Hi, Bravi and VTG Singers:
I am so truly excited for our upcoming concert this weekend. The collaboration with Laura will only be made more exciting by a beautiful visual presentation and your equally beautiful singing. This will really be a concert to remember!
First, some important information for upcoming events:
Friday, May 12 Dress Rehearsal,, 4:30 to 9 pm, FUMC:
- Concert Dress — for this concert: Shirts and pants well pressed, blue ties, well-shined shoes. No vests.
Saturday, May 13 Web of Life Concert, call time 11:30 am, in full uniform etc, (see above)
- Reception for 2017 Graduating Seniors immediately after concert (singers and parents only) for with performances by Bravi/VTG, Aria and seniors. This is required for all Bravi and VTG singers.
Monday, May 15 Recording Session, 4:30-9:00 PM Vocalise and Bravi (no VTG)
- All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Palo Alto. As before, we will be taking live videos of the recording session. Cantabile black shirts, jeans, converse, flats or nice dress shoes for men. No flip-flops, crocks, hiking boots, uggs or sneakers in technicolor.
Here’s what you can expect at tomorrow’s dress rehearsal:
Friday Dress Rehearsal:
4:30 — 6:00 PM work on a couple of pieces that need more refinement
6:00- 6:15 Break
6:15 — 8:30 Run the concert in performance order
8:30 Last reminders/directions, possible early release at 8:45
Before Friday Dress Rehearsal, please, take care of these (nothing new to you, but needs revisiting):
1. Watch two video clips sent to you by Elena on Tuesday (Turn the world, Famine Song) Practice choreography, facial expression (see my note below for more directions). Both pieces require very strong commitment to the character and neither can take a “flat” face, or an ambivalent attitude. As Yoda pointed “Do or do not: there is no try.” Commit to the genre and the character or leave the stage – -there is no middle ground.
2. Think, plan and practice how you will connect with the audience members while singing “We are a Circle”: Staring into the wall is not an answer.
3. Bridge over Troubled Water: review the score! Many entrances were missed – – when you are a senior in a few years, would you like the choir behind you sound “half-baked” and sloppy? I don’t think so!
- The movements for this piece are simple and happen only a few times. Please do not ask your conductor to lead them as you perform. This is your responsibility.
- Intonation is of the utmost importance as we perform this with Laura. Basses and tenors must “refresh” each and every repeated E natural — approach each of these pedal tones from above.
- Listen for the E that Laura gives you periodically to realign and adjust your pitch if necessary.
- Connect the movements with the narrative of the piece. Your hands represent the desperation felt by everyone experiencing famine (then and now). Imagine what that must feel like, as you sing this piece.
- Tenors and Basses, please enter with a full, strong tone on “Out of heat, under sun.” Use a very resonant tone, not a shouted or throaty sound.
- Tenors: “Weave your baskets of rushes wild” must be legato and smooth — do not allow yourselves to scoop or sing American “yourrrr.” All of these things adversely affect pitch and sectional unity.
Past Life Melodies
- Take a moment to remind yourself where you sat for this piece.
- Review the number of repetitions on “nair nair nair” and be 100% positive you know where your pitches change if you are singing the sustained notes during this section. Your conductors will be seated amongst you, so you they will help you via eye contact, but there will be no cues from the podium.
- When the first section is over, refer to the designated leader within your section for the added “oooh” pitches. Basses, look at Jace or Nathan for the low B on “yeah”.
- ALL tenors and basses should sing the upper B (half step below middle C) for the drone underneath the overtones.
Turn the World Around
- Review the movements we added for the All Choir Concert by watching the video. This was great fun but has to be more committed from every single singer.
- You must plan and rehearse a final pose for the ending. Plan on holding that pose for at least 5 seconds. Commit 100% percent to this pose. If you do not, it will look awkward.
- The first syllable of “MOUN-tain” is problematic. There are two vowels. The first one MUST be tall “ah,” similar to the word “awe.” It cannot sound like the flat-mouthed vowel in “cat.”
- Please review the transition from m. 76 – 77. It was very shaky at the last concert. The three-part chord in m. 77 should come in fortissimo, with a very earthy and full sound.
- The intro is just as important as the rest of the piece. You MUST rehearse with fully engaged facial expression and physical commitment.
- Tenors, please do not rush the opening statements of “on the earth drum beats the rain.” Intense focus and eye contact with the conductor will help this to stay together.
- NEVER sing the tempo you think we’re taking — please be sure you are with the conductor at all times.
- All parts are mezzo-forte or louder, until the very final chord.
- Tenors, please always use a legato, connected sound. Sing vowel-to-vowel.
- Review my diction recordings and the YouTube Clips for text stress, so that you are not singing robotically.
- Remember the atmosphere: we live on a planet that is immense and powerful. We each have to find our safe place in this wide world. This is the core of this piece’s message. How will you show this on your face?
Many thanks, and we’re looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!
Jace, Elena, and Justin