October 12, 2016/Rehearsal #8

October 10 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #6
October 13, 2016
October 10th 2016/Rehearsal #6
October 15, 2016

October 12, 2016/Rehearsal #8

Dear Ensemble,

Thank you for your energy and musicality at the last rehearsal. It had our first round of memorization tests, and your teachers are very proud of the results: most of you had solid grasp of the music and could sing without the score and next to the other voice part. Well done! Now you know the process of memory checks and can fully prepare for the next one.

Practice Log: Starting this week, please record the day you’ve opened the blog, when you’re practicing, for how long, and what you’re practicing in each session.  During practice, focus your attention on details by following blog instructions for each song.  Bring your completed practice log with you to the next rehearsal.

Action Items and expectations for next Rehearsal, Oct 19th:

Memorization checks will be on Stars, Grace and Caverns.


  1. Students who didn’t pass Old Fox wassail memo test or were not present at the need to video record and send it to Elena@cantabile.org on later than Tuesday. See instructions how to record below.
  2. Allunde: part must be fully learned and memorized. For Oct. 19, watch the clip several times and learn choreography (link here)
  3. Vindo: review your part, work hard on mr. 77 to the end!
  4. Old Fox Wassail: fully memorized with correct notes (read below)
  5. Stars Tonight: Memorization complete, memo tests on Oct. 19
  6. Caverns in the Clouds, Most Wonderful time, Rise UP: fully memorized
  7. Amavolovolo: review words and choreo by watching it here

Concepts addressed this week:

  1. Vowels “Voice color speaks louder than words”: producing the sound that fits the song and its message is as important as singing with great diction. Often people in the audience are going to like a song because of the beautiful sound they are hearing.
  2. Internalize the meaning of each word and phrase of text – believe in what you’re singing. Speak the text, tasting the sounds of each word. Sing as this text was written for you, or by you and has a deep personal meaning.
  3. Diction: continue working on pronunciation with understanding that in singing we use formal language which requires crisp fricatives, slightly pressed labials, air-reinforced plosives and   your vowels tall.

Caverns In The Clouds

Your sound is coming along beautifully in this piece!

  • Your part should be fully memorized.
  • Pay attention to your diction: use stronger sound of “f” in words like “fly,” “fill” and “k” in “caverns” (etc.) to make the text come alive.
  • Reminder: keep your long notes moving, growing, going forward, and connected to the next set of text when there isn’t a rest.
  • Please pay attention to your dynamic markings throughout the last page: it’s not all loud all the time.  
  • Make sure that all of your vowels are tall and round – use your hand (moving from a horizontal to vertical line) to help you visualize the shape of the vowel. Especially in words like “light”, “sky”, “night” — these tend to be a bit spread and quite bright (hey, these two more words that have the same combination of sounds!).
  • What’s this song about for you?  Find something to connect to when you sing it – wonder, beauty, dreaming, longing – and share it with your audience in your words, your face, and in your sound.

Old Fox Wassail

Thank you to those who had this full memorized correctly this past week!  We will continue to do memory checks for those of you who did not yet have this learned.

  • In general, when you practice this, you must make sure you are practicing the correct notes, and not just what you think are the correct notes!
  • You should be practicing this with the metronome at 90-95 bpm.
  • The last phrase (last four bars) continues to be rocky for both the Sopranos and the Altos – listen to Elena’s recording to help you memorize.  Also, it’s “strangers travel far and near”, unlike the first time when it’s “strangers gather far and near”.
  • Altos: make sure you’re singing harmony at m.29 – staying on the D and not moving up to the F natural with the Sopranos.
  • Sopranos – make sure your harmonies are clear at m.31
  • Sopranos – make sure your notes are correct in m.38: it’s just a descending major scale from La to Re.
  • You can listen to a great recording here!
  • And if you still need them, here’s Elena’s part recordings

Rise Up Shepherd, and Follow

This is another piece that you’ll be performing with Intermediate for the Holidays with Cantabile concert.

  • Your entire part should be memorized from beginning to end!
  • Throughout the piece each phrase of “Rise…up shepherd” must grow and move the entire time.  Remembering pulling your partner off the ground?  Use the entire five beats of “Rise” to make the phrase build and come alive.  
  • Focus on singing with exuberant and joyful tone while keeping the voice light and focused.  Feel the groove of gospel style and move to it while practicing!
  • Remember: these are exciting lyrics!  Rise up, Shepherd!!!  There’s something amazing coming!  We should be able to hear the excitement in your voice, and see it on your faces during this song.  Practice singing in front of a mirror – would you follow you?  
    • Here’s the exact bible verse this song is based on: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”” (Luke 2:8-20, New International Version)
  • Picture yourself in a small church in the deep south: the air is stuffy and still, it’s muggy and hot, you’re in heavy robes – channel that into your sound and your movements.
  • Altos: to get the proper sound for this piece, practice “scooping up the earth” with your sound – not slamming on the brakes.  Put your hand on your chest and practice singing your part as if you were the world’s greatest Shakespearean actor.
  • Here is a good recording to help you learn the part.
  • And here are the part recordings that Elena made for you.

Stars Tonight, Judy Herrington

As a reminder, this is a piece that we’ll be singing with Intermediate at the Holidays with Cantabile concert on Dec. 4th

  • Using part-recordings sung by Elena and with the music in hand, learn your part beginning to end of song – especially the end!
  • M.51 Everyone: practice placing your “s”s correctly on the next eighth note (not the next down beat).
  • M.53-54 and m.57 Altos; please make sure your notes are correct.
  • At rehearsal, we spent some time with the text, reciting the poem and “tasting” the sounds of it: the consonants, the vowels and the way they glide together to create soundscapes in each phrase. Please, review this new practice: say the lyrics with as much excitement and wonder as the words depict.
  • Practice stagger-breathing during all of the four bar phrases (i.e. m.7-m.10)
  • Throughout the piece (and especially during the opening “oo”’s) practice making your most beautiful, pure sound.  Again – experiment with where your voice is “placed” (or where it’s resonating) to see what gives you the sound that we talked about – light, open, relaxed, sound of the wind.
  • Pay attention to and mark exactly where final consonants are placed.  As we remember from Aria’s wonderful skit at retreat – final consonants are very important in order for the audience to understand what we are singing about!

Allunde Allua

This is the choreographed opener for our Holidays with Cantabile concert on Dec 4th.

  • Please learn your parts this week.  The notes are not hard!
  • We will begin working on choreography next week.
  • Here is a recording of Cantabile performing it in 2012 to help you practice both the music and the movement.

Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (from last week)

You will be singing this with Vocalise, Bravi/VTG, and Intermediate at the Holidays with Cantabile Concert.

  • Everyone should now have a copy of this, so please learn your parts this week.
  • When practicing, snap on all rests. It’s fun and it helps you to avoid singing notes longer than they are!
  • Altos, there are several spots where you sing harmony: please, mark them in the score  some harmony in this piece, so pay attention when you practice that you aren’t just singing the melody.
  • M. 61: “And caroling out in the snow.” The pickup is an eighth note, not a quarter! This is the only time it happens in the piece – -please, mark your score and sing as written.
  • Another great waltzing song — dance it when you practice!

Other Repertoire

At this point, you should know your parts on the following songs.

  • Grace (should be memorized)
  • Vindo (practice the last three pages– especially when your part is NOT melody)
  • Sing Legato (practice waltzing at home as you sing!)

Please start working on memorizing them.  We will pass out the schedule for memorization next week in rehearsal.

Review: Breathing meditation, standing position and a Yoga flow

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.

Other announcements and reminders:

  • Potluck Information: Please read the email that went out on Thursday with important information about the potluck!
    • Call Time: 9:30am in the parking lot off of Bryant St.
    • Uniform: Black Cantabile t-shirt, smart jeans, tennis shoes
    • Please also bring: your Cantabile music, pencil, labeled water bottle, and sack lunch.  (Please do not bring your yoga mat.)
    • Pick Up: Approximately 2pm in the Fellowship Hall after the concert
  • 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 1st.
  • Carpooling: Please use this spreadsheet to both request and offer carpooling to and/or from weekly rehearsals, events (eg. Potluck) and concerts. The more of our families that use this resource, the more useful it will be to our community. If you can offer a carpool – please add yourself to the list. Thank you!

We’re looking forward to another focused, productive rehearsal next week, with more music fully memorized in preparation for our concert in less than two months!

Happy practicing!

Elena and Jazmine


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