Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #7 – October 9, 2017

Intermediate Blog # 7 Thursday October 5th
October 7, 2017
Prep 1 Blog #5 Week of October 9, 2017
October 13, 2017

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #7 – October 9, 2017

Dear Bravi and VTG Singers:

Some reminders…

  • During meditation it is essential that your back be straight and your chest be open.
  • When practicing at home, use body movement to encourage freedom of tone and breath.  Also be sure to engage your core muscles as you practice and remind yourself to check your alignment.  In case you missed it last week, remember the Triangle of Alignment, Breath, Focus: This is your sequence to achieve calm, comfort, and clarity in any situation, under any circumstances.
  • Be aware of your body and spine alignment, correct it whenever you feel sliding into a “slump” position that your body has become used to from years of sitting on furniture and not paying attention to the “four dignities” (standing, walking, sitting and lying down.) NO TURTLES in this choir! We all need to re-train our muscles, especially the ones supporting the spine. WHAT YOU PRACTICE  BECOMES MUSCLE MEMORY.

Action Items for our Oct. 16th rehearsal. Full instructions for each piece are further down in the blog.


  • West Virginia (BRAVI ONLY): Memorized entirely by Sunday.  Absolutely 100%.
  • Seven Bridges Road (BRAVI ONLY): Memorized entirely by Sunday.  Absolutely 100%.
  • Convidando: Completely learned now, and almost memorized.  Should be essentially “off-book” by next week.
  • 12 Days of Christmas: Completely learned now. Memorized in two weeks. All solos have been assigned except for one short tenor 2 solo. Consider these your responsibility to practice and fully own.
  • All Searching Sight (Kedron): Spend considerable, meaningful time learning the notes and rhythms.  This must be done by next Monday, to the point that you can look up and sing the part confidently.
  • Blue Christmas: Learn your parts as assigned last week, up through page 8, measure 42.
  • Caribbean Mass: Continue practicing Altissimo as was learned on Oct. 2nd
  • Santo and Agnus Dei Memorized; Credo and Kyrie completely learned with words, close to memorization. Work hard on the Italian.
  • Amani: Lots of work is already done. Please, review the notes and practice text pronunciation slowly but in rhythm.
  • Yoga: We began the second sun salutation sequence (forward fold with monkey and chair added into the flow) Practice daily.
  • Meditation: practice every day. You should be up to 10 min a day now.


West Virginia – Hazel Dickens (Bravi only)

  • Please aim to have this memorized by Saturday so that you can sleep on it one night and be fully confident on Sunday.
  • Please be careful with the descending sixth on the last measure of page 1 (and in every instance thereafter).  It must go all the way down to a written low C (and NOT a G).
  • Be very precise with the rhythm on page 12, last measure of the top system. The final 8th note cannot be sung early (it is a swung eighth note, so should land a bit after the “and” of beat 4.
  • As you practice, be mindful of balance and read the entire score (not just your part).  If there is a solo voice singing (voices 1 – 3 are all solos), you should be singing somewhat softly. When the entire chorus is singing (example: last two pages), your dynamic level can come up considerably, probably to a full forte.
  • Basses and baritones can drop the octave on the very final measure.

Seven Bridges Road (Bravi only)

  • Please aim to have this memorized by Saturday so that you can sleep on it one night and be fully confident on Sunday.
  • There were questions about which iteration of this we are singing.  When in doubt, read the notes on the page, unless we adjusted them in rehearsal.
  • Remember this is a song about nostalgia and love from a young age that brings you back to your childhood. The way you sing this has to capture the essence of homecoming and comfort — as well as strength.  Do not over-sing.

Convidando – Zéspedes

  • Revisit the dynamic structure we clarified on Oct. 2 in rehearsal.
  • Revisit the diction recordings and part recordings to be totally certain you are still singing the words and pitches correctly.
  • Review the claps and stomps in the faster estribillo.
  • Try it without music and see how you’re doing! This needs to be memorized completely by Oct. 23.
  • Remember: this music was written with the goal of drawing people into a new faith and a new language.  You must draw people in with your enthusiasm, as well as your beautiful tone.

12 Days of Christmas – Straight No Chaser

  • Pitches for the entire piece should now be learned.
  • Work towards memory and set yourself a goal of two pages per day.
  • The bass line from letter H to the end is very, very tricky. It is not currently learned very accurately, and needs to be improved by next week.
  • We re-voiced the parts from measure 82 to 94/95, so please be sure your markings reflect this so that you practice the correct part (in the correct octave).

All Searching Sight – Tim Sharp 

  • Admittedly, we have not spent much time on this piece. That being said, we must make sure it is in working order by this weekend.  Bravi, you should expect to perform some of this at Sunday’s Commissioning Event — so you will need to have an even better handle of this. VTG, you will join us in singing it with the composer on Monday.  It needs to be prepared well and notes should be completely learned. The rhythms are harder than the notes.  Please spend a minimum of 15 – 20 minutes on this piece.
  • Special attention should be paid to pages 4 and 5.
  • Remember, all “ba-ba-ba-dah” statements are accompaniment figures — sing them slightly off the voice.  Not too hard.

Blue Christmas – arr. Mac Huff

  • This is doo-wop!  Not the Army-Navy Chorus. 🙂  Sing a bit “off the voice” and remember that accuracy is more important than volume here.
  • If you aren’t familiar with the doo-wop style, here is a short compilation of great doo-wop tunes.  Enjoy!
  • You will be leading the audience for much of this piece, as a singalong. As such, you will need to look enthusiastic and eager to invite them to sing with you. This means a pleasant expression and fully engaged face while you perform. You must practice this, even now — what you practice becomes muscle memory!
  • Notes and rhythms should be learned up through measure 42 by this coming week.

Caribbean Mass (SATB), by Glenn McClure

  • Remember, it is practically impossible to disconnect movement from singing when practicing this repertoire.  Move as you practice, and practice moving.  Your hips should be loose, your knees should be slightly bent as to move easily, your legs should feel alive, and you should flow with the rhythm from your feet all the way through your body.
  • In Altissimo: Please spend at least 10 – 15 minutes with your part this week.  It has been slightly under-rehearsed in Bravi/VTG rehearsal while we focus on the Commissioning Event. We will remedy this in the near future but your work on pitches and rhythms will be helpful.
  • In the Agnus Dei, practice stomping on the downbeats as the meter changes (particularly downbeats with rests, such as those before “qui tollis peccata…”). This will help you internalize these meter changes easily.
  • Please revisit pitches and rhythms for the Agnus Dei as well as the Kyrie, which we have not rehearsed in a few weeks now.  Us the following listening guides to assist you:
  • Kyrie (sung by the MA All-State Honor Choir, Dr. Janet Galvan, Conductor):
  • Here is Santo…
  • …and Credo:


Other announcements and reminders:

  • This weekend, you are ALL invited to attend the Commissioning Event with Tim Sharp.  Please RSVP through Justin’s email.  (BRAVI SINGERS ARE REQUIRED TO ATTEND.) VTG singers — you and your families are welcome to join us as we celebrate the process of creating new music. It should be a fun event with lots of good singing.
  • BRAVI SINGERS: Here is a reminder of logistics for this weekend –
    • Sunday, Oct. 15
      1:15 PM Call time
      3:00 PM Performance
      5:00 PM Approximate Dismissal
      Attire: Concert attire (no vest, blue tie)
      Location: Ladera Oaks Country Club, 3249 Alpine Rd., Portola Valley 
  • A reminder about rehearsal etiquette: rehearsal time, even if you are not directly involved, is a time for your minds to be engaged. Occasionally we will have to work with another section, or Bravi will need to work on something while VTG watches (or vice-a-versa).  This is never, ever a time for you to be on your phone or to be horsing around. If anyone — a fellow singer, your student conductor, a choir parent, or a staff member — asks you to pay attention or put your phone away or pay better attention, you must do so. There are no exceptions to this, and any disrespect shown in this regard will make its way back to Elena and myself.  Let’s be sure we are setting good habits, and setting good examples for younger singers.

Happy practicing!

Jace, Elena, and Lori





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