Rehearsal #1/January 4, 2017

November 30 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #12
December 1, 2016
Intermediate Blog Rehearsal # 1 / January 5th
January 7, 2017

Rehearsal #1/January 4, 2017

Dear Ensemble,

Welcome back!  It was wonderful to see each of you on Wednesday, and to spend quality time together making music.  As we discussed in rehearsal, the All Choir Concert this Spring is centered around our relationship with the Earth, nature, and our connection with our planet.  If you think of any good titles for the concert, please email Elena. 🙂  

Action Items and expectations for next Rehearsal, January 11th:

  • Learn your parts for Kusimama and Earthsongs – see below for details
  • Review and practice Sing Legato #6
  • Remember to complete your Musicianship Homework: Pages 18 and 19
  • Fill out (and turn in) your practice log for this week!

Kusimama (Stand Tall), Jim Papoulis

You will be singing this with Intermediate at the All Choir Concert this Spring.

  • You should be able to learn all of the notes and rhythms in this piece this week – they aren’t hard!
  • Remember the keys to your syncopations: shorter sounds on every note that precedes a rest, along with plenty of space on the rests themselves.  This is what gives the piece its lively, grooving feel.   
  • Alto’s: make your notes a true tenuto in phrases such as m.6 and m.10, with a slight decrescendo after each note.  This should be in contrast with phrases such as m. 8 and m. 12 which are accented.
  • Mark or highlight which “mimi kusimama”s have different rhythms that what you expect and make sure you know right where they are in the form.
  • If you have the notes and rhythms learned, start working on adding in the body percussion as well (only that which is written in the score – we’ll work on the full choreography later in the semester).
  • Watch this great recording of Cantabile performing this back in 2013.    

Earth Songs, David Brunner

You will be singing this with Vocalise at the All Choir Concert this Spring.

  • Start learning your part for the 1st movement, “The World is Full of Poetry”.  Pay close attention to where it splits into three (and even four!) parts, and where the two voice parts are in unison (even when they are written on two lines) and when they are in harmony: mark it in your score.
  • The word “brightness” appears in a few different rhythmic representations.  Write in your counts above each one so you know exactly where to place the “t” and “s” of each syllable.
  • As we discussed, the ‘alto’ part is quite high in this piece.  Make sure that you’re taking full, relaxed breaths before each phrase to help produce those notes with the most beautiful tone possible.  Don’t force them from the bottom – allow them to come up and out of the top back of your head.
  • Can you remember where the four different sections of this movement are?  Mark them in your score.  And what did we call the last statement of “The world is full of poetry…”?  See the end of the blog for the answer if you don’t remember!
  • You can listen to a great recording of the 1st movement (“The World is Full of Poetry”) by the Spivey Hall Children’s Choir, on their album called Homeland on Spotify.  (The track is titled “The World is Full of Poetry from Earthsongs (David L. Brunner)”.)

Review: Breathing meditation, standing position and a Yoga flow

Continue practicing breathing as follows (5 min a day.) It’s been wonderful to see how many of you list yoga on your practice logs each week! 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:

  • Musicianship Homework:
  • Tour to the Crescent City: Thank you to all of you have already registered!  Registration is open until January 12th.
  • 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 Ensemble Practice Log to record your practicing each week
  • 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!


This semester promises to be another one full of magical music making, and meaningful connection – to ourselves, to each other, to other peoples and cultures, and to the beautiful planet we call home.  We’re looking forward to sharing this journey with each of you, and wish you a week full of poetry and beauty.

All our best!

Elena and Jazmine

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