October 19, 2016/Rehearsal #9

October 17th 2016/Rehearsal #7
October 21, 2016
October 17 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #7
October 21, 2016

October 19, 2016/Rehearsal #9

Dear Ensemble,

Thank you to all of you who worked with me (Jazmine) this past week in rehearsal.  I was grateful for your dedication, maturity, and cooperation.  I know it was different having quite a few of your colleagues gone at the Carmina rehearsal, but you rose to the occasion and took full ownership of your rehearsal and musical success.  

Practice Log: As a reminder, please record the day you’ve opened the blog, when you’re practicing, for how long, and what you’re practicing in each session.  During practice, focus your attention on details by following blog instructions for each song.  Bring your completed practice log with you to the next rehearsal.  You can now use this Cantabile Practice Log to record your practicing each week: cantabile-ensemble-practice-log

Action Items and expectations for next Rehearsal, Oct 26th:

  1. Memorization checks will be on Stars, Grace and Caverns.cantabile-ensemble-practice-logcantabile-ensemble-practice-log
  2. Allunde: part must be fully learned and memorized. We will be working on choreography with Hannah next week.  
  3. Vindo, Old Fox, Stars Tonight, Caverns in the Clouds, Most Wonderful time, Rise Up: fully memorized
  4. Amavolovolo: review words and choreo


Concepts addressed this week:

  1. Self-Reflection and Analysis: I was so impressed with you this week, and in your ability to think ahead, and to analyze what you were hearing.  Every time I asked you to tell me why I stopped or what I was going to address you knew!  That tells me that you now know what you need to be working on and striving for in your practice sessions, its just a matter of executing it consistently so that it becomes habit.  Please keep your ears open throughout your practice time and continue to listen and think critically about the music you’re making.   
  2. Internalize the meaning of each word and phrase of text – believe in what you’re singing. Your performance of Caverns was stunning – when you connect to the characters, words, and meaning, your performance transforms into an act of realness and beauty.  I’m still thinking about it three days later! 🙂
  3. Subdividing and internalizing tempo: We worked a lot with the metronome on Rise Up Shepherd.  When you practice this week, keep using it!  Only when every singer has fully internalized the tempo and is subdividing will this piece really grove!
  4. Diction: continue working on pronunciation with understanding that in singing we use formal language which requires crisp fricatives, slightly pressed labials, air-reinforced plosives and your vowels tall.
  5. Vowels “Voice color speaks louder than words”: producing the sound that fits the song and its message is as important as singing with great diction. Often people in the audience are going to like a song because of the beautiful sound they are hearing.

Stars Tonight, Judy Herrington

As a reminder, this is a piece that we’ll be singing with Intermediate at the Holidays with Cantabile concert on Dec. 4th

  • The ending (m. 63 on) of this piece is still very weak:
    • 1st sopranos: you simply can not be afraid to sing those high notes.  Breath deeply and let them ring!  No note = wrong note.
    • We do not have any more time to spend crunching notes in rehearsal: that is your job to do at home while you practice.  
  • In general this piece needs more consistent precise diction – it started beautifully and faded as we got through the song.
  • Dynamics and phrasing – we can do much, much more with the dynamics in this piece, especially in all of the crescendos and decrescendos in the phrases.  Spend time this week with your music, so that you know where each phrase begins, climaxes, and ends.  

Rise Up Shepherd, and Follow

This is another piece that you’ll be performing with Intermediate for the Holidays with Cantabile concert.

  • You must practice this with a metronome this week!  As a reminder you consistently drag throughout the piece.  We practiced singing only our vowels, and it helped tremendously.  Your consonants need to be fast so that your vowels are sounding on the beat, instead of your consonants sounding on the beat.
  • Your entire part should be memorized from beginning to end!
  • There’s still not enough excitement and joy in your voices.  If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times – this is exciting music, and it needs to sparkle and grow in each phrase.  That still isn’t happening enough yet.  Give us more!
  • Here is a good recording to help you learn the part.


Old Fox Wassail

Thank you for all of the hard work that you put into this piece this past week.  I could really tell who had spent the time, energy, and focus, making this week’s rehearsal noticeably better and more confident!

  • In general, when you practice this, you must make sure you are practicing the correct notes, and not just what you think are the correct notes!
  • You should be practicing this with the metronome at 90-95 bpm.
  • The last phrase (last four bars) continues to be rocky for both the Sopranos and the Altos – listen to Elena’s recording to help you memorize.  Also, it’s “strangers travel far and near”, unlike the first time when it’s “strangers gather far and near”.
  • A reminder that “God Bless You” needs to be separated – use your “glockenspiel mallet” hands to remind you how to sing those notes.
  • You can listen to a great recording here!


Caverns In The Clouds

Your sound is coming along beautifully in this piece!

  • Your part should be fully memorized.
  • You’ve lost some of your diction in this piece.  Use stronger sound of “f” in words like “fly,” “fill” and “k” in “caverns” (etc.) to make the text come alive.
  • Reminder: keep your long notes moving, growing, going forward, and connected to the next set of text when there isn’t a rest.
  • Please pay attention to your dynamic markings throughout the last page: it’s not all loud all the time.  
  • Make sure that all of your vowels are tall and round – use your hand (moving from a horizontal to vertical line) to help you visualize the shape of the vowel. Especially in words like “light”, “sky”, “night” — these tend to be a bit spread and quite bright (hey, these two more words that have the same combination of sounds!).
  • You did a beautiful (beautiful!) job of connecting with the text and the music this past week.  As a reminder, we thought of other children throughout the world who live in very different situations than ours; places where their safety is not guaranteed, places where they don’t know where their next meal is going to come from, places where they don’t get to go to school every day, and places where they may not even have a home due to violence or poverty.  Let this song be about flying away from all of that to somewhere where “dreams can never die” – channel all of that hope and yearning come through your sound.  I was noticeably moved by your performance when you let yourself connect in this way.  Keep it up!  


We’ll also be performing this at the Holiday’s with Cantabile concert.

  • Parts of this went very well on Wednesday night, and other parts were very rusty.  You must make sure that you are keeping all of your repertoire fresh and alive each week, even if we don’t have time to sing through it all in rehearsal.
  • Please look at this again this week (especially the second half) and make sure you have your notes 110% solid.   



This is the choreographed number that you’ll be singing with Vocalise for our Holidays with Cantabile concert on Dec 4th.

  • The biggest thing that this piece is missing is JOY.  Joy needs to be radiating from your sound, your voice, your face, and your whole body.  Fix that and the rest will follow!
  • Please review the choreography here


Allunde Allua

This is the choreographed opener for our Holidays with Cantabile concert on Dec 4th.

  • Please learn your parts this week.  The notes are not hard!
  • We will begin working on choreography next week.
  • Here is a recording of Cantabile performing it in 2012 to help you practice both the music and the movement.


Review: Breathing meditation, standing position and a Yoga flow

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.


Other announcements and reminders:

  • Fall Rehearsal Information: Please read the email that went out last Thursday with important information about the fall rehearsal!
    • Call Time: 9:30am in the parking lot off of Bryant St.
    • Uniform: Black Cantabile t-shirt, smart jeans, tennis shoes
    • Please also bring: your Cantabile music, pencil, labeled water bottle, and sack lunch.  (Please do not bring your yoga mat.)
    • Pick Up: Approximately 2pm in the Fellowship Hall after the concert
  • Tour to the Crescent City: Registration is now open on the member portion of the website.  As a reminder, we need to register by November 1st – which is just over a week away!!  Don’t make Elena call you personally and remind you to sign up!
  • Carpooling: Please use this spreadsheet to both request and offer carpooling to and/or from weekly rehearsals, events (eg. Potluck) and concerts. The more of our families that use this resource, the more useful it will be to our community. If you can offer a carpool – please add yourself to the list. Thank you!


Thank you again for making our time together so meaningful and productive.  I’m looking forward to hearing the fruits of your labor, and having another wonderful night of coming together in song next week!  


Happy practicing!

Elena and Jazmine

Comments are closed.