Bravi / Con Brio Rehearsal #2 + Retreat – 9/1/2019

Prelude II Blog #1
September 8, 2019
September 11, 2019/Rehearsal #4
September 13, 2019

Bravi / Con Brio Rehearsal #2 + Retreat – 9/1/2019

Dear Bravi and Con Brio:

Thanks for a good rehearsal this past week and a really fun Retreat. I have updated the blog with practice notes from our Retreat rehearsals, as well as some updated reminders for the coming week. Please read thoroughly!


  1. Weekly -Use the full yoga flow that Elena demonstrates on Monday each time you practice. If this is new to you, it should start to feel more familiar, now. A reminder of the full flow is below the action items.
  2. Weekly – Incorporate a series of five vocal exercises into your practice (audio files below).
    Con Brio Singers — use these every time you practice. This is a required part of your practice time–perhaps the most important part.
  3. I Started Out Singing – Priority #1. Fully learned by 9/23, no questions about notes or pitches. Fully memorized by 9/26! We will work on this at Retreat.
  4. On My Dreams Also Priority #1. Fully learned by 9/23, no questions about notes or pitches. Fully memorized by 9/26! We will work on this at Retreat, as well.
  5. Dulaman – Continue learning notes and rhythms. Write in all metric subdivisions (i.e., 2 + 2 + 3) for each changing meter for the entire piece.
  6. Little Man in a Hurry – Review / re-learn / polish rhythms from m. 1 – 32.
  7. Unity – Fully learned now, no questions on notes and rhythms. Fully memorized by the end of Retreat.
  8. Hymn to Freedom: Review all notes, continue learning the final section of the piece that we didn’t cover in rehearsal (pages 11 – 14)
  9. Continue listening work for all other repertoire in your binder using the audio links below (repeated from last week).



Yoga Flow

  • Lying on your back, bring one knee up to chest, followed by the other.  Rock gently side to side a few times. Let the knees drop to one side, keeping shoulders on floor. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Roll to our stomach, Straighten knees and come to Cat/Cow (on all fours), exhaling as you round your back for Cat and inhaling as you arch your back for Cow. Connect inhalation with cow (arched back) and exhalation with cat (round back)
  • Bring arms forward and stretch back to sit on heels for Child’s Pose
  • Sit up into Hero’s Pose, sitting back on heels or push the feet apart and sit between them on the floor
  • Go back to Cat/Cow
  • Press back into Plank
  • Press back into Downward Dog; Walk the Dog (heel press, 3x each leg)
  • Walk your feet forward or hop to bring feet up to hands, go to Forward Fold, chest to thighs, and slowly roll up to Mountain
  • Upward Salute (Arch)–> Forward Fold — > Round Spine (hang for two breaths)
  • Bend knees, transition to plank
  • Bend elbows and go down slowly to Crocodile
  • Point toes so top of foot is touching ground
  • Raise torso to Cobra
  • Press back to Down Dog (heel press, 3x each leg)
  • Extended Dog → Pigeon → 3 pigeon bows → Press back to Down Dog
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Walk or Jump to Forward fold (round spine)
  • On inhale transition to Monkey → Chair → Awkward Chair → Mountain.
  • Repeat.
  • Always attach movement to breath and vice versa

Vocal Exercises

I Started Out Singing – composed by Jocelyn Hagen

Here is a learning track. I will not always make learning tracks for pieces like this, but time is of the essence since this must be memorized very quickly.

  • m. 11 (and each time “oh yes” is repeated twice), shorten the first “yes” slightly and breathe after beat 2.
  • m. 18, note the “slight rit.” that is written well above your part. Mark it in your part as well.
  • m. 25, Basses – please keep the tone light and easy on this D-flat. If it feels heavy or high, sing in falsetto. Be entirely sure you are singing the correct octave, please. We have one or two singers choosing the low D-flat, instead, which is not what the composer asked for.
  • m. 54 – 55, note that the measure before your entrance is a 7/8 measure. It will pass quickly. Please keep the G-natural light and high on the word “sand.”
  • m. 71, as in m. 11 — breathe before the second “oh yes.” This time, that means a breath after beat 3.
  • m. 75, note that the rhythm is different here than other times when you sing this text. The meter also changes

Here is the poetry. Please study it. What is it about? What images does it conjure up for you?

I started out singing
oh yes oh yes
in a voice as clear
as a penny and a dime

in time in time
I came to be
as tall as a riddle
as full as a shadow
as far as the wind
that blows itself
alone to the sea

I started out smiling
oh yes oh yes
with my face tipped up
to the moon’s soft stare
a halo of giggles
tied in my hair
with a sleep as deep
as desert sand

my dreams were the stories
that crossed the land

On my Dreams – composed by Jocelyn Hagen

Remember that this piece is an offering of love, giving everything you have. Even if that is of no material value, you are offering someone your heart and your dreams. It must be sung with 100% honesty and sincerity. Practice as if you are singing to someone you love very much. 

Here is a tenor learning track and a bass learning track (basses, there is a weird glitch in the middle that I didn’t have time to fix. Sorry!)

  • m. 13, tenors please circle the B-natural and pencil in an arrow. The name of the interval is ____ ? Write it in, too.
  • m. 18 – 19, basses, please practice this passage repeatedly. The intervallic jumps are very wide. Write in the names of your intervals.
  • m. 19, basses, please keep the tone light and forward. If it is too high, use falsetto.
  • m. 20 – 21, tenors, please practice the interval on “my dreams” repeatedly. Write in the name of the interval.
  • m. 22 – 23, pay close attention to the rhythm. Turn the page early so you can be prepared for the syncopation at the end of the phrase.
  • m. 27 – 29 & m. 36-37, tenors, please use falsetto here, with a dropped jaw and lots of breath motion. We will add altos but we need some presence in the voice from you.
  • m. 34 – Please practice landing this B-natural. First, sing the SA line in m. 32, down the octave. Then walk up one whole step to your pitch from A to B. Now, play their notes in their octave without singing it. Then land your B. Check it against the piano.
  • m. 44 – 47, all voices, use a very light and clear falsetto here (except for maybe older tenors). Keep the vowels very clear and pure, and the tone forward in the resonant “mask”. If you have trouble finding this, sing the notes and rhythms first on either “doo doo doo” or “nee nee nee”. Then add words as the voice becomes more comfortable in this range.

Dulaman – Traditional Irish, set to music by Michael McGlynn

Little Man in a Hurry
This will be quite the project. Look at your weekly goal (this week is m. 1 – 32), and then break it down into daily goals. Start with 12 measures or so at a time — then it is less daunting. Set a metronome for a very slow tempo at first (Quarter note = 56.) Work toward COMPLETE rhythmic mastery at this slow tempo before speeding up. Gradually increase the metronome marking: 68, 76, 84, 90, 100, etc.

Hymn to Freedom – composed by Oscar Peterson, arr. by Kirby Shaw

  • Review all notes on pages 1 – 11
  • The solo that begins on m. 45 (page 7) might, as noted, be sung by a soloist or small group. Please learn it if you wish to try out. It’s written to be sung somewhat freely, so feel free to add your own interpretation to the runs that start on p. 8.
  • Learn all new pitches starting at the key change on p. 11
  • Here’s an audio guide for a good portion of the song (starting at m. 7). A bit cheesy, but perhaps helpful 🙂

Repertoire – Listening Notes (Repeated from last week)

Below is a list of the pieces you currently have in your binder with listening resources attached. Make sure to listen to the entirety of each piece. If you know with certainty what part you will be singing, you can start singing along. If you aren’t completely sure, just listen with general attention and sing along with both parts so see which one fits better.

Ehara – Traditional Maori
This is just TTBB, a cappella.

Walk in Jerusalem – arr. Rollo Dilworth
This is TTBB, with piano, for the Holiday Concert. We’ll adjust some high notes if needed.

Me Regvenma P’at’ardzalma – Traditional Georgian
We will likely do this with Aria. 🙂 Don’t dig too deep just yet; simply familiarize yourself.

Adinu – Traditional Sufi
Again this is with Aria, almost certainly for the winter concert. You’ll hear that this choir blends with another song; I am working on arranging something similar. Just learn the flowing part of the melody for now.


  1. Please complete all forms from Jazmine (commitment forms, allergy and food information, etc.). These have been sent via email. If you aren’t sure what I’m referencing, please write to — she will be able to tell you what she still needs if anything.
  2. Rehearsal with Jocelyn Hagen happens next Thursday, September 26, from 5:30 – 7:00, at our regular location. Please mark your calendars.
  3. Our New Music Event is coming up next Saturday, September 28. Call time is 12:00 noon.

Comments are closed.