Hope you are having a good start of the weekend. I am wishing you some rest, recreation and quiet time to focus inward and rejuvenate your innate energy and clarity. Continue to meditate daily and do your yoga flow. We are approaching a colder time of fall: drink your tea and plenty of water, take vitamins, sleep 8-9 hours a night, take naps and walks, pet your animals, be affectionate with your family members.
- Monday Oct. 16th Masterclass with guest composer Dr. Tim Sharp:
- Be dressed respectfully, have your mat, music, pencil with you
- Arrive no later than 5:20
- Read about Dr. Sharp and be a GRACIOUS and RESPECTFUL host
(I can take wrong notes but I won’t allow bad manners or rudeness in the least)
- During all parts of the rehearsal (including the last 30 min when we are joined once again by the parents) be FOCUSED and POLITE. Pay attention to instructions, no chatting or disrupting the rehearsal.
- Most importantly, BE CURIOUS, OPEN, POSITIVE.
- … Alignment, again: At all times whether seated, standing or walking, keep you SPINE LONG, BACK STRAIGHT, SHOULDER BLADES reaching toward the spine.
- Become aware of your body and spine alignment
- Correct it whenever you feel sliding into a “slump” position that your body has become used to from years of sitting on furniture) NO TURTLES in this choir!
- Re-train muscles, especially the ones supporting the spine by consistent and correct practice WHAT YOU PRACTICE BECOMES MUSCLE MEMORY.
- No matter what position you choose for meditation (cross legged, seated against a wall, sofa or bed, or lying on the floor, it is essential that your back be straight and your chest be open.
- Triangle of Alignment, Breath, Focus:
- Begin practice of any kind (singing, playing an instrument, studying text or doing any form of home study) this idea.
- When practicing at home, use body movement to encourage freedom of tone and breath. Also be sure to engage your core muscles as you practice and remind yourself to check your alignment.
ACTION ITEMS FOR OCT. 16TH REHEARSAL. Full instructions for each piece are further down in the blog.
- Vivos Voco: Have your part learned solid. Find out about St. Julian of Norwich.
Know exact meaning of each word. Practice with metronome to memorize
- Angel: Entire piece memorized. Be proficient in Russian pronunciation Consult diction recording. Know meaning of each phrase. Practice singing with the accompaniment attached in this link.
- Cantique de Jean Racine: solid memorization of the entire piece. Memory checks on entire piece. Be proficient in French pronunciation, use diction recording to be sure. Know word-by-word translation.
- All-Searching Light: pls. Learn your part well — this is the piece for the masterlcass with Dr. Sharp.
- Caribbean Mass:
- Altissimo, Kyrie, Credo: learned, start memorizing
- Santo, Agnus Dei: Memorized
- Amani: Continue to review. Lots of work is already done. Please, review the notes and practice text pronunciation slowly but in rhythm.
- Yoga: Continue daily practice of the second sun salutation sequence (forward fold with monkey and chair added into the flow) Practice daily — 10 rounds.
Vivos Voco, by Joan Szymko (b.1953)
A reminder of things we worked on and several concepts we learned:
- Count singing – – an excellent tool to learn rhythm. Practice the entire piece with count-singing at least once before the next rehearsal.
- Tempo Map: composer Joan Szymko, as you remember from working with her last year, is known for her attention to precision of tempi. Her scores are marked with exact tempi quarter=68, then q=92, 102 etc. Many composers simply say “faster” or “livelier” others have character remarks “infused with energy”, “excited”… But not Joan — she sticks with numbers. Using metronome, practice speaking and singing your part in exact tempi that are indicated in the score. As much as you can memorize different markings — 68, 92, 102, 78.
- Vowels and tone quality: Throughout the piece, we need vertically shaped, long and rich vowels, and dramatic, dedicated, sharp, decisive consonants. We worked on this specifically on pg. 5-7. Consonants should come just slightly before the beat so you can be open to the vowel on the beat.
- Be sure to make your entrance clean, clear and strong in the section that is ms. 40-65 and listen for the other voice parts entrances.
Angel, by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), poem by Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841)
There were truly some magical moments at the last rehearsal and I hope you felt as moved and inspired by them as I was. The piece is really progressing!
However, some of us are still busy thinking about what the next word is rather than being free to tell this beautiful and passionate story. For as long as you as a singer are worried about the next second of the score you are singing, you are unable to shape phrases and, with that, shape an overall form of the composition. Keep working to commit the words and their meaning to memory. when you were able to employ your whole being — mind, body, heart and voice to the shape of the phrase or to the text or to a big crescendo leading to the climax of the piece.
Remember, there is now an accompaniment track to practice with. Click here for it.
Cantique de Jean Racine:
This week, we refined our French diction with Jace. Please continue to use the diction recording from Jace to practice and polish.
- (From Lori) Altos, your part was clearer and more accurate in ms.24-31 as I mentioned in last week’s blog – good job correcting that! This week’s spot to double check: the descending augmented 4th in ms. 48 & 50.
About the text: It is a translation, by the 17th century French dramatist Jean Racine, (1639-1699) of a medieval Latin hymn. When Gabriel Fauré set the translation to music, he gave it the title Cantique de Jean Racine, rather than the title of the original hymn.
Verbe, égal au Très-Haut, notre unique espèrance, Word, equal to the Almighty, our only hope,
Jour éternel de la terre et des cieux; Eternal light of the earth and the Heavens;
De la paisible nuit nous rompons le silence, We break the peaceful night’s silence,
Divin Sauveur, jette sur nous les yeux! Divine Saviour, cast your eyes upon us!
Répands sur nous le feu de ta grâce puissante, Spread the fire of your mighty grace upon us
Que tout l’enfer fuie au son de ta voix; May the entire hell flee at the sound of your voice;
Dissipe le sommeil d’une âme languissante, Disperse from any slothful soul the drowsiness
Qui la conduit à l’oubli de tes lois! Inducing it to forget your laws!
O Christ, sois favorable à ce peuple fidèle Oh Christ, look with favour upon this faithful people
Pour te bénir maintenant rassemblé. Which has now gathered to bless you
Reçois les chants qu’il offre à ta gloire immortelle, Receive its singing, offered to your immortal glory,
Et de tes dons qu’il retourne comblé! And may it leave with the gifts you have bestowed upon it!
All-Searching Sight, arr. By Tim Sharp
Some edits/corrections to be sure you have marked in your music:
- Altos – ms. 18: the two notes on the last beat of the measure should be G-F# instead of B-A that is written.
- Altos – ms. 29: The whole note in this measure should be a dotted half-note. On the last beat of the measure, you should have a dotted 8th-16th combo on G-F# (as in measure 18), singing the word “If”
- Lastly, it is crucial that you dedicate at least 15-20 minutes to practicing the pitches and rhythms on this piece before next week. The composer/arranger (Tim Sharp) will be with us next week. It does not need to be memorized but does need to be in “working” order — meaning you MUST know it well enough to have your eyes up and out of the score. Connecting with a living composer on her/his own music is a very special experience, and we want to be entirely present and engaged with him next Monday.
Caribbean Mass (SATB), by Glenn McClure
- Remember, it is practically impossible to disconnect movement from singing when practicing this repertoire. Move as you practice, and practice moving. Your hips should be loose, your knees should be slightly bent as to move easily, your legs should feel alive, and you should flow with the rhythm from your feet all the way through your body.
- In the Agnus Dei, practice stomping on the downbeats as the meter changes (particularly downbeats with rests, such as those before “qui tollis peccata…”). This will help you internalize these meter changes easily.
- Please revisit pitches and rhythms for the Agnus Dei as well as the Kyrie, which we have not rehearsed in a few weeks now. Us the following listening guides to assist you:
- Kyrie (sung by the MA All-State Honor Choir, Dr. Janet Galvan, Conductor): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4CcudfDr18
- Here is Santo…
- …and Credo:
Amani: Lots of work is already done. Please, review the notes and practice text pronunciation slowly but in rhythm.
We look forward to seeing you on Monday!
-Elena, Lori, and Jace