November 14 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #11

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November 14 – Bravi/VTG Rehearsal #11

Hi, VTG and Bravi:

Thanks for a productive rehearsal this past Monday.  For those of you (Bravi only) who showed up at the Sunday rehearsal, we thank you for your dedication and the extra time.  Let’s strive to see even more participation this Sunday!  Here are a few things to think about before next Monday… and remember, we DO have regular rehearsal, even though the SSA singers will be in Monterey.  It’s just us (woo-hoo!).

This week’s blog will cover bigger concepts and general ideas more so than usual–the specifics are largely in place, so we need to work on bringing this music alive.

Action Items for Monday:

  1. Memorization! At this point, everything should be completely memorized for the performance.  For all of you: Sing We Now of Christmas, Winter Wonderland, and for Bravi only: Suo Gan.
  2. Make sure you review all your repertoire–even the pieces we didn’t touch last week (Amovolovolo, Allunde Alluya, Grace, Most Wonderful Time, etc.).  We’re going to check ALL of the tutti repertoire at this coming week’s rehearsal, so PLEASE review them.
  3. …this includes the Sing-along repertoire.

Concepts from this past week:

  1. Memorization (Intellectual) –> Internalization (Emotional) –> Performance (External!)
  2. Refined diction
  3. Beautiful tone / balanced vocal parts


  • Please practice this piece omitting mm. 21 – 36, going directly from the end of m. 20 to the downbeat of m. 37.  
  • At the downbeat of m. 37, all basses should sing the highest E and NOT the low B.  This will improve the overall effect.  No matter how good your low B is, it won’t be heard in a dry theatre when singing with 90 sopranos and altos.
  • Diction reminders:

— do not over-aspirate “K’s.” They should sound more like a hard “g” than an English/American “k.”

— Sing through the double consonants (for example, “KaNNNa”)

— Use a similar treatment for “kai-ki” even though the “k” is not doubled.

  • Keep the dynamic energy contained at the beginning — the first “forte” marking isn’t until m. 53, and there is still a long way to go at that point!
  • m. 53 should use a very resonant, bright sound in alto and tenor lines.  Focus the sound in your cheeks and use your resonance.
  • Accent the note-changes at both m. 68 and m. 91. Crescendo through those measures and give a lively pulse to the note change without singing a break between those two notes.
  • Review where the final syllable of four-bar phrases changes and doesn’t (for example: the note changes at m. 68, but does not in the next phrase at m. 72).
  • When you get to the section at the key change (m. 77), continue to sing strong downbeats throughout. Those should be very firm landing points at every measure. This is exciting! Don’t let up at the climax.
  • Quick breaths at the end of m. 101 and at the end of m. 102. Watch Elena for the ritardando and these breaths.

Sing We Now of Christmas

  • Memory is good on this piece with the exception of the divisi on the last page, which needs to be repeatedly checked and solidified.
  • Do not rush moving eighth notes (ex: m. 10, m. 14, etc.).  Settle into the rhythm of the piece and resist the urge to let these trip ahead.
  • Tenors, please review the T1 / T2 split at the octave jump “Noel” sections.  This is in the background, but it remains important to the texture.  It creates an air of excitement.  Think of it as a distant shout of excitement that is heard echoing.
  • All voices (and especially tenors): remember that there is more power in good tone and solid unison than in singing loudly.  The higher ranges of this piece will be helped be breathing well, singing with a relaxed throat, and keeping the vowels tall.

Winter Wonderland

  • Keep working at the new words.  Remember that they must be enunciated carefully–particularly the ends of words.
  • Good words to describe this piece: debonair, stylish, laid back, entertaining.  Bad words: campy, over-the-top, rushed, overstated.  As you practice, try to embody the good descriptors with your facial expression, your posture, and your ease of stage presence.
  • Review the cut on page. 8:  mm. 47-50 are completely cut.

Suo Gan (Bravi only)

  • Review the diction recordings!  Your Welsh pronuncation came a long way since last week–keep up the good work.
  • This should be completely memorized now.
  • Rubato means “give and take.”  This piece must breathe, and rubato will help it to do so.  Review your markings for the various rallentando and ritardando markings at the ends of phrases and verses.  Then make sure these are incorporated into your final memorization process.
  • Imagine singing this to a newborn or a very young child you care about very much.  That sense of love and comfort must flow continually as you sing this song.  It is rather understated, but can be communicated most effectively with your eyes.

Ya viene la vieja (Bravi only)

  • Please practice this with a metronome!  Set it for 80, which can be the dotted quarter note.  Then gradually increase it until you get to 100, which is approximately the performance tempo.
  • Learn the words and rhythms and make sure you’re quite accurate with pitches.  This does not need to be memorized, but it does need to be polished and lots of fun!
  • Remember that asterisks are finger snaps.

O Come All Ye Faithful (Bravi only)

  • V. 1 should be memorized at this point.  Please work on memory for the rest of the verses.
  • Remember that the third verse (“Yea, Lord, we greet thee”) begins in unison, then splitting to parts on the fourth bar.
  • Don’t oversing.
  • Watch some videos of Vocal Spectrum–an international award-winning Barbershop Quartet.  Watch their synchronicity of purpose, listen for their finessed tone and delivery, and their unbelievable breath control.  That’s what we’re shooting for in this style.   Here’s a video of them:


Other announcements and reminders:

  • Tour to the Crescent City: Our registration deadline has been extended! You now have until December 1st to register for tour. Let us know if you have any questions. We hope you come with us. It would be excellent to have a complete representation of Bravi and VTG on this tour!
  • Uniform follow up: If your vest was overly large or loose, please ask your parents to adjust the strap in the back of the vest.  If you haven’t shown me your uniform yet, you owe me a photo of yourself in it, including your shoes!  Send it to my email address:
  • Sunday rehearsals for Bravi singers only:  Sunday rehearsals will continue this week and next week from 3:00 – 5:00pm.  Simon will lead these rehearsals… and you have received logistics via email.
  • Monday, Nov. 21 — Standard VTG and Bravi Rehearsal: While the Vocalise SSA singers are away competing in Monterey, we’ll have regular rehearsals that evening.  It should be a very productive night–thanks for your attendance.

Always our best,

Jace, Elena, Jazmine, and Justin

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