Blog # 5 Thursday September 21st

Vocalise Retreat Blog – September 15 – 17, 2017
September 23, 2017
Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #5 – September 25, 2017
September 27, 2017

Blog # 5 Thursday September 21st

Dear Intermediate Singers,

Thank you for a productive and fun rehearsal last night! Your overall sound is developing with so much depth and color, and you are producing unified, consistent vowel shapes throughout much of your vocal range! Please remember our discussion about respect for the rehearsal process, and for each other – we will accomplish so much if we remember to raise our hands and move seamlessly through transitions – keep up the great work and believe in your capabilities!

Trivia Question: On the menorah, the ninth candle is used to light all the other candles. What is it called, and what does the word mean?

Reminders and Information:

ACDA Honor Choir: The American Choral Directors Association Western Division Conference is being held in Pasadena, March 14-17, 2018.  Cantabile Singers in grades 6-12 can audition for several honor choirs to be held during the conference.  These honor choirs are “mountain-top” experiences for young singers, conducted by leading choral conductors from around the country.  The audition deadline is October 13th, so act quickly!  More information and links to the ACDA Western Division website here: National Honor Choir Auditions 2018


Peter, Go Ringa Dem Bells

Nice work singing the F major scale with blue notes, and singing measure 78 in 2-part solfege – most of the harmonies in this song are sounding quite good. We also worked on the final pages where 3-part harmony takes place, and also practiced some highly rhythmic and syncopated sections, where you used our 4-beat rhythm block to help you stay in time. You then sang the entire song with expression and impressive command of the notes – we are well on our way to polishing this piece.

Action Items

  • Review measures 69-85 in solfege and make sure your vocal part is solid.
  • Review the sections in 3-part harmony – mm. 91-92 and mm. 114-end of the song, recalling which part of the (vegetarian!) sandwich you sang in! Reinforce the complex rhythm by maintaining the steady beat on your body as you sing.
  • Remember not to over-sing the final consonant “L” in the word “bell.” Have a lovely, tall “eh” vowel and close into the “L” at the last possible moment, keeping it light and supported.
  • Go through your score and circle all the dynamics, and prepare to apply them to the song in the coming weeks.
  • Listen to your part:

Soprano 1

Soprano 2 (Soprano in 2-part sections)

Soprano 2 (Alto in 2-part sections


Unending Flame

Singing Hine ma tov in g minor was a wonderful segue into this celebration of Hanukkah – it set up your ears and voices to tackle complex melodic patterns and high notes! You truly captured the mysterious wonder of this piece, along with its joyful and whirling finale! Keep up the great work.

Action Items

  • Find the scalar passages on page 6 which we worked on – mi-fah-sol-la-fah-mi and mi-fah-sol-la-ti-doh-ti-RI (raised reh or 2nd scale degree) – sing on solfege and then sing the text.
  • From measure 64, pay attention to the beats where you CLAP – they change every time, and counting is required!
  • Listen while following along with your score, and review your part!
  • Step to the beat of the different tempos – where do they occur in the score (including page number and measure number)?


This sounded lovely last night – the harmonies are settling, and our “ball bouncers” were so effective in helping us feel the long phrases. I felt a playful energy in the mood you created, yet it still felt peaceful, as a lullaby should!

Action Items

  • Memorize this song! You are ready! When doing so, adhere to the dynamics and be sure the long sustained phrases are sung on the breath, with beautiful and pure vowel sounds!
  • Study all the repeats in the song, which are numerous, to help you understand the overall structure of the piece.
  • Continue to listen to your part:

Part 1

Part 2


Excellent start on this song, without even opening the score! Your interpretation had energy and sensitivity to the message the song conveys. Keep up the good work!

Action Items

  • Please note, I mispronounced “de” last night  – please forgive me in my tiredness at the end of rehearsal – “de” is pronounced like this:

     in French.

  • Continue to listen carefully to the pronunciation below, which highlights certain vowels as having a very “closed” sound:



  • Listen to Amani and take note of where the voices split into 3 parts – we will add harmonies next week!

Peace on earth….and lots of little crickets

  • Please speak the text of the song in rhythm, watching carefully to fix the mistakes you found with Lori last night! If the ties are confusing, take them out and count the rhythm without the ties. We will add them in next week.
  • Watch and listen to the song, while following along in your score.
  • Part 2, review your harmonies starting in measure 57.
  • Part 1, take note of your harmonies which begin in measure 47.

Blustery Day

  • Listen to the mp3 while following along in your score – maintain the 6/8 vs. 3/4 beat pattern:



  • Please take note of the pitches in measure 51 “what do you say?” Note the difference in measure 55, which has the same text but different pitch material.
  • Take note of ending consonants and work on enunciating them: The final “t” in “retreat,” “d” in “wind,” “t” in “hat,” and “k” in “back.”
  • Practice alternating between 6/8 and 3/4 using the body percussion patterns. Remember, you are alternating between 2 and 3!
  • Speak the text like a poem.
  • Watch and listen to the song, while following along in your score.

Canons and Warm-ups

  • Practice our new chant, which helps access our head voice or high register on the “whoops”:

Way down yonder not so very far off, a jaybird dies of the whooping cough

He whooped so hard from the whopping cough

That he whooped his head and his tail right off.

  • Review our warm-up, Flee, Flay, Flah Floh, Floo, with tall vowels and sweeping motions – remember the “ooh” vowel should should spin and and feel round like a ball, rather than a pancake!

  • Review our new warm-up, Up High Above the Trees, creating hand and arm motions to depict the vowels and melodic contour, and choosing words to “lean” on for emphasis and phrasing:

Posture Rap

  • It’s time to improve our singing posture! Please work on memorizing Rollo Dilworth’s Posture Rap, with the specified motions and practice in front of the mirror. Remember, good singing posture is not about tension, but rather about being open, focused, alert, and ready to sing.

  • It’s time to improve our breathing! Find a scarf or light piece of material big enough to tie around the middle of your ribcage area – as your breathe in, feel the scarf tighten, due to the expansion of your ribcage. Try this several times, whilst performing these simple patterns below – try two at a time before breathing:

  • Do the same breath work while singing some phrases from one of our songs – every breath is a release and expansion, followed by slow exhalation on vowel and voice, then the cycle of expansion begins again.
  • Review the song Hine ma tov, adding the new body percussion from last night – Step-Clap, Step-Pat-Clap-Snap.
  • Review Yonder Come Day, with body percussion. Take note of the spoken chants we have not yet added – see if you can learn at home and come ready to perform next week!
  • Don’t forget to complete your All-About-Me SHEETS!

Musicianship A Assignment

  • Singers who are complete Book 1 should complete pages 17-20
  • Singers halfway through Book 1 should complete pages 28-29
  • Singers in Book 2 should complete pages 9-10

Musicianship B

  • Please complete page 9-10 in Book III.


  • In honor of our sight-singing and sight-reading exercises, compose a piece on Noteflight with the following critera:
  1. In E-flat major
  2. 8 measures long
  3. 4/4 time signature
  4. Includes at least three ties.
  5. Includes sixteenth notes, preferably in sets of 4.
  6. Goes down to low sol (B-flat below staff)
  7. Includes lyrics so we can sing one another’s next week!

Trivia Answer: The ninth candle on the Menorah is called the shamash, which means “servant.”

Have a great weekend! See you Thursday.



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