Dear Bravi and VTG Singers,
Nice work at retreat! It was a full weekend but your participation, as Elena often remarks, adds so much to the overall sound of Vocalise and Cantabile as a whole. It’s quite a responsibility to balance a room of 100+ sopranos and altos, but you all do it admirably.
Please be certain you also review the Vocalise SATB blog from last week — there will be notes for lots of tutti repertoire.
VTG Singers: Remember to practice your vocal exercises every single day. It should take 5 – 10 minutes, but you must dedicate the time to growing your command of your lower range and your passaggio. If you don’t remember these exercises, ask another singer in VTG!
Everyone: here’s your practice agenda this week for Bravi and VTG repertoire, as well as tutti repertoire from the retreat:
Guide Me, O… (Trad. Appalachian)
Remember to approach this piece with a sense of legato. Use your voice with purpose, but always approach this piece with a light “head tone.”
“Bread of Heaven” and “Strong deliv’rer” – remind yourselves of the harmony we added. These fast phrases must be released with a crescendo and be released UP! Don’t let the sound fizzle.
6th line down: breathe in the middle of the phrase, where it is marked “meno forte”
13th line down: breathe in the middle of the phrase, where it is marked “meno f”
Remember, regarding vowels: diphthongs have to be elongated and purified slightly to get away from our “chewy” American diction.
Sing We Now of Christmas (arr. York)
Make sure your part is clearly marked in your score. Please mark your scores (with pencil!) in a way that makes it easy for you to follow.
Practice your part with the piano to keep track of your intonation — the descending lines in this piece tend to drag flat, and good intonation is essential.
Practice strategies: remember to practice intelligently, especially in higher sections with a demanding tessitura. Running through from beginning to end might not always be the most helpful strategy. Do mental practice or piano practice (playing, rather than singing) first on difficult passages, then attempt to sing it.
The end of this arrangement has a rather demanding range. We will adjust it as necessary but for now please learn the notes you were assigned. If we discover in rehearsal that those notes are too high or low, we will either re-voice it or re-write it.
Nice work on this at retreat. Remember that we can use a slightly brighter, “hard palate” sound
mm. 77 – 83 – we revoiced this section so that tenors are singing the top of the bass part. Be sure your score reflects that, and practice the transition from 76 – 77 with this in mind.
m. 101 – Elena often takes a fairly big breath before the final three measures. Don’t be the person that sings through it! Have your eyes up and be ready!
Review the choreography before next week. The steps should be small and close to your body, and try to feel your center of gravity as rather low.
Not much to work on other than intonation and head tone here. If you sing this too heavily, it will undoubtedly fall flat. It must be light, supported, and the sound must be felt high “in the mask.” VTG, we will devote some additional time to this idea quite soon!
Most Wonderful Time (SATB)
VTG: you are all learning new parts for this. Please make sure your score is marked clearly so you know what to practice.
Cutoffs throughout this piece were clarified and unified at retreat. These should be re-learned as soon as possible. Elena is generally quite good at giving them to you, so as along as you are watching carefully, you should be okay. The final two measures of the piece are crucial, and tenors must sing the final “be as one” with dignity and precise intonation.
Come and Sing (SATB)
If you were not on tour, this new SATB setting is quite different. Please look at your notes carefully. We will rehearse this on Monday, and I expect it to be learned fairly easily, since it’s familiar to you. A few notes:
The first verse is sung in octaves, not harmony.
m. 21 – the final eighth note should be another D-natural, not an “A,” as printed.
m. 35 – the final eighth note should be another “B,” not an “A,” as printed.
Other announcements and reminders:
Sunday rehearsals (possible)
Keep an eye out for an email to your parents in the coming days regarding this potential additional rehearsal. Again, this is for your benefit, and we will grow so much from it. It will be optional (though strongly encouraged), and we will be respectful of your busy calendars.
Reminder: please make sure your parents have ordered the correct uniform for you.
Bring your yoga mats! Every week we will start at exactly 5:30pm on the floor with our shoes and socks off, and our yoga mats half-rolled beneath us. (Several yoga mats were left at rehearsal last night!) New singers will be getting their Cantabile yoga mats at retreat.
Have a wonderful week and we’ll see you next Monday!