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posted Aug 21, 2019, 7:54 AM by Kathy Scheel
I sure had a great time last night - and it sounded/looked like everyone else did, too!  We had two returning guests:  Jess Wilberg (tenor) and Lori Hartman (bass).  Keep 'em coming!

Physical/Rhythmic WarmupsJudy Gobat led us in a great physical/rhythmic warmup routine.  Here are some reminders from the two workshops I recently attended:
  • The visual aspect of performing is equally as important as the vocal presentation.  They are not just for fun - they teach you how to move your body in unison with others.  And they get the blood flowing which helps your oxygenation and singing!
  • Physical/rhythmic warmups are an important part of the rehearsal; everyone is expected to participate.
  • All other activities should be wrapped up before 7:00 (meetings, visiting, getting set up, etc.). Come a few minutes earlier to allow adequate time for these things.
  • The person in front has spent time preparing the routine, so it's a sign of respect to be there on time. Take personal responsibility for being on time (nobody will need to remind you).
  • If you are interested in leading a routine, let Judy Gobat know.  
Build This Chorus:  Leah Law presented the thermometer for Build This Chorus!  The teams are pretty close so keep turning in your score sheets each week to your captain and she will tally the total and give it to Leah. The forms were emailed to you a couple of weeks ago, but if you can't find yours, contact Leah.  As you saw when you logged onto our website, there are just 36 days until our big open house - let's see if we can get 20-30 guests that night!  If you have some people you've invited, send me their names (and emails, if available).  We want to be sure to have plenty of guest books, handouts, and goodies.

Straw PhonationDo this 3 times daily for about 2 minutes each.   Here is how the LoveNotes described it at last year's Harmony College Northwest:
  • Get a straw - it's like an extension of the vocal tract.  Bigger straws are better but any size will work.
  • Blow into about 1" of water and feel the core engage as you blow bubbles, keeping them steady and even.  No air should escape the lips or nose.  Bubble until you are able to achieve consistency.
  • Add tone, keeping the bubbles steady. Repeat a few times - this adds strength and control over the respiratory muscles.
  • Add a glide up and down the scale (siren) in your mid-range. Repeat a few times.
  • Straw phonation is very good for tired or recovering voices.
  • If no water available, use VVV, MMM, or NG to achieve the same core engagement.
  • After you've trained yourself on how to make consistent bubbles, you can go right to the bubbling/glide.
Tag:  The tag written for our motto was reviewed and we had two octets come out and sing it.  Nice going, ladies!  I've attached the tag to the bottom of this Kathy's Korner so you can print your own copy and memorize it.  Wouldn't it be great to sing this at every rehearsal?  In fact, I would totally love it if groups would sing tags each week!  I've always believed that singing tags was the best education in barbershop harmony that I have ever experienced, as it trained my ear to listen and tune to other voices.  I've got some tag books I can send you if you're interested.


  • Singing a supported soft passage:  Singing a phrase softly without losing support is mainly a matter of maintaining the engagement of the core muscles (abdominal lift).  Try this:  Sing a phrase in "I'll Be Seeing You" as softly as possible.  Now sing it as strongly (loudly) as possible and notice what happens in your abdominal area.  You likely felt a firmness of the pelvic floor as the diaphragm lifts to steadily and slowly control the air (like bellows).  Now sing the phrase softly again, maintaining that SAME amount of lift in the abs.  It's all just a matter of keeping the core engaged at all times.  But it takes practice!  Record your before & after and you're definitely hear a difference!  Each time you are rehearsing at home, take time to train yourself on this important skill.
  • Singing with character and emotional intent:  Audiences don't come to hear technique, they want to be moved emotionally!  Our job as performers is to give them an experience they'll remember.  We will continue to explore the WHY of each song, the emotional intention of the message.  For instance:
    • I'll Be Seeing You:  Reminiscing with warmth and love as you see things that remind you of the person who is away.   It's an uplifting, positive, happy feeling as you encounter the places that bring up memories.  Before you sing it, look in the mirror and just recite the poetry of the words, with lots of feeling and facial expression.  Notice how your voice rises and falls, and the lyrics come to life, and your body language adds to the meaning.  Now sing it with that SAME amount of passion and energy.
    • After I'm Gone:  You've come home from a vacation and find an array of things that took place while you were gone.  The whole song is teasing and fun, with some surprise and even a bit of dismay in a few places.  Recite the lyrics in front of a mirror and see how much expression you have when you tell the story, see how your facial expression adds to the drama.  Have fun with it and go a bit overboard ("get it across the footlights") and the character will come alive!  Now sing it with that SAME amount of energy and fun.
    • Explore the other songs in our repertoire in the same manner and you'll be training yourself on how to really sell a song to an audience.  You'll find that you enjoy it more - and our audiences are certain to enjoy and remember the performance for a very long time.
  • Energy:  This element of ensemble singing in the barbershop style is a part of every judging category, which means they are important for every single rehearsal and performance.  They are something that must be practiced to reach a higher level of performance confidence (not just on Tuesdays...heh-heh).
    • Sound:  Add energy and emotion to the sound and things stay in tune.  Every breath is an opportunity to make the next phrase even better.
    • Music:  Energy reinforces the flavor and tempo of the song.
    • Expression:  Energy adds meaning to the lyrical interpretation and expressive delivery.
    • Showmanship:  Energy enhances the visual communication and connection to the audience.  
  • I'll Be Seeing You:  I'm going to continue playing with some of the interpretation of phrases in the coming weeks as we prepare the song for coaching by Tori Postma (October 19-20).  She is a showmanship coach, but always works from a vocal perspective.  When you are singing at the extreme ranges (very low or very high notes), think of the music as horizontal instead of vertical.  Put the notes right out "in front of you" and there will be less tension in the voice, making it much easier (and prettier) to sing.
  • After I'm Gone:  Tempo continues to be an issue on this song, so practice it with a metronome and you'll likely notice how quick those breaths need to be.  Stretch and lift every single phrase ending to its fullest value - then take a quick/energized/in-tempo breath.  It takes practice!  We'll also be working on this with Tori in October so make time to work on it (with the choreo plan from contest - study the video).
  • Change the World:  We did evaluations on this last night and you were fabulous!  Every time we sang it, it improved in unity - yay!  The main challenge we face every time we sing it is that first measure - getting everyone focused and ready to sing ... tenors, leads, and baritones, I'm talking to you.
  • Mary, Mary:  I added a small "tiddly" for the baritones and tenors (no change for leads & basses) so bring your recorders next week in order to get a recording of that.  Judy Gobat/Linda O'Donnell, please let the missing people in your section know about this before next week.
  • Feliz Navidad:  Reviewed with the piano (piano tracks are in the music library).  There was some discussion about the correct pronunciation of one of the phase in measures 57-60, specifically "anoy felicidad".  Haley Bault taught us that the 'A' should be pronounced as an AH sound - AH-no-EE fe-lee-cee-dahd.
At the end of the evening, we paired up and told each other why we appreciate that person.  Let's always remember just how special our friendships are; the bond that we form when singing in harmony is like no other and it's worth cherishing.

Then we had a really fabulous audition!  JESS WILBERG passed her audition with flying colors!  Please welcome her with open arms to OSC!


August 27
  • Whether Good, Whether Bad - evaluations.
  • Scarlet Ribbons - review to get familiar with it.  Please take time to listen to it a few times before next week.  Piano tracks are in the music library.
  • Sister Act - work on energizing the song with emotional intention, which will help keep it in tune.  Personal time with the PanoTuner app will also help train yourself to feel when you are losing pitch.  
  • Visual Mini-Session - If you are interested in learning about the process of creating choreography and staging, or would like to participate on the Visual Team, send me a note and I'll send you a handout that you can print ahead of time.  I've heard from Karlene Hancock and Linda O'Donnell so far - anyone else want to be on the Visual Team?  
  • Let Freedom Ring - we'll be starting this in a couple of weeks, so please get familiar with it on your own. 
  • Octet for holiday performances:   I've heard from the following people who want to sing in an octet when we are at performances around town in December, plus you'd sing at the afterglow following our show.  If you are interested in singing a couple of songs, willing to have at least 3 extra rehearsals (1-2 with me coaching), and are planning to participate in most/all of the holiday performances, let me know. If we have a few more than an octet, that would be fine.  
    • Songs:  You can sing songs that OSC will not be singing on the show this year - choose from:   
      • Go Tell it on the Mountain
      • Jingle Bell Rock
      • Peace on Earth
      • Rise Up, Shepherd
    • Singers:  Current singers confirmed are: 
      • Tenors:  none yet
      • Leads:  Barb Usera (and Cindy??)
      • Baritones:  Denise Taylor and Linda O'Donnell
      • Basses:  Diane Watson and Janet Owen
  • December 7th show - A'Cappella Spirit - Holiday Harmony are:
    • 1st Half of show - OSC members only
      • Let Freedom Ring
      • Star-Spanged Banner
      • Change the World
      • Whether Good, Whether Bad
      • Sister Act
    • 2nd Half of show - Christmas Chorus (pass evaluations)
      • Happy Holiday
      • Mary, Did You Know?
      • BankAmericard
      • Scarlet Ribbons
      • Mary, Mary Rock
      • Winter Wonderland
      • Feliz Navidad (with SenateAires men's chorus)
  • Straw Phonation - do this every day  (3x daily for 2 minutes each).
  • Share-Share-Share our posts on Facebook regarding the September 24 Open House.  Invite all of our singing friends. 
  • Share the information about the Quilt Raffle.  Raffle tickets can be purchased on our website by clicking on the Shop OSC button at the top right corner of the home page.
  • Sell tickets to the show!  They can be purchased in Shop OSC on our website.
  • Bring your scoresheets for Build This Chorus or send them ahead of time to your team captain.
  • Bring guests (they don't have to wait until September 24th open house to visit us).
  • Bring your very best self!

Kathy Scheel,
Aug 21, 2019, 7:54 AM