Vocalise Rehearsal #10 11/7/16

Prep 2 Blog # 8 Week of November 11th
November 11, 2016
Intermediate Rehearsal Blog # 12 Thursday November 10th
November 12, 2016

Vocalise Rehearsal #10 11/7/16

Dear Vocalise,

Thank you for your time and focus during our Halloween rehearsal. It was great to see all of your faces and costumes!

Action Items for Monday:

  1. All pieces on the program are memorized by now. Continue to deepen your memorization level.
  2. Everyone should practice with a goal in mind; with focus and deep concentration.
  3. For all songs with movement, practice movement separately and then put it together with the singing. Don’t practice singing separately.
  4. Monterey singers: Review the competition pieces, with additional attention to the new repertoire. Practice the Pakkanen choreography alone and with singing. Use metronome (150) and practice choreo in front of a large mirror. Once you have these down, you can fully engage emotionally; that’s what will take your performance to the next level.
  5. SSA: Review all of the Arabic text for Iraqi Peace Song. Make sure your pronunciation is aligned and consistent


  • Bring back the excitement that you used to have on this piece! Harness it by bringing out the details and discovering new things every time you practice and perform it.
  • Please practice this piece omitting mm. 21 – 36, going directly from the end of m. 20 to the downbeat of m. 37.  


  • Diction:
    • Do not over-aspirate “K’s.” They should sound more like a hard “g” than an English/American “k.”
    • Sing through the double consonants (for example, “KaNNNa”)
    • Make sure there is stop in the word “kai-ki” even though the “k” is not doubled.


  • Keep the dynamic energy contained at the beginning — the first “forte” marking isn’t until m. 53, and there is still a long way to go at that point!
  • m. 53 should use a very resonant, bright sound in alto and tenor lines.  Focus the sound in your cheeks and use your resonance.
  • Don’t let the repetitive nature of this song mislead you. There are slight changes in pitch, dynamics, and the voicing of the texture for each part. Review where those change, and bring out what’s different.
  • Accent the note-changes at both m. 68 and m. 91. Crescendo through those measures and give a lively pulse to the note change without singing a break between those two notes.
  • Review where the final syllable of four-bar phrases changes and doesn’t (for example: the note changes at m. 68, but does not in the next phrase at m. 72).
  • When you get to the section at the key change (m. 77), continue to sing strong downbeats throughout. Those should be very firm landing points at every measure. This is exciting! Don’t let up at the climax.
  • M. 80, remember to take a group breath after “deh!”
  • Quick breaths at the end of m. 101 and at the end of m. 102. Watch Elena for the ritardando and these breaths.
  • Soprano divisi in measures 92 through the end should be clearly marked in your scores, accurately learned, and well rehearsed.  The inner parts are just as important as the highest soprano notes, and are crucial to support the highest notes and propel the piece toward an electrifying finish!

I Thank You God (from last week):

  • Don’t get lazy on the diction here. Forgetting to enunciate can lead us to sing “I than you Gaaah.”
  • Please review dynamics! You’re singing beautifully and expressively, but we need to pay more attention to the dynamics and dynamic changes to really push this song to the next level.
  • M. 7: Don’t be late on voicing the end of the word “trees.” That tied quarter note should become an eighth note followed by an 8th rest for your breath.
  • Mm. 8-9: No crescendo at the fermata. Soprano 2s, really bring out that beautiful line.
  • Mm. 14-18: sing through and stagger your breathing. Even though you are repeating the same four words over and over again, express each one a little more fervently.
  • M. 23: Altos, come in confidently on “I who have died…” with a firm glottal stroke.
  • Everyone mm. 62-63: Please, please, PLEASE take a good breath at measure 62 and carry through to the end of m. 63 (“now the eyes of my eyes are opened”). That’s such a beautiful moment, and it kind of falls flat when you interrupt it with a massive group breath.
  • Keep engaging with this text. There’s an extreme sense of joy and wonder in this text, and it’s set very beautifully. Think about what this kind of rapturous gratitude feels like.

Imagine radical humility and gratitude.


  • The opening must set the stage for the entire piece.  Put yourself in another environment and make sure you have specific imagery in your mind.  That scenery should be reflected on your face and in your eyes as well.
  • Review your parts along with the choreography; no part should be a surprise to you.
  • Watch the ACDA performance for pointers on the choreography and how to perform it.
  • Don’t let those entrances at m. 126 (C1) (“Kylma soita, kylma mai-ta”) surprise you. Soprano 1 in particular should take a deep breath and sing into an open vowel (think “koh” for the high B-natural.
  • All of your movement should be intentional and land sharply. Don’t throw any of it away.
  • Your forward leans should be unified and should not extend too far — only a slight lean from the waist.
  • Move your hands sharply to frame your mouth when you’re calling out or aspirating your “ha’s.”
  • Use your sternum and your eyes to trace a circle in the distance when you’re leaning.
  • Every singer must be 100% confident about the correct direction to lean, depending on which row you stand in, as well as your respective side of center.
  • Shrug your shoulders sharply and intentionally; make them seem more like a dance than you saying “I don’t know.”
  • Don’t throw away the “HEI!” after the shoulder shrugs; move your hands intentionally into the next position when you start your “leans”.
  • The syncopation and rhythmic interplay between the alto parts should serve to drive the rhythm of his song.  Please watch your conductor carefully and be right with them.
  • On the final “Pakkanen,” prepare for your movement. You know what syllable you come in on and when you come in. Be confident!

Music Down in My Soul

  • At m. 16, please lift the B-natural and spin the air through your tone to lift this major third. Do not breathe between “head” and “I hear music…”
  • Feel the rhythm of this piece in your body.  There is no reason to stand completely still–in fact the enthusiasm and deep spirit in this music should make it difficult to stand still.
  • On p. 6 (and all analogous places), remember that “everlasting” is as important as the words that come before it (joy, love, peace, etc.)
  • m. 56, please make sure not to clip or cheat the value of the final word “got.”  Keep the vowel tall enough and stay right in tempo–don’t rush.
  • m. 69: alto 1, please check your pitches and make sure you’re singing “fa-sol-la,” and NOT “sol-la-ti.”
  • mm. 81-86: remember the order of the call-and-response text:  PEACE, PEACE, LOVE.
  • In the final three measures, the most powerful notes should be the blue third (alto 1 on B-flat) and the flat 7 (alto 2 on F-natural).  These are the most important notes in a gospel scale, and should not be overbalanced by the soprano 1 high G.

Amazing Grace (from “Ower the Hills”):

  • Aim for a unity of sound through this piece, even when you’re singing separate parts – any differences are super apparent when your lines meet or cross. Notice where your diverging lines meet for unisons.
  • Review your part and memorize it. Keeping your expression in mind is the next step in performance.

Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal:

  • Diction is very important in this song! “HarK, I hear,” NOT “Har, I hear.”
  • “Lu” is the most important syllable of “Hal-le-LU-jah” – Keep that in mind whenever you sing the word and don’t pop the final syllable when you have to stop or take a breath between “hallelujahs”
  • Soprano 2s, don’t get surprised by your Hallelujahs that start on beat 3. (for example: m. 28, m. 44)
  • Altos, enjoy your syncopation! There is a lot of rhythmic vitality in your part, so bring out the rhythmic variation.
  • Alto 2s, don’t overpower the other altos throughout.

Other announcements and reminders:

  • 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 10th – TODAY!
  • November 14th: Golden State Choral Trophy Festival Orientation Meeting.  All singers who are attending the Golden State Choral Trophy Festival in Monterey, and their parents are required to be present at this meeting.  We will start promptly at 8:15pm and end at 8:45pm.  

As we near the Monterey competition and Cantabile’s holiday concert, make sure you are communicating your hard work and expressing your musicality through complete commitment with your physical presence and your facial expression. Keep your bodies healthy and take care of one another!

Always our best,

Elena, Jace, Jazmine, and Justin

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