February 15, 2018/Rehearsal #7

Prep 3 Blog #2 Week of February 5, 2018
February 12, 2018
February 14, 2018/Rehearsal #7
February 17, 2018

February 15, 2018/Rehearsal #7

Dear Intermediate Singers,

Thank you for working hard and enabling Jazmine to do her job as my substitute this week in rehearsal.  She said it went well, and I appreciate that.  I am feeling better already with the good medicine I have been taking and should be “right as rain” in no time!

Our first big adventure this semester is Cantabile’s Festival for Young Voices, March 23 and 24.  The Festival itself is on Saturday, March 24th.  This will be a day of meeting young singers from area schools while rehearsing together with a wonderful guest clinician, Dr. Daniel Afonso, from California State University, Stanislaus (check out his bio below).  Dr. Afonso is from Brazil and is an expert on Latin American choral repertoire, so we will learn several Brazilian folksongs for the Festival and we will get to participate in a Latin American drumming workshop that day as well.  You and Ensemble will serve as hosts for this event.  We will expect you to be exemplary models of focus and friendliness!  Friday, March 23, we have the opportunity to receive a personal coaching session with Dr. Afonso on the songs that we will sing together just with Ensemble on the Festival concert.  We are so fortunate to have this opportunity to learn from an expert in the field of Latin American music.  As a reminder, the events on Friday and Saturday, March 23 and 24 are required events in Intermediate’s season.

When we get back from Ski Week (remember – no rehearsal next Thursday, February 22) we will have only four rehearsals to put the music for the Festival together.  It is doable, but it will require you to practice diligently on your own over the next two weeks.  Please use your time wisely and set aside time regularly to practice, using the pronunciation guides below for the Portuguese songs.

OPEN REHEARSAL: Parents – we warmly invite you to our next Open Rehearsal, Thursday, March 1st, from 6:55-7:15 pm.  Come and sit in (literally) with the choir to get a peek into the preparation process of our All Choir Concert.  The staff at Cantabile loves to see parents enjoying music with their singers, and to this end, we will invite parents to join us on stage at the All Choir Concert to sing several songs with us!  Don’t worry – we’ll get you prepared at the Open Rehearsals this semester.

To guide you in your practice this week, below you will find:

  • Breathing meditation, standing position and Yoga Flow
  • Warm ups
  • Instructions for practicing each song, with rehearsal tracks and/or professional recordings of songs
  • Musicianship homework assignments
  • Trivia Question – just for fun!

If you ever have questions or need help with an assignment, don’t hesitate to email me at lori@cantabile.org .  Have a great week next week, and take some time to have some fun!



Breathing meditation, standing position and a Yoga flow

Continue practicing breathing as follows (5 min a day.) This technique will not only relax and center you but will also greatly improve your ability to sing long sustained phrases.

Mind and body are one continuum, reconnected through breath

  1. Sitting on the floor cross legged, close your eyes and lengthen your spine: crown reaching up/tailbone reaching into the ground, sternum lifted, chest expanded.)
  2. Notice your natural breath for several rounds, while relaxing your abdomen and facial muscles. Notice gentle expansion of the ribs and belly on the inhale.
  3. Empty the lungs completely by pulling the navel close to the spine but keeping the chest up. Inhale slowly and mindfully, filling up with air from bottom to mid- to upper lungs. Exhale slowly pulling the navel in. This is the extended breath.
  4. Continue with extended breath for a few more rounds. Feel your body expanding with shimmering luminous light and contracting into the belly. Notice your body relaxing and feeling lighter.

Standing Pose…

…is the most important pose to learn for anyone who wants to improve his/her singing, posture, health, wellbeing and creativity!

Here is your “template” practice daily and try to keep this posture intact while walking too!

Stand with FEET parallel, feeling “rooted” through the 5 points in connection in both feet

  • Inner heels, outer heels
  • Mounds underneath big toes and little toes
  • Big toes

Activate the arches of feet, relax the KNEES with a microbend

Tap THIGHS to activate them but stay relaxed

Tuck and tip pelvis slightly to find the neutral position of the HIPS: in line with knees and heels

Lift STERNUM noticing the space between hips and RIB CAGE

Relax SHOULDERS down and back (shoulder blades tucking into imaginary pockets)

ARMS relaxed and long, by your side

Reach up through sides of the SKULL, CHIN tucked in, JAW relaxed, NECK elongated.

Gentle smile – – feeling calm, present, rooted to the groups and open to the limitless sky of possibilities.  Then go into the yoga flow below.

Our first yoga flow…

Singers and musicians of any kind, athletes of all types, and creative people all over the world have long recognized the power, benefits and joy of yoga. Mindful, fluid movement through yogic poses — a flow — is one of the greatest ways to re-align your body with your mind, to feel calm, joyful and energetic. We will spend about 5 min at each rehearsal practicing different poses — monkeys, pigeons, roosters, green dragons, cats, cows, dogs and sphinxes!

Flow #1 (Forward bend/monkey/chair)

Begin in standing pose (as described above)

Hands together in front, slowly raising them to a forward salute (inhale)

Exhale — forward bend: round the back, release neck, head, arms; let gravity pull you down, stretching the hamstrings, lower back, calves.

PLace hands on lower back, bend knees, chin tucked: slowly unbend – vertebra by vertebra- to standing, neck and head come to place last — this takes INHALE and EXHALE

Slowly bring arms up as before, inhaling — forward salute and forward arch

Exhale- forward bend

INhale — monkey (legs straight but relaxed, spine straight and long,hands on knees, back and head make a “table”

Exhale — forward fold, bend knees

INhale — Chair (knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms raised above head.

Exhale — standing

Exhale into standing.

A-alignment B-breath C-concentration

Warm Ups

Each practice session, take a few minutes to vocalise before you sing.  The purpose of these exercises is not merely to warm the voice up, although that is important, but they also develop habits and muscle memory for good vocal technique.  Regular practice of them will make you a better, stronger singer.

  • Remember to imagine a softball in your mouth as you sing:

  • Move your body with big swoops of the arms and by bending the knees while you sing:

  • Remember not to wait at the top – take a quick breath and come right back down:


Menina Me Da Sua Mao

Who sings what:  Think of yourselves in a 2-part split for most of this song, and sing the Soprano and Alto lines.  In ms. 28-36, those of you who sing Sop2 in a 3-part split should sing the top note on the Alto staff, and in ms. 57, you should sing the bottom note on the Soprano staff.  Use the Sop2 rehearsal track for those measures.


Soprano 2


Use this recording to begin to get familiar with the Portuguese language.

Review your part, first singing on a neutral syllable like “doo,” then try putting the words together with the music.

When you are fairly confident on your part, try singing along with this recording and see if you can sing your part accurately.

Answer these questions and mark in your music:

  • Where do the two voice parts sing in unison?
  • When the voice parts begin singing in harmony, who sings the melody?
  • Notice that the voice parts often sing in canon, meaning that one part begins singing and the second part begins singing the same melody a few beats later.  Are the two melodies exactly the same?  Can you explain why they are the same or why they are different?


Rosa Amarela, arr. Daniel Afonso

Who sings what:  Think of yourselves in a 2-part split.  Sopranos follow the top line (called “Soprano”) and Altos follow the second line down (called “Mezzo-Soprano”).

Soprano 1 – at the beginning, if you can’t whistle, practice the first few measures on “loo.”



Practice the music on a neutral syllable (doo, da, la, etc.).  Also practice speaking the Portuguese one word at a time and in rhythm.  Use the pronunciation guide below.  When you are fairly confident on the notes and the words separately, put them together and sing on words.


Cangoma, arr. Lon Beery and Elisa Dekaney

Who sings what:  Think of yourselves in a 2-part split.  Sopranos follow the Sop1 line all the way through the song.  Notice that at ms. 71, you do not sing the very top line (where it says “Optional Descant”).  From there to the end, you sing the top note on the second staff down.  Altos, when it splits to SA at ms. 21, sing the Alto part.  When it splits to SSA at ms. 37, sing the Sop2 line (the lower note on the top staff).



Use the same method as above to learn this song.  Below is the pronunciation guide:

Sing along with this recording to see if you can sing your part while the other parts are going, too.  Click on the black Play button.


Two Brazilian Folk Songs, arr. Lon Beery and Elisa Dekaney

Who sings what: In this music, the voice parts are called Part I, II and III.  We will only sing Parts I and II, which are equal to Soprano and Alto.  Therefore, think of yourselves in a 2-part split and sing Part I if you’re a Soprano and Part II if you’re an Alto.



Use the same method as above to learn this song.  Below is the pronunciation guide:

Here is the full recording.  Click on the black Play button.

Musicianship Assignments

Intermediate A

  • If you just started Book 2 this semester, you should have completed lessons up to p. 20 by now.  If not, please finish those pages by March 1.
  • If you were half-way through Book 2 at the beginning of this semester, you should have completed lessons up to p. 30 by now.  If not, please finish those pages by March 1.

Intermediate B

You should have completed lessons up to p. 30 by now.  If not, please finish those pages by March 1.


Be sure you have submitted your composition assignment, via Noteflight or handwriting, to Jazmine (jazmine@cantabile.org).  

Voice Part Assignments

2-part Split

Soprano – Aarohi, Addie, Aidan, Amiya, Anika, Anthony,Chloe, Claire, Daniel, Elli, Irene, Kaitlyn, Kasmira, Montana, Nika, Pascal, Raghav, Rhea, Sara W., Sarah R., Kitty, Sophie, Sunayna

Alto – Asha, Ashwin, Ava, Elisabeth, Millie, Emily, Gabriel, Jacob, Julian, Kahaan, Kayla, Kiara, May, Maya, Naveli, Ruth, Sarah C., Stefan, Vivana

3-part Split

Soprano 1 – Aarohi, Addie, Amiya, Anika, Anthony, Claire, Daniel, Elli, Irene, Kaitlyn, Montana, Pascal, Sara W., Sarah R., Sunayna

Soprano 2 – Aidan, Asha, Chloe, Millie, Kasmira, May, Maya, Nika, Raghav, Rhea, Kitty, Sophie, Vivana

Alto – Ashwin, Elisabeth, Emily, Gabriel, Jacob, Julian, Kahaan, Kayla, Kiara, Naveli, Ruth, Sarah C., Stefan


Trivia Question: Where is our guest clinician for the Festival from?

Cantabile Festival for Young Voices 2018 Guest Conductor:

Dr. Daniel Afonso

Daniel R. Afonso, Jr. is professor of music and Coordinator of Vocal and Choral Studies at California State University, Stanislaus. He received a degree in Educação Artística from the Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI-Rio), a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa. Dr. Afonso is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has studied conducting with Carlos Alberto Figueiredo, Cees Rotteveel, Eph Ehly, and William Hatcher.

Dr. Afonso has performed with choral groups in Brazil, U.S., and Europe, and has previously taught music at the Conservatório Brasileiro de Música, Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI-Rio), and Doane College (Nebraska). He was the winner of the First Prize and the Best Performance of Villa-Lobos Work awards at the Concurso Villa-Lobos de Canto Coral, a national choral competition sponsored by the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro. Dr. Afonso is strongly committed to the performance of new music and has commissioned and premiered many choral works in the last few years, including several of his own works and works by young composition students.

He is the founding director of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Chorus and, since 2001, has prepared several choral masterworks with the ensemble. He often serves as a guest conductor with the Modesto Symphony and frequently conducts the orchestra and chorus in performances.

Dr. Afonso is a composer, arranger, and editor of choral music and has choral works published by earthsongs, Colla Voce, and Alliance Music Publications. He was composer-in-residence with the San Francisco Choral Artists during their 2014-2015 season and has also written works for the Los Angeles Children’s Choir, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and other ensembles in the US and abroad. He has written innumerous arrangements for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, including a new version of The Star-Spangled Banner for orchestra and chorus, premiered at the MSO opening concert for the 2015-16 season. Dr. Afonso is widely recognized for his research and performance of Brazilian choral music and continues to frequently present workshops and lectures about the Latin American choral repertoire—he most recently presented a series of lectures and conducting masterclasses at the Liszt Academy, in Budapest.

He is very active as a voice instructor, clinician, and guest conductor, and has presented hundreds of choral workshops, clinics, and coaching sessions throughout the United States and abroad. His professional affiliations include the Ordem dos Músicos do Brasil, the International Federation for Choral Music, and the American Choral Directors Association.

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