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 focused more on longer-term goals for the Spring. We’ll be back on the same page soon enough, but in the meanwhile please stay focused and flexible… and on top of your individual practice!
This week, VTG singers should refer to the Vocalise blog for notes from Elena’s rehearsal on Famine Song and Turn the World around, as well as any other necessary reminders and suggestions for practice.
Bravi, your repertoire for the Gala is stylistically sophisticated… while it may appear straightforward, there are challenges! It will require your full determination and effort to prepare. You’ll be spectacular if you diligently dedicate yourselves to practice this week.
- Mark all scores with clear markings to follow your part. Some singers have to navigate a “roadmap” between a couple different vocal lines. It will likely be necessary to circle each pitch you are to sing. This MUST be done before our next rehearsal.
- Thoroughly learn all pitches. By this next rehearsal, there should be no questions about pitches and rhythms.
- Work toward memorization as quickly as possible. This repertoire needs to be committed to memory fully by Feb. 6; preferably before.
What I Have Done
Practice with this recording. Please remember that we will take it slightly faster. Here are some specific notes–
- Practice with a metronome!!! Set the pulse for 72 beats per minute. This is the dotted quarter note in 6/8 time and the the half note in 4/4 time.
- I want to hear solo auditions this week. Please plan accordingly and prepare the opening solo if you are interested. I am looking for full, rich gospel tone, an extroverted presentation, and conviction.
- Tenor 1, please jump to the tenor 2 line in the following places:
–mm. 7 – 8
–mm. 23 – 25 (important — we did not cover this in rehearsal)
–mm. 92 – 93
- All tenors, please sing the “baritone” line from m. 68 – 83/84 as we rehearsed (Nathan, please join them for this section, as we rehearsed).
- Everyone, please review the rhythms in mm. 32 – 33, mm. 70 – 72, m. 79, and m. 86. The interplay of two against three for these sections is rather complex and must help the groove of the song.
- All figures notated as a hum (“mm”) should be sung on “oo” instead.
- Always strive for warm, tall sounds. It should sound rich and full; never heavy or shouted.
Do You Know What it Means (To Miss New Orleans)
Practice with this recording, keeping in mind that you should strive for their ease of tone but not their funny vowels! 🙂 Please remember that all eighth notes are easily swung, and this piece should sung with an light, “off the voice” tone. Never heavy and never too much vibrato. Always keep a little air in the tone.
- Dynamics: Opening should be p to mp, then m. 21 should bump to mp-mf. m. 24 – 28 should crescendo to a nice, warm forte. Subito piano at m. 29 (similar to the beginning). mm. 35 – 36 should cresc. to forte again. Please sing very quietly under the soloist.
- Triplets in m. 23 should be sung evenly, with slight tenutos (meaning to stress them and give them a bit of weight)
- Tenors should jump down to the Bass line for mm. 35 – 36, as well as mm. 53 – 57.
- Coda should be sung with strength and conviction.
- At m. 55, where the note says “Suddenly slower, deliberate,” please sing these eight notes straight — NOT swung.
- The final two measures should be sung “Woh, Woh” instead of “Oh yeah.” Please decrescendo slightly, as well.
Basin Street Blues
Practice with this recording, with careful attention to the balance — when singing “oo” under the soloist, please sing softly with good support, as to accompany the singer. The tempo here is great; nice and relaxed. Please don’t allow yourself to rush. Work toward memory as quickly as possible! The repetitive “oo” accompaniments are simple but can be tricky to commit to memory.
Creole Love Call
Practice with this recording, and strive for the accuracy of the instruments you’re imitating. The more you commit, the funnier it will be!
- You MUST pencil in your roadmap. For this score only, you are welcome to use highlighters and colored pencils. Please make sure you have everything thoroughly and accurately marked. It will save precious time in rehearsal.
- Isaac, please sing the solo marked “Trombone (Posaune)” in mm. 9 – 12
- Nathan, please sing the solo marked “Trombone (Posaune)” in mm. 25 – 33
- Aaron and Simon, please learn the solo in mm. 41 – 45, marked “Trombone w/ mute (Pos. mit dampfer)” in the bass line. We’ll decide on Monday whose voice carries better for this.
- Each solo should have a character! If you’re a sad trombone, make it look VERY sad. If you’re going for flirtatious, be as earnest as possible.
When the Saints Go Marching In
Practice with a metronome set for 120 bpm. Please do not take the marked tempo of 138, which will sound frantic.
- Tenors, please review the octave drops on p. 6 (last bar) and make sure you’re clear as to when you drop the octave and when you return to the written octave. You will be doubled by alto 2 singers from Aria, so sing lightly, using falsetto if needed.
- Tenors, please hold off on memorizing pages 8 and 9, which I am re-writing for you. It is too high and I don’t want you to strain your voices.
- Observe staccato markings when they are in the score, but please don’t sing staccato all the time. When notes are not marked staccato, you should sing with full-bodied, legato sound.
- Remember, this is a celebratory hymn that has been removed from the church and taken to streets. It should sound like a celebration. Sing with energy, with a smile, and with enthusiasm. Imagine a street parade in New Orleans, perhaps during Mardi Gras. Put yourselves there and bring the party to this piece!
Always our best,
Jace, Justin, and Elena