August 27, 2015/Rehearsal #1

Week of September 21, 2015/Class #2
September 29, 2015
September 3, 2015/Rehearsal #2
September 29, 2015

August 27, 2015/Rehearsal #1

Greetings, Intermediate Families,

It was my pleasure to work with such a talented and enthusiastic group of singers on Thursday. We are a big group and will be doing lots of activities to get to know one another in the coming weeks, so for those of you who were surprised by the number of singers, hang in there, we will be like family before you know it!

Here are some notes from our different rehearsal activities:


Definitely the most important warm-up was the Vowel Signs, which touched upon five crucial vowel sounds in singing, and how we produce them in a healthful and beautiful way, with a corresponding hand-sign. If you can’t remember the hand signs, do not worry! We will do this every week. Here they are, both sounded out and in IPA, with solfa pitches below, please practice this during the week:

[u] (oooh) [o] (oh) [a] (aahh) [e] (as in the word “bend”) [i] (eee)

Sol           Fa         Mi            Re                                    Doh

Canons/Partner Songs

This week we started work on the amazing partner song from the Georgia Sea Islands, Yonder Come Day. For those of you who do not know what a partner song is, it is a song with 2 or more musical themes which can be sung simultaneously, thus creating harmony! We were off to a great start with themes 1 and 2, and next week we will add the 3rd theme, plus some chanting! Practice these two themes at home, with the movements! We are singing the song in F major. Here is a video of another chorus singing Yonder Come Day in performance, much faster than us, and with percussion – please watch: Yonder Come Day


Circle Round the Moon is a song which creates beautiful images of winter and summer, and childhood delights! Please read through the text of the song in your score this week, and look for words which are sustained for three beats or longer; see if you can discover what vowel sound is most prominent in that word, for example “time” is sung largely on the [a] (ah) vowel. “You” is sung with a very pure [u] (ooh) sound. Write the vowel sounds into your score lightly with pencil, as unified and accurate vowels are one of the secrets to beautiful singing. As we divided into 2 parts for this song, please study your part, particularly the sections which are call and response (measures 29 and 46).

Bidi Bom is a lively and rhythmic piece for Hanukkah, and I was so impressed by how quickly you learned the opening pages, particularly the recurring response “Bidi bom, bidi bidi bidi bom”. Please look through your music, clap and count the rhythm from start to finish, both for Part 1 and Part 2. Also speak the text in rhythm, with a light and energized speaking voice! Please think back to the lovely “bell-sound” you produced in that final Perfect 5th harmony on the word “bommmmmm,” closing into a humming effect with the “m” consonant.

If the Snow Could Sing I hope to hear more stories of your experiences in the snow, so please come ready to share. Please read through the text of the music as we did in rehearsal, and listen to a recording of the song here: If the Snow Could Sing


Please practice singing both the D major scale in solfa (this is for Circle ‘Round the Moon) and d minor (this is for Bidi Bom). Remember that a minor key uses different solfa syllables to designate notes lowered by a half step. Try using your solfa handsigns as well, which are provided in the front of your binders. If you would like some guidance with the D major scale, please click this link, and scroll down to D Major Scale: D Major Scale. If you would like guidance with d natural minor, click this link to see an image: d minor scale

Have a wonderful weekend, and I look forward to seeing you next Thursday! Please always feel free to write to me with questions.

Warmest regards,


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