Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #8 – October 16, 2017

October 11, 2017/Rehearsal #8
October 14, 2017
Prep 1 Blog #6 Week of October 16, 2017
October 20, 2017

Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #8 – October 16, 2017

Dear Bravi and VTG:

Please note:  there are several announcements with call times for events and other important information at the end of this blog.


What a joy it was to spend time with Tim Sharp this week!  This was a wonderful opportunity to soak up all the knowledge he has on a subject few of us knew much about before he came: shape note singing and the history of the settling of the Appalachian region of the United States.  

Some key takeaways were:

  • As an adjudicator, Tim looks for 100% engagement from 100% of the choir – even the singers in the very back row!  As performers, we create this “bubble” of an experience for our audience.  Any singer not 100% engaged in the performance will disturb the bubble and hinder the experience.
  • We encourage you to take some time to reflect on the creative process we shared as Dr. Sharp worked on “All Searching Sight.” This process is not always a precise art, and requires equal participation from everyone, with an open mind and willingness to try different things. Your conductors were very proud of your openness and willingness to experiment and play with the music during his workshop… and very thankful you took the time to learn the pitches and rhythms so Tim could go through his process. Imagine being in Dr. Sharp’s shoes. He created a choral “mash-up” of sorts; blending two pieces he knew well, from very different styles. He had an idea about how it would sound, but he wasn’t certain the piece worked until he heard you sing it! This inspired him to dig deeper into dynamics, to clarify the elements of his piece that he liked, and to bring out the elements that needed to be more present. Then came experimentation with rhythm and added sound effects to fill in the space between phrases and verses. Some of these concepts were completely improvised, which is often part of this process. (Did you know that many of Bach’s pieces for piano and organ are thought to be transcriptions of his improvisations?). Because of this exchange, a new piece of music exists in our library and in the broader world!
  • When there is a change in the music (ie, moving from the A section to the B section), be sure you know what the text is and why the change is there.  This new focus of the text and emotion should be expressed visually as well as musically.  This happens between the estribillo and juguetes sections in Convidando, and occurs frequently in the Caribbean Mass, too.  This was a concept discussed in Vocalise, but applies equally to all of our repertoire.


ACTION ITEMS FOR OCT. 16TH REHEARSAL. Full instructions for each piece are further down in the blog. 



    • Convidando: Memorized this week. I will be doing memory checks as I rehearse.
    • 12 Days of Christmas: Completely learned now. Memorized next. All solos have been assigned except for one short tenor 2 solo. Consider these your responsibility to practice and fully own.
    • Blue Christmas: Learn your parts as assigned two weeks back, 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.



  • Practice this piece with a head-tone, working primarily in mezzo-piano and piano dynamics (even in the faster sections).  In your immense enthusiasm (which I love!) it has occasionally taken on a rough tone. Even in the loudest sections, it must be beautiful, too.
  • Memory this week! It should be very close already — tackle a page or two per day until Monday, and you should have it.
  • Spend some time considering the text and how you will express, physically, the difference between the slow sections and the fast sections.  Why are they different? How will you communicate those differences from stage?

12 Days of Christmas – Straight No Chaser

  • Pitches for the entire piece should now be learned.  Memorized next week!
  • 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).

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 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:

Amani: Lots of work is already done. Please, review the notes and practice text pronunciation slowly but in rhythm.



Tour Registration Reminder

Don’t forget to register for Tour today!  Please visit the member-only portion of the website and sign up now.  The last day to register is October 31st!

Holidays with Cantabile Tickets Now On Sale

Please visit the Cantabile website to buy your tickets today – they are going quickly!

Call Times for the Fall Rehearsal

Please note that call times for the Fall Rehearsal on Saturday, November 4th have changed and are earlier than previously scheduled.  Your call time is 9:00 AM and you must arrive in your Cantabile T-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes/sneakers.   Please arrive in the back parking lot (off of Byron St) for check in.  A friendly reminder that the concert is scheduled for 1pm, and you will be done by 2pm.  The rehearsal and concert are held at First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto: 625 Hamilton Ave.  

Capella SF Tickets and Call Times

A friendly reminder that Vocalise SSA is singing at St. Andrew’s Church (13601 Saratoga Ave) in Saratoga.  The concert will begin at 7:00pm and you can buy your tickets here.  The concert should be over around 9:00pm .  We also need two more parent chaperones for this performance. Click here to sign up.

Happy practicing!

Jace, Lori, and Elena

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