Here are a few brief comments, based on last Thursday’s rehearsal, which was on the whole beautifully sung, sensitive and musical. Plenty still to work on- be sure you are very solid on your pitches (especially entrances), and save time for language work if needed.
– As always, use the first hymn to warm up and remind yourself of the basics: lots of breath support, singing out over the music, eyes up, breathing in tempo and character; memorize each phrase, and connect and shape to the end of the phrase.
– The Usual Biggies: Prepare entrances; memorize each entering phrase; breathe in tempo and character one beat before entering; practice the languages with the guides you have (transliterations and recordings), and say the text in rhythm; lighten weak syllables even more; always connect forward through the phrase, elide and over-pronounce forward; dynamics are always really important. WATCH!
– Be sure all markings are in your music before Thursday- really, really crucial.
– A la nanita nana. The Chalice Lights sing mm. 3-11 (no choir); don’t rush on the ornaments (mm. 19, 20, 26, 30); round all vowels toward “ah”
– The Virgin Mary. Vernacular Caribbean (slightly Brit); no ritards!; observe cut on pp. 8-9; move, over-pronounce, enjoy!
– Lady of the Shining Stars. 4-measure phrases, lilting; tenors bring out tune more;
– Dormi, dormi. Watch, especially at the tempo changes; dynamics are crucial;
– Ave Maria. Very, very legato; observe all dynamics; text accents are critical’ “ah” vowels, open and rounded;
– There is no Rose. Same issues as the Ave Maria; always watch- this must be flexible;
– Durme, durme. Practice the text in rhythm first; firm up your pitches, especially on pp. 5-6; observe dynamics and breath-marks carefully.
So looking forward to this service- it will be moving and sweet; gratitude and blessings- you all have worked so hard this fall, what with all the extra singing events- brilliantly done!
And Jolly Holidays to all-