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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)