September 12, 2016/Rehearsal #3

September 7, 2016/Rehearsal #3
September 11, 2016
Prep 3 Rehearsal # 1 Week of Sept. 16th
September 16, 2016

September 12, 2016/Rehearsal #3

Dear Vocalise,

Thank you for another great night of rehearsal.  It was lovely to see all of your parents present at the Parent Orientation, and we’re delighted that you’re so excited about our tour in the Crescent City (New Orleans) this summer: it’s going to be an amazing tour!  Please see below for your action items for this week, and keep in mind you have a shorter practice window since you’ll be in on retreat all weekend!

Grace (SATB), arranged by Mark Hayes

  • By this point, your parts should be 100% solid.  
  • During our rehearsal on Monday night, Jace reminded us of the importance of being able to hear (or at least actively listen for) the most important line(s) during sustained notes.  As you practice this week, make sure you know which part you should be listening for during your held notes (circle/mark it in your score!), and definitely make sure you know when your part IS the most important part that should be heard.
  • Also during those sustained notes, make sure you’re floating on top of the pitch, keeping it alive and spinning throughout its full length.  
  • On words like “praise”, “days”, etc. make sure the “z” sound is also on pitch.
  • Pay particular attention to phrasing (drawing big arches in the sky), and the subsequent dynamic implications, especially on the longer held notes.  (We did this two weeks ago with the SA singers.)

Listen to the excellent rendition of the piece on Spotify: BYU Women’s Choir’s CD, “Wondrous Love”

I Thank You God (SSA)

This will be one of our pieces for competition in Monterey.  We have just under 10 weeks until our competition date, so while this piece may appear simple in some ways, as we discussed, its beauty and complexity is in the details.  

  • Have your part learned by 9/26 rehearsal (in two weeks), again – the notes and rhythms aren’t hard – this piece comes alive in the details
  • Circle all of the time signature changes, key signature changes, and tempo changes throughout the piece.  As a reminder, the 8th note always stays the same through time signature changes, so keep a steady 8th note pulse by tapping it somewhere on your body while you practice.
  • As you practice, see if you can identify all of the “electric” chords that we started to identify in rehearsal.  See if you can figure out which notes in the chords are going to create that electricity, and identify which voices they’re in.  
  • Pay attention to the text – this is a beautiful poem by e.e. cummings, and it’s vital that you connect with the text and the words in this song when you’re practicing it.  Find something that you’re extremely grateful for – your health, your family, your friends at Cantabile – and think of that every time you sing “I thank You…”

Below is the recording of Cantabile singing this from Spring of 2013:

Iraqi Peace Song (SSA)

Congrats to Malaina on an excellent solo audition on Monday night.  We will hear Alisha on the solo at the next rehearsal. If anyone else is interested, please, let email Elena.

And a big thank you and congrats to Julia Wu for her beautiful cello accompaniment!  The sound of the cello adds a great depth, warmth, and richness.

  • PLease, fix wrong notes and rhythms: In particular:
    • m.88, m.92, and m.94 Altos: Make sure the rhythms are correct here: almost everything (except the first note) is on an off-beat.  This is the second week in a row this has been explicitly called out for correction.  Please make sure you practice it correctly
    • m.97-m.99 Altos: Again – the rhythm is different here than in the rest of the song.  Please make sure you learn it correctly. (And that the whole note in m.99 gets 4 full beats.)  It only takes one person going on auto-pilot for this section to sound messy.  Don’t be that person. 🙂

Here’s the original CD track, of which this choral version is an adaptation.

Music Down In My Soul (SSA)

This another piece that we’ll be taking to Monterey for competition.  It’s great that so many of you still remember this from the last time we performed it.  As such, learning your parts should be easy enough: please have them learned by next week.  Below is the recording that Cantabile made back in Spring of 2013 to help you practice:

Vindo (SATB)

  • This should be learned by now.  Please see previous blogs for rehearsal notes.  
  • Focus on making a brighter, folky sound, especially during the “A-i-yaa…” sections

Here’s the video we watched in rehearsal last week.

Amavolovolo (SATB)

  • We didn’t rehearse it this week, but make sure your parts are learned and ready to go for next week’s rehearsal.

Here’s the video of the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir we watched in rehearsal

Please, start learning the moves!


As a reminder from last week, for those new to Vocalise and new to Cantabile, here is how we roll in this super-advanced choir:

  • Once a piece is introduced in rehearsal, it must be practiced at home consistently.
  • Not all pieces of the repertoire are practiced at each rehearsal, it is simply impossible. You still have to review/practice/improve them on your own.
  • A schedule of learning/memorizing repertoire will be sent/handed out at the next rehearsal.
  • Singers are to make notes in scores/notebooks to reflect interpretation, history, poetry and any other aspect/concept explored in rehearsal. (not knowing composer’s name, place of origin and whether he/she is alive or dead is not cool, end of story.)  
  • LEARN YOUR NOTES AT HOME: In rehearsal, we come together to interpret the music together, hone our vocal artistry and explore the boundless creativity of a choral ensemble.  
  • Strength is in numbers but excellence is in personal responsibilities. Choir makes you stronger by lifting your voice high; you make the choir shine by bringing precision and brilliance into its every chord.  


Other announcements and reminders:

  • Monterey (SSA Singers) – Please make sure you register and pay for the trip by no later than September 23rd.  Please contact the office if you have any questions about the trip.
  • Retreat: all singers are required to attend the Cantabile retreat at YMCA Camp Campbell THIS WEEKEND September 16th – September 18th.  Please make sure you read your handout!
  • Carpooling:  Please use this spreadsheet to both request and offer carpooling to and/or from weekly rehearsals, events (eg. Retreat) 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!
  • Girls: We are changing the shoe requirement for this year.  Please purchase your new shoes (Capezio Daisy Ballet Flat in black) through Amazon or Capezio asap!

We’re looking forward to a wonderful retreat with all of you this weekend.  As you rehearse with Ensemble, we encourage you to remember the analogy of the boats and the waves, and to help create a space founded on trust, joy, and curiosity for Ensemble to join you in.    

See you on Friday!

Elena, Jace, and Jazmine

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