March 6 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #7

Intermediate Blog # 8 Thursday March 2nd
March 4, 2017
Vocalise Blog #8: 3/6/2017
March 10, 2017

March 6 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #7

Hi, Bravi and VTG:

Thanks for your work these last two weeks, which has largely been separate from my agenda with Vocalise while Elena has been out of town.  Next week, things should be much more like normal… if there is such a thing in Cantabile!  🙂

Here are some notes for your practice this week:

Action Items for next Monday:

  1. Make sure “We Are a Circle” is learned confidently with rhythmic accuracy and emotional conviction so that it is ready for Elena to rehearse next week.
  2. Review divisi and your “roadmap” for “Past Life Melodies.”  Unfortunately we didn’t get to rehearse this piece last week, so please refresh your memories.  Revisit last week’s blog for a reminder on parts and divisi.
  3. Spend some more quality time with “What I Have Done” (Bravi and VTG) to be sure that what you’re singing is REALLY what the arranger put on the page.
  4. Spend some quality time with “Esti Dal.” (Bravi only)
  5. Revisit all repertoire for the semester so it is fresh (“Turn the World Around,” “Famine Song,” “I Dreamed of Rain,” etc.).

We Are a Circle

  • Be confident and ON-TIME for every entrance. The vowel of the syllable must arrive on time, so prepare the preceding consonants early, and with lots of energy (ex: “WE” at the very beginning).  This requires that you always read ahead so you’re prepared!
  • This piece should be sung with energy and vibrancy – each repetition must mean something new.
  • Spend some time thinking about the “mood” of this song.  We came up with some very descriptive adjectives for this piece — insistent, convicted, aware, open-hearted, etc.  As you practice, please incorporate these emotions into your singing.
  • Sopranos at m. 21, practice that syncopation – the last syllable comes on the “and” of beat 4, immediately before the next downbeat.
  • Watch the changes in dynamic markings between repeats like in m. 22. – remember that piano singing shouldn’t lose intensity.  In fact, the diction must have even MORE energy when singing softly.
  • Everyone at m. 27 – Forte sempre!  (always!)
  • Practice the road map on this song – don’t let the repeats, D.S. al Coda, and coda take you by surprise.
  • No rit. at the end… and most importantly, follow your conductor.  🙂

What I Have Done

  • Correct your pitches, PLEASE!  Take the time to learn these on your own OR feel free to ask someone for help.  We don’t have time to relearn the notes together.
  • Lengthen your vowels, especially on syllables that are only an 8th note long – for example, place the last consonant of “amazing” at the very end of the note. Sing “Aaaa-maaaa-ziiiing,” not “Aaaa-maaaa-zng”.
  • Sing legato throughout. You might want to make sure that every pitch and rhythm is correct, but you are completely capable of doing so with a fluid line – don’t make it choppy.  Accuracy and beauty are not mutually exclusive.
  • Really listen to each other as you sing together. No one voice should stick out above the rest; conversely, everyone must sing with a beautiful, full tone to create blend.  Practice singing through these with a buoyant, head-voice tone as a foundation and observe how maintaining a breathy sound feels and sounds. The blend already improved quite a bit when you were all singing like this.  Gradually add core and body to the sound, but never so much that you feel like you are producing a sound with a harsh edge.

Esti Dal (Bravi only)

  • Practice speaking through the Hungarian text with the pronunciation guide we went over and listen to this diction guide I made:

    …as well as this YouTube clip of a Hungarian man speaking the text.  Pay close attention to his vowel colors and the energy in his consonants (particularly the doubled ones!).

  • Everyone – look at this before next week. All of these pitches should be learned by then. No excuses!
  • Please write in the translation.  Here it is:
    • Verse 1 (tenor)

      Evening darkness overtook me near the woods.
      I have put my coat under my head as a pillow;
      I have put my hands together
      To pray to the Lord, like this:

      Verse 2 (all)
      Oh, God, give me a place to sleep,
      I am weary with wandering,
      With walking around and hiding,
      With living in foreign woodlands.

      Verse 3 (mostly tenor)
      May God give me a good night,
      May he send me a guardian angel,
      May he encourage our hearts’ dreams,
      May he give us a good night.

  • Lower voices (Baritones, all Basses) – You can phrase long notes even if you think nothing is happening. Singing should generally move toward something or away from something. There are some nice chromatic changes that provide a sense of motion even when things are not moving that much.
  • Lowest basses – keep your breath support solid and breathe when you need to. If you waver, you will make it harder for things to lock in place above you. The sound should be easy and relaxed.  Always use a warm tone.
  • Basses singing the upper part on the bottom staff (Alexey and Charlie) – count-sing through this. It is easy to get lost when you’re not focused.
  • Tenors – once you have the pitches and rhythms down, focus on singing this as legato as possible. Try singing the melody on a single connected vowel and pay attention to where you unintentionally stop the sound.

Additional Announcements and Reminders:

  • Check your emails for our updated season calendars! Print them out and remind your parents that dates, times, and locations for our Spring Concert Dress Rehearsal, Spring Concert, and Recording Sessions have been updated.
  • If you are going on tour, PLEASE make sure your tour forms are filled out on as soon as possible. You have until Wednesday, March 15th to fill these out!
  • Joan Szymko, the composer of all three selections from last week’s rehearsal, will be in Residency with Cantabile on Monday, March 27. This is a great opportunity for you all to work with a composer on her compositions!
  • NO SUNDAY REHEARSALS for the next three weeks while the Requiem is happening at Symphony Silicon Valley (or on the 26th, which is a concert day for Bravi).  Enjoy your weekends, but please work hard so that rehearsals on Monday are productive.  Sunday rehearsals will resume in April.
  • A huge thank you to Justin and Jazmine, who both stepped in to cover while I was busy.  Please take a moment to thank them for sharing their time with you!

Many thanks, and enjoy your practice!

Jace, Justin, and Jazmine


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