October 18, 2017/Rehearsal #9

Vocalise Rehearsal #7 – 10/16/17
October 21, 2017
Intermediate Rehearsal Blog # 9 October 19th
October 21, 2017

October 18, 2017/Rehearsal #9

Dear Ensemble,

Thank you for a joyful, productive rehearsal this week.  Every rehearsal you experience some wonderful growth moment, whether it is your vocal sound or your ability to sight read a piece with no help from the piano or your beautiful dramatic expression as you sing.  We are making good progress towards being ready for the holiday concert!  However, we have much work yet to do.  I hope you find it as fun and rewarding as I do!

PARENTS, NOTE: there are several important announcements at the end of the blog this week.  Be sure to read all the way to the bottom.

For a really interesting exercise in MEMORIZATION, visit this video.  Only a few of you told me you did this last week – it’s really fascinating!  Please view the video this week.  How can you use this information to help you memorize your music this week?  I am eager to hear your reports next Wednesday!



  • 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 – know your part in the first section (beginning-ms. 45) so well it’s almost memorized and read through the rest of the song and be familiar enough to work on phrase shapes, dynamics and ensemble with the rest of the group next week.
  • Peter Go Ring-A Dem Bells – practice with all of the emotion and dramatic expression we discovered this week so that it becomes as much a part of your performance as the notes, rhythms and words.
  • Caribbean Mass (Santo and Agnus Dei) – work to perfect notes and rhythms and be comfortable with all the text
  • The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy – if you were absent this week, be ready for part testing of p. 9-end.  Review the entire song for accuracy and memorization.
  • Amani – use rehearsal tracks below to be sure you are accurate on your part
  • Unending Flame – review your part using rehearsal tracks



Kyrie Eleison by Ron Kean


Use the rehearsal tracks below to learn your part.

Suggestion:  the tessitura (or the range the majority of the notes lie in) is quite high for the sopranos in the second half of this song.  If it is tiring to practice it, try singing it without words, and instead sing it on “bo” or “ta.”  We will work on ways to sing it more comfortably when we are in rehearsal together.




Peter, Go Ring-A Dem Bells

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


Your final run-through of this song was STUNNING in rehearsal this week!  Remember what that felt like and how you discovered it – think about the meaning and importance of the text.  Put yourself in the shoes of the people who would have sung this song and think about 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)

The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy arr. by Valerie Shields


  • WATCH OUT for the first statement of “And they say that his name was Jesus” in ms. 16 and CORRECT this rhythm by next week.
  • Practice the phrase shaping we discovered this week.  Each phrase crescendos to the high point, and we put a tenuto on the word at the high point of the phrase.
  • Remember to close quickly to the “m” in the word “come”
  • MEMORIZE this song this week, using the rehearsal 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

Amani by Jim Papoulis


  • There is still a measure or two for each voice part where pitch/rhythm mistakes are being made.  Use the rehearsal tracks below to clean those up and memorize the song.
  • Be sure to include the hand claps in places they are indicated.

Soprano 1 High

Soprano 1 Low

Soprano 2



Unending Flame by Paul Carey


  • Learn your part using the rehearsal tracks below.
  • Pay special attention to the order of the words and where we clap on pgs. 7-12.
  • 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.




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. I recommend 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.



NYC Carnegie Hall Tour Registration Reminder

Don’t forget to register for Tour today!  Please visit the member-only portion of the website and sign up now.  The last day to register is October 31st!

Disney Registration Reminder

Registration has been extended for another week – please make sure you either register this week, or let us know in writing why you will not be attending.  Registration is open on the member-only portion of the website.

Holidays with Cantabile Tickets Now On Sale

Please visit the Cantabile website to buy your tickets today – they are going quickly!

Call Times for the Fall Rehearsal

Please note that call times for the Fall Rehearsal on Saturday, November 4th have changed and are earlier than previously scheduled.  Your call time is 9:00 am and you must arrive in your Cantabile T-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes/sneakers.   Please arrive in the back parking lot (off of Byron St) for check in.  A friendly reminder that the concert is scheduled for 1pm, and you will be done by 2pm.  The rehearsal and concert are held at First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto: 625 Hamilton Ave.  

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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