Kathy's Korner

APRIL 23 (Send-off Mini-Show)

posted Apr 16, 2019, 11:42 PM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated Apr 17, 2019, 12:21 PM ]

"What is it that we're living for?  Applause!  Applause!"   Yes, it's time to transition from rehearsal mode to performance mode!  I know that you love performing as much as me and I bet you're as excited as me to show our families and friends what we've been doing.  The annual send-off performance is always so much fun because everyone gets to see us up close & personal and it's great to feel all that love and support from our loving audience.  
Wear/Bring:  Try your best to be ready before when you arrive so we can spend the maximum amount of time getting musically and mentally prepared to perform.  Wear your leggings, shoes, socks, supportive undergarments, earrings, and have your hair and makeup done, so you'll be able to focus.  Do NOT wear your tunic while driving as it will wrinkle/crease. Do some vocal warmups (bubbles/sirens) throughout the day and on your way there.  Here's a list of all the pieces and parts that you'll need:
  • Black leggings
  • Undergarments 
  • Opaque black socks
  • Black chorus shoes
  • Tunic
    • Approved by costume chairs
    • Ironed and wrinkle-free
  • Dangle earrings
  • Fascinators (Linda O'Donnell has all of them)
  • Pink panties for front row (Linda O'Donnell has all of them)
  • All props
    • Pizza boxes
    • Beer cans
    • Dog
  • Hair done bigger than normal with plenty of spray so the fascinator is easy to place
    • Linda/Cindy will have a team of people to do this for everyone.
  • Heavy street makeup - one shade darker than usual, pink-toned cheeks, brown eyeshadows, eyebrows lined, eyeliner, mascara, red lip liner, and red lipstick (Pam White will have the chorus red lipstick on hand.)
  • Snacks - let Judy Gobat know if you're bringing something and she'll designate a table near the back of the room.  Easy finger foods, salty or sweet.  


5:00    Setup - chairs, table for snacks, napkins, paper plates, sound system, risers, props, folding wall
5:30    Rehearse - focused 
7:15    Put on tunics, fascinators, touch up makeup and hair
7:30    Doors open - greet guests and help them find seats
7:55    Get lined up and ready to perform
8:00    Showtime!  (I'll ask my son to video for us)
8:30    Group photo, showtime


Do whatever homework you need to do to be fully prepared to perform your very best - musically and visually.  Take the steps that will bring you the greatest amount of confidence, which leads to a high degree of JOY for you and for our audience!

I'll open the show by welcoming everyone and thanking them for their support as you enter the risers (w/props).
    • HAPPY TOGETHER                (choreography)
      • Elaine - life is short, let's have fun in this lifetime
    • FUN IN JUST ONE LIFETIME (split chorus in the middle of the song)
      • Elaine - we all need friends who understand when things go wrong
    • AND SO IT GOES                    (sopranos in "V" in front; everyone else in friendship clumps)
      • Elaine - tell about all the fun girls
    • GIRLS WANNA HAVE FUN     (choreography)
      • Elaine - tell about the sisterhood of OSC
    • SISTER ACT                            (semicircle across the front of risers)
      • Kathy - introduce Sweet Dreams while someone turns off the lights and gloves are put on
    • SWEET DREAMS                    (stay in semicircle, lighted gloves come forward)
      • Kathy - introduce quartet
    • OSC sit down on ends of risers (leave space in middle)
    • 2 SONGS - contest set - featuring our very own Karlene Hancock
      • Kathy
    • AFTER I'M GONE                    (characterization, showmanship, choreography, props 
    • I'LL BE SEEING YOU              (sparkling eyes, passion, and energy)
      • Elaine - thanks for coming, Celtic pub song to say goodnight
    • THE PARTING GLASS            (3 sections)

The mini-show should be over by 8:30, and after the last song, we'll have lots of time to socialize and hear all the wonderful comments from our families and friends.  

THIS IS GONNA BE A BLAST!  You're singing so well and it just gets better and cleaner and more beautiful every week.  Keep adding one more degree of energy every day!


PLAN - April 16

posted Apr 14, 2019, 8:59 AM by Kathy Scheel

The plan for Tuesday, April 16th, is:

5:30 - 6:20    Show Meeting (led by Karen Wildman - all committees represented)
6:20 - 6:30    Transition time
6:30 - 7:00    Section Rehearsals (led by section leaders)
7:00 - 7:30    Choreography (led by Elaine & Karlene)
7:30 - 9:30    Performance Polishing for 4/23 mini-show
  • HAPPY TOGETHER                (choreography)
  • FUN IN JUST ONE LIFETIME (split chorus)
  • AND SO IT GOES                    (staging)
  • GIRLS WANNA HAVE FUN     (choreography)
  • SISTER ACT                            (in semicircle)
  • SWEET DREAMS                    (stay in semicircle, 6 in lighted gloves, staging)
  • I'LL BE SEEING YOU              (sparkling eyes and passion) 
  • AFTER I'M GONE                    (characterization/choreography)
  • THE PARTING GLASS            (in 3 sections)
LOOK-AHEAD to 4/23

This is a tentative schedule for April 23 to get ready for our send-off mini-show - a confirmed plan will be posted soon but this will give you a heads-up on the general plan.

TBD    Setup committee - chairs, tables, snacks, door prize
5:00    Everyone else arrive with hair and makeup done, wearing leggings, chorus shoes/socks, earrings
5:15    Warmups (on flat floor while risers are being set up)
5:30    Rehearse
7:30    Doors open - put on tunic, apply fascinators, touch-ups on hair/makeup
7:55    Line up for entrance
8:00    Perform
8:30    Socialize "afterglow", group photo

SUMMARY - 4/9/19

posted Apr 10, 2019, 9:25 AM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated Apr 11, 2019, 3:40 PM ]

EVERYONE WAS THERE - and it was glorious!!!   Thank you so much for bringing your voices, bodies, and energies!  Let's do it again next week!  That's the way we can build the sound and make progress!  I was finally able to hear the whole chorus and it was so exciting - and also very helpful in making final adjustments to the riser chart.  I'm still needing more Lead sound, so I'm moving a few leads forward and a few baritones/tenors towards the back. 


WELCOME to our newest member, DAGMAR AMRIEN!  She is not going to Reno with us so she's not rehearsing on the risers for now, but she was doing all the choreography and everything from the back of the room.  You go, Dagmar!  

There are a few things happening behind the scenes recently:
  • Management Team met on Monday night.  Minutes will be posted on the website for those interested.  
  • Music Team met on Tuesday night.  Talked about performance readiness (vocal and visual), helping new members, Christmas chorus plans (which will be different this year due to our Dec 7 show), evaluations/follow-up to ensure accuracy on all songs, and new music.
  • Toured the facility for the Dec 7 show (Dayspring Fellowship Center in Keizer) with Karen Wildman and Judy Dixon.  Made some tentative plans for lobby tables, lighting, rooms for performers.
Nearly everyone had your costumes completed and you are looking lovely!  We'll be wearing them for the April 23rd performance for our families & friends, so if you didn't have yours last night or if you have alterations or additions to do, get them done and bring them next week to show Linda & Cindy to be sure everything is perfect.  Every single one of you is going to look and feel beautiful.    Especially after you get the makeup, earrings, and everything else on.  We'll be wearing heavy street makeup that night.   The songs for 4/23 are (in this order):
  • Happy Together - practice the choreography on your own this week
  • Fun in Just One Lifetime - practice the transition into the tag, and the tuning on the tag
  • And So it Goes - some staging
  • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - practice the choreography 
  • Sister Act - sing the song 3 times in a row with the 4-part track
  • Sweet Dreams - with lighted gloves (need someone to turn off lights on 4/23)
    • Party Time Quartet (w/Karlene Hancock) 
  • After I'm Gone
  • I'll Be Seeing You
    • Door Prize (or something)
  • The Parting Glass
CONTEST SET  -  Here's the link to the video from last night. https://youtu.be/ogFcxYXng7c   There are so many things that you'll love about this performance: really solid and lovely singing, most bodies moving and emoting, good tuning.  There are things that need attention so I'll describe them here line-by-line (including breaths) so be sure to target these areas when you rehearse each and every day - at full performance level.  Add 1 degree of heat every time so you are building stamina, muscle memory, and confidence!


Breathe together!  Start and stop every word/phrase together.  From a judging standpoint, unity affects every category!
  • Use the palm-fist method when you rehearse so you can feel the smoother connection of the words, stretching every vowel, and every phrase to the fullest value.  This also helps identify the breathing plan.
  • Practice taking quicker breaths so the uptune maintains its tempo (164 bpm) and the ballad has forward motion and energy and passion!  
Listen to each other to be sure you are singing in tune with the whole chorus, and in the same vocal space.  Work on instant tuning/placement of target vowels.

Breaths are at the end of each of the lines shown below (B).  These are the ONLY places you should breathe.

Pitch (key of F):  NUH
Really solid!  

Don't forget what I say, I knew there'd come a deh-eh-ee.(B)
Keep the sound as strong as the pitch.  "Come" tuning; softer start on "day" and maintain tuning.

You'd miss me when I was gone I'm sayin when I was gone on my vacation. (B)
Sync - take immediate ownership of that tempo; keep wall of sound on "sayin"; stretch "vacation" to fullest value

After I had many libations, you were blue. (B)
Get immediately softer; stretch "blue" and visual premove is on "you were" then hand on cheek on "blue"

You were sad. (B)
Stay soft, stretch sad.

Because you realize what you had. (B)
Stretch "had" to fullest value.

When I came home to you, I started freaking. (B)
Stretch freaking.

All of the kids (your kids) were streaking. (B)
Leads-lower on "all";  stretch streaking.

No showers over ten days, ew (B)
Check note accuracy on "over ten days" - don't cut off "ew"

The smell put me into a haze, cuz I was gone (B)
Sync, and stretch "gone"

Leaving you on your own,  your own. (B)
Leads-lower on "leaving".  Sync; stretch "own"

Kitty cat left a present by the door. (B)
Sounding good here.

It's spreading all over the kitchen floor. (B)
Sync, stretch the vowel on "kitchen", wait until the last moment to do the vocal thing on "floor"

There's pizza boxes there, and there, and everywhere. (B)
Tuning/accuracy needs work through this phrase and into key change, esp. leads and baritones

There's something growing in the fridge, beware! (B)
Some tuning issues - baritones

Beer cans everywhere - don't you care? (B)
Leads a bit higher on "cans".

The dog is hungry, did you feed him dear? (B)
Nicely done, but would like it a bit softer.

Listen, I'll be clear you know that I gotta leave for now, stop (B)
Quicker breath after "stop" to set and maintain tempo 

your whining, pick up the mess (your mess) I want it shining (B)
Wall of sound thru "whining - pick...(no breath) - quick breath after "shining"

Do the dishes in the sink. (B)
Sync - stretch the vowel on "dishes" and put a big K on "sink"

And do the laundry cuz the clothes turned pink. (B)
Tempo is starting to lag here... dig deeper, and bigger K on "pink"

Wash all the floors, they're all so sticky. (B)
Tempo!  sync

Water the plants, they're dry and sickly. (B)
Leads note accuracy on "the";  stretch "sickly"

And you bought a new sports car. (B)
Unity and tempo - keep it tight.

I'll take it for a spin but not. (B)
Nice job on transition of tempo to stomp beat

Far, cuz tho I will drive away, when I come back I'll say. (B)
Some minor tuning issues in this phrase, baris higher

Ahhhhh.  (B)
Make it sound loving (instead of exhausted)

I missed you every day, every day. (B)
Tuning/accuracy - basses rock! 

Here to stay. (B)
Lock "stay" instantly; pull back a bit on dynamics and then grow on my cue (with visual plan)


Pitch (key of B):  LUHv
Not quite in tune; basses lighten up a bit.

Love you, night and day, whenever I'm away. (B)
Enunciate "love" with the singable V, lift "you" and "day", internal sync, stretch the last chord longer. 

I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places (B)
Work on instant tuning (use PanoTuno)

That this heart of mine embraces all day through (all day through). (B)
A bit ploddy, let it float naturally - tuning on "through, all day through" - more lead on "through"

In that small cafe, the park across the way (B)
A bit out of sync this time through, but this part is usually really nice

The children's carousel, the chestnut tree. (B)
Sync not quite together - stretch tree a bit longer

The wishing well. (B)
A bit quicker on "the"; more lead on "well"

I'll be seeing you. (B)
Keep this on the high side, and add a warmer sound; tenors be careful on volume and vibrato

In every lovely summer's day, in everything that's light and gay.(B)
Nicely done but could be less wordy

I'll always think of you that way. (B)
Tenors tuning on "you that way"; a bit out of sync

I'll find you in the morning sun. (B)
Nice but would like to stretch sun just a bit longer.

And when the night is through, I'll be looking at the moo-oo-oon. (B)
Sync on "I'll be"

But I'll be seeing you (only you). (B)
Leads - match the OO vowel on "you, only you"; baris and basses get much stronger on the echo; tenors tuning

I'll find you in the mo-or-ning sun! (B)
More NG on "morning" - then a quick/emotional breath after "sun" 

And when the night is new-ew. (B)
New is really nice! More lead on last note

I'll be looking at the moon (at the moon). (B)
A bit ploddy on "looking at the moon", tenors careful on volume and vibrato

Now I'll be seeing you, it's you. (B)
Everyone sings "you, it's you"; a bit more lead on the first "you" (melody), then tenors take over melody on second "you"

It's always you. 
Wait until I direct the S on "al-ways" - there are still about 3 of you putting it on too soon! Tenors maintain tuning.

SUMMARY - 3/26/19

posted Mar 27, 2019, 8:36 AM by Kathy Scheel

We sure pack a lot of stuff into our 3 hours together each week!   Here's a summary of last night:
  • Karlene Hancock led the choreography session and will update the cue sheets for us (with the song in the Music Library).
  • I showed some very simple, but meaningful gestures for I'll Be Seeing You and will post the cue sheets with the song in the Music Library.
  • Welcomed guests:  Jackie Kearns (2nd visit), Diane Epstein (1st visit)
  • Welcomed new member:  Tammy Lantis (former member who's back in the "family")
  • Shared news:
    • Karlene Hancock will be singing in her quartet, "Party Time", at the Regional Quartet Competition (contestant #11).
    • Laurie Burk has a new grandson.
    • Toni Roush will not be able to go to Reno because her daughter will be having surgery on May 2.
    • Elaine MIshey has decided to take a Leave of Absence to address some medical issues.  
    • Marilyn Ellis has resigned due to family issues.
    • Sing the primary vowels (EH-EE-AH-OH-OO) and make them as pure and resonant (tall inside) as possible.
    • Energize the diphthongs so they are distinctly heard as:
      • I'LL  =   AHH-eel 
      • WAY -  WEH-ee  (same diphthong for DAY, GAY, SAY)
    • Stretch your range with absolutely no tension by bubbling the higher phrases (i.e., end of uptune), then sing the phrase in exactly the same way - with total freedom.
    • Set your metronome app at 164bpm and speak the uptune, noticing how your body automatically knows how to take quick breaths between phrases.  This is how you train yourself to maintain the steady tempo throughout the song (except the middle section "the dog is hungry" and the stomp beat "not - far cuz".  EVERY SINGER must OWN and DRIVE the tempo.  Be a leader in your section / chorus.  
    • Sing and perform fully in front of a mirror.  Go way over the top - more than you've ever done before - while maintaining a smooth phrase flow (not choppy).  As Tori Postma (Showmanship Judge) told us, "If you feel like an idiot, take it all the way to blithering!"
    • Practice breathing - here's the exercise you did last night:
      • The entire exercise, put your finger in your belly button.
      • Push finger clear to your backbone as you hiss (loudly) all the air out to a slow count of 1-2-3-4.
        • This air movement represents the air used while singing a phrase.
      • Then sip in (loudly) through an imaginary tiny sippy straw to a slow count of 1-2-3-4
        • Repeat 4 times
      • Push finger clear to your backbone as you hiss all the air out to a slow count of 1-2-3.
      • Then sip in through an imaginary slurpy straw (slightly bigger opening) to a slow count of 1-2-3
        • Repeat 4 times
      • Push finger clear to your backbone as you hiss all the air out to a slow count of 1-2.
      • Then sip in through an imaginary water hose (slightly bigger opening) to a slow count of 1-2.
        • Repeat 4 times
      • Push finger clear to your backbone as you hiss all the air out to a quick count of 1.   
      • Then just open your mouth and take a silent breath in as if through a culvert pipe to a count of 1.  This is the type of breath that you should take while singing.  
      • This exercise trains your body how to breathe like a singer.  
      • Repeat - repeat - repeat.
    • The intro is becoming much more authentic and lovely!  Keep directing yourself as your rehearse it.
    • I'll show a hand sign <  for every time I need you to grow stronger (crescendo).  Practice this at home (for the ballad; the cue sheets show this < sign.
    • Smize (smiling eyes) throughout the song - look in the mirror and see if you're doing it (some of you probably think you are, but it's not visible).  Add lots more twinkle as you convey the positive message.
    • Most phrases need to move along more quickly, and every breath must be packed with emotion!  This creates a feeling of eagerness, energy, and forward motion, propelling you into the next phrase.
    • Tag:  Added lyrics to measure 48 - "you, it's you". 
      • Be careful not to make "it's" too bright (it sticks out of the sound)
      • Basses - work on accurate tuning 
      • Tenors - make the move very "crisp"  (after hearing my recording, I may add lyrics to yours, too - will try it next week)
    • Practice visual plan so it's on auto-play; build the muscle memory!  Most of you are doing a really great job and it's getting better every week.
    • M4 - "Day" - Pull back on volume and grow the swipe on a pure EH vowel - then energize the diphthong -ee.
    • M5 - Everyone immediately OWN THE TEMPO.
      • Then extend every phrase to full value while maintaining the up-tempo, taking quick/energized breaths.
    • M15-16 - Take out the choreo move on "libations"
    • M17-20 - Sing much softer
    • M21-23- Start soft and grow
    • M23 - Practice the crisp chords (especially basses & baritones); add a quick little hip wiggle on "what you had"
    • M47 - Sing softer but very intense - add a sharp move so you're facing to 11:00 (watching beyond me)
    • M55 - Start softer so this phrase grows on M59-62 - through the key change
    • Work on the accuracy/tuning in the key change.  It will be easier to balance the chords when everyons is back.
    • M71 - Sing the phrase a bit quieter 
    • M89 and M94 - Need much stronger/audibile  K on sinK and pinK.
    • Tag:  Bubble the tag several times and feel the freedom and airflow.  Sing it exactly that way and you'll find it easier and more accurate.   Remember to end on a pure EH vowel ("stay") - then a great diphthong to finish!
    • Basses - good job in maintaining the tempo, but about halfway through the song it becomes a bit "muddy" so keep that energy up. It's all about taking quick/energized/tempo breaths.
    • Everyone - work on the visual plan. There's a video in the music library with the song, and we'll rehearse it on April 6-7 to get an updated video.
  • The Parting Glass
  • Fun in Just One Lifetime
  • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
  • Vocal exercises every day 
  • Visual rehearsals in front of mirror every day and do a selfie video - that's awesome training!
  • April 6-7 - See my separate Kathy's Korner article about all that we'll be doing that weekend.  I only know of two people who will be absent, so we'll get a ton of progress made on all of our songs, and I'll be able to finalize the riser chart!

  I'm sure all of you know that I'm slightly competitive - heh-heh. I love to improve my skills and help all of us get better and better, and it's especially rewarding to hear our name called out as a medal winner at contest.  I totally enjoy the process (the journey) of polishing our songs, learning the craft, constantly improving week after week, and then being able to show the fruits of our labor in front of the most appreciative audience: the members of Region 12 (plus all the people watching the webcast from all over the world).  It's exhilarating!  But it's important to remember that those 6 minutes on the regional contest stage are just 6 minutes out of our whole year.  Yes, we hope it will be one of our very best 6 minutes, but if it's not, that's okay!  It doesn't represent who we are as a family - our love, laughter, work, warmth, teamwork, and spirit. Everything that we love about OSC will still be there when we get home.  My wish if for you to do your very best every time you perform - and hopefully that will also happen in Reno - but your best is all that anyone can ever expect of you!  Don't do it for me - do it for yourself, and then bask in the afterglow of knowing you shined.  Take a moment to savor all that you've learned along the way.  Ask yourself if you're a better singer and performer than you were last week, last month, last year   I have always been extremely proud of who we are as a singing family and who each of you are as individuals.  You bring all of your humanity to rehearsals and I love that!    

"The first breath a chorus takes together, a breath filled with focus, intention, and emotion, a breath unified for no other reason than to make something beautiful together...that is the reason we do what we do."

APRIL 6-7 - T.E.A.M.

posted Mar 25, 2019, 9:38 AM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated Apr 2, 2019, 11:32 PM ]

T.E.A.M. - Together Everyone Achieves More!

This coming weekend, April 6-7, is going to be filled with coaching, polishing, learning, laughing, bonding, eating, videoing, brainstorming, voting, sharing, performing, inspiring, motivating, and so much more!   

Wear ALL BLACK (tops and pants) both days.  When we do the videos you'll be able to see yourself much easier with less distraction, giving us updated "cleaner" videos to post on the website for practicing.  

    Saturday:  9:00-5:00
    Sunday:  9:00-2:00
    Lunch will be 11:30-12:15 both days - bring your lunch.

Doors open at 8:30 both mornings, so try to arrive early so you can visit, put your costumes and other things somewhere, and get on the risers by 9:00.   Here are the things we'll get done over the weekend: 

Work on all the performance songs for the April 23 send-off mini-show:

      • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun  (light choreo)
      • Sister Act
      • Sweet Dreams (light choreo and props)
      • Fun in Just One Lifetime (split chorus)
      • Harmonize the World (review before Saturday)
      • The Parting Glass
      • And So it Goes
      • I'll Be Seeing You (light choreo)
      • After I'm Gone (choreo and props)

LEARN some of the things that create a powerful and positive impact on a performance, going from B to B+ singing.

TALK about contest, putting it in perspective, enjoying the journey, sharing your experiences.

WRITE a sentence about every member so I can take them home and work on a project for everyone.

SEE demonstration of how to apply stage makeup.

VOTE on the new management team and the 2019 Spirit Award.

BRAINSTORM ways each person can contribute to a membership growth campaign.

GET a copy of the sheet music for Change the World (learning tracks are in the Music Library).

VIDEO work - with the all-black clothes, and with the new costumes on.

PERFORM for each other.

COORDINATE carpools to the Portland Airport in May.

VISUALIZE your own perfect performance!


  • Lunch - 45 minutes for lunch both days
  • Costumes - tunic, leggings, shoes, socks, supportive undergarments, earrings, fascinators (& pink undies)
  • Props
    • Pizza boxes – 3 boxes by Leah 
    • Large beer cans –  several to play with, scattered across risers - Leah
    • Dog – 1 furry canine by Karlene
    • Luggage – need to choose - I have a few signs, but need travel “stickers” to tape on them - who can help with this?
    • Pink “undies” – front row (and me)
  • Water bottle or large cup
  • Notes for members - 1 sentence about each member (see my emails and attached to bottom of this article).





posted Mar 20, 2019, 10:13 AM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated Mar 20, 2019, 4:05 PM ]

I love the progress you're making on the music!!  It just gets better & better each week - and that's certainly the most rewarding part in the journey towards contest:  the realization that your personal work is making the whole ensemble better in the creation of beautiful music.  The artistry is starting to emerge and become more and more consistent, as you become more comfortable with the ebb and flow of the lyrical line and deliver it with authenticity, personal involvement, and passion.  Your work is paying off in lots of wonderful goose bumps!


  • We welcomed a new guest last night - Jackie Kearns (baritone).  She loved the evening and is planning to return!  YAY!
  • Karlene Hancock led the choreography review session and I am so impressed with how many of you are improving each week.  The more you rehearse it at home, the more ingrained it will be in your body, building that "muscle memory" so you can do the moves and facial expressions automatically, allowing yourselves to focus on your singing skills.
  • Eileen Kemp is once again organizing our annual girls' weekend at the beach, so respond to her email to let her know which weekend in August you can join us for all or part of that special (and hilarious) time together.
  • Elaine Rosenberg announced that the Elks would like our assistance in decorating the lodge in the afternoon of Sunday, May 31.  Watch and respond to her email seeking 5-6 people to assist.
  • Janice LaCombe reminded us about the annual flower sales fundraiser.  Orders can be made easily online (see her email from last week).
  • Musical events coming up - let me know if you'd like to go so we can carpool together.
    • Saturday, March 23 - All-Northwest Barbershop Quartet Contest.  Evening show is at 7:00pm at the Forest Grove High School (Forest Grove, OR)
    • Sunday, March 24 - Columbia River and Northwest Harmony Send-Off Show.   The show starts at 3:00 in Vancouver, WA and Eileen Kemp is the chair.  Let's go and show our support for our OSC sister!  We can carpool up from my house.  
    • Tuesday, April 23 - OSC Send-off Show.  We'll perform some songs for our families and friends and more information will be coming out on that very soon.  I don't know who is chairing this event for us, but there will be just a little help needed from some of you (setting up the Elks with chairs, light decorations, maybe a simple fundraiser, sound system, light snacks, etc.).  We'll rehearse early from 6:00-7:00, then have our friends and families come at 7:30 to perform. Here are the songs we'll perform (so work on them at home):
      • Happy Together
      • Sister Act
      • And So it Goes
      • All the Things You Are
      • Fun in Just One Lifetime
      • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
      • Sweet Dreams 
      • I'll Be Seeing You
      • After I'm Gone
    • Saturday, May 18 - Willamette GirlChoir Pops Concert.  This will be at the Parrish Middle School on Capitol Street in downtown Salem (just a few blocks north of the capitol), at 3:00pm.  We will be singing the following songs:
      • Happy Together 
      • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun 
      • Sweet Dreams
      • And So it Goes
      • After I'm Gone
      • Plus a song with the girls:  Harmonize the World
        • I would like a small group of us (need all 4 parts) to go to their rehearsal for about 15 minutes on Monday, May 13th, to rehearse the song with them.  We will sing the 4-part song while the girls sing a song on top of ours (sorta like Fun in One Lifetime - 2 songs at once).
        • We will still have our own regular rehearsal on Tuesday, May 14th, from 6:30-9:00 at the Elks.
  • Educational event coming up
    • June 14-16 - Harmony College Northwest, Tacoma, WA.  A weekend full of amazing classes by high-level educators in both the men's and women's barbershop organizations.  Registration will start soon and I'll be sending out more information (since I'm the Marketing Coordinator for HCNW).  Go to the website for lots more information on classes, faculty, schedule, fees, and the amazing Saturday Night Show featuring three international caliber quartets:  Frenzy (Sweet Adelines 1st Place International Champions), Signature (Barbershop Harmony Society 2nd Place Medalists), and Renegade (Sweet Adelines 7th Place International Medalists).
    • July 20-21 - Adventures in Music (AIM), Cottage Grove, OR.  This weekend is presented by our own Region 12 and in addition to the high level Regional Faculty, we will be honored to have Paula Davis as the guest International Faculty.  Paula is the Immediate Past President of Sweet Adelines International and you will absolutely love her!  I've attended many of her classes over the years and have always walked away with many useful tools and ideas!  
    • I would love for OSC members to participate in both of these educational workshops, but if you cannot do that, and are wondering how to make the decision, I would encourage you to go to AIM because (a) it supports our own region (b) will not be as expensive becuase you'll have roommates to share the cost of lodging, (c) it's a great opportunity to bond with other chorus members from all over Oregon.  The general plan is for classes all day Saturday, 6/20 on topics including:  gaining & retaining members, performance packaging, musicality & artistry, roadmap to successful sectionals, leadership skills.  Then Sunday (6/21) there is LAW School (Learn Arm Waving) when you can either attend leveled classes (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors) to work on skills to start/stop choruses, or you can be a part of the demo chorus to all the directors can practice their skills.  Many of you have attended LAW School in the past and can attest to how much you learn through your participation in that chorus!  
  • Reminder:  Do not wear perfumed products to chorus.  Many people have allergic reactions to them, and in the close proximity of standing on the risers, it makes it very difficult to breathe.  That's sorta important in singing … and life....so be good to your singing sisters and check your clothing for perfumes (hairspray, deodorants, lotions, etc.).
  • Octet Coaching:  I'm really looking forward to working with all of you in smaller groups at my home.  We had the first group on Monday and it was very productive, so this work will really pay off in higher scores at contest.  That's what everyone wants!

  • Direct yourself in singing the intro to create a smooth and natural delivery of "everything I do reminds me of you".   This style of delivery is an important factor in telling the story to the audience, drawing them into the emotions, painting a picture for them with music.  Watch me carefully for all the nuances of every phrase.  There are actually only a few phrases in the entire song that are somewhat slow - the other phrases move along in a natural, authentic way.  Keep working on that at home and you'll experience a new type of freedom in singing!
  • The OO sound needs to be more open and forward (not swallowed) especially from the basses.
  • I'll must be pronounced with a taller, more vertical AHH sound; check your recording to see if you can improve that target vowel.
  • Every time a note is held for any length of time, your voice must get louder (crescendo).  I will start making the crescendo sign (<) to remind your for awhile, but you will grow as musicians if you take personal ownership of this skill. If there is no breath following a held note, you "grow" into the next note, rather than just waiting until it's time to sing it.  For instance, grow on the words that are capitalized in these two passages:
    • I'll be seeing YOU in all the old familiar places.
    • that this heart of mine embraCES all day THROUGH.
    • IN that small cafe, the PARK across the wEH-ee.
    • The children's carouSEL, the chestnut tree.
    • The wishing well.
  • Some phrases need to move along more quickly and naturally, with less emphases on individuals notes & words, and more emphasis on emotions.  Sing from your heart - every time!
  • Tuning issues addressed:
    • Basses - sing higher on every B-flat in the song (we are actually singing this in the key of B but mark all the B-flats) and check yourself on the PanoTuner.  This is especially evident in the following measures:  M5, M12, M23.  
    • Leads - check your accuracy in the following measures and work on being instantly tuned:  M1-2, M19, M21, M38-39, M42, M44
    • Baritones - M1, M31-32, M44
    • Tenors:  M24-25, M38-29, M44
  • TAG:  I took out one chord in M48 so here are the notes (on the sheet music) that you'll be singing:
    • TENORS:  No change
    • LEADS:  B-flat, F, E-flat  (took out the E-natural)
    • BARITONES:  no change
    • BASSES:  B-flat, A-flat, G-flat (took out the G-natural)
    • ALL:  M40 is "It's ALWAYS you"

  • Your work on the choreography is starting to show great results in better singing!   The more you rehearse the visual plan at home (in front of a mirror to see your face and body language), the more you are able to maintain good, strong singing!  Good for you!!   There were a couple of improvements made and Karlene will be updating the choreo sheets soon, and we'll make a video next week, too.  We need ALL OF THE PROPS at rehearsal eveyr week from now on - see my last week's Kathy's Korner for a list.
  • EVERY PHRASE needs to be extended (not cut off) - no more "white spots" at the ends of phrases!  Own this skills and I will be able to do less directing (reminding).  
  • M17-18 - both phrases are softer.
  • M23-24 - tenors, baritones, and basses - work on these measures so they're right every time (no more oops)
  • M26 - everyone sings "to you"
  • M30 - only tenors and basses sing "your kids"
  • M37 - sing the chord, don't cut it off
  • M47-50 - quieter but very intense
  • M57-62 - start soft and grow, and everyone work on that key change (tuning into the new key!) - matching vowels will help
  • M69 - baritones don't breathe in the middle of this
  • M71 - a bit softer and perhaps whiny
  • M76 - I'll should be pronounced AH-eel (quickly)
  • M81 - sing the chord on "stop" and don't cut it off so abruptly
  • M90 - bigger K sound on "sink"
  • M91-94 - start softer and grow, and much bigger K sound on "pinK"
  • M100 - quick slide up from on "they're dry"
  • M108-109 - practice this rhythm so when you go to "not" you'll stretch it slightly as that is where the "stomp beat" is set, use your body language to show the rhythm change (don't make me do it all:)
  • M114 - The vowel on "say" is SEHH
  • M115-123 (tag):  Everyone work on total accuracy on this tag, there are still wrong notes!  I'm depending on YOU to fix those before next week.  Do whatever it takes, okay?!

  • Review all the songs for the upcoming performances.
  • Bring props.
  • More detailed work on the contest songs.
  • Send me your sentences about the members (see email of last week).

APRIL 6-7:
  • Costume check - everyone done, bring tunics, wear leggings, shoes, hats, everything!
  • Membership Campaign brainstorming and buy-in
  • Reno travel coordination - carpooling to airport
  • Christmas Chorus brainstorming
  • Lots of detailed work on the contest songs
  • Work on songs for April 23 and May 18 performances
  • You be the judge
  • Judging Categories - overview and road to B+
  • Watch Eileen perform with Columbia River Chorus (webcast break)
  • Bring your own lunch
  • A new game :) 
  • Vote for management team, Spirit Award
  • and much more!  DON'T MISS IT!

SUMMARY - 3/12/19

posted Mar 13, 2019, 9:50 AM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated Mar 13, 2019, 9:52 AM ]

There were lots of important announcements made, and you'll be receiving information from various people, so be sure to watch (and respond) to your emails every 2 days in order to stay current on everything: 

  • Contest matters - registration, photographs, meals, and more!
  • Spring flower sales - an annual fundraiser
  • Scrip orders - an ongoing fundraiser
  • Sara Amato presented the Spirited Sister boa to Cindy Meyers for being the only tenor at the Advance on Saturday.
  • Diane Elliott (former member) is offering to make personalized handbags for members.  If you didn't get a chance to sign up, contact Diane Watson know and she'll let Diane Elliott know.  
  • Doodle poll for "Octet Coaching" -  respond to my email of March 11 with ALL of the dates you're available so I can put together octets for coaching.  
  • March 19 - Elks is getting new flooring installed and Blake will confirm with us on Friday (Mar 15) whether we will (or will not) be able to rehearse at the Elks on March 19.  At this point, we've got a plan to rehearse in duet/sections, but watch your email in case this changes.


Karlene Hancock led the choreography session and Elaine Rosenberg assisted.  There were a few minor changes made, so new choreography sheets will be posted with the uptune in the Music Library soon.  The main things for you to do are:

  • Practice EVERY DAY in front of a mirror.  
  • Use MUCH more facial expression and body language
  • Sing at FULL VOLUME (not a tiny sound) with the recording I sent on Monday
  • Video yourself and see if you're actually doing what you think you're doing
  • Continue to breathe in the proper places - every time you do a run-through, you are training your body to handle the movement while singing your best.  
  • Repeat.

THANK YOU for your focused work tonight!  The uptune is getting cleaner each week and as improvements/changes are made, I've been so impressed with how quickly you're able to do them!  The trick is to be able to put all the changes together through the entire song, and then do them every time.  Everyone has a different way of processing information so it's going to take each member's continued work at home to really solidify things.  "Studies have shown" that it takes approximately 300 repetitions to learn something new (when a piece of music is changed after you've learned it the "old" way), so....uh....GO!   



  • Target vowels need to be taller - more vertical (less horizontal) space.  You all heard the chords ring when we matched vowels - wow - so mark your music, and listen to your recordings to be sure you're singing tall primary vowels.
    • Say should be sung as SEH.....ee   (feel how tall that feels compared to a regular spoken "say"?)
    • Day should be sung as DEH.....ee
    • Stay should be sung as STEH.....ee
  • Phrase endings need to be stretched >>>>>>>
    • Vacation ---
    • Blue ---
    • Sad ---
    • Freaking ---
    • Streaking ---
    • Door ---
    • Floor ---
    • Everywhere---
    • Stop --- (not so abrupt)
    • Sticky ---
    • Sickly ---
    • Car ---
    • Not ---
  • Breaths must be done as ONE - especially at beginnings and endings of phrases.  They are all in tempo.  
  • Measure 23-24:  Practice it until it's automatic.
  • Measure 26:  Everyone sings "to you" 
  • M30:  Your kids rhythm is changed 
  • M54:  Add that extra beat before the slip on "floor"
  • M64:  New key starts here, and it must be sung higher
  • M75:  Get back into the fast tempo immediately
  • M75-86 breathing pattern:  
    • Listen, I'll be clear you know that I gotta leave for now, stop
    • your whining, pick up the mess, your mess, I want it shining
      • "shining" is faster (like whining) so you'll have a bit more time to breathe before "do the dishes"
  • M107-109:  New pattern - "I'll take it for a spin but not----- far, cuz though I will drive away ..."
    • Take the breath out between "away, when"
    • Say is SEHHHH
  • M115-123:  Everyone work on note accuracy for the tag.  
    • Tenors:  Relax!  Bubble your notes and feel how there's no tension; then just sing it that way.  Practice doing that every day so you become accustomed to the feeling of relaxed, tension-free singing.
    • Leads and Baritones:  Tiny moves on "here to"
    • Basses:  The whole phrase should be in your head voice - not pushed up from the chest.
  • Dynamics must be more apparent - louds are stronger; softs are quieter and more supported
  • Bigger K on "sink" and "pink"
  • Leads - work on the notes at the beginning of every phrase, especially the ones that start lower than the rest of the phrase.
    • After I had ....
    • Because you realize....
    • All of the kids....
    • Cuz I was gone...
    • Leaving you on...
    • Pick up the mess...
  • Baritones - you know the notes, so now you need to listen to the leads (and basses) to do the fine-tuning required in your part.  There are some places that must be sung higher. Karlene will send you some detailed notes on those spots. 


  • Direct yourself as you sing.  This will help add more fluidity to the sound, more natural phrase delivery (less choppy).
  • Work with the new breathing plan.  Repeat.
  • AHH....eel    (9 times in the song). Everyone seems to be taking turns singing the lovely AH vowel for I'LL.  It makes such a huge difference when it's unified, so when you listen to your recording this week, pay attention to that and check your target vowels.  This will have a positive effect on the score for every category as it makes the chords ring!
  • Dynamic changes need more emphasis.
  • Work on the intro - it's still a bit sluggish and sad sounding.
  • Sing the entire song with a sparkle in the eyes - look in the mirror and see if you are smiling.  Video yourself singing it - could be revealing.
  • AHH....eel
  • Every time there is a held note, add more space to your sound to "spin" it and keep it from being stagnant.  ("do something")
  • Leads - add more space to your sound, as if you're an opera singer. Exaggerate it to get the general feeling of space and tallness in the back of the throat.  Some voices are sticking out of the sound, so even when there are leads missing, resist the temptation to sing too loud (out of the unit).
  • Leads - check accuracy of notes on "carousel".
  • AHHH...eel
  • More dynamic contrast from every singer
  • Tuning and balance on "wishing well" - baritones be careful since you're above the leads here, and basses are low.
  • The OOO vowel on MOON and YOU needs to be wider (not squeezed shut).  Look at yourself in the mirror and check your mouth posture; open it up just a bit (it will feel almost like an OH).
  • Be careful in a few places where a word with a bright vowel can pop out of the sound.  I call that "down boys" (marked as DB in my music) such as:
    • M9:  "that"  (soften the edges)
    • M46:  "at"
  • AHHHH...eel
  • M48:  Quicker, cascading effect
  • Tag lyrics:  "It's always you"

Sing with finesse and beauty at all times.  The more your rehearse it that way, the more natural and authentic is will be.  Our audiences will enjoy the emotions your give them.



Whoever has props, bring them to the risers every week.  We need to be rehearsing with them and getting used to handling them, work on timing, etc.

  • Pizza boxes (3 - give to JoAnn, ElaineR, and JudyG)
  • Beer cans (2 large, recognizable brands - give to Pam and Janice)
  • Dog (put under Karlene's riser)
  • Pink undies (Denise, Smitty, Barb, Janet, TammyL, Karlene, me)
  • Suitcases (bring the ones you'll be taking to Reno; we'll choose which ones to put the signs on.  I'll make signs to tape onto them - Hawaii, Paris, Reno, New York, Yellowstone)







posted Mar 11, 2019, 9:06 AM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated Mar 11, 2019, 9:12 AM ]

I am still on a "high" from the advancements we made on both of our contest songs this weekend!  How about you?  Are you still singing those songs in your head, doing the visual plan, remembering the improvements/adjustments to the interpretive plans?  Me, too!!   I love that you care so deeply about your musical progress and I hope you will carve out time every day for some focused work on these songs, as well as the other songs in our repertoire (since we have some performances coming up).

Now seems to be a good time to look ahead to the things that are on OSC's calendar - for skill-building, performing, and continuing education, so be sure to mark them on your personal calendars as important times for YOU:

  • APRIL 6-7 --->     COACHING
    • Elks Lodge -  Saturday, 9:00-4:00;  Sunday, 9:00-2:00
    • We'll focus on the two contest songs, but also will spend some time on the other songs in our repertoire for the two performances coming up (see below).
    • Hopefully, we can time our break to watch Eileen perform with Columbia River Chorus in the Region 13 chorus competition (via the "live" webcast).
    • Final costume check on Sunday, so everyone must bring your tunics, black leggings, shoes 'n socks, earrings, and appropriate (supportive) undergarments.

    • Annual pre-contest send-off show for families & friends.  If you can help organize this, let Elaine Rosenberg know.
    • We hope to have a couple of quartets also perform.
    • OSC will sing (must be memorized and performance-ready to perform):
      • Happy Together (with choreography)
      • Sweet Dreams (with lighted gloves and glow sticks)
      • Somebody to Love (with sections rockin' out)
      • And So it Goes 
      • Can't Buy Me Love
      • All the Things You Are
      • Fun in Just One Lifetime
      • The Parting Glass
      • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (some choreography)
      • I'll Be Seeing You
      • After I'm Gone

    • Our fabulous OSC Convention Team is getting us all organized and ready!  Be sure to read and respond to any emails regarding this important milestone in our chorus life.  Deadlines are looming and strictly observed.
    • If you are not going this year, you can still watch the quartet and chorus competition on the "live" webcast.

  • MAY 18 --->     PERFORMANCE
    • Willamette GirlChoir's Pops Concert.  OSC will do a 15-minute set:
      • Happy Together (originally sung by The Turtles)
      • Sweet Dreams (originally sung by The Eurhythmics)
      • Somebody to Love (originally sung by Queen)
      • And So it Goes (originally sung by Billy Joel)
      • Can't Buy Me Love (originally sung by The Beatles)
      • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (originally sung by Cindy Lauper)
    • PLUS two songs with the Willamette GirlChoir:
      • Fun In Just One Lifetime
      • Harmonize the World / We're The Future, the Hope of the World

    • Celebration of accomplishments for the past year, as well as plans for the year ahead.
    • Awards presented:  Spirit Award, Attendance Award, Management Team Award, and Director's Award.
    • Former members will be invited.
    • Watch for details and voting coming soon.

    • University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA
    • Top-level instructors and quartets from both the women's (Sweet Adelines International) and men's (Barbershop Harmony Society) organizations. 
    • Frenzy Quartet (2017 women's International Champions - Queens of Harmony)
    • Signature Quartet (2018 men's 2nd Place International Medalists)
    • Classes for every topic of interest - vocal skills, marketing for membership, leadership, chorus financial planning, quartet and chorus coaching, using social media, musical computer programs, and so much more!  
    • Registration opens in mid-March.  I'll let you know (since I'm the HCNW Marketing Coordinator).
    • More information on the HCNW website: www.harmonycollege.org 

  • JUNE 25 and JULY 2 --->    SECTIONALS  
    • Change the World - a popular Eric Clapton song that will be fabulous.  I've loaded the learning tracks and will be giving you the sheet music very soon.
    • Whether Good, Whether Bad - my original song written in 1976 and recently arranged for me by Lauren Kahn, director of Greater Eugene Chorus.

    • Cottage Grove, OR - just an hour away!
    • Presented by our very own Region 12 and they are bringing in International Faculty just for us!  
    • Paula Davis - Immediate Past International President, Expression Judge, Director of Song of Seattle Chorus, and excellent educator. 
    • You will love the way this workshop makes you think of different ways to help our chorus - whether it's personal vocal skills, lighting a fire under us for active membership growth, leading a section rehearsal, or helping other directors learn better arm waving skills (as part of the LAW school chorus).  If you've attended this in the past (previously called "Oregon Days or Area Schools), write a comment in the bottom of this article.
    • We'll also have our own strong Region 12 Faculty (including yours truly) to give classes for various interest groups.
    • Plan to attend - let's try to get ALL of us from Oregon Spirit there this year!

Plus other cool stuff happening this summer ..... annual summer beach trip, new Christmas song, membership growth campaign, membership retention activities, possible girls' youth harmony day camp, and more!  

This chorus
is so awesome, and
each individual singer
is a blessing!

Hug your OSC sisters frequently!

Visualize yourself doing a perfect performance.

Say 3 good things about yourself - go!

SUMMARY - TIPS (3/5/19)

posted Mar 6, 2019, 9:20 AM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 9:49 AM ]


 GUESTS:  We started by welcoming three guests -   Bree Thomson (former guest), Tammy Lantis (former member of OSC), and Dagmar Amrien (who passed her audition last night).     


  • Elaine Rosenberg presented the Spirited Sister Boa to Sara Amato.  
  • Elaine then led the "Starting out Right" to identify our goals for our Advance weekend, as well as the behaviors that can prevent us from reaching those goals, and the behaviors that can HELP us reach them!
  • Cindy Meyers reminded everyone that dues must be current in order to be eligible to perform with OSC in Reno.
  • We honored the anniversaries of membership to:
    • Janet Owen - 5 years
    • Janice LaCombe - 11 years
  • Janice LaCombe reminded us about the ongoing scrip (gift card) fundraising program; she takes orders on the first Tuesday of every month.


You're all doing such a wonderful job on all the songs and brought your best to chorus - I'm so excited about the trajectory!  This coming weekend is going to bring both contest songs up another level as you continue to embrace at ever-higher degrees:

  • Totally unified singing
  • Breathing to set up a resonance sound
  • Pure target vowels and diphthongs
  • Quick, energized, emotional breaths
  • Involved faces and bodies
  • Attention to tuning and constant awareness of the tonal center

Here are a few tips for your homework:

  • Press your palms together in front of you; feel the lifting and separating of the ribs.  Strive to maintain that lifted feeling and never allow your ribcage to collapse.  When you are singing, the diaphragm is lifting to expel the air from the lungs, but the ribs stay high and wide.  You can even sing with the palms pressed together to check to see if your ribs stay in this position (without any tension).
  • Hold your mouth open by pressing your cheeks tightly between the molars so that you are unable to swallow.  This means your tongue is out of commission.  For many singers, the tongue causes a lot of tension and diminishes your resonance!  Sing a phrase on OOO and feel/hear the added space as the air comes up from the lungs and is forced to the back wall of the throat, like a little balloon.  Now reproduce that same feeling/sound with the words (mostly vowel sounds, very minimal consonants).  Do this every day and you'll be amazed at the improvement in your sound - more consistency, more resonance.
  • Bubble a phrase; notice the constant airflow required to bubble.  Now sing the phrase with that exact amount of airflow.  Do this repeatedly on all songs so you get accustomed to the feeling of singing on a column of air, with a more legato approach (less choppy).
  • Sing the ballad with the lead track (attached at the bottom of this article).  
  • Check the tonic notes with your PanoTuner app - especially on the tags.
  • Bubble much higher than usual in order to stretch the vocal cords and help them be more limber and flexible, especially for the tag of the uptune.  
  • Work the songs from the back to front.  Start with the tag (last several measures) and sing it with your very highest level of finesse, tuning, energy, vowels, everything!  Then back up a little and sing from that spot to the end, using all the skills you've learned.  Then a little further forward into the song, etc.  When you get to the intro (beginning), sing through the entire song and strive to have the same amount of energy/stamina at the end as when you began at the tag.  This will build consistency and stamina.


RTA (Retreat to Advance)


  • Bring your recorders to RTA so you can capture a lot of the instructions
  • If you have a video camera that we can use, let Lynne Rice (Advance Chair) know.  
  • If you have an act for the talent show - one of the highlights of the weekend - let Lynne know.
  • It's gonna be cold so bring warm stuff in case we decide to build a fire in the outside fire pit.
  • Read the booklet that you received in your email about 2 weeks ago.
  • Get lots of rest on Friday night!


I've not heard from anyone planning to come to my house on Thursday this week, so I'll assume it's a week off.   Just let me know by Wednesdays if you want to come and work on vocal skills, breathing, resonance, notes, showmanship - whatever you want.    


See you this weekend - I can't wait!!

In harmony,    Kathy






posted Feb 27, 2019, 8:55 AM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated Feb 27, 2019, 9:58 AM ]

Well, I sure hope everyone made it home safely - either last night or today!  I know that some of you have a distance to drive, or live in outlying areas or on hills, and I sure worried for your safety as I was driving home in pretty amazing conditions.  It's still snowing at my house as I write this article and I'd love it to stop soon so we can all get back to our regular schedules and plans.  What a surprise to have snow this late in February!     

We started the evening with a really great choreography rehearsal - you're all doing such a great job of establishing that important "muscle memory" so you can do the visual plan with total freedom (and be able to focus on great singing).  

Some important announcements were made:

  • Tammy Flora - Register for contest.  If you missed last night, contact Tammy.
  • Janice LaCombe - Scrip orders will be placed next week. Watch for an email from Janice and let her know if you want to buy some gift cards (scrip) for personal needs (groceries, gas, restaurants, home improvement, etc.)
  • Janet Owen - Let her know your travel plans for Reno.
  • Linda O'Donnell - Had some free time so she made ALL of our pretty new fascinators (hats) for the new costume.
  • Briana Pierce - New guest (baritone) who sang with OSC a few years ago; great to see her back with us.
  • Spirited Sister - Janice LaCombe presented the SS boa to Elaine Rosenberg for her many contributions to the chorus as Team Leader and also for doing the scheduling of Valegram groups.
  • Lynne Rice - Let her know if you have any special dietary needs for Advance and whether you are going to spend the night or drive back-n-forth.  If you cannot go, be sure to let both Lynne and me right away.  And don't forget to prepare your act for the annual talent show!  Get together with a couple of others and do a lip sync act, or read a poem, or teach a line dance, or sing a song, or sing in a quartet.  It's so much fun!
  • Reminder - Read and respond to chorus emails every couple of days. Only send emails to all members if requested; otherwise, just respond to the sender.
  • Thursdays at Kathy's - If you want to come and work on any of the songs, my house is open to any of you on Thursdays from 1:00-5:00, then 6:00-8:00.  Please let me know on Wednesdays if you're coming and what time.


  • Somebody to Love - Sectionals helped to refresh everyone's memory on this song that's been on the back burner for several months.  It was fun to hear it again.
  • After I'm Gone - Worked on taking quick breaths.  Everyone recorded it for self-evaluation or evaluation by section leaders.  If you missed last night, be sure to send a recording to your SL today (sing along with the chorus recording that's in the music library).  I took out the breath between the phrases, "Listen, I'll be clear - you know that".  
  • I'll Be Seeing You - Worked on phrase flow and tuning.  Look at your music and mark every B-flat and then load PanoTuner app onto your phone (it's free).  Then every time you are supposed to sing a B-flat, look at your PanoTuno and see if you're actually singing it in tune.  (This process can be done on ANY song by using the key note.)  
  • Sister Act - This is such a beautiful song and I love that we're singing it at the end of rehearsal, to remind us of the beautiful relationships and support we share.  But there is still some uncertainty on the lyrics and where the key change happens, so everyone needs to do some homework on this one. I'll put the lyrics sheet in the music library if that will help you.
  • Pitch on contest songs - 
    • Song #1 - I'll Be Seeing You:  I'd like to try something different next week - taking a unison pitch and moving to the first chord, then breathe and start the song.  This should help establish that important tonic note.
    • Song #2 - After I'm Gone:  Unison pitch on NAH, then launch into the song.  
  • Everyone expected to be at 100% accuracy on contest songs by end of February (that's actually tomorrow).  Do whatever it takes to make it happen so your voice can soar confidently!
  • The primary elements that we will continue to work on are:
    • Unity/synchronization - This starts with breathing together (starting/stopping in total sync), knowing the plan, and watching the director.  
      • Breathe together - This is probably the most important element.  When the pitch is blown, be READY (vocally and mentally) to start singing.  Then throughout the song, all singers must have matching energy and intention in order to breathe together in perfect sync.  If you can hear yourself start/stop, you are likely out of sync, so work on taking more energized breaths, whether it's an uptune or ballad.
      • Know the plan - If you are unsure of the plan, you're going to be "waiting" to see what the others are doing and that will make you a bit late.   More focused homework will make a big difference.
      • Watch the director - This mainly applies to starts & stops, and as the singers take more and more ownership of the songs, my directing still evolves so it's not so "instructional" and more artistic.  
    • Resonance - This also starts with the breath.  Here are a couple of things to try:
      • Pre-Yawn:  Pretend you are about to yawn, and feel how wide/tall the space is at the back of your mouth and throat.  Strive to maintain that space as long as possible in the phrase.  Then do it again as your breathe for the next phrase.  It takes lots of practice so do this every day and you'll begin to establish a more resonant sound, which will provide a much more blended sound (a win/win for the whole chorus).
      • Operatic Vocal Set:  Pretend you are an opera singer and exaggerate the deepness of the sound.  Feel how your throat expands slightly to allow for the wider sound.  Every time you breathe for the next phrase, re-establish this operatic set.  
    • Vowels - EH, EE, AH, OH, OO are the primary vowels and we'll get lots of good training on matching these when we work with Lea Beverley at our Advance weekend.  But when you practice at home, listen to your recording (your best voice teacher) and see if your vowels are truly tall singer's vowels so they match with the others in the ensemble.  This will help the chorus blend greatly.

I hope everyone stays healthy and that we'll have all voices/bodies at our next rehearsal so I can see if the riser chart I've prepared will bring us the most well-balanced and blended sound possible.


  • Sectionals to refresh memories (learning the music is done at home)
    • Can't Buy Me Love 
    • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun 
    • Happy Birthday
  • Review performance songs
    • Somebody to Love - I'm sure everyone caught a few places last night that have morphed into incorrect notes, so be sure to address those so they are fixed.  Also, I will be holding auditions for the solo in a couple of weeks so we'll have at least 2 people ready at any time.  Let me know if you're interested.  When everyone sang it last night, I could tell that a LOT of you know it, so it'll be neat to hear several of you sing it for me.  
    • All the Things You Are - Apply all the lessons you're learning each week (sync, vowels, phrase flow, breathing)
  • Review contest songs - in preparation for the weekend with Lea Beverley
    • I'll Be Seeing You
    • After I'm Gone - with props
  • Finish contest-related paperwork
  • Buy scrip (chorus ongoing fundraiser)

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