October 11, 2017/Rehearsal #8

Intermediate Blog # 8 Thursday October 12th
October 14, 2017
Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #8 – October 16, 2017
October 20, 2017

October 11, 2017/Rehearsal #8

Dear Ensemble,

Great work at rehearsal this week!  I very much enjoyed listening to your part tests.  It was a wonderful opportunity to hear your voices individually and get to know the color and tone of your “instrument.”  Each one of you brings something valuable and uniquely YOU to our ensemble and we would not be the same without each and every one of you.  For those of you who were absent this week, we will do your part test next week.  

NOTE: there are new rehearsal tracks below for many songs AND a link to a fun and informative video on verbal vs. visual memorization techniques.  This may help in your memorization tasks this week!



  • 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.
  • Peter Go Ring-A Dem Bells – ensure that your part is accurate and memorized.  We will work on this song without music next week.
  • The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy – if you were absent this week, be ready for part testing of p. 9-end.  ALL SINGERS:  have this memorized next week – we will work without music.
  • Kyrie Eleison – practice with rehearsal tracks below
  • Amani – use rehearsal tracks below to be sure you are accurate on your part
  • Unending Flame – review your part using rehearsal tracks
  • Caribbean Mass (Santo and Agnus Dei) – review and use rehearsal tracks



Peter, Go Ring-A Dem Bells

Here is the recording of of the full performance of this song.


  • Be sure you are accurate on your part.  Then memorize by repeating the song a section at a time.  I like to start at the end of a song (ie, ms. 114-end), repeat it several times without looking at my music, then go to the section just before that (ie, ms. 95-113) and repeat it several times.  Then join those two sections together without looking at your music.  Keep adding sections on until you reach the beginning of the piece.  Remember to memorize dynamics, too!

NOTE:  if any recording file tells you you need permission to access, go ahead and request permission.  I will open it to you as soon as possible.

Soprano 1

Soprano 2 (Soprano in 2-part sections)

Soprano 2 (Alto in 2-part sections



The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy


Memorize this song this week, using the rehearsal tracks below.  For a really interesting exercise in MEMORIZATION, visit this video.  How can you use this information to help you memorize your music this week?  I am eager to hear your reports next Wednesday!

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


Kyrie Eleison by Ron Kean


Use the rehearsal tracks below to learn your part.



Below is a recording of two young men singing this song as a duet.  Listen for their beautiful phrase shaping and the precise tuning of their pitch.

YouTube video of Kyrie Eleison


High Soprano 1:

Low Soprano 1:

Soprano 2:



Unending Flame by Paul Carey


  • Listen to this recording of this song, performed by the children’s choir that commissioned it almost 10 years ago, the Michigan State University Children’s Choir.
  • Learn your part using these rehearsal tracks:




Caribbean Mass (Santo and Agnus Dei)



  • Santo (remember, we will not sing the solo lines) and Agnus Dei
  • Listen to these other movements of the mass: Kyrie and Credo, which both have wonderful steel drum band playing along!  Experiment with moving and dancing while you listen – remember where your hips are and move them, too!  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).

Everyone Makes Mistakes

We will sing this at the November Workshop and Family Concert.  Begin to learn this song, and invite your parents and siblings to learn it too!




Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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




Practicing for next rehearsal in detail: WHAT and HOW

Just a reminder that practice time expectation for the Ensemble choir is 90 minutes per week. Lori recommends this routine:

  • Begin spending a quiet few minutes practicing your breathing, yoga flow and rediscovering your standing alignment (see details below)
  • Whether you decide to practice sitting or standing, make sure your body is aligned for best vocal production and breathing.
  • Warm up for 5-7 min., using warm ups you have learned in choir or from your voice teacher
  • Choose one or two songs to practice and decide what you would like to achieve. I.e., learn a verse well, memorize the lyrics, improve your ability to sing a phrase on one breath or amplify your consonants, etc.
  • For inspiration and great sound reference, listen to the recordings attached to the blog
  • Go on and spend 15-20 min working on songs: phrase by phrase section by section, frequently checking pitch accuracy (on an instrument or your phone.)
  • For the next practice session, choose different pieces but make sure you will cover all of them before Wed.


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.


  • REHEARSAL SCHEDULE NEXT WEEK, OCTOBER 18:  Remember we have a slight change in rehearsal schedule next week for Open Rehearsal Night and Tour Info Meeting (see descriptions of this year’s tours below).  Parents, come 7:00-7:30 to observe rehearsal and then stay for a brief meeting about upcoming Cantabile tours.  This means ENSEMBLE A WILL STAY UNTIL 7:40.  Ensemble B’s arrival and end times remain the same as usual.  Thank you for your flexibility!
  • Tour to Anaheim: This is such an exciting opportunity for Ensemble to go on a tour by themselves.  We need every singer!  As a reminder, we need to register by October 15th.  Register now – you do not want to miss this exciting Ensemble tour!
  • Carnegie Hall-New York City Tour  This is a fantastic opportunity to sing in one of the greatest concert halls in the world, visit areas of NYC that are rich in musical history and visit other important and awe-inspiring landmarks.  Registration is open and the deadline to register is October 31st.
  • Annual Cantabile Gala:  your singer should have given you a packet of information about this year’s gala and fundraising auction last week after rehearsal.  We request your help putting together a fantastic auction for this event and invite you to attend the gala in February to support the wonderful programs of Cantabile.




Happy practicing!  If you ever have questions or need help with an assignment, don’t hesitate to email me at lori@cantabile.org .



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