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posted Aug 14, 2019, 9:41 AM by Kathy Scheel

 I love coming back to chorus after attending a fabulous musical workshop!   There are so many awesome new concepts and tools to share and you are all so terrific at opening your minds and hearts to try new things!   Thanks again for supporting my continuing education - I'm sure you realize that YOU are actually the beneficiaries of these seminars!




This is the motto of the Ronnige Show Chorus (International Champions), who also have an awesome weekly CHECK-IN process.

  • What do you want to feel at the end of rehearsal?
    What do you want to be thinking about during rehearsal?
  • What attitude do you want to possess and exhibit?

And, boy, you all were wonderful all evening!  Here are a few exercises we did - you can do them on your own this week.

Take a big breath and slowly exhale, paying attention to the action of the abdominal muscles.  When you are out of breath, do nothing except release the abs.  The air automatically comes in!  It's that easy!   So when you are singing and get to the end of a phrase, simple release the abs and the air will come in quickly for the next phrase.  Practice this awareness and you will find that your voice's beauty will emerge and soar!

Place your hand gently on the front of your throat and feel the voice box (larynx).  Now pretend that you're going to yawn and you should feel the voice box move down about an inch.  That's an extra inch of resonating space!  Now take an intentional breath into that pre-yawn space and maintain the space while you sigh gently.  Do this several times and try to maintain the space longer each time.  Now do a few sirens as you maintain that space.  No pressure, all relaxed and easy.  Now try it with a few phrases of a song, seeing how long you can maintain that open, relaxed, pre-yawn space.  That will enhance your resonation and create a better blend across the whole chorus! 

Enhanced phonation = Resonance

Matched resonance = Blend 

Straw phonation extends the "tube" of the larynx and demonstrates how little pressure is needed to sing beautifully.  Do some straw phonation 3 times daily for about 2 minutes each, especially at the beginning and ending of a long session of singing, or on Wednesday mornings when your voice may be tired from Tuesday night's rehearsal (and lack of sleep because you're buzzed from the fun).  Put a straw into about 1 inch of water and bubble gently so that the bubbles are small and even (no splashing).  Now do a few small sirens up & down, up & down, up & down.  Repeat this several times very gently and concentrate on how relaxed your voice feels.  Put a few sticky notes around your house to remind you to do this 3x daily.  Or send yourself a reminder on your phone, a special chime.  The benefit to you is that you'll train your voice to sing with less tension; the benefit to the chorus is that all the voices are better blended and that's a really good thing in ensemble singing.


The Spirited Sister boa was presented by Diane Watson to Eileen Kemp for all of the things she does for Oregon Spirit Chorus - our coaching coordinator, beach trip coordinator, ticket chair, bass section leader!  And she is also an active member of the Columbia River Chorus in Vancouver (in Region 13) and travels over an hour to get to rehearsal each week.  So she is a really deserving recipient of the boa!

We also welcomed two guests last night:  Jess Wilberg (tenor) who found us through Meetup, and Lori Hartman (bass) who is a friend of Tammy Lantis.  It's great to meet new friends and have voices added to the chorus so keep 'em coming!


BUILD THE CHORUSLeah Law (Membership Chair) asked everyone to send your score sheets for the week to your team captain so we can watch the progress thermometer move upwards for the next six weeks until our big open house on September 24th.   Note:  Be sure to tell your friends that they don't have to wait until then to come and visit OSC!

DVLS HIGHLIGHTS - There were so many things that I brought home from the Directors & Visual Leaders Seminar and I'll continue to share just a few each week.  Here are some of the highlights from this week:

  • Mirror Neurons - When we see someone doing something, our mirrors the action.  So it makes a HUGE difference to an audience how we present ourselves.  If we look uncertain or fearful, the audience will mirror that and feel those same thing.  Practice looking confident and powerful!  See the Wikipedia description at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neuron
  • Adrenalin gets in the way of stamina.  Even if we rehearse a song really well on Tuesdays, your heart rate is compromised by adrenalin and affects the performance, so doing exercises that increase the heart rate will help you perform better.  Here's a simple way to approach it:  
    • 220 minus your age = Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
    • Exercising so that you reach 80% of your MHR will increase your stamina 
    • This trains your body to better control your adrenalin and increase your stamina!
    • And.... this will also increase contest scores because you'll be able to perform the plan.

We reviewed some songs, using a few "emoticards"  to hear the tremendous difference it makes when everyone is singing with the same emotional entention.  Be sure to check your note accuracy on some of these songs to be sure you haven't morphed into some inaccuracies.  
  • Happy Together - sing it JOYFULLY  (ecstatic was just a bit too edgy)
  • And So it Goes - sing it HOPEFULLY (sadly was too slow and durgy)
Great job, ladies - the three new songs we learned this summer are ready for evaluations.  If you haven't already completed your self-evaluations, do that right away!  Generally speaking, the self-evaluations are done at about the 3rd week (using the attached sheet) so you can check yourself to be sure you're singing the right notes, words, and rhythms.  You may want to use the word sheets found in the Music Library to circle places that need specific attention.  If you want to send a recording to your section leader, let her know right away so she'll have time to give you some thoughtful/helpful feedback in time to incorporate before the next rehearsal.  We will do evaluations on these three songs next week.  
  • Change the World
  • Whether Good, Whether Bad
  • Mary, Mary Rock

NEXT WEEK (8/20)
  • Evaluations as noted above.
  • Feliz Navidad - bring sheet music to review with piano; will have sectionals the following week.  
  • Scarlet Ribbons - bring sheet music to review; will have sectionals in a few weeks.
  • I'll Be Seeing You - full performance mode 
  • After I'm Gone - full performance mode (practice choreo and character before next Tuesday)
  • Sister Act - work with your PanoTuner app to keep this in tune.  Sing with positive energy & joy! 
  • And.... possibly two auditions!!


Kathy Scheel,
Aug 14, 2019, 9:41 AM