Week 1 of 11, May 1, 2024

Hi people & thanks for your patience during our first session together!

Here’s a summary:

Silly warm-ups & stretches of course, but more importantly the opening ‘ghostie noises’.

Those exercises can help with both developing the ‘chest voice’ or lower pitch resonance or whatever you want to call it, & are also good practise for long phrases.

Next week we will repeat those & also start some pure-vowel-production type warm ups.

The long phrases & pure vowels will be needed for Tsmidao.

The chest voice stuff will help on Traveller’s Prayer & Farewell Shanty.

This might make for a slightly longer than usual warm-up, but I wish to introduce some vocal concepts which we will then refer back to over the duration of our time together.

As I said in rehearsal, I’m defo not a vocal technique specialist, but in the relatively short time I’m with you it makes sense to share a few tricks that have worked well for others in the past!

We then had some gentle fun with the charmingly poignant ‘Farewell Shanty’, even improvising a few harmonies with an impressive degree of success, especially for a first attempt!

We will keep this tune as part of our warm up & see how the experiment evolves

We then sort of bluffed our way through the first 16 bars of traveller’s prayer (up to letter ‘A’).

When I say bluffed, I mean it actually sounded great! But I know that many/most of you are still far from confident, on all those notes, -I wouldn’t expect you to be!

On this piece, what I want you to focus on first is the style/tone/drama required to do it justice.

The notes are the easy bit! (Granted, there are a lot of them, as the piece never really repeats itself).

But as it’s such an enthralling piece I suspect that most of you will regularly start singing along with the audio just for the pleasure of it, & from the very beginning I would like you to try & do that with the sort of gravitas & rich dark resonance that we discussed today!

After the slightly late break, we did just a wee taster of just the first 3 bars of Tsmidao Gmerto, (which is exactly the same as the next 3 bars). Again, not enough to feel secure in your notes, but I hope just enough to help you understand that this piece will be ALL about beautiful vowels & breath control.

After the warm-ups we will start with this piece next week & make it the focus perhaps right up until the break while tying it in to the work we did in the warm-up.

After the break we will revise the opening to, ‘Traveller’s Prayer’, but not necessarily take it any further yet. We’ll see how it goes.

Thanks to those who offered feedback. As I said, I will try to keep the shock of a change of leader as minimal as possible, but rehearsals will inevitably be different nonetheless.

As I said, I plan next week to be largely repetition of this week, but if things go well we might push a little further into the tunes, (particularly Tsidao, but maybe Traveller’s prayer too).

Keep listening to the audio!

Also, re standing up/sitting down, I will try to remember to stand you more often!

My personal experience is that choirs are often divided between the standers & sitters & I always say that any who wants to can stand as often as they like as long as they are not blocking anyone’s view! (And likewise, people can sit throughout as long as they can see).

But feel free to request a general stand anytime, if I’ve left it too long…..

The tunes will we recap next week are:

Bristol Ho!

A Rose is a Rose

Cloudbusting

That’s it for now,

See you next week 🙂

Sam

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