Bravi and V.T.G. Rehearsal Blog

Hello, everyone, and welcome back!

It was great to spend an entire rehearsal with you on our first week back. This will be the case most of the time for these next few weeks, as we go full-speed-ahead toward the Gala in early February. Lots of fun music to learn, but it will require a lot of focus and dedication on your part.  So to help focus, your energy, please make sure you are re-dedicating yourself to the practice of daily meditation and breathing exercises. It will make your practicing more efficient and help your keep your minds and bodies healthy this winter!  Reminders:

2nd Yoga flow and meditation is a part of your daily routine. No less than 10 min. per day, 10 rounds of the flow, with articulation and full connection to breath.

Action Items for this week:

  1. All: Learn notes/rhythms, and start on diction for “Chan Chan” (Style should be learned well and notes should be learned well, approaching mastery)
  2. All: Learn notes and diction for “Bésame Mucho”
  3. Bravi only: Lots of review of Convidando for Monday’s recording session (more notes below)


Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club

  • The style is the most important thing. Here is a video (sound only) of the original and here is a video of the choral arrangement we’re singing. Please listen to both. The choral arrangement will be more helpful in learning your lines, but it’s important to absorb the style from the previous, original recording.  Point of clarification: the choral arrangement recording is a half step higher than we’re singing the piece (they sing in C# minor, but will sing it in C minor, as written).
  • Notes are not challenging for the most part, but rhythms (especially bass line) are very tricky.  Please spend some very serious time drilling these.
  • As you practice, please observe all repeats.
  • As you practice the very syncopated rhythms, please make sure the “chill” is still there.  It should never sound rushed or pushed.
  • The diction recordings I promised will take a little more time to get to you, but for now please use the tracks I’m providing as an aid, knowing that things could shift slightly.
  • Work toward memory as quickly as possible.

Bésame mucho – arr. Kirby Shaw

  • Please use this reference recording.   It isn’t perfect and perhaps a bit fast, but they capture the singing style pretty well.  We will sing all the words in Spanish, obviously, unlike them. 🙂
  • Tenors: please sing lightly in the highest passages — if the notes are too high, please use falsetto or a lighter, head-y tone.
  • Observe all repeats, multiple endings, etc. for now.
  • Work VERY quickly toward memory on this.  It is quite repetitive, so take a different section each day and try to commit it to memory.

Convidando – Bravi only – for recording

  • We will need to do a little re-assigning of solos for the recording session.  Please read carefully:
    1. No changes in Verse 1
    2. No changes in Verse 2
    3. Verse 3 solos (“en la guaracha…”) should now be a duet between Jerry (on top) and Ninaad on the TENOR 2 LINE.
    4. Verse 4 solos (“toquen y baylen…”) should now be a trio sung by Jerry (on top), NINAAD ON Tenor 2, and NATHAN ON BARITONE/BASS 1.
  • These words will be familiar but the soloists have to learn new notes.  Thank you so much for your flexibility.


Reminders and announcements:

  1. Recording session on Monday 1/15 (Bravi only, no VTG) Call time is 11:45 am!
    1/15 Recording Session Information for Vocalise, Bravi and Aria

    Vocalise, Bravi and Aria will attend a recording session at  All Saints Episcopal Church (555 Waverly Street, Palo Alto): Check in and out will happen in the Parish Hall. Be sure to be well-fed and well-rested ahead of your arrival! Call times for each choir are below:
    Choir Call Time
    Bravi 11:45am – 1:15pm
  2. No VTG or Bravi rehearsal on Monday night (1/15).  Enjoy an evening of rest!
  3. A reminder to sign up for voice classes here. These are not required, but serve to increase the amount of one-on-one time you get, working toward your personal vocal goals. Hope to see a few of you in my class!

Happy practicing!





January 13, 2018

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #14 – January 8, 2018

Hello, everyone, and welcome back! It was great to spend an entire rehearsal with you on our first week back. This will be the case most of the time for these next few weeks, as we go full-speed-ahead toward the Gala in early February. Lots of fun music to learn, but it will require a lot of focus and dedication […]
November 23, 2017

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #13 – November 20, 2017

November 17, 2017

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #12 – Nov. 13, 2017

Hi, Bravi and VTG: Thank you for your honesty and hard work this past week.  I asked you last week to take a critical look at your music and identify the pieces that needed the most work. When asked what you decided, most of you responded “THE MASS!!!” …with a look of some concern.  These concerns were made evident when […]
November 11, 2017

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #11 – November 6, 2017

Hi, VTG and Bravi: The concert season is approaching!  Very exciting, of course, and also a great time to take a close look at your music and ask yourselves honestly what needs work and what is in decent shape. I would like each of you to take an critical, deep look at your binder (both Vocalise and Bravi/VTG repertoire) and […]
November 3, 2017

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #10 – October 30, 2017

Hi, VTG and Bravi: As we near the performance season, we have a nice opportunity for a little preview tomorrow at the workshop! Please do your best to be on time and fully present, so that we can jump into music-making.  Tomorrow, I also encourage you to be good examples for your younger friends in Cantabile (Ensemble/Intermediate) who will be […]
October 26, 2017

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #9 – October 23, 2017

Hi, VTG and Bravi: Thanks for a really productive, enjoyable rehearsal this past Monday. In spite of a sickness and a few absent singers, I was especially pleased with the sounds you made and the exuberance you showed while we were working outside. Things are starting to take shape now, and it’s time that we turn our attention toward performing. […]
October 20, 2017

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #8 – October 16, 2017

Dear Bravi and VTG: Please note:  there are several announcements with call times for events and other important information at the end of this blog. MASTER CLASS WITH DR. TIM SHARP… What a joy it was to spend time with Tim Sharp this week!  This was a wonderful opportunity to soak up all the knowledge he has on a subject […]
October 12, 2017

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #7 – October 9, 2017

Dear Bravi and VTG Singers: Some reminders… During meditation it is essential that your back be straight and your chest be open. When practicing at home, use body movement to encourage freedom of tone and breath.  Also be sure to engage your core muscles as you practice and remind yourself to check your alignment.  In case you missed it last […]