Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #9 10/31/2016

Intermediate Rehearsal Blog # 10 Thursday October 27th
October 28, 2016
Vocalise Rehearsal #9: 10/31/16
November 4, 2016

Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #9 10/31/2016

Dear Bravi and VTG,

Thank you for your time and focus during our Halloween rehearsal.  I hope you enjoyed my carefully considered costume.  No one guessed I was dressed as a choir director!  🙁

Action Items for Monday:

  1. Keep practicing EVERYTHING with a metronome. Every singer should be internalizing and memorizing the key tempi for each piece.
  2. Keep practicing the rest of the concert rep. Keep it fresh even if we haven’t rehearsed it for a few weeks (Grace, Amovolovolo, Allunde Alluya, etc.).
  3. Memory, memory, memory!  Make sure all of your practice is leading to thorough and accurate memorization at this point.

Concepts introduced and reviewed:

  • Vocal colors and balancing needs (often different when in Bravi, vs. when in Vocalise SATB)
  • Engaging with and expressing text
  • Memorization, internalization, and expression of dynamics and tempi

Sing We Now of Christmas
This should be completely memorized at this point.  Please review your notes and rhythms, with special attention to the divisi (i.e, which notes you sing) on the new version of the last page.

  • Remember when you rehearse this that we are performing it one half step lower, in E-flat minor… modulating up to A-flat.
  • Do not rush!  Ever!  Especially suspect are the quick notes (eighth notes in m. 10 and 14, for example).  Descending lines tend to rush as well.  Remember that this is a stately celebration.  Don’t let it run away from you.
  • This is a celebration and your faces should reflect that. You are actors and performers as well as singers.
  • Always remind yourself that words with diphthongs like “now” and “joyful” should be treated carefully and with refinement. Don’t chew or snap the diphthongs… sing on the first vowel as long as possible.

Winter Wonderland

We know the tune for this relatively well… but please double-check the rhythm of your pickups and all the phrase endings. The first two quarter-note pickups are different than the pickups in the rest of the verse (i.e., m. 7, m. 13, etc.).  The vocal color for this should be debonaire and cool.  Not heavy or operatic.  Here’s an example of the color we’re going for (but not the scoops, please):

  • Lots of new lyrics!  They’ll only be funny if you annunciate.  Say the words clearly and make sure your final consonants happen in unison exactly when they should.
  • At m. 52, remember to switch back and forth between the top and bottom lines, singing in three-part divisi, so all the words are sung by everyone.
  • At m. 56 go back to reading both lines, but still in three-part divisi.
  • Basses, please add one more “jingle all the way” in the final two bars of the piece, fading away to nothing (‘niente’) in the final bar, and cutting off on beat four.
  • The last two systems of the piece should be sung in three-part divisi.

Suo Gan

VTG, a reminder that this piece is now to be sung by Bravi only.  You are released from the burden of learning all of this tricky Welsh!  

Bravi singers:

Please memorize this as quickly as possible. The first two pages should be completely memorized already.  Please strive to memorize the remainder of the piece by Monday.  The notes should be memorized for sure.  The words might need more time, but do your best!

  • Pay careful attention to the dynamic/expression markings on the last page.  They are different for each part.
  • Moving notes should always come to the front of the texture (they should be sung a bit more strongly).  In addition, other parts need to be aware of who is singing them.

Happy X-Mas, War is Over — OFF the program

Unfortunately, we have to postpone performing this song until next year. This was supposed to be a joint piece with the Ensemble choir but it is a bit too late for them to learn it.

ALL of your instructors are grateful for the opportunity to begin learning this great song. Your work has not been in vain — we will bring it back next September.

Hymn to Freedom

  • Please, review the words and make sure you have them memorized solid.  Sing it with lots of feeling. The idea that freedom, peace, and unity can be achieved through song is very powerful. Believe in it!


  • This should also be memorized.
  • Diction:

— do not over-aspirate “K’s.” They should be more glottal.

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

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

  • Don’t let the repetitive nature of this song mislead you. There are slight changes in pitch, dynamics, and the voicing of the texture for each part. Review where those change, and bring out what’s different.
  • 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, 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.
  • M. 80, remember to take a group breath after “deh!”
  • Quick breaths at the end of m. 101 and at the end of m. 102. Watch Elena for the ritardando and these breaths.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

  • There is a lot of joy and excitement in this song! You don’t want your faces and energy to say “It’s the kinda okay time of the year, I guess.”
  • Sing with bright and clear diction. It’s hard to communicate anything to an audience when they can’t tell what you’re saying.
  • Remember dynamic changes are. Remember “contrast is the spice of life.”
  • Lower voices: mm. 32-33, those should be separated, marcato
  • Mm. 56-63: Upper voices – this is the moment to be cute. Milk it! Lower voices: think robust marshmallow man.
  • “There’ll be scary ghost stories” – Add some more character here, maybe make it even comically spooky.
  • Strive for a light and buoyant tone at all times.  
  • Really dig into that crescendo at “long ago” (mm. 71-72). Contrast is key in this song!
  • “With the kids jingle-belling…” this should smoothly glide along like happy children skating gracefully on Christmas Day. Lower voices: review part. Make sure you’re not singing the melody here.
  • On the closing “Merry Christmas,” listen carefully for those non-diatonic D#s and F#s. Basses, don’t overpower the other parts. You should sing this as elegantly and gracefully as the upper voices do.  Basses, please be sure the vowel is forward and rather bright — not too heavy.

Other announcements and reminders:

  • November 5th Fall Rehearsal Information: Please read the email that went out a few weeks ago with important information about this event!
    • Call Time: 9:30am in the parking lot off of Bryant St.
    • Uniform: Black Cantabile t-shirt, smart jeans, tennis shoes
    • Please also bring: your Cantabile music, pencil, labeled water bottle, and sack lunch.  (Please do not bring your yoga mat.)
    • Pick Up: Approximately 2pm in the Fellowship Hall after the concert
  • 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 10th – which is about two weeks away!!  Don’t make Elena call you personally and remind you to sign up!
  • November 7th: Full uniform check at the beginning of rehearsal.  Everyone needs to come in their full uniform (including shoes and socks) to rehearsal on November 7th.  
  • Dec. 8 Gig with Aria at Los Altos Parc Regent: The timeline for this event has been moved forward.  Call time is 4:45, performance at 5:30, and dismissal at approximately 6:00 so you can go home and study for finals!

The performance season is just around the corner!  Keep up the good work and dig deep!

Always our best,

Jace, Elena, Jazmine, and Justin

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