Rehearsal #8/March 1st, 2017

Prep 3 Blog #3 Week of February 27, 2017
March 3, 2017
Intermediate Blog # 8 Thursday March 2nd
March 4, 2017

Rehearsal #8/March 1st, 2017

Dear Ensemble,

Great to see that most  of you made good progress toward solid preparation of the concert music. Having to record The Wind made it absolutely necessary for you to give attention to detail and to reflect on your work.  

We still have lots of work to do on all of our songs, KEEP UP THE PRACTICE!  

Action Items and expectations for next Rehearsal, March 8th:

    1. Send your recording of Wind to both Elena and Jazmine: it was due last week but you have until Saturday morning to submit your recording.
    2. Finish memorizing Wind, beginning to end.
    3. Memorize Shine on Me, beginning to end
    4. Memorize The earth is full of poetry from Earth Songs
    5. Learn your part in Earthsongs from m.126 to the end.  Practice with Elena’s recording and have it solid for next week.
    6. Learn There Has To Be A Song: practice it with the accompaniment.
    7. Make sure to bring your practice log: dates and times of your practice, and the songs you practiced.
    8. Practice choreo for Kusimama if you mean to perform it at the concert, you have to learn the dance. No exceptions.
    9. Review Turn the World Around (see notes on the piece below)
    10. As a reminder, you should be at the following levels of preparedness for each song, meaning “right notes, right rhythms and right words”:
      1. Shine on Me: 100% and MEMORIZED
      2. In Safety and Bliss: 100%
      3. We Join With the Earth: 100%
      4. The Wind: 100% Memorized
      5. Kusimama: 100%
      6. Turn The World Around: 75% up to m. 41 and m.73-end
      7. The Earth is Full of Poetry: 100% and Memorized



Key ideas from the last rehearsal:

  1. Respectful interpretation of ANY music of ANY STYLE, from any TIME PERIOD, CULTURE and TRADITION requires understanding of its origin, message and purpose.
  2. Once musicians learn understand the source, they must WHOLEHEARTEDLY and COURAGEOUSLY commit to practicing and performing the music with the its true spirit.
  3. Performers are explorers of the human soul: We must constantly change ourselves to stretch the boundaries of our comfort zone, and to sing with every ounce of energy and sincerity we have.  Practice “Shine On Me” with our arms (and hearts) outstretched in joy and elation,as we did in rehearsal. Practice as if you were on stage performing for the entire world every time you open your mouth.  Not every song is a happy one, not every song is as deep and moving as the spiritual that we’re singing, but every song deserves your 100% dedication and commitment to making it magical.   
  4. Engage beyond the notes: For those of you who may have your notes and rhythms very solid, start engaging with the music beyond what’s on the page.  Spend time with the text alone, practicing it in rhythm until you find where the natural word stress lies.  Find a way to connect with the deeper meaning of the piece.  Practice singing in front of a mirror and see if your face tells the story that you want it to.  There’s quite a bit of ‘music’ in the songs that we have that we haven’t even begun to touch yet in rehearsal.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t engage with it when you practice.  You are all intelligent, capable musicians – surprise (and delight!) us next rehearsal by coming prepared to show us how you’ve already dug into the next level of music in these pieces.  


The Wind, Rich Campbell

You will be singing this song on your own at the All Choir Concert this Spring.

  • Phrasing and breath support: m.66-m.84 should be sung with long sustained phrases.  Don’t breath every three or four notes.  Sneak a breath when you need to throughout the line.
  • Remember your “accents baby” every time the chorus comes around.  Use your fingers (or better yet, your whole body) to give those sections some life!
  • Lyrical diction: when you practice make sure your vowels are nice and tall.  Use your vertical hand pointing up then forward to remind you on words like “a-round”.  This also applies on words such as “skirts” (“skeh” instead of “skur”), “did”, “sky” etc.
  • On “sings so loud” don’t clip “sings” use your “waiter hand” to carry “sings” forward.
  • Practice with a metronome: the song drags quite a bit because you’re not used to the correct tempo.  Half note = 74 bpm for the versus and 84 bpm for the choruses
  • Reminder: Sopranos no breath between m.96 and m.97.

Shine on Me, Tradition Spiritual, Arr. Rollo Dilworth

You will be singing this with everyone as the closing piece at the All Choir Concert.

  • Continue learning your part, constantly checking the the pitch you’re singing is the correct harmony, and not just what you think it is!
  • As a reminder, we will all sing the melody (top line) the first time through m.40, then we add a repeat sign back to m.6 and sing the harmonies.
  • Word stress and repetition: whenever you have a series of 8th notes (i.e. m.27) there should be a slight and natural word stress on the strong beats: aka beats 1, 4, and 7 in 9-8, or the syllable “won” on each downbeat.  The arranger even wrote in tenuto markings throughout your score to remind you – please observe them!
  • Watch out for the “blue notes” such as the Alto C# in m.12, the Sop 2 D# in 19, and the Sop 1 C# in m.30 (etc.) and make sure they are accurate and in tune!
  • Once you have a good handle on the notes and rhythms, start incorporating the feel and style of this piece.  Do you remember what the difference between and spiritual and a gospel piece is and how they are stylistically different?
  • You can listen to an excellent recording here.

There Has To Be A Song, by Andrea Ramsey (from last week)

You will be singing this with everyone as the closing piece at the All Choir Concert.

  • Start learning your part – the notes and rhythms aren’t hard!
  • Pay close attention to when the notes are quarter notes, and when they are eighth notes followed by eighth note rests.  The composer made them that way for a reason!
  • Most of this song is in unison, except for m.16-m.17, m.33-m.34, m.39-m.45, m.49., m.63-m.66, and m.73-3nd  Make sure you learn the right part!
  • You can listen to an excellent recording here.  (Please listen to the audio file of the Lawrence Children’s Choir, conducted by Janeal Krehbiel.  It is the small triangle ‘play button’ listed above the You Tube video of the Santa Barbara Men’s Choir).   

Earth Songs – We Join With The Earth, David Brunner  

  • You MUST learn your part from m.126 to the end.  (We will be singing this section next week!) Here are the divisi:
    • Treble Ia – Soprano 1
    • Treble Ib – Soprano 2
    • Treble 2a – Alto 1
    • Treble 2b – Alto 2
  • Practice sneaking short silent breaths in throughout the phrases, and breathing deeply enough to sing the long lines and notes with a good tone.

Earth Songs – In Safety and Bliss, David Brunner  

  • M.88-end is still very sloppy with entrances and cut-offs. Mark which beat you come in on, and which beats your cut off on with your “blissful hearts”.  
  • Isolate your leaps and practice them over and over, making them as smooth and legato as possible.  They still sound quite awkward and out of tune. (Ex: m.84 E to C#, m.85 E to D# etc.)
  • Just like with Turn the World Around, keep a steady beat (ideally with an eighth note subdivision) somewhere in your body.  This will help with keeping your place for your entrances and cut offs.
  • As mentioned above, start working on internalizing the text when you practice this week by reading the lyrics as poem.  See where the natural word stress falls.  Remember our rule with repeated text: every repetition has to have new musical or poetic meaning.  Start thinking about how each repetition of “blissful heart” is going to mean something different.

Turn the World Around, Harry Belafonte and Robert Freedman, Arr. Larry Farrow (from last week)

You will be singing this with Vocalise at the All Choir Concert this Spring.

  • Continue learning your part from the beginning to m.41.  In addition, start learning your part from m.73 to m.85
    • Sopranos: don’t worry about the high Bb at the end – we will address that next week.
  • Keep a steady beat somewhere on your body (feet, leg, chest etc.) to help with your syncopated rhythms.  
  • Also!  There is an important divisi to note.  M.13-16 Alto 1s sing the tenor line. (Alto 2s continue singing the alto line.)
  • Please do not work on any other sections of this piece as there are important divisi to be assigned which we do in class.  
  • Watch this fantastic video!
  • As a reminder, this song is an African folk song from Guinea about the origins of mankind, and how the elements (fire, water, mountains, earth) are what we are all made of.  The composer reminds us that we are only here for a short time, and that it’s important for us to truly know and understand each other, as we are not very different from each other.  And that from that love and understanding, we can turn the world around.  

Earth Songs – The World is Full of Poetry, David Brunner (from last week)

You will be singing this with Vocalise at the All Choir Concert this Spring.

  • Keep learning your parts for this movement, making sure that you are singing exactly the right notes in places such as m.35 and m.57
  • Please review m.55 to the end for correct notes.
  • This week in your practicing start adding in word stress, tone color etc.  
  • You can listen to a great recording of the 1st movement (“The World is Full of Poetry”) by the Spivey Hall Children’s Choir, on their album called Homeland on Spotify.  (The track is titled “The World is Full of Poetry from Earthsongs (David L. Brunner)”.)

Other announcements and reminders:

  • Jazmine’s Musicianship folder has gone missing!!!  PLEASE check your belongings and see if you accidentally picked up a gold sparkly two pocket folder that has many of my musicianship documents in it.  I think it walked off with someone by mistake!  Please email me if it went home with you.  Thank you!
  • Musicianship Homework: Make sure you are turning in your musicianship books each week!  Please make up your missed work and turn it in to Hannah every week!
  • Practice Log: As a reminder, 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.  You can now use this Cantabile Practice Log to record your practicing each week.  

Thank you again for the work that you clearly did while we were on break.  We are grateful for the love, hard work, and passion that you put into your practice time.  We still have a great deal more work to do, and we are excited to do it with you!!

Sending you our vulnerability, courage, and as always, our love,

Elena and Jazmine


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