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SUMMARY 11/6 - PLAN 11/13 (and beyond)

posted Nov 7, 2018, 8:42 AM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated Nov 7, 2018, 8:42 AM ]
WOW - I'm so impressed with how many of you are off the sheet music on almost all of the songs!  Good for you!  Now we can really polish the songs in the next three rehearsals before our show.  Yep - only 3 rehearsals remaining so it's really important that everyone attend all of these final sessions leading up to December.  Please try not to schedule anything else for Tuesdays so we can have all voices/bodies on the risers; and if you cannot attend, send a note or text to me (503-710-4995) no later than 5:00pm.  Here's the upcoming schedule:

    11/13 - 6:30-8:00  (go thru all songs)
    11/20 - 6:30-8:30  (SenateAires will be with us from 7:00-8:00)
    11/27 - 6:30-8:30  (on/off risers, staging, MC work, etc.)

We had several returning guests last night:  Frances Beranbaum, Sol Santipi, Sharon Dodge, Kathy Sandstrom, Angela
Beckner, Maddie Sims, Shelly Sims, an
d Tammy Flora (who passed her audition!).  We missed lots of singers, though (11 voices), so hope all of you are back with us next week making beautiful music together!

The show lineup has been added to Performance Central (on this website under the "Resources" tab), and there will be more updates for each of the performances so remember to scroll down to all of those articles each week.  Keep yourself well-informed so we can maximize our timing on Tuesdays with more singing (and less time on verbal announcements).  

  • Breathing - Breathe in the pre-yawn space every time.  This more spacious breath will add to your resonating space, allowing you to access the wide area at the back of the throat, and it will improve the unity of every song.
  • Breath management - Be mindful of the way your abdomen moves inward/upward through every phrase, steadily moving the air out of the lungs, through the vocal tract, and out the mouth.  Also be aware of whether you are adding any tension to your jaw or tongue, and strive to release all tension.  You'll find that it makes it much easier to sing and the beauty in your voice will emerge.
  • Resonance - An easy way to check to see if your soft palate is raised is by plugging your nose and listening/feeling if it sounds different.  If so, simply raise your soft palate slightly (no tension), making an arch in the back of your throat.  You should be able to hear the way your voice suddenly sounds more open and clear (and less nasal).  The basses and baritones all need to work on this particular skill.  Do this "test" frequently to retrain your voice so you can resonate fully and freely.  (If you're not sure what/where your soft palate is, come to a vocal coaching session.)
  • Self-Evaluations - Do this on every song to see where you may have a few problem areas.  I've attached the form at the bottom of this article.  And, hey, remember to notice all the things that you are doing RIGHT, too! 
  • Visual - The audience hears what it sees, so have fun practicing in front of the mirror and see what you're actually doing when you sing. Every song has a special message through the chords and the lyrics, and it's our job as performers to totally embrace every emotion to convey the meaning to the audience.  It's more than just singing the right notes and words - it's using your facial expressions, body language, rhythmic movements, and more!  Read the lyrics as if you are telling the story to a small child, and use that kind of energy when you perform.  It takes practice to do this so start today!  Basically, inform your face that you enjoy singing :) 
  • Vocal Coaching - I still have plenty of open slots on Monday Nov 12 and Nov 26 (not available Nov 19).  Send me a note if you'd like to come up and work on the songs, and how you can improve your skills.  These sessions are FREE for this season. 
  • Unity - Watch the Director.

For all of the songs, when you rehearse at home, sing along with the OTHER parts to really test yourself and see how solid you are on the material.  And if you sing tenor, baritone, or bass, you can rehearse with the Lead track so you are singing in tune and in sync with the melody at all times.  

  • Happy Holiday:  Work on singing your first note in perfect tune (a bit higher than you may expect), and know who is singing the melody (be sensitive).  Kathy Sandstrom brought her finger bells last night and it was a neat addition to this song. 
  • Peace on Earth:   The message is what's important on this song.
  • BankAmericard:  Practice the rubato phrase flow so it's more natural by singing along with the Lead track.  Also work on really selling the story and use lots of gestures (like Elaine Rosenberg showed us last night).
  • Winter Wonderful: The first chord is "built" from the bottom of the chord to the top (bass, lead, baritone, tenor) so listen for the pitch and work on knowing right where your  The key changes need some attention, too, so as you are rehearsing it, think ahead to those places and prepare for the NEW, HIGHER key.
  • Go, Tell it on the Mountain:  Listen to the whole chorus and keep the tempo steady (tenors, don't speed up).  You can all add lots more physical movement to this rousing spiritual, so practice singing it with your body moving rhythmically so you can do this without it affecting your sound.
Lots of announcements were made regarding the show so be sure to read your emails and Performance Central to stay updated.  If you have not yet shown your black & silver outfit to our costume chairs, please come early to do that.  Go out and help publicize our show; it's a big fundraiser and each of you can help by taking flyers and letters (per Karen Wildman) out to businesses in your respective communities.  Are you proud of singing in OSC?  YEAH!  And if you're on Facebook, share the posts about the show, the quilt raffle, and the poinsettia sales.  

  • All the Things You Are -  Leads, check your first note to be sure you are singing a pure TAH vowel, and be very careful not to sing that note too low.  Think of the interval on "Born Free".  Everyone, keep working on those energized, emotional breaths!  It makes a HUGE difference in so many ways:  improves unity, conveys the meaning of the song, maintains the forward motion, keeps the song in key.  Hopefully you made a recording last night so you can do your self-evaluation.  Work on the interpretive plan so you can more easily manage your air/space to enrich your delivery.  Basses, this song is pretty rangy for you, so you should work on singing anything above middle C in your pure upper register (head voice).  
  • After I'm Gone - This is really coming along nicely and you were ringing some great chords last night!  Practice speaking it at 155 bpm (metronome) and you'll notice your quick/energized every  breath has to be in order to stay in tempo.  Then sing it with the metronome.  Train your body to breathe in this rhythmic way.  Do it every day and you'll be amazed at how much it easier it becomes.  This helps us stay unified, and also keeps the song in key (and also keeps everyone's toes tapping steadily)!
  • Sister Act - Work on this by singing along with the Mixed track.  It's such a beautiful song but is not yet performance-ready. Your individual work will make the difference.
  • Generally speaking, when you can hear the other singers, you feed on each other's energy and your singing and unity is great.  However, we can't perform in a square (facing each other- ha!), so as ensemble singers, it's important that you always listen to the whole chorus, and always watch the director.  I know that I'm working too hard at trying to get all of you physically and emotionally involved in the songs, and I know that you are capable of being more "singer-driven" (instead of director-driven).  The more that YOU can do, the more it affects everyone around you in a very positive way, and the more I can focus on the details and artistry (which is where I always want to be).  YEAH!


  • 5:30 - Sectionals for Leads, Sectionals for Baritones
  • We'll go through out the Christmas songs, and start some staging work.
  • Regular chorus - Fun in Just One Lifetime, Sister Act
  • Elaine Rosenberg and Karlene Hancock will demonstrate the visual plan for After I'm Gone - you're gonna love it!

Looking Ahead:
  • I'll post the plan for Nov 17-18 (Sandy Marron coaching) in a separate Kathy's Korner.  This is an open session so if any of you guests would like to come and observe, you are certainly welcome to do that.  We'll be working on two songs that weekend (After I'm Gone and All the Things You Are).
  • We are planning a membership recruitment campaign for January 8 and 15, so be thinking of women you'd like to invite to come and join OSC.  Flyers will be available in December.
  • I'd love to have all of your Christmas Chorus singers audition for membership in OSC.  Let me know when you're ready!

Kathy Scheel,
Nov 7, 2018, 8:42 AM