Friday, February 29, 2008

Chorus Notes #9 - Chapter Meeting February 26, 2008

Special Thanks to Dean Rust for this week's Rehearsal Notes!


- Always be ready to perform, lot to do in coming months, stay with Joe, be focused while on the risers.

- You should have only 3 points on the ground when performing.


- Review: sing with the whole instrument (all resonances), most effectively done with openness and raised soft palate such as the feeling when you smell your favorite childhood dish. Keep the sound connected and stomach taut.

- I Love You Truly: Be ready when you're switching registers within your part. Practiced by humming to get the feel for the connected sound as you change registers. Bass has big challenge on "tears" swipe in m 24.

- Kirk Young concepts of subdivision, and full metrical value also apply to ballad. Subdivision is the pulse of the music, try to think of underlying eighth or sixteenth note pulses as you sing quarter, half and whole notes in the ballad. Full value means singing all the way out to the very end of these pulses for each note.

- Chorus needs to be in receive mode and anticipating even before the Director steps up to begin song.

Clap Yore Hands

- "Oh, whoa" (Intro): remember subdivision, and full value.

- Bass, "I mean the" (m 11, pickup): swing it.

- "But you can chase the hoodoo" (ms 16-17): Lead, no "ch" in "but you can" pickup; All: word fart #1 - "chase the hoodoo", not "chase that hoodoo."

- "Let me lead the way" (ms 21-22): smooth and mysterious, quarter notes don't swing.

- "Come along and shake yore shoe time" (ms 40-41): word fart #2

- it's "shake yore shoe time" not "#^&@*". [Recall Kirk Young admonition that it's beneath the Harmonizers to be fumbling with memorization weeks after we were asked to be off the music.]

- "Send him to the devil": first time is eighth notes, second time quarter notes; notes are also different.

- Bass solo (ms 63-70): All parts, make it spooky; Bass, break before pickup "and we will" (m 66) and make sure it's swung; Non-basses, You get a big breath after singing "oh" (ms 63-66) and before coming back in on "lose that evil..." (m 67); non-bassesalso get stronger during "Voo" whole note (m 69) while basses are coming up on the quarter notes.

- "Send him to the devil" (ms 78-79): bass, too much weight on "send", take off some pressure.

- "Come a-long, rest, come a-long, rest" (ms 84-87, just before tag): make sure the 2nd" come a-long" gets up that half-step. New Tag

- All: Good strong "K" on "Come"; confident but not loud.

- "Come a-long and": full duration on "and".

- Lead, "C'mon": stick it right before the other parts come in on the downbeat

- Bass, "C'-mon you children" (first time): easy on high note, baris are doubling, but then be strong as you peal off.

- Baris: sing out with confidence, big and full.

- Bass, "gather around" (3rd time of 5, C-flat octave jump): not getting high enough on upper octave. Don't get heavy on higher notes.

- All but leads: "clap your hands" (last three notes of tag): this one is "your" not "yore." - "Hands": good "nds" on the last chord.

I Love You Truly

- Watch Joe's hands: don't go off any note unless he does. Learning track is slow.

- "Coming home..." (ms 1-2): let's hear the "k" but in the style of the song, target is "oh" of "home", warm and expressive, connect all the word sounds (e.g. m and ing in "coming), a little louder on "home", don't decay on "oh" of "home".

- Lead, "Coming home to you" (ms 1-3): be ready for change of register on "to", lighten up on that note, don't raise your chin.

- "is my life" (ms 7-8): short "f" on cutoff.

- "I love you truly" (ms 15-16): bite the apple on "ah" of "I."

- "Ah yes tis something" (ms 33-34, first time): break after "yes" (it's not written as a break).

- "Gone" (m 41): Bari and bass hit all the notes in the slides, both start at the same time but baris go slower. Leads and tenors, back off as other parts begin to slide and then come back (go from a 7 to 6 to 8).

- "Gone is the sorrow" (ms 41-42): break after "Gone", come back in at the same level on "is".

- "sorrow" (m 42): lead - don't slide around, sing accurate notes; bass - let's hear it.

- "gone" (m 43): another break after bass slide on "gone."

Ed Sullivan

- "da, da, da, da, da, da, da" (beginning): make it clean, stays in tempo, don't speed up.

- Next chorus entrance "bum" (m 43): Quartet bass sings "bum" (m 41) on the tonic (F) , chorus entrance is on "So" in octaves (C). Sit out if you're not sure of the note.

- "Yah, da, da...and yah, yah, yah..." (ms 57, 65, 73): these are novelties and need to stick out. Sections between them should be "elegant" to further emphasize the contrast.

- "Dum duh dah..."(3 times, slight break in Lady of Spain solo, ms 80-82): each "dum, duh dah" crescendoes into the next one.

- Bass: don't move your chin on the "bum, bum's"

If I Ruled the World

- Provide full expression from the gitgo (see last note under craft above).

- "And we'd sing of the joy every morning..." (ms 14-15): big holy-moly "oh" vowels on "joy" and "morning"

- "If I ruled the world" (ms 17-18, 2nd chorus): Don't sit on "If; lead and bari have to energize their sustained "world" to support tenor and bass repeat of "the world" - "Every voice..." (m 20): Don't milk the "v", get right to the vowel.

- "My world...(m 25, 1st time): slight "m" with pitch before downbeat, solid "ah" on downbeat.

- Lead: "dreams. My world" (ms 28-29): crescendo through the whole note on "dreams" (as other parts cut off and sing "sudge dreams") and into "My".

- "My World" (m 29, 2nd time): Joe loves this spot; make a statement. Crescendo on "world from a 5 to an 8.

- "would wear a smile on its face" (ms 29-30): don't turn vowel on "smile" as we get softer.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Looking Back On Feb. 26th Chapter Meeting

Looking Back on Feb. 26th Chapter Meeting

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week at an Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter meeting. —Ye Ed.)

The stage at Durant was packed with guys at 6 pm for Chuck McKeever’s stage presence class and review of material taught at the weekend retreat. The VLQ was meeting in a back room and working on a new song.

For warm ups there was the usual physical drill led by Craig and then Tony worked hard on better breathing and other vocal exercises. He was really fired up by the good singing and work effort displayed by the troops on the risers.

First song of the nite was a review of the “Ed Sullivan Medley.” The big laugh of the nite was when Director Joe volunteered to sing the bass part in the radio quartet. The whole place broke up on that one.

Chuck Hunter taught another of his terrific barbershop craft classes – use of the whole vocal instrument.

Director Joe used the “mirrors” on the wall and had the men check their facial expressions for “If I Ruled The World.” Then he worked on “Clap Yo Hands” reviewing the new tag taught by coach Kirk Young during the weekend retreat.

For the business session: President Stamps reported on Larry Silva’s back operation and that Larry is home now to recover from this serious medical procedure; McKeever told chorus members to pick up copies of stage right or stage left CDs with visual plan and moves demonstrated for “Clap”; Brad Jones launched the taping program for this season; Secretary Buechler presented Steve White his 31-year membership card. Roger Day brought out the large line of guests – several returnees from last week’s guest nite.

After a great break around the goodies table, singing resumed with Joe working on “I Love You Truly” – with an acknowledgment of John Hohl, back from FL, who helped with the arrangement for this beautiful contest ballad.

Then the chorus was taken thru a review of the stage presence for “Clap” while the front row worked on their routine for this exciting contest uptune.

We ended with the 50/50 drawing and KTWWS and another great effort by all to dismantle and put away and clear the meeting place in record time.

Until next time – editorjack!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chorus Notes #8 - Kirk Young Coaching - Feb. 22-23, 2008

Special Thanks to Dean Rust for these great notes from the retreat weekend!

Clap a Yore Hands

A. General

- You are forbidden to listen to the learning track.

- Swing is relaxed, gentle, meant to be late, pull don't push (you pull on the reins of a horse to control it, push and you'll fall off)

- Critical that you think of subdividing the beat into triplets; feel it before you start singing and retain it throughout the song. Focus as the director prepares to begin song.

- Don't lose the sense of subdivision when singing quarter and half notes, which form the rhythm sections.

- Recall snapping and fist exercises as a way to unify the backbeat, which fits together with swing.

- Give full metrical value to all the notes.

- Precise execution of the breathing plan will help you sing full note values and avoid synchronization errors. Need to sing into the preplanned breath spots, don't let the note decay.

- Minimize downbeats.

- Need quiet jaw given fast tempo; let your lips, teeth and tongue do the work on the lyrics.

- You can't swing flat-footed.

- You must be thinking "subdivision" when doing choreography.

- We comprehend, now we must be consistent. There must be no green rocks among the string of pearls.

B. Specific

- Intro: Recall subdivision work that swung the "Whoa" and ensure duration up to beat 4.

- Lead: work on the three note pickups in ms 8 and 16.

- Tenor/Bari/Bass: full value on "children" in ms 8 and 16.

- "Let me lead the way", "Jubilee today", etc. (other quarter note passages): full metrical value with underlying triplet subdivision.

- Four eighth notes in a row proved to be a problem in application. "everybody" in ms 32, 56, 83; "come a long and" in ms 40; "you are only a" in ms 46, 72.

- "Send him to the devil" (1st time, ms 52): straight, don't swing; but don't make it sound like a mistake; accent each word but don't splat.

- Last "Clap a yore hands.." (right before new tag, ms 80-86): need commitment, swing it, full duration, take out downbeats.

- New Tag: Baris stick it to the top note on "C'mon"; Bass lay off on "C'mon" as you are doubling with Bari, but then let's hear it as you peel off; Tenor/Bari/Bass: recall different rhythm on third "gather (a)round."