First, and most important: Rehearsal this coming Monday (March 29) will be at All Saints’ Episcopal Church!! We had announced that we had been bumped from our regular FSC room because of other events, but hadn’t been able to provide the new location. For those who aren’t familiar with the area, enter from the rear of the church (209 S. Iowa Ave.) where directions to the choir room will be posted. There should be ample parking in either the City Hall lot or the large parking garage on Iowa.
Second, there are only three remaining Monday rehearsals before the March 20 concert! We’re in wonderful shape on much of the more difficult music but now must concentrate on these central tasks:
Third, please mark your calendar for the LCS “dress” rehearsal on Saturday, March 19, from 10:00 a.m. – noon.
And, in anticipation of other great things: We got together for the first time with Beethoven and many other good folks on Monday evening. There was little question that we were becoming part of an exciting and important grand enterprise, and there was a good feeling about what we sang and heard. [No, we won’t have any other occasions to walk as far as was required that night!] Thanks for being such a strong part of that session. The students I spoke to were very pleased to be singing alongside you.
Please pass the word to singers who might not remember about the location change for Monday. Thanks for your excellent work on a such a variety of music. Our upcoming concert promises to be a successful and rewarding event – and I hope you’re excited. Sell tickets!
********* SEE SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY CAMPUS MAP LINK BELOW **********
I hope you’re having a wonderful week. I’ve heard from all sources that your rehearsal with Kris Ridgley went extremely well (as I was certain that it would). I appreciate his stepping in to allow Jean and me a rare opportunity to be away for a weekend. [Our first visit to Key West, with beautiful weather!!] I know you’re much more accomplished on much of the music as a result of his/your good work.
I know that you’ve all become aware of the location changes for next week’s rehearsal, but are waiting for a few important details. Here they are:
1. Rehearsal(s) will be at Southeastern University, 7:00-8:30 p.m. They will begin in the new Choral Rehearsal hall and then divide into sectionals (S and A; T and B) for about half of the time. Session will end with combined voices, Mark Thielen conducting.
2. Two pieces: Pfautsch, Consecrate, and Beethoven 9th. The Pfautsch work will be brief but provide a good warm-up. Everybody will be learning notes together in the Beethoven, so don’t panic if you’re not solid yet. We have been working on more urgent material and we’ll have April to concentrate. And, you’re good readers (and leaders).
3. At the end of rehearsal, we’ll have posters and tickets for the March concert. We all know how important it is to get the word out, so make sure you pick these up!
4. Yes, I know: Many of you have never been to the SEU campus, so do advance GPS-ing beforehand if necessary. Your arrival/parking/orientation is complicated further by the several construction projects now underway. The parking at SEU is always challenging, but evening may provide some additional space. Basic advice: Arrive early, please.
5. Please be prepared to have fun and work hard. This is our first chance to meet our sister ensembles and to have time with the other directors. Furthermore, the SEU campus is very beautiful (except for the construction sites) – and I think you’ll enjoy your visit.
The recent information from Dr. Dan Gordon (of SEU) is below my Notes. It provides a link to the campus map, as well as directions to the choral hall. I look forward to a great rehearsal on Monday.
From Dr. Gordon:
CLICK HERE FOR CAMPUS MAP
Folks, this is the most recent campus map we have. Please note that the new Choral Rehearsal Hall is "9" on the legend. If you are standing near Bush Chapel and facing the "Servant Fountain" in the middle of campus, the Choral Rehearsal hall is just about straight beyond the fountain. It is at the foot of the gigantic five story bldg that is currently under construction. The new bldg is a live and learn center that will be dorms in the top three floors and classrooms and rehearsal halls underneath. This new facility will house music and some communications, as well as a few other things. The modular bldgs are not on the legend, but they are between where Spence Hall once was and the Soccer Complex. There is parking back there as well. Parking can be tough at SEU, but the best place to find spots is to the right of the soccer field on this map. There are lots of places over there in the evening.
Congratulations on your great work on our current music packet. The majority of the notes are nearly in hand, a wonderful accomplishment at midpoint in our preparation. You’ve read well, started to tune well, and much of our sound is beautiful and expressive. Now (as most of you experienced singers know) much of the hard work really begins, if we’re to be truly ready for public appearance. We’ll concentrate on many things Monday night, but here’s a short list of things to plan for:
1. Lose the dependence on the printed page. Even if you think you’re looking up a lot, there’s a bunch of folks who aren’t holding music high and/or have eyes mostly down. The last photos (from November’s concert) were almost useless for PR because we looked like amateur, insecure singers in nearly every one. Where your eyes point, that’s where you’re aiming your sound. And your audience will never connect with you if you’re lost in the printed page.
2. Vowel color. We need to avoid the “grinny” and flat vowels that seem more related to normal speech sounds than to lovely singing. We talk a lot about vertical space in the sound and you achieve that so beautifully in warm-up and also when reminded during pieces. It seems that the difficulty lies in each singer’s commitment to this issue when not reminded. This is especially tough when our reflexes produce that “other” vowel sound automatically – and when shaping the progress of a diphthong in natural speech ways seems so logical. However, we know from hearing so many choirs in the past that good, accurate, pure vowels are requirements of any decent ensemble.
3. Consonant clarity. This is partly a matter of consonant production – but, more specifically, accurate rhythmic placement of consonants. We worked hard on a few passages last rehearsal, striving to unify the beginning and ending sounds of words. It made an enormous difference when every voice produced “d” or “k” or “s” together, and the texts came alive.
4. Linearity, dynamics, expression. Nobody needs to be told that we’re only barely there. As an example from last Monday, the first entrances of the “Cantique” (our final, “good-bye” song) were syllabic and mechanical, certainly not the way we know the piece needs to be expressed. This didn’t happen because people weren’t trying hard – or didn’t know the notes. When we remembered how an artistic and elegant line was absolutely necessary to the feeling of the music and then started over, our singing rose to the occasion! It was breathtaking and moving, and I know we all felt part of an important experience. Please take extra care to write helpful expressive/dynamic notes in your music during rehearsals and in your private study so this will happen every time.
Monday’s rehearsal will include work on the above, more attention to the Beethoven, as well as some sectional work. [Gentlemen: Ave Maria!!] Also, please check the website for important dates in the LCS calendar, as they unfold.
Some good links to YouTube performances are provided below. They’re all interesting and I hope they’re helpful. Best,
Many thanks to Lucia Solomon [LCS alto section] for compiling this terrific set of YouTube links to almost all of our current pieces(!!!). Some of these are concert performances, while others provide study tracks which are useful for studying individual parts. You should be able to use those links to switch to other voice parts, as you need. The least satisfactory performance (to my ears) is the “Cry Out and Shout,” but the one here is perhaps better than most. I checked dozens of other performances on the net and there doesn’t seem to be even one without serious issues. (This gives us something to aim for.) Listen and enjoy:
And some other links:
Moses Hogan, Anchored in the Lord
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvQyfr31ams [Actual Hogan performance]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYWvenCO5CA [Reunion choir concert]
Biebel, Ave Maria
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb_gYaOPsJQ [Matthew Curtis on all parts!!]
Dorsey/Sevier, Precious Lord [another good one]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI9wv6ADF-8 [Doane College Alumni Choir]
arr. Undine Moore, Daniel, Daniel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-JeVLFx71E [Sunday Night Singers]
Berger, The Eyes of All
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evSEumnYZTs [Mormon Tabernacle]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV1TuSvWiIU [Nat’l Taiwan Univ. Chorus]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33I-MOnO_uQ&list=PLeA3BiJp7CD9_FWbCuWb0y8UYk3GkoLz&index=2 [Indiv. Parts]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbOwYw1jlZE [more indiv. parts…]