Bravi and V.T.G. Rehearsal Blog

Dear VTG and Bravi:

Happy Labor Day weekend!  I hope you have a beautiful weekend and a nice holiday (remember there is no rehearsal this coming Monday). 

…but since you have some time off, you should have PLENTY of time for regular practice!  🙂 Here are a few reminders about our expectations:

  • Once a piece is introduced in rehearsal, it must be practiced at home consistently.
  • Not all pieces of the repertoire are practiced at each rehearsal — it is simply impossible. You still have to review/practice/improve them on your own.
  • A schedule of learning/memorizing repertoire will be sent/handed out at the next rehearsal.
  • Singers are to make notes in scores/notebooks to reflect interpretation, history, poetry and any other aspect/concept explored in rehearsal (not knowing composer’s name, place of origin and whether he/she is alive or dead is unacceptable.)  
  • LEARN YOUR NOTES AT HOME: In rehearsal, we come together to interpret the music together, hone our vocal artistry and explore the boundless creativity of a choral ensemble. Note-teaching in rehearsal is not what we’re here to do. We can help this process for sections that are tricky, but you must uphold your end of the deal.
  • “Strength is in numbers but excellence is in personal responsibilities.” Choir makes you stronger by lifting your voice high; you make the choir shine by bringing precision and brilliance into its every chord.  

Action items and reminders for this week:

  1. Be seated on your mat and quiet, ready to start our breathing meditation by 5:28. Elena will begin exactly at 5:30. This means arriving no later than 5:20 for Bravi Singers.  (VTG, you’re off the hook because you’re already there!) . You must bring your yoga mat to rehearsal every week.
  2. Practice the standing breathing meditation (see instructions below) and the first yoga flow every day for at least 10 min. It can be done any time but is most impactful before your practice.
  3. Watch and listen performance examples listed below for each composition mentioned – ones we learned on Monday and some new ones.
  4. Write translations from the Italian and Latin texts (Mass) into your score.
  5. VTG singers — revisit all vocal exercises we covered in our warmup rehearsal — lip trills, “bo bo bo,” sirens, slides, etc. Even if you are having an no-practice day, you need to go through these exercises. It should take 7 – 10 minutes, maximum.

“Stacking up” alignment and mediation

  • With feet parallel, press down with 5 points of each foot: inner/outer heels, mounds under small and big toes, and big toes
  • Arches lift, calves and thighs activate
  • Micro bend in knees
  • Setting the frame: hips – ribcage – shoulders
    • neutral position of hips and pelvis
    • abdomen relaxed, ribcage soft, sternum lifted – space between pelvis and ribcage expanded
    • shoulders back and down, arms relaxed
    • chin slightly tucked in, back of neck lifts and softens
    • lips, cheeks, eyelids, forehead soft
    • tongue relaxed and fills the mouth
  • Eyes closed or slightly opened with soft gaze into an imaginary candle flame
  • Bring your attention to the belly and observe the rise and fall of each breath
  • Imagine your entire body as one hollow luminous space. Breathe normally or with extended breath, exhaling fully and inhaling from low- to mid-, to upper lungs.


Caribbean Mass (SATB), by Glenn McClure

  • Kyrie
    • Please review the notes for the last few bars of Kyrie at home.  We did not get to these in Bravi/VTG rehearsal, so we only briefly touched this section in Vocalise.
    • Please pay close attention to the beginnings of each statement of “Christe eleison.”  The pitches are different than the “Kyrie” section.  You must read ahead and prepare yourself for each line.
  • Santo
    • CORRECTION: Ms. 10 and ms. 35 should be a G-natural, as written
    • We went over the pronunciation of the Italian text and practiced rhythms, especially in the “solo” lines.  Take particular note of the rhythm in ms.11-12 and 36-37.
  • Listen to this rendition of the piece on by the MA All-State Honor Choir, Dr. Janet Galvan, Conductor:
  • Here is Santo…
  • …and Credo:

Amani (SATB), by Jim Papoulis 

  • Review the French and Swahili diction with this recording
  • Please be sure your parts are thoroughly and accurately learned — the notes are not always the same for each repetition of text (compare mm. 3 – 5 to mm. 6 – 8, for example).
  • These practice tracks might help!  Tenor track here…  and Bass track here.
  • Set a metronome while you practice to ensure that you aren’t rushing.  Set it for 96 beats per minute.  If you find this is too quick, slow it down to 86.

Twelve Days of Christmas (Bravi/VTG only), by Straight No Chaser

  • Review your pitches for this, up through measure 45 (halfway down on page 5).  After this point, the arrangement becomes quite involved, and we did not spend as much time on the rest of it.  But everything up to that point should be learned confidently by next rehearsal.
  • If you’d like to sing along with the recording, you can do so with this YouTube vid, but please spend most of your time watching the score and not randomly singing along with them — you want to be sure you learn YOUR part, not the part that you hear most clearly on the video.
  • Tenor 1s and 2s: please remember that we changed your pitches to be lower in measures 40 – 41.  You must have these clearly and accurately pencilled in.


Other announcements and reminders:

  • Parent orientation is Monday, September 11th at 7:15 pm.  Your parents must attend – we will cover a whole year of vital information! Bravi/VTG/Vocalise is a family commitment: for you to be successful, your parents must be well informed and stay current to all our activities.
  • Retreat: all singers are required to attend the Cantabile retreat at YMCA Camp Campbell September 15th – September 17th.  Please make sure you read your handout!

Jace, Elena, and Lori

August 31, 2017

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #2 – August 28, 2017

Dear VTG and Bravi: Happy Labor Day weekend!  I hope you have a beautiful weekend and a nice holiday (remember there is no rehearsal this coming Monday).  …but since you have some time off, you should have PLENTY of time for regular practice!  🙂 Here are a few reminders about our expectations: Once a piece is introduced in rehearsal, it […]
August 25, 2017

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #1 – August 21, 2017

Hi, Bravi and VTG singers! A heartfelt “welcome back” to Cantabile!  I cannot express how much it thrilled me to hear from a couple of you after rehearsal, and to learn from Lori and Elena that week one was full of camaraderie and enthusiasm. It’s going to be a great year.  So, onward to the blog and your action items! […]
May 11, 2017

May 8 – Bravi / VTG Blog for Spring Concert

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, […]
April 27, 2017

April 24 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #14

Hi, Bravi and VTG: You have made beautiful progress this year.  During this past week’s rehearsal, I was exceedingly proud of your preparedness, your flexibility, and your beautiful singing.  And what an experience and incredible opportunity we have to make music with Laura Inserra!  This will be a concert to remember, for sure. BUT!  (Isn’t there always one of these?) […]
April 21, 2017

April 17 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #13

Dear Bravi and VTG: Thank you for your hard work while I was rehearsing Vocalise.  Jazmine mentioned that she had a great time working with you and that you sang very beautifully. Our concerts are just around the corner, so we must take the music beyond the rehearsal process and focus on performance. Each time you practice, please consider: 1) […]
April 13, 2017

April 10 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #12

Hi, Bravi and VTG: We are quickly approaching the final rehearsals of the semester and the very exciting opportunities to perform our Spring concerts with our guest artist, Laura Inserra. (Take a few minutes to look  through her website, where she has lots of information about the instruments she creates and plays.) She’s a fascinating person and we are very […]
April 6, 2017

April 3 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #11

Hi, Bravi and VTG: Thanks for an excellent rehearsal last week.  We’ll have more photos and video this week, so please come prepared! PICTURES and VIDEO at next rehearsal! What to wear: Any cantabile T-shirt (tour, black Cantabile casual, Lord of the Rings…) Bottoms: Yoga pants Ok or stretchy jeans for girls (no skirts, please), boys — shorts or pants […]
March 30, 2017

March 27 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #10

Hi, Bravi and VTG: We are moving ever forward!  What an experience to work with Joan Szymko on her music, as well as some of our other repertoire.  I’d like each of you to spend some time this week, during your practice, reflecting on our time with her.  What did you learn?  What new insights did you gain?  Did she make […]