September 13, 2017/Rehearsal#4

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #3 – September 11, 2017
September 13, 2017
Week of September 11, 2017/Class #1
September 15, 2017

September 13, 2017/Rehearsal#4

Dear Ensemble,

We had a wonderful time meeting with all the parents at the Parent Orientation on Wednesday!  Thank you for your time, parents, and for supporting your singers in their artistic endeavors.  Since we are together at Retreat this weekend, this week’s blog is a summary of what we worked on in rehearsal Wednesday and a review of our practice plan.  Plan to get back on your regular practice schedule next week!

Breathing meditation, standing position

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.



The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy

During rehearsal, we talked about the Calypso style of music in which this traditional Christmas song is written.  Here is an interesting article on Calypso music.  Notice that the origin of Calypso music is very similar to that of African-American spirituals in that it was sung by African slaves brought to Trinidad, an island in the Caribbean, as a means of communicating with each other when slave owners would not allow them to talk, and also as a way of mocking the slave owners.


Practice this song, being sure to tap a strong beat somewhere on your body as you work:

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

NOTE: Sop 2s: only one Sop 2 discovered the mistake in your recording last week.  Congrats to Mishaal, the Super Sleuth!  I will expect all of you to know where it is (and sing your part correctly!) next Wednesday!


Peter, Go Ring-A Dem Bells

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


  • IF YOU DID NOT DO THIS LAST WEEK… Write in solfege syllables on your part in measures 18-34 and study your part compared to the other voice part.  Is the rhythm the same or different?  Do you always sing harmony with the other part, or do you sing unison sometimes?
  • Sing your part on solfege in this section, then on words.
  • Practice  the rest of the song using the rehearsal track for your voice part:

Soprano 1

Soprano 2 (Soprano in 2-part sections)

Soprano 2 (Alto in 2-part sections



Come and Sing, Wallace Homady

HOMEWORK (if you did not do this last week, please do so this week):

  • Listen to this recording of Vocalise and Ensemble singing this song.
  • As you listen, pay particular attention to the singers’ diction.  How do they shape their vowels?  Can you hear crisp consonants?  What happens to “r” at the end of a syllable or word?
  • Do your best to start learning your part.  Note: in the last two measures, Altos and Soprano 2s should stay on the second staff down as they have throughout the song.  Soprano 1s should split as we did at the end of Peter, Go Ring-A Dem Bells (the two singers on the ends of each row take the higher note).


Other announcements and reminders:

  • Information and links to forms, etc. can be found in the latest Scoop.
  • You should have received an email this week from Justin with a link to the Ensemble Commitment form.  If you have not yet filled this out and submitted it, please do so as soon as possible.
  • ACDA Honor Choir: The American Choral Directors Association Western Division Conference is being held in Pasadena, March 14-17, 2018.  Cantabile Singers in grades 6-12 can audition for several honor choirs to be held during the conference.  These honor choirs are “mountain-top” experiences for young singers, conducted by leading choral conductors from around the country.  The audition deadline is October 13th, so act quickly!  More information and links to the ACDA Western Division website coming soon.
  • Carpooling: Please use this spreadsheet to both request and offer carpooling to and/or from weekly rehearsals, events (eg. Retreat) 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!
  • Bring your yoga mats!  Every week we will start at exactly 5:05 pm on the floor with our shoes and socks off, and our yoga mats half-rolled beneath us. New singers will be getting their Cantabile yoga mats at retreat.  
  • Musicianship Homework: please make sure you finish your assignments for this week, as well as any work you didn’t do last week, and bring them to rehearsal on Wednesday!  


See you this afternoon at Retreat – it will be a wonderful weekend together!



Comments are closed.