September 27, 2017/Rehearsal #6

Intermediate Blog # 6
September 29, 2017
Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #6 – October 2, 2017
October 5, 2017

September 27, 2017/Rehearsal #6

Dear Ensemble,

I can hardly believe this is the blog for WEEK 6 ALREADY!  They say time flies when you’re having fun and you make each rehearsal such fun for me.  It was wonderful to have some of your parents visit this week.  I am looking forward to sharing even more of our rehearsal process with them next month.

This week we will begin “part-testing.”  I will put 2 or 3 singers on each part and have them sing part of a song during rehearsal.  This process not only encourages you to keep up with your practice assignments, it also gives you a chance to sing in a small ensemble which encourages independent singing.  My goal for you this year is that you will be able to confidently carry your part when you are the only one singing your part.  Don’t worry, I will not ask you to sing alone this week!  We will build to that over time.



  • Peter Go Ring-A Dem Bells – ensure that your part is accurate and memorize the whole by next week, October 4
  • The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy – be ready for part testing of p. 9-end
  • Amani – review your part as best you can using recording below (rehearsal tracks coming soon)
  • Unending Flame – review your part as best you can using recording below (rehearsal tracks coming soon)
  • Caribbean Mass (Santo and Agnus Dei) – review and keep listening to recording below


THIS WEEK…begin each practice session with a few minutes of breathing meditation and re-discovering your standing pose.  See description below for your reference.


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!

Soprano 1

Soprano 2 (Soprano in 2-part sections)

Soprano 2 (Alto in 2-part sections



The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy


Concentrate on the section of this song that has 3-part division: p. 9-12.  Use these rehearsal tracks:

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


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..  Be prepared to answer this question next week: What is it about this recording that makes this song so exciting?
  • Do your best to start learning your part using the recording.


Caribbean Mass (Santo and Agnus Dei)

  • Listen to the two movements we will be singing with Vocalise here: Santo (remember, we will not sing the solo lines) and Agnus Dei.  Review your part and memorize.
  • 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!


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.



  • Tour to Anaheim: Registration is now open on the member portion of the website.  As a reminder, we need to register by October 15th.  Register soon – you do not want to miss this exciting Ensemble tour!
  • Carnegie Hall-New York City Tour:  registration is also open for Cantabile’s 2018 summer 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 deadline – October 31st.  Go to the member portion of the website to register.
  • Blog Posts: If you would like your child to be receiving the notifications of blog posts directly, please email and let us know your child’s email address so we can add it to the mailing list.  
  • 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!
  • 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!  

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



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