Vocalise Blog #12: 4/3/2017

Rehearsal #13/April 5, 2017
April 7, 2017
Intermediate Blog # 13 Thursday April 6th
April 7, 2017

Vocalise Blog #12: 4/3/2017

Dear Vocalise:


Thank you very much for your attention, energy and focus in recording video footage for my presentation “Re-imagining Choral Rehearsal: building voice, community and health with creative movement, yoga and meditation” which will be delivered at the X World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona, Spain, this July.  We are recording again next Monday – please, have your mat with you, be dressed in a Cantabile t-shirt and comfortable pants.


Action Items/Expectations: all singers should be able to put a checkmark next to the items below. Memorization check will be conducted in small groups of 4-6 on Monday, April 10th


  1. These pieces are memorized for April 10th rehearsal (as per schedule):

We Are a Circle, River, This We Know, You are the New Day

Hymn to the Waters, Famine Song, Stars, Earth Songs (all), Turn the World

There has to Be a Song (I dreamed of Rain is taken off this program)


  1. Work toward memorization for “Past Life Melodies”
  2. Please, watch this clip of Famine Song and learn the simple choreo; be ready to sing and move as in the video on Monday https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6n-U2gsMBg

And watch this one for the original rendition of the song by VIDA


  1. Watch these videos to practice and learn how create overtones; these are both fascinating and helpful.




Additional Announcements and Reminders:

  • If you are taking an SAT Subject Test on Saturday, May 6th (the day of our All-Choir Concert), please fill out this form ASAP. We need to know when your exams are so that we can plan accordingly. All responses must be submitted by Friday, April 21st.
  • Tell EVERYONE about our Spring Concert! This event is twice as big as it was last year, so we want to see twice as many people! Invite friends, family, teachers, etc. Direct them to www.cantabile.org/experience-cantabile/web-of-life
  • Seniors SEND IN YOUR PARAGRAPHS AND PHOTOS. They are due this Monday, April 10th. Please email your submissions to justin@cantabile.org
  • Please mark in your calendars that our rehearsals on Monday, May 1st and Monday, May 8th at First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto begin at 5 PM, 30 minutes earlier than usual. Plan to be there by 4:45 so that we may begin on time.


We Are a Circle – Joan Szymko

  • Rehearse this it at slightly slower tempo — perhaps closer to 94 or 100 bpm.
  • Claim your space with physical activity and intention.  Altos and first sopranos: practice the polyphonic refrain at m. 15/16 with a strong walk, stepping on the downbeat and taking four strong steps forward.
  • Bravi / VTG singers and second sopranos: sing softer at m. 15.  You are restating the melody ,which we’ve heard many times by now.  Sing mezzo-piano or perhaps mezzo-forte.  Make space for the new parts to be heard.

Past Life Melodies – Sarah Hopkins

  • Practice this piece immediately after your meditation — when you are deeply connected to your breath and clear-headed.  
  • Before practicing this, spend a few moments reflecting on the happiest moments in your life. Infuse this music with that joy, from the first humm to the final overtone.
  • When we switch to “ah” at letter A, bring the sound into your cheeks with a smile.  The composer’s note says; “Heart sound: full of love and warmth.”
  • When we switch to “yeah” at letter B, continue to smile and bring the sound forward, with bright energy.  The composer’s note says “Joyous and liberated.”  Think about what those words mean to you, and how we experience them in each Cantabile rehearsal.
  • Part 4 and Part 10 are very important at letter B; particularly when you move up a whole step from D-natural to E-natural.  The E-natural is the only added pitch at this point, and it needs to be lifted high to form a bright perfect fifth with the A-natural drone below you.
  • At letter D, the “nair nair nair” melody must be very energetic, in spite of the balance being stacked against you. (when you get to read this part of the blog, send Elena an email with a word that rhymes with “Nair” I want to see how well you rhyme and yes, if you do indeed read the blog!)
  • All parts who sing “nair nair nair” should check the pitches at the end of the first phrase and second phrase (on p. 4, it’s the second measure of each system) — there is a repeated A-natural which not being sung accurately in the first phrase, and a C-natural which is not being sung accurately in the second phrase.
  • Continue experimenting with overtones. Each sound should be held for at least a second of two — focus each vowel and avoid directionless mouth noise.

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