Friday, March 28, 2008

Chorus Notes #13 - Chapter Meeting March 25, 2008

Special Thanks to Dean Rust for this week's rehearsal notes.


- Focus; on top of your game every second of rehearsal; no talking on the risers.

- Have the instrument ready when the Director raises his hands.

- Good singing posture.

- Off the music by April 8 on "From This Moment On"

Climbin' Up the Mountain

- Word change, Lead (m 9): "Climbin' up the mountain" NOT "Climbin' in the judgment"

- Word change, Bass, (m 17): "Jonah" NOT "Hannah"

- non-basses: "Hal-le-lu" is on the beat in ms 18, 26,34, and on the off-beat in ms 20, 28, 36.

Side By Side

Bass, "Sing-in' a song" (ms 51-52): easy on the upper octave on "in", let Bari handle it.

Music of the Night

- learn the words

- follow the Director

- Intro: Lead - More of the lyric line, need to understand the words; non-leads - back off a little.

- "Night time sharpens, heightens each sensation" (m 11), first Bass solo: Bass, more emotion (here and in other solo passages), breathless quality; non-basses, more support.

- "darkness of the Music of the Night" (ms 45-46): more on "Night"

- last measure: only section leaders put "t" on "night"

From This Moment On

- Off the music by April 8

- "Hang on baby" (m 89): return to tempo.

Great Day

- Remember dynamic plan at the beginning.

- Bass, "...there's a Great Day." (ms 23-24): review the entire line (after the dms), there are 2 beats on "Day" before the octave jump.

- " Ta, ta, ta, ta, It's not far ..." (ms 36-37): Carry over to "It's", no break.

Happy Feet

- Keep the choreo moves small and crisp.

- Choreo move on the last chord: knees bent, move slowly out to audience first with knees still bent, and then straighten up.

- "Wha-da-dance, do we do" (ms 1-2): Keep "Wha-da-dance" smooth and connected; crescendo on "dance" and carry that volume over to the first "do".

- "Lordy" (m 3): the swipe is fast, as is the move with the hat.

- "Happy Feet..." (ms 13-14): remember to increase energy through "Feet-2-3" and also on "beat", "those", "toes", "blues", "shoes", "refuse".

- Don't speed up the quarter notes during Happy Feet, i.e. on "I got those", "give them a", "ten li-ttle", "and when they", "I can't con-trol my", "to save my soul", "can't get in", "be-cause my".

Clap A Yore Hands

- Intro: duration

- Lead, "Come on you children": tell the story.

- "Clap a yore hands" (m 29): lighter, but with energy, let the rhythm tell the story.

- Lead, "slap a yore thigh" (m 30, etc.): don't change your vocal instrument as the notes go up.

- Non-leads, "Come join the jubilee" (ms 35-36): emphasis on "join" and "ju" of "jubilee".

- Tenor-Bass, "Don't lose time" (ms 39-40)": with drama, make each note go somewhere.

- "Come on you children gather around", bass melody (m 63): Bass, make it swing, not heavy, tell the story, don't make it stale, put a vocal inflection on "gather"; Non-bass, nice clean "oh", lots of resonance; Tenor, a little punch as you move to the next "oh"; Lead/Bari, spin the sound as the tenors move.

- "Clap a yore hands", 4th time (m 80): Bass melody, let's hear it; non-Bass, lighter.

- "Come a-long and", new tag, (ms 88-90): smooth and connected.

- Bass, "C'mon you children" (m 92): cool it, yield to Bari on high notes on "C'mon".

- Bass, "gather a-round" #2 of 4 (m 94): upper octave
C-flat tends be under the pitch. Fix it.

I Love You Truly

- Follow the Director (for the umpteenth time)

Looking Back On March 25th Chapter Meeting

Looking Back on March 25th 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.)

Director Joe called the chorus to the risers at 7 pm with the familiar “Harmonizers on the Risers” and the usual hustle to all get papers put away and get into your spot on the risers. That was the kick off for the usual physical and musical warm ups.

Joe took us all through “Side By Side” and “Climbin Up The Mountain” in prep for the 60th anniversary reunion chorus spot on the show this spring. Already anniversary chair, Terry Jordan, has gotten about 25 former member signed up to learn the three songs and sing.

I also heard Jordan talking about the anniversary potluck later in the year and a “talent show” with Harmonizers and their families or friends. We did it years ago and it was lots of fun (Wonder if Savage still plays guitar? Or do you think Wilt would come up from Richmond?) So start thinking of it for yourself or encourage another member to start working on his act. No quartets in this one, tho. Maybe a famous MC will be hired.

Joe thanked Brad Jones for the tons of work he has done in preparing and planning the Youth Festival this weekend. The chorus did a work session on “Music of the Night” which the chorus will sing on the Saturday nite show with and for the students. It starts at 7 and the chorus needs to be there about 6. Wear the new blue shirt with some kind of kaki pants or as close as possible to that if you don’t have the shirt. We need more singers to attend. I do know that a set up crew is slated for Friday nite to get risers in place and chairs up and all of that.

And I know that another cake or two, or a few more big plates of cookies, would help feed the 60 plus students and the 8 or 10 music educators during lunch and dinner. You can drop them off Friday nite or before 11 am on Saturday. All events are at Durant.

The chorus tackled the new arrangement by John Hohl of “From This Moment On” for the first time. Lots of chatter around about it being a great new tune. But it is not an easy one, so there is work to do – in a hurry. Joe did invite any guys who had prepared to sing it today without music to come forward and so an octet of guys did so and it was darn good.

The troops regrouped back into their new risers positions and worked on hats for “Happy Feet” and did a solid review on SP for “Great Day.”

During the chapter meeting, Rhome thanked the four guys who put up risers tonite and solicited help for take down.

President Stamps reported that Carolyn Hall was in the hospital for tests and that Larry Silva is home and recovering with help from Cathy.

Joe thanked Steve White for taking on the Tuesday nite scheduling job needed to plan in advance the music to be sung or practiced, who would do what and how much time would be spent. Also for getting it done each week in advance to go in the HarmoGram published by Riffer. Everyone gets that and can (or should) prepare themselves for Tuesday nite rehearsal.

Ike Evans continues his photo project of updating the Harmo picture board in the meeting room. So if your picture is out-of-date, see Ike for a reshoot.

Spring Tonic business manager, Tom Kraus, pleaded for more men to sell show program ads. (I decided to just buy one myself.)

Secretary Buechler and Membership VP Day welcomed two newest members – Kyle Blomgren, a new bass, and Max Kieba, a new tenor. Chris also presented membership renewals to Dan O’Brien for 3 years, Arthur Lewis for 13 years, and Ken Ives for 23 years.

Roger Day welcomed guests present and encouraged all of us to use the supply of voucher cards he can give you that entitles you to a free show ticket if you bring a guest. See him to explain it better.

Someone also announced that show flyers went out last week, so now is the time to alert your customer list to get their orders in. See Nick or Steve Murane regarding tickets.

After eating lots of goodies and drinking the 40 cups of coffee, the singers went to work on “Clap” both musical and visual details.

Busy and hard working evening in the old Harmo Hall. And did you notice that Steve Murane wore his Pitzer College sweatshirt too!

Until next time – editorjack!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Chorus Notes # 12 - Chapter Meeting March 18, 2008

Special Thanks to Dean Rust for this week's rehearsal notes!


- Follow the Director (oft repeated).

- Be on top of your game during chorus rehearsal; think, anticipate, be ready to sing, use good vocal technique. "Vocal technique is paramount" (J. Cerruti, 1-3-08)

- (See a few reminders at the end of this E-mail from previous notes.)

Clap Yore Hands (aka Nashville Uptune)
(from Stephanie and Joe)

- General: Watch Joe for texture changes, exploit them, need more dynamic variation; feel the pulse (subdivide); sing a connected vocal line; sustain vocal quality through phrases, maintain quality vocal production even as the notes jump around.

- Intro: Lead, be on the money on that minor third; All, don't short-change the last "oh" in each sequence, give full duration.

- "Clap-a-yore-hands" (m 29): begins a new part of the song, should see and feel a difference.

- "jubilee, oh, me, oh, my" (ms 58-60): break after "lee".

- Lead, reminder to cool it on "slap a yore thigh, don't ya lose time" (ms 81-82) near the end when you jump up high.

I Love You Truly
(from Stephanie and Joe)

- Learn the music.

- Get involved in the passion of this Roger Payne arrangement.

- Watch's Joe's direction to make sure all are striking the target vowels at the same time.

- Sustain energy through the breaths. Breathe on Joe's direction.

- "Ah yes tis something" (ms 33-34): marks the takeoff point, build toward the "Gone" phrase; break after "yes" the first time, carry over the second time (opposite from the sheet music); the breath after "yes" should be alive, full of emotion; Bari - there is no move the first time on "some" of "something.

- "doubt and fear" (ms 43-44): Lead, do not move on "fear", get it right or you'll be having sectionals at Joe's. Tenor (1st) and Bari (2nd) move, Lead and Bass do not.

- "For you love me truly" (ms 45-46): watch Joe for tempo, don't drag it; Bari - get up there on "love me"

- "So come be my wife" (ms 48-50): Lead - "be" is whole step lower than "come"; non-leads - be ready to join the phrase on "come" after lead pickup.

- "The joy of my life" (ms 50-52): lock the chord on "life" and then press into the swipe with more volume. Keep chin level, maintain correct singing posture. Bring a little more brightness and brilliance to your tone to enhance intensity.

Mona Lisa

- Follow the Director.

- Three major points: don't go slow, watch Director for breaks at the end, sing well in the middle.

- Have lots of air, connected singing. Think of lyric line. Paint the picture before starting to tell the story

- "In a villa" (m 1): stress first syllable of "villa" just as if you were speaking it. Target vowel for second syllable is "uh" not "ah".

- "What does she want?" (ms 13-14): more emotion.

- "Or just a cold and lonely, lovely work of art." (ms 52-56): Lead - keep the pitch up on "or just a"; All - break after "lovely" but keep the energy flowing throughout the line; think of the emotional contrast between this line and the previous one ("Are you warm, are you real").

- Bari - "Mona Lisa" (ms 56-57, right after "lovely work of art"): open up on the higher note on "sa" of"Lisa".

Almost Like Being in Love

- "Maybe the sun" (m 1): Lead - more lyrical; Bass - lighten it up, don't plod; Tenor/Bari - don't be late.

- "All the music of life seems to be" (2nd time): stay in tempo, this is a change from previous interp.

From Previous Notes

- "Be ready to sing" includes proper stance, facial involvement and energy in body, instrument ready when D's hands go up, breathe through first vowel shape, start with an "h", release warm air before making sound.

- "Good vocal technique" includes use of all resonances, openness and raised soft palate such as the feeling when you smell your favorite childhood dish. Chin level. Proper breathing. Stomach taut.

- "Good singing" includes connectivity of word sounds, proper target vowels and duration, maintain support to ends of phrases, give full metrical value to each note.