Dear Vocalise and Bravi,
It was simply wonderful to see you all at the first rehearsal and get back to our singing. The room fills up with so much energy and excitement… aren’t we lucky to have Mondays like that?!
Just a month after releasing Cantabile’s first professional CD Music Down in My Soul, we begin recording the second one next Monday! We don’t know how many recording sessions it will take — it very much depends on the success of each recording session. The good news is that our Monday recording time is luxuriously long (and hopefully unhurried) and you will be fresh, focused and energetic when singing in the morning and afternoon.
As always, it takes everyone’s participation to achieve best results. Please, read carefully through these reminders:
— Arrive a bit earlier than the call time
— Bring folder, water bottle (and/or thermos with tea), yoga mat (to rest on during the break)
— Wear casual but appropriate clothes (we will be making video clips of the recording process)
— Wear quiet shoes and warm clothes (a scarf is a good idea to keep throat warm). You will be standing on hard stone floor for several hours — whatever your wear on your feet, it must keep them warm.
Repertoire for recording:
SATB: Grace, Vindo, Most Wonderful
SSA: Pakkanen, Iraqi Peace Song
Action Items for your practice before Monday’s recording session:
IN General: Spend ample time reviewing the piece: go through each line with a fine vocal and musical comb. Be pedantic about intonation, dynamics, rhythms etc. This one time, you need to take the emotions out of it and sing exactly what’s on the page in preparation for recording.
Record yourself on each piece or on a section: listen carefully to your vowels and overall tone and intonation.
1 The Most Wonderful Time:
We are used to singing this piece with lots of gusto and abandon as a sing-along. For the recording purposes, all aspects of singing must become lighter, more precise and smooth.
Practice in slow tempo and record your singing — listen for any roughness and imprecision that might have become habitual.
2 Grace: this piece is in a pretty good shape. But! Long notes must always have a direction: When practicing, walk on beat on every sustained note to add a sense of physical direction and anticipation to each phrase.
De-emphasize syllables that are not under stress but singing them softer and toning down vowel color (going toward a schwa.)
Voiced final consonants: Sound-uh // Found-uh // Believed-uh // Relieved-uh
Home- uh// Begun-uh// Lead-uh
Fricatives: LiKKe // KKome // FFirst// FFear // FFar BrighTT// FFear
Sibilants: ToilZ// SnareZ/
- Make sure you keep the pitch buoyant and floating upwards with the direction of the line. Similarly descend gently to avoid pushing down on the pitch
- Bravi: when you enter at m. 23, please join the tempo that the sopranos and altos have so nicely set for you. Sing your consonants slightly before the beat so that your vowels start on the beat.
- Tenors: at m. 40, sing higher through the long note on “dangers,” – use your head voice tone to comfortably energize the pitch so it doesn’t fall flat.
- On page 9, remember to sing 4-bar phrases – DO NOT breathe within these phrases. Think about how your musical phrases fit the poetry.
- Tenors: please review your pitches at mm. 72-73.
Iraqi Peace Song: MUST PRACTICE ARABIC PRONUNCIATION!!
Here is how:
- Listen to Heba speaking a section of the text. You can find the video here.
- Speak the same section in rhythm then sing it with great focus on pronunciation
- Memorize CORRECT rhythms for the phrase “Peace to the world, peace to my country, my love.” The rhythms change from verse to verse.
- Practice everything with a metronome at 58 bpm.
- Be careful to not rush dotted rhythms (dotted eighths, dotted quarters, etc.). Similarly, do not rush “hmm” any time you sing it.
- Tenors: at m. 45, bring out the B natural with an accent and sing it at mezzo-forte.
- Altos: at m. 53, pay attention to balance and sectional blend – be sure not to overpower the basses and sopranos.
- All sopranos: please review the divisi from m. 88-end. Each added part should enter confidently with an accent.
- Review all of the tempi in this song! Practice diligently with a metronome at 149.
- Remember: only Aria is singing the “Aa-ee-oo” during the intro. Everyone else make wind noises and start singing at Rehearsal A (“un-nan-nan,” etc.)
- Soprano 1s and Mezzos at Rehearsal B1: Make sure those syncopations on “Oo” are very clear.
- Rehearsal C1: Pay close attention to the pitch when you are coming down; also make sure the tone is bright and forward, not smoky and obscure; when Soprano 1s join, make sure you are well supported and are listening for the pitches when you descend. Don’t fall flat when you return to more comfortable parts of your range.
- Keep the energy up throughout! Sing with energy, but do not sacrifice accuracy and allow your singing to become sloppy.
Other announcements and reminders:
- Recording Session information:
- Be prepared to feed yourself lunch – there will be a significant break to eat something you brought or to walk a short distance to one of a few eateries in Palo Alto
- Location: All Saints’ Episcopal Church: 555 Waverley St, Palo Alto, CA
- Call times:
- Aria: 9:15am
- Vocalise SSA: 10:00am
- Bravi: 10:00am
- Lunch Break (all times approximate):
- Vocalise SSA: 12:15pm-1:40pm
- Bravi: 12:15pm-12:50pm
- Release Times:
- Aria: 3:00pm
- Vocalise SSA: 3:00pm
- Bravi: 2:00pm
Please review Jazmine’s email for other information on wardrobe, repertoire, and expectations.
Always our best,
Elena, Jace, and Justin