Bravi and V.T.G. Rehearsal Blog

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!

Since it is our first blog of the season, here is some important info:

    1. Vocalise and Bravi/VTG blogs will be sent to you no later than Thursday afternoon, starting next week. You can wait for an email from the office notifying you that it has been updated or simply check the website.
    2. Your weekly home practice should be no less than 90 minutes. The blog is your guide to have focused and effective practices.
    3. Home practice shouldn’t be “crammed” into one session: I recommend that you decide on a weekly practice schedule and stick to it as much as you can. Naturally, some weeks are different and you will need to adjust but having a schedule is key. This is the art and the science of practicing — make it a happy ritual.


  • New: meditation and a short yoga flow is now a part of your daily warm-up. You will need to make time for it. See more below.


  1. Bring your yoga mat to every rehearsal unless you hear otherwise. It’s a part of you rehearsal gear: mat, music, comfortable clothing.
  2. Regarding clothing: While singers should wear clothes that let them move freely, bend and sit on the floor, we ask that they remember that Cantabile is a place where we create art. No pajama pants (or tops), no very short shorts, or other clothing that takes casual to the extreme where it becomes sloppy. Colors are always welcome 🙂

Action items and reminders for this week:

  • 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 singers will already working hard!)
  • 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 best before your practice.
  • Watch and listen performance examples listed below for each composition mentioned – ones we learned on Monday and some new ones.
  • Write translations from the Italian and Latin texts (Mass) into your score.
  • VTG Singers: incorporate Lori’s vocal exercises into your warmups.  Please make sure to use your whole voice — head voice (or “Falsetto”) and chest voice (low voice). Sirens and slides are great.  Go through the passaggio (“break”) rather than avoiding it.
  • Bravi and VTG: continue listening work with Amani and Twelve Days of Christmas in Africa (links at the bottom of this email).

“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 open with soft gaze into an imaginary candle flame
  • Bring your attention to the belly and observe rise and fall of each breath
  • Imagine 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

  • In rehearsal we sight-read the Kyrie and Santo movements
  • We began to discover the translation of the text, of these two movements, which is a combination of Latin and Italian. Please write the English translations from the third page of your score of these two movements into your score before rehearsal next Monday.
  • As a reminder, Alto 2’s will sing the Tenor part in the Kyrie
  • At letter D, remember, you are “human percussion” while the steel drums have the melody.  Make the accents in this section obvious.
  • In the Santo, there are a couple of typos:
    • Ms. 10 and ms. 35 – the G should be a G-sharp
    • Ms. 14 – sopranos should sing an eighth note E at the end of the measure on the word “La,” just like all the other voice parts
  • Listen to this rendition of the piece on by the MA All-State Honor Choir, Dr. Janet Galvan, Conductor:
  • Here is Santo:
  • And here is Credo:

Amani (SATB), by Jim Papoulis

  • Review the text (the French and the Swahili!).  Speak in rhythm. First under tempo, then gradually increase the speed.
  • This is an adaptation of an SSAA piece, so you will not hear your parts on this recording, but nonetheless it will help you internalize the rhythms and flow of the words:
  • You should also use this diction recording. 

Twelve Days of Christmas in Africa

  • Here’s a listening link.
  • The most important thing to do at this point is listen and learn the flow of the piece.  We will have to do a little re-writing of this arrangement in our rehearsals, so please don’t get too attached to any one part just yet.
  • Pick out the different carols, and start to memorize how they feel in this tempo, which might be a little different than what you’re used to hearing.


Other announcements and reminders:

  • A very warm welcome to our newest Vocalise members: Abigail, Amalya, Claire, Grace, Liana, Kathrina, Maya, Madelen, Elanor, Nivi, Callie, Amy and Aria, as well as new VTG members Samaan, Chris and Shreyas!
  • A HUGE thank you to our two choir parents for this year: Natalya and Allison!

Parent orientation is Monday, September 11th at 7:15 pm.  Your parents must attend – we will cover a whole year of vital information! 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!

Thank you all for an amazing first week of making music together.  Have a wonderful weekend and we’ll see you next Monday!

Jace, Elena, and Lori


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 […]
March 22, 2017

March 20 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #9

Hi, Bravi and VTG: Thanks for a great rehearsal on Monday night. I agree whole-heartedly with Elena’s remarks: VTG has risen to a more successful level of preparation and ability these past couple weeks.  Please keep the hard work — it’s really paying off. As Elena said in the Vocalise blog:  “Joan Szymko [composer of “We Are a Circle”] will be […]