Friday, March 14, 2008

Chorus Notes #11 - Chapter Meeting March 11, 2008

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

-Did tuning drills on chromatic passages in "Happy Feet" in preparation for the recording session.

- There are chromatic passages in Clap Yore Hands that we also need to be mindful of. From Chuck:
"They're after the (2nd) key change and right before the tag. After the high-voiced chord on "thigh," the whole "Don't ya lose time, don't ya lose time, everybody" passage descends by half-steps. Very difficult to keep perfectly tuned, the more so because it's high in the range. Then after that the three repetitions of "come along" separated by the measure of silence move up a half and then back down relative to the starting chord. As always, the descending ones call for small half-steps. Ideally the chord on the third "come" should feel slightly higher than the starting point.

I Love You Truly

- "Coming home" (ms 1-2): 3 points on the ground, body engaged, keep the chin level, "coming" should be as resonant and open as "home"; Lead - blown pitch is your starting note, be on top of it, don't cover the tone on "home", keep it open; Bari - don't be timid.

- "is all I need to know." (ms 3-5): think of "know" like "home" in terms of destination and the vowel.

- "is my life" (ms 6-7): Bass/bari - watch Director for move on 2nd half of "life", it comes sooner than you expect.

- "sweetheart" (m 13): non-Bass - wait for bass swipe on "sweet."

- "life (my life)" (ms 15-16): Bass/bari - get the tone all the way back up on the repeat of "life", there's a tendency to be under the pitch.

Clap Yore Hands

- "Oh whoa, Oh whoa" (ms 1-4): give full metrical value to each phrase, there's a tendency to short-change the last "oh"; make something out of the "oo" between the "oh's" in each phrase, it's getting lost; Lead - keep good vocal technique when jumping up to "whoa".

- Non-basses, "just remember" (ms 28 and 74): more emphasis on the "just" downbeat (remember the designated breath before "just."

- "Send-him-to-the-de-vil" (m 52, first time): there should be a space between each word/syllable, put "h" on "him", give a strong emphasis to each but don't splat and keep good vowels.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Looking Back on M-AD 2008 Prelims

Looking Back on M-AD 2008 Prelims

(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 in the Alexandria Harmonizer family. —Ye Ed.)

Well when the dust settled after the contest, Alexandria has reps in all four of the quartets chosen this weekend to go to the International quartet contest in Nashville in July.

OLD SCHOOL with Rick Taylor
RINGERS with Mike Pinto
FOUR ACES with Ed Cazenas, Nick Aiuto, Richard Lewellen
LAST KIDS PICKED with Mike Wallen, Tony Colosimo and Eric Wallen

In addition to those singers on stage, there were a lot of Harmonizers working and running the event: Joe Cerutti was MC for Saturday nite contest and show; Dennis Ritchey was MC for Saturday morning portion of the contest and helped with running the back stage and all the set up for the stage ; Gary Plaag was MC on Friday nite for the contest and a judge for the Youth Adjudication event Saturday afternoon; Dixie Kennett was lighting director; Chuck Harner is VP for Contests and Judging events in District, so he had plenty to do; Chris Buechler was on the judging panel for the Youth Adjudication too; and Phil Stern (up from FL and about to have a knee operation) was on the judging panel for the regular quartet contest all weekend.

Add to those guys all the Harmonizers in the district leadership jobs – Eckman, Keith Jones and Terry Jordan.

Tony Colosimo also appeared several times during the weekend with his gold medal quartet ROAD TRIP

And then there was the crowd out cheering – Pitzer, Ken White, Reynolds, Hohl, McFarland, Calhoun, Wile, Sutton, Maddes.

We were everywhere including some tag singers til 5:30 am I hear.

Until next time – editorjack!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Chorus Notes # 10 - March 4, 2008 Chapter Meeting

Special thanks to Dean Rust for this week's chorus notes!


- Be ready to sing at all times; must do better as "first note singers".

O Holy Night (to be recorded March 11)

- Starts soft, but still resonate through "all four speakers", keep sound connected and don't let it get wimpy.

- Bass: wrong notes evident, fix them before next Tuesday, 1st and 2nd endings are different.

- "Fall (oh fall) on your knees":
-- bass, take breath after first "Fall" but make sure it's full duration, don't get too heavy on "on your knees"
-- non-basses, support the bass octave jump.
-- all, need movement on "knees" and watch for cutoff on "knees."

- "the angel voices": watch for cutoff on "voices".

- "night" in both endings: Stay on the vowel, watch for placement of "t".

- 1st ending: take a breath before the last "O night divine" and carry that phrase over into repeat of "Fall on your knees."

- Sing "D(ih)vine" not "D(ee)vine"

- If you are reading this please send me an email to let me know that you have read this.

Happy Feet (to be recorded March 11)

- "Wha da dance, do we do": crescendo on dance carries over into "do" before slight softening and another crescendo on the 2nd "do"

- Bass/bari,"Lordy": fast swipe, don't change voice production when moving to different register.

- "Happy Feet, I got those Happy Feet...": crescendo on 1st "feet" carries over into "I got those" before slight softening and another crescendo on 2nd "feet"

- "give them a low down beat": affect on "low"

- "I can't control": don't rush quarter notes (think subdivide)

- bass pickups: must be rock solid.

- "Hey! Hey! Say!": sets up 42nd St, not a throwaway, sing it with anticipation.

- 42nd Street:
-- "Come and meet (come meet)": soft and smoky, but not wimpy. While volume is lower, you're still producing fully resonant sound through all "four speakers."

-- "dancin' feet": Placement of "t", 1-2-3-"t"

-- Bass: sing through the low notes with authority, must hear them.

- Downtown Strutters Ball:
--Bass: make it less wordy, quiet jaw, don't change vocal production as register changes, connect all the sounds, no holes.

-- non-bass: eliminate affect, sing pure vowel sounds.

- Charles-ton:
-- disconnect between "Charles" and "ton" but don't take a breath; crescendo on "ton"

-- "Rhumba": hard roll of the "R" and pronounce "roomba"

- Reprise and Tag:
-- "cause I've GOT hab, hab, habby feet when I'm dancin": "got" not "have" in m 89
-- "Wha-daaaaaaa-dance", Last phrase of song: tall vowels, quick slide, and leave room to grow on "dance."

I Love You Truly (review last week's notes)

- off the sheet music please.

- Bring a high degree of compassion and love to this song; show it in your face and body. Need to develop emotional plan, including climax.

- Word changes in verse (underlined below):
"Coming home to you is all I need to know, coming home to you is my life. All alone with you ever sets my heart aglow, all alone with my sweetheart, my life (my life). Bass - swipe on "sweet" of "sweetheart."

- "Coming home": big rich chord on "home".

- "life" (at end of phrase): execute a quick, clean crisp "f" at the cutoff.

- "Gone": quickly through the "G" to the target.

- Leads, look at "so come be..." (ms 48-49, going into the Tag): it's 1/2 step up from "so" to "come" and a full step down from "come" to "be".

- Word changes in Tag for Lead, Bari, Bass. Rather than sing the whole note "please" in m 57, sing "please be all" with each word on the same chord written for the whole note, then move to the first chord in m 58 and change the word to "mine", and then finish as written with "all mine."

Clap Yore Hands (recording mic malfunctioned; limited notes on Mike Kelley's coaching)

- Chorus performance sounds like a good learning tape; now need dynamics and emphasis on alliteration (repetition of similar word sounds).

- "Come on you children......" Nothin' but trouble..." dynamics: follow Joe's direction, Mike suggested building the dynamic through each of these first two lines of the verse.

- "Let me lead the way, Jubilee today.": Remember avoidance of downbeat and full metric value. Smooth but keep underlying subdivision in mind.

- "He'll never hound you...": Getting ready to have a party, don't let it drag going into the chorus.

- "Come on": invitation to the party.

- Bass, "rebel, you just" (m 51): bring out this arpeggio (right before 1st "send him to the devil").

- "Send him to the devil (1st time). Clap-a yore hands" (ms 52-53): Think ahead. Big change in register. Prepare to move quicky to target sound on "Clap". You do get a breath before "Clap."

- No more big, fat, stupid mistakes: Lead, "...slap a yore thigh, don't ya lose time etc." (ms 81-82): keep it high and light on "thigh etc."

- Bass, new tag, "C'mon you children gather around": take it easy on "C'mon", it's high and you double with Baris. But let's hear it as you peel off on "you children gather around."