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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.
MUSICAL MATTERS
  • GENERAL PRACTICE TECHNIQUES
    • 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.
  • I'LL BE SEEING YOU
    • 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)
  • AFTER I'M GONE
    • 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!
  • HAPPY TOGETHER
    • 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.
HOMEWORK / LOOK-AHEAD
  • 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!

KEEPING CONTEST IN PERSPECTIVE:
  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."




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