Hi, VTG and Bravi:
The concert season is approaching! Very exciting, of course, and also a great time to take a close look at your music and ask yourselves honestly what needs work and what is in decent shape. I would like each of you to take an critical, deep look at your binder (both Vocalise and Bravi/VTG repertoire) and decide what YOU need to spend the most time on. At this point, note corrections and re-learning really aren’t viable solutions in our rehearsals. I am very pleased with the state of several pieces, but growing concerned about others. We have only three more rehearsals before the concert, and we should be past the point of making small corrections. BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN you have addressed anything you missed or felt uncertain about in the past. You can do it! This is the time to polish, connect, dig deep, and bring the performance to life.
ACTION ITEMS for this week:
- On your own, look through every measure of EVERY PIECE on our December program, and ask yourself honestly: what needs work? What is in good shape? Where do you need to rise to the occasion? How can you rise ABOVE?
- Make sure your memorization is complete on every piece.
- Blue Christmas: make sure you know the melody, from beginning to end (whether it is in the solo or the choral parts)
- 12 Days of Christmas: Review every note and movement. We will still need to spend a bit of musical time on the end to re-voice. Basses please spend lots of time on the closing “Africa” section.
- Caribbean Mass: spend time on Credo, reviewing the pattern of repetition, and on Kyrie, especially the last three pages.
- Convidando: Review, record yourself, watch and evaluate.
- Amani: Practice with movements, record yourself, watch and evaluate.
Blue Christmas – arr. Mac Huff
- Sing through the MELODY from beginning to end. It starts with the first solo entrance. Be sure you know it well enough to sing as a solo.
- Sing confidently, but somewhat OFF THE VOICE.
- Remember your listening homework for this style: Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis.
- Basses and baritones: please review the pitches at “Decorations of red” and “You’ll be doin’ alright.” Be absolutely certain of your pitches, and check them against the piano. Record yourself and listen—check for intonation.
12 Days of Christmas – Straight No Chaser
- Set up a phone or camera to record yourself on video.
- Confidently perform and Include all movements.
- Listen at least twice — once for notes and rhythms, then again while you watch. Does every single phrase and movement sound in tune and beautiful? Does it look engaging and humorous?
- We described this piece in our program as a “wild ride”—it must be so infectiously fun that the audience wants to JOIN us on that ride.
- Basses: please spend LOTS of time on the rhythmic “doom doom” lines in the final section of the piece. They are hard, but they MUST be better. They are not accurate or confident at this point. You can do it! But it will take your commitment and follow-through.
- Use the recordings from previous blogs to guide you as you practice.
Caribbean Mass (SATB), by Glenn McClure
As you practice all movements of the Mass, be sure to move your body as you sing. Shift your weight to the beat, bend your knees, let your arms swing loosely. The more you get used to moving now, the better prepared you will be to receive instruction from the choreographer.
This was supposed to be memorized this week. The Italian is still very shaky at letter E and following, and some of the pitches/rhythms are not quite accurate. Please fix this this week and be sure it is memorized.
- Basses: the parts in this were not well-prepared. Make sure you know precisely how low your line goes—the difference between low C and low A is huge. Your numbers are small enough that even one wrong note or unconfident phrase can throw off the balance, and you won’t be heard. Please spend meaningful time on the end of this Kyrie (final three pages, especially).
Recordings for your reference:
Kyrie (sung by the MA All-State Honor Choir, Dr. Janet Galvan, Conductor): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4CcudfDr18
Here is Santo…
Convidando – Zéspedes
- Your performance was really wonderful at the rehearsal retreat last Saturday. I was very pleased with how much you stepped up to the plate—especially younger members and VTG singers. Well done. Bravi!
- Remember — and practice — the intensity of connection during the stomping-clapping interludes. Think of this like a jam session — every puts energy into the center of the arc, and feeds off of that energy.
- Basses, please practice the slow sections repeatedly. Sing first staccato, insisting on accuracy and clarity of diction. Then add the legato in, being certain to arrive at each pitch immediately (not sliding between, or using consonants to cover up your guesswork).
Amani – Jim Papoulis
- Be careful not to insert an ‘n’ in the word ‘chante’ – the ‘ah’ in the first syllable is nasal, so you must be careful not to inadvertently create an ‘n’ as you move from the nasal ‘ah’ to the ‘t’ in the second syllable. Think of having a stuffy nose at that precise moment and the ‘n’ will not sound.
- Remember the strong emphasis we put on the word ‘fort’ which we found on Saturday by “punching” the air in front of you with a strong-man arm.
- Be sure to articulate the ‘d’ at the end of the word ‘monde.’
- Observe the piano dynamic marking at one measure after letter C, but don’t slow down.
- Practice the claps that occur throughout the piece, the side-to-side step at the section after letter C and also the final “fist-fist-arms up” movement at the end.
- Class Schedules for Thanksgiving Week
- Please note that all classes (Prep 3, Bravi/VTG, and Vocalise SSA) WILL meet on Monday.
- Holidays with Cantabile Dress Rehearsal Information
- Call Time: 4:45 PM
- Release Time: 8:45 PM
Please be aware that we work exceptionally hard to ensure that not a moment of time is wasted at these rehearsals. Sometimes, however, these rehearsals need an extra few minutes to ensure that the hard work that the singers have put into their artistry all semester can come through in their performance. As such, despite our very best efforts otherwise, we sometimes do run behind schedule. We appreciate your patience and understanding if this becomes the case.
- Drop off location: Singers will be dropped off at the curb on the Artist’s Entrance: East side of Market Street, just south of the Hilton Hotel.
- Pick Up: Singers will be picked up in the back lobby of the California Theater, off of Market Street.
- Attire: Black long sleeve button down shirt, black dress pants, black dress socks, black dress shoes, plain black belt. Cantabile will be providing a new tie for this event which will be distributed at the Dress Rehearsal.
- Holidays with Cantabile Concert Information
- Morning Rehearsal Call Time: 9:30 AM for Morning Rehearsal
- Morning Dismissal: 11:30 AM
- Afternoon Call Time for Concert: 5:30 PM
- Check Out: Check out will happen in designated areas throughout the theater, after the concert has completed.
- Attire: Full Concert Dress for all choirs: see above.
- Please make sure you eat a good dinner before coming to the concert.
- Please bring with you: Water Bottle (with your name on it)
- Holidays with Cantabile Tickets Now On Sale
- Please visit the Cantabile website to buy your tickets today – they are going quickly! Additionally, we need your help in filling the hall, so invite your extended family, friends, teachers, and neighbors today!
- End Of Semester/Last Rehearsal Dates
- Please note that we will not have any more rehearsals after the Holidays with Cantabile concert on Sunday, December 3rd. Please refer to your calendars for your first rehearsal dater after the 1st of the New Year.
- Tour Registration Reminder
- If you haven’t already told us about your plans to attend tour, please either register via our website or email Jazmine (email@example.com) and let us know your status. Thank you!
Thanks, and happy practicing!
Jace, Elena, and Lori