November 15, 2017/Rehearsal #14

Prep 1 Blog #10 Week of November 13, 2017
November 17, 2017
Prep 2 Blog #10 Week of November 13, 2017
November 17, 2017

November 15, 2017/Rehearsal #14

Dear Ensemble,

I hope you were as inspired and filled with joy by Elena’s visit to us this week as I was!  And kudos to you for responding to her conducting and suggestions so flexibly and willingly.  That is a hallmark of a true artist – to be open to new ideas and to be willing to take risks and try new things.  Your singing was some of the best you have done yet!  Keep practicing, using the notes below, to reinforce these ideas and get ready for the concert.

I am thankful for every one of you and the unique gifts and personality you bring to Ensemble.  I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving break.

If you ever have questions or need help with an assignment, don’t hesitate to email me at .




Schedule for Thanksgiving Week

Reminder: there is no rehearsal Wednesday, November 22nd because of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Additionally, the office will be closed Wednesday, November 22nd through Sunday, November 26th.   

Binder Collection!

Please make sure and bring your binder with you on Wednesday, Nov 29th as we will be collecting them to give you new music for the following semester.

Holidays with Cantabile Dress Rehearsal Information

Date: Tuesday, November 28th

Location: California Theatre, 345 S. 1st Street, San Jose

Call Time: 4:45 pm

Release Time: 8:00 pm

Please be aware that we work exceptionally hard to ensure that not a moment of time is wasted at these rehearsals.  Sometimes, however, these rehearsals need an extra few minutes to ensure that the hard work that the singers have put into their artistry all semester can come through in their performance.  As such, despite our very best efforts otherwise, we sometimes do run behind schedule.  We appreciate your patience and understanding if this becomes the case.

Drop off location: Singers will be dropped off at the curb on the Artist’s Entrance: East side of Market Street, just south of the Hilton Hotel.

Pick Up: Singers will be picked up in the back lobby of the California Theater, off of Market Street.  Please plan on parking your car and coming inside to check out your singer.

Attire: Full Concert Dress: Black blouse, black palazzo pants, black stockings, black character shoes, hair neatly done, concert makeup.  No accessories.  

Please bring with you: Music Binder, Water Bottle (with your name on it), Pencil. A snack will be provided.

Holidays with Cantabile Concert Information

Date: Sunday, December 3rd

NOTE:  Ensemble does not need to attend the rehearsal on Sunday morning

Location: California Theatre

Call Time: 5:15 pm

Drop off location: Singers will be dropped off at the curb on the Artist’s Entrance: East side of Market Street, just south of the Hilton Hotel.

Check Out: Check out will happen in designated areas throughout the theater, after the concert has completed.

Attire: Full Concert Dress for all choirs: see above.

Please make sure you eat a good dinner before coming to the concert.  

Please bring with you: Water Bottle (with your name on it)

Holidays with Cantabile Tickets Now On Sale

Please visit the Cantabile website to buy your tickets today – they are going quickly!  Additionally, we need your help in filling the hall, so invite your extended family, friends, teachers, and neighbors today!

End Of Semester/Last Rehearsal Dates

Please note that we will not have any more rehearsals after the Holidays with Cantabile concert on Sunday, December 3rd.  Regular rehearsals will resume Wednesday, January 3, 2018.

Tour Registration Reminder

If you haven’t already told us about your plans to attend tour, please either register via our website or email Jazmine ( and let us know your status.  Thank you!



  • Keep practicing all the concert repertoire using the recordings and notes below
  • Continue to practice the yoga flow of monkey and chair.  Regular practice of yoga and meditation are important elements of your practice routine.  Descriptions of monkey and chair poses are below.



Kyrie Eleison by Ron Kean

  1. Remember Elena’s work with you this week:  find the high points of phrases, or the important syllables, and move towards them and accent, or lean on them.  Notice when the other voice part takes over and your part fades back.  Think of her swimming analogy.
  2. Altos, you are like cellos when your line has the moving notes underneath Sopranos’ light, descant-like line.  Sing it with warmth and passion.
  3. Use this recording of the song to sing along and challenge yourself to sing your part completely unaccompanied.  
  4. DYNAMICS: although we worked quite a bit on shaping phrases and observing the dynamic markings in the score, we can still do more with this.  Please challenge yourself to make your dynamic levels in sharper contrast – ie, make your piano quieter and your forte louder (but never louder than lovely!).
  5. Always, always have the text in the front of your mind.  In this song, you also need to have a sub-text running through your mind, since the text is simple and repetitive.  Remember the instances of pleading for mercy we talked about and make up your own personal story line to act out as you sing.
  6. NOTE:  because this song lies rather high and because there are long phrases requiring incredible breath control, it is imperative that you sing this song often over the next four weeks.  Think of it as strength training or conditioning and sing it at least once every day!




The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy

  1. Rediscover the joy of the text of this song as you practice, imagining yourself seeing a baby sister, brother, cousin or friend’s newborn baby for the very first time.  You would experience excitement, joy, wonder, awe.  Allow those emotions to come into a physical expression in your face and in your body.  Watch yourself in a mirror to see if it is visible.
  2. Remember, during every piano interlude, we will do the following choreography:
    1. Two steps to the right and two to the left, “leading” with your hips
    2. Right foot steps forward/back, left foot steps forward/back, again, leading with the hips
  3. Here is a recording of the whole piece – use it to test yourself to see if you are independent on your part.  Individual part tracks below.  

The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy-Soprano 1

The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy-Low Sop1 Ending

The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy-Soprano 2 (Sop in 2-part sections)

The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy-Soprano 2 (Alto in 2-part sections)

The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy-Alto


Unending Flame by Paul Carey

  1. Use this recording to see if you can sing your part independently.
  2. Continue to practice the clapping in the way we adjusted it at last Saturday’s Fall Rehearsal.  Hands come up the first time you sing the word “clap” and stay up until the piano interlude.  Slowly bring them down at measure 80.  Bring your right hand back up at measure 94 to clap again.  At the end, remember to hold hands together at the end, holding the arms up until I cue you to bring them down.  All claps are performed by bringing the right hand up and reaching the left hand across your body to clap on the right hand.  Hands are always a straight blade.

Unending Flame-Soprano

Unending Flame-Alto


Peter, Go Ring-A Dem Bells arr. Jeffery Ames

  1. Here is the recording of of the full performance of this song.
  2. Review and think about the meaning and importance of the text.  Put yourself in the shoes of the people who would have sung this song and how you would feel singing the words from their perspective.

Soprano 1

Soprano 2 (Soprano in 2-part sections)

Soprano 2 (Alto in 2-part sections


Caribbean Mass (Santo and Agnus Dei)

  1. Use these rehearsal tracks to ensure accuracy of your part and memorize



  1. The recordings of a performance of the pieces can still be found here: Santo (remember, we will not sing the solo lines) and Agnus Dei.
  2. Listen to these other movements of the mass: Kyrie and Credo,  NOTE:  we are not singing these on the concert.  I just want you to be familiar with them and understand the context of the two movements we are singing with Vocalise (Santo and Agnus Dei).


  1. Sop 2’s and Altos:  practice finding your first note as we break into harmony in measure 6.  Sing the interval between the D on “liberte” and your next note many times!
  2. Be sure to include clapping and marching in place (ms. 20 – step right first) as you practice.  

Soprano 1 High

Soprano 1 Low

Soprano 2



Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Use these rehearsal tracks to be sure your part is accurate and continue to memorize.




Continue practicing breathing as follows (5 min a day.) This technique will not only relax and center you but will also greatly improve your ability to sing long sustained phrases.

Mind and body are one continuum, reconnected through breath

  1. Sitting on the floor cross legged, close your eyes and lengthen your spine: crown reaching up/tailbone reaching into the ground, sternum lifted, chest expanded.)
  2. Notice your natural breath for several rounds, while relaxing your abdomen and facial muscles. Notice gentle expansion of the ribs and belly on the inhale.
  3. Empty the lungs completely by pulling the navel close to the spine but keeping the chest up. Inhale slowly and mindfully, filling up with air from bottom to mid- to upper lungs. Exhale slowly pulling the navel in. This is the extended breath.
  4. Continue with extended breath for a few more rounds. Feel your body expanding with shimmering luminous light and contracting into the belly. Notice your body relaxing and feeling lighter.

Standing Pose…

Is the most important pose to learn for anyone who wants to improve his/her singing, posture, health, wellbeing and creativity!

Here is your “template” practice daily and try to keep this posture intact while walking too!

Stand with FEET parallel, feeling “rooted” through the 5 points in connection in both feet

  • Inner heels, outer heels
  • Mounds underneath big toes and little toes
  • Big toes

Activate the arches of feet, relax the KNEES with a microbend

Tap THIGHS to activate them but stay relaxed

Tuck and tip pelvis slightly to find the neutral position of the HIPS: in line with knees and heels

Lift STERNUM noticing the space between hips and RIB CAGE

Relax SHOULDERS down and back (shoulder blades tucking into imaginary pockets)

ARMS relaxed and long, by your side

Reach up through sides of the SKULL, CHIN tucked in, JAW relaxed, NECK elongated.

Gentle smile – – feeling calm, present, rooted to the groups and open to the limitless sky of possibilities.

Our first yoga flow…

Singers and musicians of any kind, athletes of all types, and creative people all over the world have long recognized the power, benefits and joy of yoga. Mindful, fluid movement through yogic poses — a flow — is one of the greatest ways to re-align your body with your mind, to feel calm, joyful and energetic. We will spend about 5 min at each rehearsal practicing different poses — monkeys, pigeons, roosters, green dragons, cats, cows, dogs and sphinxes!

Flow #1 (Forward bend/monkey/chair)

Begin in standing pose (as described above)

Hands together in front, slowly raising them to a forward salute (inhale)

Exhale — forward bend: round the back, release neck, head, arms; let gravity pull you down, stretching the hamstrings, lower back, calves.

Place hands on lower back, bend knees, chin tucked: slowly unbend – vertebra by vertebra- to standing, neck and head come to place last — this takes INHALE and EXHALE

Slowly bring arms up as before, inhaling — forward salute and forward arch

Exhale- forward bend

Inhale — monkey (legs straight but relaxed, spine straight and long,hands on knees, back and head make a “table”

Exhale — forward fold, bend knees


Inhale — Chair (knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms raised above head.

Exhale — standing

Exhale into standing.

Comments are closed.