Ensemble Rehearsal Blog

Dear Ensemble,

I am proud of you and I’m excited for our performance this weekend!  The work you did at the dress rehearsal on Tuesday night and then at our regular rehearsal on Wednesday was remarkable.  Keep challenging yourself to be better every day.  Be sure to practice today, tomorrow and Sunday before you come to the theater, striving to understand the text of your songs at a deeper level or to show the story and emotion of each song more clearly.  Also, remember that you must sing through Kyrie every day in order to be confident on your memorization of it for the concert.

If you ever have questions or need help with an assignment, don’t hesitate to email me at lori@cantabile.org .  Announcements and reminders are at the bottom of the blog.





  • Keep practicing all the concert repertoire using the recordings and notes below
  • Continue to practice the yoga flow of monkey and chair.  Regular practice of yoga and meditation are important elements of your practice routine.  Descriptions of monkey and chair poses are below.



Kyrie Eleison by Ron Kean

  1. Sing this song at least once a day every day between now and the concert!  Focus on the organization of the song.  For example, how many phrases are in each section of the song?  Are they exactly alike, or different?  How are they different?  Draw a visual picture of the different phrases to aid in your memorizations or write out the words on a piece of paper.
  2. Always sing this song with your own subtext in your mind.  Picture the people or situations in which you would plead for mercy.
  3. Use this recording of the song to sing along and challenge yourself to sing your part completely unaccompanied.  

The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy

  1. Rediscover the joy of the text of this song as you practice, imagining yourself seeing a baby sister, brother, cousin or friend’s newborn baby for the very first time.  You would experience excitement, joy, wonder, awe.  Allow those emotions to come into a physical expression in your face and in your body.  Watch yourself in a mirror to see if it is visible.
  2. Remember, during every piano interlude, we will do the following choreography:
    1. Two steps to the right and two to the left, “leading” with your hips
    2. Right foot steps forward/back, left foot steps forward/back, again, leading with the hips
  3. Here is a recording of the whole piece – use it to test yourself to see if you are independent on your part.  Individual part tracks below.  

The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy-Soprano 1

The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy-Low Sop1 Ending

The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy-Soprano 2 (Sop in 2-part sections)

The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy-Soprano 2 (Alto in 2-part sections)

The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy-Alto


Unending Flame by Paul Carey

  1. Use this recording to see if you can sing your part independently.
  2. Continue to practice the clapping in this song.  Hands come up the first time you sing the word “clap” and stay up until the piano interlude.  Slowly bring them down at measure 80.  Bring your right hand back up at measure 94 to clap again.  At the end, remember to hold hands together at the end, holding the arms up until I cue you to bring them down.  All claps are performed by bringing the right hand up and reaching the left hand across your body to clap on the right hand.  Hands are always a straight blade.

Peter, Go Ring-A Dem Bells arr. Jeffery Ames

  1. Here is the recording of of the full performance of this song.
  2. Review and think about the meaning and importance of the text.  Put yourself in the shoes of the people who would have sung this song and how you would feel singing the words from their perspective.

Soprano 1

Soprano 2 (Soprano in 2-part sections)

Soprano 2 (Alto in 2-part sections


Caribbean Mass (Santo and Agnus Dei)

  1. REMEMBER to watch Elena in the performance and do whatever movements she shows you!
  2. The recordings of a performance of the pieces can still be found here: Santo (remember, we will not sing the solo lines) and Agnus Dei.


  1. Sop 2’s and Altos:  practice finding your first note as we break into harmony in measure 6.  Sing the interval between the D on “liberte” and your next note many times!
  2. Be sure to include clapping and marching in place (ms. 20 – step right first) as you practice.  

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Spend some time thinking about the choreography changes Elena made at the dress rehearsal.  If you’re unsure of anything, check with Jessie when we all arrive at the theater on Sunday.


Continue practicing breathing as follows (5 min a day.) This technique will not only relax and center you but will also greatly improve your ability to sing long sustained phrases.

MInd and body are one continuum, reconnected through breath

  1. Sitting on the floor cross legged, close your eyes and lengthen your spine: crown reaching up/tailbone reaching into the ground, sternum lifted, chest expanded.)
  2. Notice your natural breath for several rounds, while relaxing your abdomen and facial muscles. Notice gentle expansion of the ribs and belly on the inhale.
  3. Empty the lungs completely by pulling the navel close to the spine but keeping the chest up. Inhale slowly and mindfully, filling up with air from bottom to mid- to upper lungs. Exhale slowly pulling the navel in. This is the extended breath.
  4. Continue with extended breath for a few more rounds. Feel your body expanding with shimmering luminous light and contracting into the belly. Notice your body relaxing and feeling lighter.

Standing Pose…

Is the most important pose to learn for anyone who wants to improve his/her singing, posture, health, wellbeing and creativity!

Here is your “template” practice daily and try to keep this posture intact while walking too!

Stand with FEET parallel, feeling “rooted” through the 5 points in connection in both feet

  • Inner heels, outer heels
  • Mounds underneath big toes and little toes
  • Big toes

Activate the arches of feet, relax the KNEES with a microbend

Tap THIGHS to activate them but stay relaxed

Tuck and tip pelvis slightly to find the neutral position of the HIPS: in line with knees and heels

Lift STERNUM noticing the space between hips and RIB CAGE

Relax SHOULDERS down and back (shoulder blades tucking into imaginary pockets)

ARMS relaxed and long, by your side

Reach up through sides of the SKULL, CHIN tucked in, JAW relaxed, NECK elongated.

Gentle smile – – feeling calm, present, rooted to the groups and open to the limitless sky of possibilities.

Our first yoga flow…

Singers and musicians of any kind, athletes of all types, and creative people all over the world have long recognized the power, benefits and joy of yoga. Mindful, fluid movement through yogic poses — a flow — is one of the greatest ways to re-align your body with your mind, to feel calm, joyful and energetic. We will spend about 5 min at each rehearsal practicing different poses — monkeys, pigeons, roosters, green dragons, cats, cows, dogs and sphinxes!

Flow #1 (Forward bend/monkey/chair)

Begin in standing pose (as described above)

Hands together in front, slowly raising them to a forward salute (inhale)

Exhale — forward bend: round the back, release neck, head, arms; let gravity pull you down, stretching the hamstrings, lower back, calves.

PLace hands on lower back, bend knees, chin tucked: slowly unbend – vertebra by vertebra- to standing, neck and head come to place last — this takes INHALE and EXHALE

Slowly bring arms up as before, inhaling — forward salute and forward arch

Exhale- forward bend

INhale — monkey (legs straight but relaxed, spine straight and long,hands on knees, back and head make a “table”

Exhale — forward fold, bend knees

INhale — Chair (knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms raised above head.

Exhale — standing

Exhale into standing.





Remember, we DO have rehearsal next week, Wednesday, December 6, 5:00-7:00 (no musicianship classes this week).  We have not heard from some of you as to whether or not you will be there.  Please do your absolute best to attend and let us know your plans HERE.

Bring your new green binder with the Montalvo Arts Center piece, Four Bridges.  Composer Howard Hersh will be with us to work with us on it.  If you have a few minutes next week (after the concert), please spend some time reading through the music using the sound clips on SOUNDCLOUD



If you did not turn in your regular black binder last week, please be sure to bring it next week.


FOR YOUR EASY REFERENCE: Holidays with Cantabile Concert Information

Date: Sunday, December 3rd

NOTE:  Ensemble does not need to attend the rehearsal on Sunday morning

Location: California Theatre

Call Time: 5:15 pm

Drop off location: Singers will be dropped off at the curb on the Artist’s Entrance: East side of Market Street, just south of the Hilton Hotel.

Check Out: Check out will happen in designated areas throughout the theater, after the concert has completed.

Attire: Full Concert Dress for all choirs: see above.

Please make sure you eat a good dinner before coming to the concert.  

Please bring with you: Water Bottle (with your name on it)


Holidays with Cantabile Tickets Now On Sale

Purchase tickets here.

December 1, 2017

November 29, 2017/Rehearsal #15

Dear Ensemble, I am proud of you and I’m excited for our performance this weekend!  The work you did at the dress rehearsal on Tuesday night and then at our regular rehearsal on Wednesday was remarkable.  Keep challenging yourself to be better every day.  Be sure to practice today, tomorrow and Sunday before you come to the theater, striving to […]
November 20, 2017

November 20, 2017/Special Edition Blog

Dear Ensemble Singers and Parents, I am excited to let you know that I have received the score from composer Howard Hersh for his Montalvo Arts Center Sound Installation commission titled Four Bridges.  It is a wonderful piece, full of mystical, magical and somewhat nostalgic moments that the children’s choir delivers over a marvelous orchestral score.  Please see links to the […]
November 17, 2017

November 15, 2017/Rehearsal #14

Dear Ensemble, I hope you were as inspired and filled with joy by Elena’s visit to us this week as I was!  And kudos to you for responding to her conducting and suggestions so flexibly and willingly.  That is a hallmark of a true artist – to be open to new ideas and to be willing to take risks and […]
November 11, 2017

November 8, 2017/Rehearsal #13

Dear Ensemble, The count-down has begun!  Only one rehearsal remains before Dress Rehearsal, with one regular rehearsal after that, and then the Holidays With Cantabile CONCERT!  I am so excited about our first performance together at the California Theatre with all of our Cantabile family members in Intermediate, Vocalise, Aria, Bravi and VTG.  It is going to be a glorious […]
November 3, 2017

November 1, 2017/Rehearsal #11

Dear Ensemble, Thank you for a focused, productive rehearsal on Wednesday.  Your commitment to our artistry as a choir and to learning all you possibly can is inspiring! ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS: Call Times for the Fall Rehearsal: TOMORROW, SATURDAY NOV 4th Please note your call time for the Fall Rehearsal TOMORROW Saturday, November 4th.  Your call time is 9:00 am and […]
October 27, 2017

October 25, 2017/Rehearsal #10

Dear Ensemble, As we draw nearer to the Holidays With Cantabile concert on Dec. 3, I want to encourage each of you to visualize yourself on the stage of the grand California Theater, completely confident that you know your music thoroughly and are eager to share the message or story of each song with your audience.  This wonderful experience can […]
October 21, 2017

October 18, 2017/Rehearsal #9

Dear Ensemble, Thank you for a joyful, productive rehearsal this week.  Every rehearsal you experience some wonderful growth moment, whether it is your vocal sound or your ability to sight read a piece with no help from the piano or your beautiful dramatic expression as you sing.  We are making good progress towards being ready for the holiday concert!  However, […]
October 14, 2017

October 11, 2017/Rehearsal #8

Dear Ensemble, Great work at rehearsal this week!  I very much enjoyed listening to your part tests.  It was a wonderful opportunity to hear your voices individually and get to know the color and tone of your “instrument.”  Each one of you brings something valuable and uniquely YOU to our ensemble and we would not be the same without each […]