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SUMMARY 10/30 - PLAN 11/6

posted Oct 31, 2018, 12:04 PM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated Oct 31, 2018, 1:45 PM ]
The night started out with a fun parade of costumes and yummy treats!  If you're not Facebook, I'm attaching a photo at the bottom of this post.  We had 9 guests last night:  Paula Burgess, Kathy Sandstrom, Sharon Dodge, Frances Beranbaum, Maddie Sims, Shelly Sims, Angela Beckner, Karen Rutledge, and new guest Sol Santipi (from Meetup).

Rhythmic warmups to "Ghostbusters" - led by Judy Gobat were really pefect!!

Karen Wildman presented the Spirited Sister boa to Leah Law - the second time she's been honored!  (If anyone would like to see who has already received this fun "award", see my Kathy's Korner of last week.

  • Hiss slowly, then change it to a really LOUD hiss.  Did you feel your core muscles suddenly engage fully? Those are the same muscles that control the inward/upward movement of the diaphragm which pushes the air through your lungs as you exhale (and as you sing).  After you've hissed 3 times, really getting the feel of those lower abdominal muscles working/lifting inward & upward, sing a phrase with that same feeling of lifting.  Practice this several times daily and you'll be amazed at how much more breath support you'll have!
  • Hoot like a big owl several times (very exaggerated), noticing how your soft palate and back of the throat widen, and your voice suddenly has much more resonance and spaciousness.  That's the basic sound that EVERY singer strives for in order to achieve true blend.  I think this is one of the hardest things we do as ensemble singers - giving up just a tiny bit of our own personal sound in order to match the voices around you.  To achieve this also requires good listening skills.  So do the exercises on your own, and then when you get to chorus, you can see how much you've improved.
  • Do sirens on an OO vowel, stretching your range to the highest and lowest notes possible.  This improves the flexibility of the vocal cords if you do it about 3 times each week.  Just 3 minutes of sirens will make a difference. 

  • An INTERVAL is the difference in pitch between two notes.  Singing clean, accurate intervals singing is a very important element of in-tune ensembles.  It requires attention to singing each ascending note with a sense of more space between each one, and singing each descending note with very little space between each one.  
    • Always sing ascending notes higher, and further apart, with each step adding more height.  Mark your music with an arrow UP or some kind of reminder to sing those intervals higher each time.
    • Always sing descending notes very close to each other, teeny moves.  Mark your music with an arrow UP, or some kind of reminder to be very careful in keeping those in tune.
  • In barbershop singing, it's essential to maintain a careful BALANCE of each chord.  The music is arranged so that a
    "cone-shaped" structure is built for each chord with the basses singing the broadest sound as the foundation of the cone, the tenors singing the lightest sound at the tip of the cone, and the baritones & leads filling in the middle as they alternate being above/below each other in the chord.  When the baritones are above the leads, they must lighten their sound; when leads are below the baritones, they must broaden their sound. We played with balance a little at rehearsal so you could hear the difference it makes.  It actually sounds out of tune when chords are not balanced.  Interesting, huh?!!!
    • Total accuracy exists both horizontally (individual part lines) and vertically (individual chords).
    • According to the Judging Category Description Booklet, which describes in detail what each of the judges (and audiences) are looking for in a wonderful, authentic performance, "The wise singer will work steadily on breath support; mastery of this one skill will accomplish more than any other single factor in improving the caliber of vocal performance in all four categories".


Do your best to memorize the songs that we'll be working on each week so you're not holding sheet music.  When all EYES are on the director, some pretty incredible music can be made together.  At the bottom of these Kathy's Korner posts, I always list the songs we'll be working on each Tuesday, so you can focus your efforts accordingly. Keep all the music in your apron, with colored pencils for markups and reminders, and always bring your recorder on the risers with you.
  • Mary Did You Know - Great progress on this one!  I think everyone can is ready to be off the sheet music next week.  Pay attention to the breathing pattern so all the sections are breathing as a unit.  Harmony parts (tenor, baritone, bass) need to hold out your notes while the leads are singing the pickup to the next phrase (Mary, Did You) until the quick/energized breath to sing "know" together.  Everyone, always remember to do a slight crescendo on all "held" notes (like Mary, did you KNOW...).  Mark the breathing pattern on your sheet music so you can rehearse it that way.
  • Oh, Holy Night - Keep working on this as there are still some rough spots.  We must know this song by November 20th when the men come to rehearse it with us.  Let's show 'em we know our stuff!  Lots of octaves on this so listen to the whole chorus to make tune those accurately. singing it with the recording of the mixed chorus.
  • Joy to the World - ditto
  • Winter Wonderland - Sing each key change HIGHER, as you transition into the new key.  The last page has a lighter vocal texture, and the tag (last line) is more fluid and flowy.
  • Go, Tell it on the Mountain - Good job (especially since you could snap your fingers on the right hand).  Be sure to listen to the whole chorus (on every song).

Please mark your music with a colored pencil so you can rehearse these changes before the next rehearsal.  This will help us move forward (less repetition of information) - thanks!  The sheet music will be updated after Sandy Marron's coaching sessions, when I'm sure she'll be making additional suggestions for changes.   
  • All the Things You Are - Keep working on taking quick, emotional breaths in order to really draw the audience into the romance of this song.  The energy of the breath will propel you into the next phrase, and it will also have the added benefit of keeping the song in tune.  (Remember that notes "go up joyfully and go down reluctantly").  We solidified the changes that were noted in last week's Kathy's Korner, including interpretation, however, we tried a new approach to the INTRO that I really loved so let's keep this plan:
    • M1 - Leads only
    • M2 - Add the tenors - duet for 1 measure (I sent tenors the notes an email with the notes)
    • M3 - Add baritones - trio for 2 measures
    • M5 - add basses.
  • After I'm Gone - Lyric changes were sent in an email so mark your own music and practice these several times so they become habitual.  The main things we worked on for this song were:
    • Tempo -  It's important that we maintain a steady tempo, so download a metronome on your smart phone and practice singing this song at a steady 155 BPM pace.  Here's the best way to rehearse this:  Speak the lyrics in their correct rhythms with the metronome, and notice how you are forced to take quick/energized breaths in order to stay in tempo.  Then just transfer that same feeling when you sing it.  This method trains your body to feel the coordination and rhythm of those breaths.  If we breathe together, we will sing together!  Cool stuff!
    • Breathing - Speaking of breathing, it's important that everyone know the breathing plan for every song.  If you haven't already done so, mark your music with all the places that have a planned breath, and rehearse with that knowledge.
  • The Parting Glass - This is such a lovely song and I'm so glad that we'll be able to put it back into our repertoire soon.
  • Happy Birthday - Thanks for your work on this!  Leads, after hearing it last night, I would like for you to sing the intro as written (with your notes included).  I think it would be great to start singing Happy Birthday to our birthday girls at the first rehearsal of every month, starting in January.
  • Consider Yourself - This is still a little rough around the edges, so please take a moment to work note accuracy, as well as tempo.  Here's the metronome speed:  140 BPM.  Also, the middle section needs to be sung very quietly in order for someone to tell us about the new member we are welcoming into the chorus.  
  • Visual - Karlene Hancock, Elaine Rosenberg, and I had a very productive and creative session to develop the visual plan for After I'm Gone.  It will be reviewed on November 13th, and we'll need all bodies there to see it come together.  It's really easy (but fun-filled) so you can maintain your vocal skills throughout.  I shared a few hints about the plan last night, but the main thing that YOU will need to do is to bring the CHARACTER to life!  Here's what you can do:  Tell the story (speaking) in front of a mirror and pretend that you're telling the story to a small child, with lots of huge facial expressions and body language (really overdo it).  Then it will be really simple to just add a few planned moves to unify the chorus.   We will provide a video of the final plan so you can rehearse along with it at home.
  • Stamina - Who would like to come up with a plan for building stamina?  This is something the judges have commented on for the last two competitions - losing energy by the end of the uptunes.  Here are some ways that you can build your singing stamina:
    • Sing while you walk.  
    • Sing both songs (back-to-back).  Do the set each day (or at least 3 times/week) for a few weeks, then do the set 2 times in a row for a couple of weeks, then do the set 3 times in a row.  
    • Walk while counting to 100, then 200, then 300, and so on.  
    • Dance!  Put on some music and just dance like you did in high school (or like you do at regional afterglows)!
  • Snow Belles - This octet was formed to sing "Rise Up, Shepherd" for the show and they had a great rehearsal last night.  The singers are:  Tenors-Cindy Meyers & Paula Burgess;  Leads-JoAnn Perry & Diane Calkins;  Baritones-Linda O'Donnell & Carilyn Ellis; Basses-Laurie Burk & Janet Owen.  They will sing for the chorus in a couple of weeks.
  • Valley Girls - This quartet performed for us last night again, and it's so neat to have a full in-house quartet!  The singers are:  Judy Gobat, Cat West, Denise Taylor, and Diane Watson.
  • Vocal Coaching - Every Monday afternoon in November at my house.  I'm also looking at doing a Monday evening in late November in Salem, so I'll let you know when that's confirmed.  
  • Fundraisers galore - We have lots of projects happening this season, so please do what you can to help us meet our financial goals.  Share the Facebook post, send the flyer via email to friends, etc.  All of the sales can be done directly through out website (look for the green Shop OSC button at the top of the home page).
    • Poinsettias -  A good way to sell lots of these beautiful flowers is to take copies of the form to businesses and see if they'd like to buy several for their employees or to decorate their offices.  Chaired by Janice LaCombeLaurie Burk.
    • Quilt Raffle - The beautiful raffle was made by Linda O'Donnell & Cindy Meyers and they distributed raffle tickets for you to sell.  We will do the drawing on December 18th at our annual chorus Christmas party, via "live" Facebook.  
    • Gift cards - Karen Wildman (show chair) will describe this fundraiser in her email to you soon.  The basic idea is to visit businesses and request gift card donations that will be put into an envelope in the lobby at our Dec 4 show and audience members will purchase them.  More info coming soon!
  • Performance Central - This is where you'll find information about each of our performances in December, what to wear, makeup, warmup time/place, etc.  Diane Watson will be updating it regularly so check back frequently to keep yourself informed.  We now have the following confirmed:
    • Dec 4 - Holiday Harmony (our show!).  
    • Dec 9 - Oregon Garden
    • Dec 11 - Capitol Rotunda and Dallas Retirement Center
    • Dec 16 - Oregon SenateAires show
    • Dec 18 - Veterans' Home, Lebanon
    • Dec 19 - Mission Mill
NEXT WEEK - 11/6
  • Christmas Chorus
    • Mary, Did You Know - off the music, work on artistry
    • Happy Holiday - with bells (by Kathy Sandstrom)
    • BankAmericard
    • Oh, Holy NIght - off the sheet music
    • Joy to the World - off the sheet music
  • Regular Repertoire
    • All the Things You Are
    • After I'm Gone
    • Who's Sorry Now
    • And So it Goes
    • Sweet Dreams

Kathy Scheel,
Oct 31, 2018, 12:04 PM