Vocalise Blog #11 – Nov. 25, 2019 : CONCERT WEEK BLOG! 

Bravi / Con Brio Rehearsal #12 – 11/25/2019
November 28, 2019
December 4, 2019/Concert Blog
December 7, 2019

Vocalise Blog #11 – Nov. 25, 2019 : CONCERT WEEK BLOG! 

Action Items

  • Commit to memory ALL CONCERT WEEK INFO:



  • REVIEW YOUR ENTIRE WEEK — school, family activities, sports, etc., to make sure you are free of conflicts with the extra Cantabile events in concert week.
  • REVIEW the full list of music below, consider what needs most work and start your practices in order of priority.  
  • Take a look at the Scoop with your parents. It went out on Tuesday. All details for your call-times for Monday, Tuesday, and Sunday of concert week are all there.
  • Monday and Tuesday are both mandatory rehearsals. Barring serious illness, I will expect to see you all on Monday and Tuesday night for these crucial rehearsals.


  1. Ierusalem: have absolute knowledge of all movement in this piece. If anything is unclear, please, ask your section leader or Trisha Gongalore(trisha@cantabile.org).
  2. We Need a Little Christmas – Words, words, words. Memorize them all. If you are not memorized, I will assume you prefer to leave stage for this piece.
  3. Lunar Lullaby – Detailed, thorough, visual memorization. Know every bit of what is happening in your part — what beat you cut off on, when you enter in the measure, what your dynamics are, etc.
  4. Little Man in a Hurry – Review to refresh memorization, practice with metronome.
  5. I Wish You Christmas – Review to refresh memorization. 
  6. Wau Bulan: perfect your movement. Here is a helpful video of choreography

Reminder of the Concert List in Order

  1. I Started Out Singing (full company)
  2. I Saw Three Ships (full company and sing-along)
  3. Wau Bulan
  4. Lunar Lullaby (vocalise, Avanti, Con Brio/Bravi, Intermezzo)
  5. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (full company and sing-along)
  6. Hodie Christus Natus Est (Vocalise)
  7. Ierusalem (Vocalise)
  8. Moon Goddess (Vocalise)
  9. This Little Light of Mine (Vocalise)
  10. Little Man in a Hurry (Vocalise/Bravi)
  11. We Need a Little Christmas (Vocalise/Bravi/Con Brio)
  12. I Wish You Christmas (full company)
  13. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (full company and sing-along)

More Concepts:

    • Scales discussed : major, natural minor, melodic minor, harmonic minor, whole tone, chromatic, gypsy, pentatonic, blues
    • Diction is Paramount


  • Consonants – information
  • Vowels – emotion


  • Technique
    • TALL vowels: You must open your mouth, plain and simple!!
    • If there is no consonant to begin a word or phrase, use a glottal stop instead (ex: “Hodie”)
  • Performance Readiness
    • The piece begins the moment you step on stage
    • Look up and at the conductor for changes in dynamics and tempo


Repertoire Notes:

Lunar Lullaby

Here, the trick is to memorize in such a way that you do not need to be conducted, since you often cannot see the conductor. Here’s one method: divide the piece into three sections — spend time studying the score and “mentally” singing the first third of the piece. Try to internalize details like which beat you enter on, which beat you cut off, your dynamics, where crescendos stop and start, etc. Then start recording… and practice that section with your eyes closed. When you are done, listen to yourself and follow along with the score. You are striving for 100% accuracy with every last detail on the page. Then continue this process with the other two thirds of the piece.

Once you’ve done this, please practice with movements, from the beginning to end. Of course your attention will be divided, but strive to incorporate these details into your run-through.

A few specific notes:


  • Every word that starts with a vowel needs more definition. We do this with a glottal attack. One example is your first entrance on p. 2 — “In this moment I know…” We need a glottal attack on “In” and also “I”
  • Final consonants like “d” (ex: “chilD”) and often “s” (ex: “starS”) are pitched, meaning they need a shadow vowel. This will defined the words more clearly:  Child(uh)  StarS(zuh)


Hodie – Josef Karai:

Be aware that there is a tendency to go sharp – especially Sopranos in the entrance. Keep the tone relaxed (soft throat and jaw), support the sound with consistent breath.  

    • TALL, round vowels, define entrances using glottal stops
    • Last system of the piece – more of the moving line in the Altos 


  • Sop 2s : commit to bold entrances



I Started Out Singing – Jocelyn Hagen:

  • At this point, it’s all about diction! Articulate beginning and end consonants ( ie. “dime” and “clear”) Use shadow vowels at ends of words.
  • Be aware of your facial expression! Tell a story, as though you were reading to children during story time at the library
  • Tall vowel when singing “out” in “I started out singing”
  • M. 11 and throughout the piece – No breath between the two “oh yes”’s
  • M. 39 – no breath between “stories” and “that”


I Saw Three Ships – English Traditional Piece:

  • Make sure not to sound like elephants squeezing into seats in the first entrance!
    • Use tall vowels and a good breath
  • 4th verse – Soprano/Alto split
  • Hold the last note longer


It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Meredith Willson, arr. Mac Huff:

  • Diction!!
  • Choreography for the “wah” section
    • Close one nostril by placing your index finger next to your nose and pressing inwards with one hand, cupping your nose
    • Move the other hand over and away from your nose repeatedly to get a fluctuation in volume
    • People in the back/on the sides – jazz hands(higher up for those in the back)


I Wish You Christmas – John Rutter:

  • In this song, the emotion is extremely important, which means more vowels! However, consonants are just as important, so practice placing them quickly and clearly between vowels
  • All SA sing first verse
  • M. 19-20 – Ritardando 
  • Last note – hold with open jaw, then lightly close to “n” and release(look to conductors for cues)


Little Man in a Hurry – Eric Whitacre:

  • Energy
  • SA – Land more softly on “little child
  • More “c” in “cried”
  • TB line beginning m. 54 in slow section – softness, like the vibrancy of life in a sleeping person, clear, yet soft
    • Work on rhythms
  • M. 63/64 – 66 – Diminuendo
  • roll/flip “r” of “relax”


Wau Bulan – arr. Tracey Wong:

  • Choreography – there should always be sharpness, clarity, and a moment of stillness between movements
    • First movement – quickly flick/rotate wrist and set in position
    • 2nd time on first verse, 2nd part (starting M. 23) – different from first time, clap then snap(Rows 1 & 3 down first, leaning a little forward)(Rows 2&4 up first, with a straight back)
    • Rhythmic clapping section – nod head slightly with each move to accentuate the sharpness of the movements
    • Last pose straight elbow
    • Video courtesy of some girls in Avanti! 


Lunar Lullaby – Jacob Narverud:

  • Choreography cue list
    • Ms. 16 – slowly raise lanterns
    • Ms. 19 – people with lanterns (LaP) raise eyes up to the right
    • Ms. 21 – LaP lower eyes to look down at partner
    • Ms. 24-27 – LaP shift eyes out to audience; move lantern across body to right side (change hands)
    • Ms. 33 – LaP lanterns change hands (to left side)
    • Ms. 36 – kneeling partner stands
    • Ms. 45 – people holding lights (LtP) turn lights on and raise straight up in the air
    • Ms. 47-54 – move lights and lanterns all different directions in soft, slow zig-zag lines (roughly, draw one line in the air per measure).  Hold lanterns by the frame to keep steady and controlled.
    • Ms. 55-56 – bring lights down and turn off (all need to be off by cut-off of the note). LaP, be sure your lantern is in your left hand
    • Ms. 71 – look at your partner (or another person in your group if you are in a clump)
    • Ms. 75 – look out at audience again
    • Ms. 78 (first “swells”) – all begin swaying -go right first, then go the opposite direction on first beat of every measure; LaP – let lanterns sway with you
    • Ms. 85 – on the word “sky” – lanterns swing up and over in big circles and all around in different directions; at the same time, LtP turn lights on and move rapidly around in different, random directions.
    • Ms. 87-93 – Amanda will extend this section by improvising.  Keep movements of lights/lanterns big and fast until the music begins to slow and decrescendo.  As that happens, slow your movements down and bring them lower until you come to rest with lights down and off.  Lanterns need to end in right hands, holdng them down low.  LaP with lanterns on poles – leave them raised up on the poles.
    • Ms. 98 –  Lantern pairs: LtP place hand on frame of lantern (so you can guide it to rest on your light in ms. 111)
    • Ms. 102 – All LtP turn lights on and slowly, randomly raise them straight up and hold still
    • Ms. 111 – 
      • Lantern pairs: LtP leave lights on and quickly lower to the floor; help guide the lantern to rest on top of the light (lanterns on poles also come down here)
      • All other LtP (in clumps): slowly lower lights straight down and turn off when they are completely down
    • Everyone/every lantern should be down and still by ms. 115
  • Use glottal stops for entrances without consonants
    • You will not always be able to see Jace, and therefore need to know when to enter, when to move, and when to cut off in accordance with the piano part and by listening to those around you

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