November 7 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #10

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November 11, 2016

November 7 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #10

Hi, VTG and Bravi:

Thanks for a productive rehearsal this past Monday and congratulations on a very good performance at last Saturday’s rehearsal workshop.  I was so pleased with how “Sing We Now of Christmas” came together–you really embodied a professional spirit and you sang very well.

Action Items for Monday:

  1. Keep practicing EVERYTHING and working toward complete memorization for all of the concert repertoire.  At this point, it seems almost everything is ready, but we still have a bit more polishing to do and 100% memory is the goal for everything this coming week.
  2. Make sure you review all your repertoire–even the pieces we didn’t touch last week (Amovolovolo, Allunde Alluya, Grace, etc.)

Concepts from this past week:

  1. Tempo consistency – the ability to settle into the rhythmic feel of each piece and incorporate that into the performance
  2. Engaging and expressing the text
  3. Refined diction


  • Bring back the excitement that you used to have on this piece! Harness it by bringing out the details and discovering new things every time you practice and perform it.
  • Please practice this piece omitting mm. 21 – 36, going directly from the end of m. 20 to the downbeat of m. 37.  
  • Diction:

— do not over-aspirate “K’s.” They should sound more like a hard “g” than an English/American “k.”

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

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

  • Keep the dynamic energy contained at the beginning — the first “forte” marking isn’t until m. 53, and there is still a long way to go at that point!
  • m. 53 should use a very resonant, bright sound in alto and tenor lines.  Focus the sound in your cheeks and use your resonance.
  • 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 (m. 77), 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.
  • Soprano divisi in measures 92 through the end should be clearly marked in your scores, accurately learned, and well rehearsed.  The inner parts are just as important as the highest soprano notes, and are crucial to support the highest notes and propel the piece toward an electrifying finish!

Sing We Now of Christmas

  • Keep working toward a comfortable and pleasant physical expression of this piece, which should really shine with excitement.
  • Do not rush moving eighth notes (ex: m. 10, m. 14, etc.).  Settle into the rhythm of the piece and resist the urge to let these trip ahead.
  • Breath energy should always continue to the end of the phrase.  This means you must also know precisely where each cut off is, so you will be prepared to use your breath accordingly.  Breath energy is just as necessary in piano singing and descrendi as it is in full singing.
  • This should be totally memorized, so please review the dynamic scheme to be sure it helps bring this piece to life.

Winter Wonderland

  • Please memorize all of the new words.  This should be 100% memorized by next week, as it is a very simple arrangement.
  • Treat the words with care and a good sense of humor.  Make sure we understand from the first page that it’s okay to giggle at this piece.
  • Review the cut on page. 8:  mm. 47-50 are completely cut.

Suo Gan (Bravi only)

  • Review the diction recordings!  The language is such a crucial element to the success of the piece.
  • Settle into the tempo — don’t push ahead. Relax.
  • Please have the text completely memorized next week.  It’s impossible to polish the diction if you aren’t completely memorized.
  • Try to move past the tricky mechanics of this beautiful arrangement and consider the translation.  This is a soothing lullaby, so you should embody a sense of peace and calm while you sing this piece.

Ya viene la vieja (Bravi only)

  • Learn the words and rhythms and make sure you’re quite accurate with pitches.  This does not need to be memorized, but it does need to be polished and lots of fun!
  • Remember that asterisks are finger snaps.
  • Please accompany the S/A singers sensitively when they sing text.  Likewise, please sing fully and confidently when you have the melody, and in the contrapuntal section at the end (p. 6 – 7).

O Come All Ye Faithful (Bravi only)

  • V. 1 should be memorized at this point.
  • Review the text for verses two and three and work toward memory.
  • Remember that the third verse (“Yea, Lord, we greet thee”) begins in unison, then splitting to parts on the fourth bar.


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 10th – TODAY!
  • Next week: UNIFORM CHECKS!  Please come to rehearsal in your concert attire.  This includes your ties.  If you need to change out of your concert attire, please bring a change of clothes and you may re-dress at break.
  • Sunday rehearsals for Bravi singers only:  Sunday rehearsals will begin this week from 3:00 – 5:00pm.  Keep a close eye on your email to receive further logistics tomorrow (Friday).  Simon will lead these rehearsals.  Remember they are optional, but strongly encouraged.
  • Monday, Nov. 21 — Standard VTG and Bravi Rehearsal: While the Vocalise SSA singers are away competing in Monterey, we’ll have regular rehearsals that evening.  It should be a very productive night–thanks for your attendance.

As we near the date of Cantabile’s holiday performance, make sure you are communicating your hard work and expressing your musical progress through complete commitment with your physical presence and your facial expression. Keep your bodies healthy and take care of one another!

Always our best,

Jace, Elena, Jazmine, and Justin

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