Chamber Singers Important Dates
November 5—Choral Concert for 2nd Quarter, Central UMC, call time 6:30. Bus to Central at 3:00.
November 7—Be One, Bring One. Report immediately to Choir Room in formal black, plan on 7:30 a.m. There will be time to change afterwards.
Saturday, December 1—Performances at Musical Instrument Museum. Formal Black. Call time precisely at 11:00. Performances at 11:30 and 1:30, with lunch provided in between. Museum admission is free.
December 10, Monday—Choral Collage, First UMC (NOT CENTRAL!!) at corner of Central and Missouri, call time at 6:00 p.m.
January 25-26, Friday and Saturday—Regional Auditions and Solo/Ensemble Festival
February 1, Friday morning—AMEA State Conference
February 2, Saturday Night, 8:00 p.m.—Chanticleer concert
February 4, Monday night—Choral Concert for 3rd Quarter, Central UMC
February 8-9—NAU Jazz/Madrigal Festival. Registration is confirmed and motel reservations have been made!
hFebruary 15-16—Regional Festival
March 8 or 9—All State auditions
April 18-20—All State Festival, NAU
REVISED HEBDOMADARY INSTRUCTIONS (17 SEPT 2012)
There has been a tendency to fall into last year’s patterns of leadership. The philosophy has changed substantially from last year. This year’s goals as a graded exercise are:
♫ To isolate a detail from the repertoire in current rehearsal
♫ To create an exercise to improve balance, rhythm, intonation, diction, or interpretation
♫ To demonstrate through the conducting gesture the inward musical impulse
To this end, please check yourself as you prepare:
Do not rehearse a piece all the way through. I will be more fastidious in enforcing a 3-minute limit.
Do not do breathing exercises, even though this is at the basis of all the technical details listed above. Ensure that your posture constantly reflects the breath support you expect from the choir.
Prepare an abstract exercise towards the goal that you announce.
It may not succeed, which is fine. Your own true and proper assessment is much more important.
Practice your gesture in front of a mirror. We are not working on beat patterns, but there needs to be differentiation between stronger and weaker beats, crescendi, diminuendi, and articulation. Practice breathing with your prep beat. NEVER COUNT OUT A MEASURE. It cannot help the choir breathe, and it simply is never accurate. The musical thought is first internalized; only then can it become audible and physical.
After your detailed instruction, run a passage of about four measures. The gesture should be both expressive and also helpful in coaching the singers in the technical detail you were coaching.
Always consult with me at the end of the Chamber rehearsal. This is a very important time for me to coach you in conducting.
Always consult with me for your project with Foundations III. Always have a plan B. If they are not counting half notes when you wanted to work on phrasing, do not let them rehearse mistakes.
Remember that your duties include setting the tone precisely at 3:05, and making sure chairs are stacked.
As an example, let’s take an intonation exercise:
Announce the goal—“We are going to work on tuning m13.”
You have already done some analysis; perhaps the problem is a dim7th chord.
Derive an exercise from this—maybe just making arpeggios of these chords.
Microtune the choir. Make comments immediately to a single section, or isolate an interval between sections.
Rehearse the passage expressively.
CHAMBER SINGERS EXPECTATIONS AND GOALS
♫ Mastery of all the technical goals of Concert Choir
♫ Always marking score without prompting
♫ Unfailing good posture with no prompting
♫ Ability to modify vowels and placement throughout the range for better choral ensemble
♫ Constant awareness of the details of the score towards greater expression
♫ Infallibly consistent good posture and vocal production
♫ Quick recognition of most important intervals within a choral score
♫ Theoretical knowledge of functional harmony
♫ Developing awareness of the unique demands of various historical styles
♫ Demonstration of all the facets of good vocal production at all times
♫ Respect for the art of choral music
♫ Everything done and said for the good of the ensemble
♫ Model of deportment for the rest of the choral program
♫ Immediate response to director’s downbeat and instructions
♫ Absolute respect for peers
♫ Unfailing focus throughout the rehearsal
The Hebdomadary will rotate every two days. Although the word refers to a week’s service, I still like how it sounds. Performance will be graded this year in order to enhance aural skills and fluency in expressive conducting. In addition, the Hebdomadary will also work at the end of the lunch hour with the Foundations III choir.
On your two successive days of responsibility, plan on the following
Work with the Foundations III choir. Since you will not have been at all of their rehearsals, your musical task will be coordinated with Dr. Westendorf. It may be improving tone, working on a passage with solfege and Curwen hand signs, refining two and three part singing, or other technical basics.
The expectation this year is that all will be standing in place with music precisely at the bell. The Hebdomadary will set the example through verbal communication and positive example. At the end of Dr. Westendorf’s warm up, the Hebdomadary will have prepared one solution to an technical difficulty within a very short passage that is in the current repertoire. Prepare an exercise that is independent of the actual passage. Any one particular aspect may be addressed, such as intonation, expression, balance, blend, and so on. The goal should be very concentrated. After this the actual passage can be rehearsed with a conducting gesture showing tempo, dynamic, and mood, with no verbal instruction or prompting. Immediately afterwards give only one instruction, repeat the passage, and truly listen for improvement. You may repeat this procedure, but take no more than 4 or 5 minutes. At that point, check that the choir has pencils in hand, not just stored in folders. The Hebdomadary will ensure that all chairs are stacked at the end of rehearsal, and that all contribute in this task.
Grading will be as follows:
Defining the goal for the choir
Clarity of verbal instruction
Thoughtfulness in preparing exercise
Aural skills as shown in careful listening and consequent instructions
Fluidity and appropriateness of conducting gesture
The Hebdomadary will rotate every two days. Only medical absences will be excused. If you know you are going to be absent, arrange for the next person on the list to take your rotation. In the case of a medical absence, another singer will be assigned for the next day, and the absentee will complete his or her rotation after the rotation of the newly assigned singer. In any case, take it on yourself to ensure that the two-day pattern stays as intact as possible. In this way no one will be in front of the choir unprepared.
Van Horn, Kyler