from a horizontal to vertical line) to help you if you need it – especially on words like “light”, “sky”, “night” etc.
- Remember all of your ending consonants, including “y” in the word “sky”, and the initial “f” in “fly”. Additionally, pay attention to your consentants in words like “clouds”, “caverns” and “fly”.
- Just like with Stars Tonight, practice just saying the lyrics over and over again, tasting them in your mouth as you say them. There are such beautiful pictures being painted with text in this piece – have fun with the words!
Stars Tonight, Judy Herrington (from last week)
As a reminder, this is a piece that we’ll be singing with Intermediate at the Holidays with Cantabile concert on Dec. 4th
- Using part-recordings sung by Elena and with the music in hand, learn your part beginning to end of song.
- At rehearsal, we spent some time with the text, reciting the poem and “tasting” the sounds of it: the consonants, the vowels and the way they glide together to create soundscapes in each phrase.
- Please, review this new practice: say the lyrics with as much excitement and wonder as the words depict.
- M.63 – m.81 — work on this section as it was particularly weak.
- Altos at m.49: there are four equal quarter notes in this bar; avoid singing dotted rhythm. Some singers have learned it incorrectly.
- M.23: in this section (and whenever there is an echo/canon effect btw the parts), the sustained notes should be sung softer to give way to the other parts entering with the melody.
- Practice stagger-breathing during all of the four bar phrases (i.e. m.7-m.10)
- Throughout the piece (and especially during the opening “oo”’s) practice making your most beautiful, pure sound. Again – experiment with where your voice is “placed” (or where it’s resonating) to see what gives you the sound that we talked about – light, open, relaxed, sound of the wind.
- Pay attention to and mark exactly where final consonants are placed. As we remember from Aria’s wonderful skit at retreat – final consonants are very important in order for the audience to understand what we are singing about!
Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (from last week)
You will be singing this with Vocalise, Bravi/VTG, and Intermediate at the Holidays with Cantabile Concert.
- Everyone should now have a copy of this, so please learn your parts this week.
- When practicing, snap on all rests. It’s fun and it helps you to avoid singing notes longer than they are!
- Altos, there are several spots where you sing harmony: please, mark them in the score some harmony in this piece, so pay attention when you practice that you aren’t just singing the melody.
- M. 61: “And caroling out in the snow.” The pickup is an eighth note, not a quarter! This is the only time it happens in the piece – -please, mark your score and sing as written.
- Another great waltzing song — dance it when you practice!
At this point, you should know your parts on the following songs.
- Grace (should be memorized)
- Vindo (practice the last three pages– especially when your part is NOT melody)
- Sing Legato (practice waltzing at home as you sing!)
- Please start working on memorizing them. We will pass out the schedule for memorization next week in rehearsal.
Review: Breathing meditation, standing position and a Yoga flow
Continue practicing breathing as follows (5 min a day.) 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
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Our first yoga flow…
Singers and musicians of any kind, athletes of all types, and creative people all over the world have long recognized the power, benefits and joy of yoga. Mindful, fluid movement through yogic poses — a flow — is one of the greatest ways to re-align your body with your mind, to feel calm, joyful and energetic. We will spend about 5 min at each rehearsal practicing different poses — monkeys, pigeons, roosters, green dragons, cats, cows, dogs and sphinxes!
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.
Other announcements and reminders:
Tour to the Crescent City: Registration is now open on the member portion of the website. As a reminder, we need to register by November 1st.
Blog Posts: If you’d like your child to be receiving the notifications of blog posts directly, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your child’s email address so we can add it to the mailing list.
Carpooling: Please use this spreadsheet to both request and offer carpooling to and/or from weekly rehearsals, events (eg. Potluck) and concerts. The more of our families that use this resource, the more useful it will be to our community. If you can offer a carpool – please add yourself to the list. Thank you!
As we mentioned above, there are only a handful of full rehearsals left in the semester, and there’s a lot more music and magic to make happen in those weeks. The only way we will get there is if every singer takes full responsibility for having every note, rest, articulation, dynamic, word, and nuance fully mastered. You wouldn’t be in Ensemble if you weren’t capable of this level of musicianship and responsibility! We have complete faith that you can do this! Now is the time to show us what truly amazing singers you each are.
We’re looking forward to seeing each of you shine at next week’s rehearsal!
Elena and Jazmine