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Andrei Rubiev (1360-1430)  (Source:  Wikimedia Commons)

Andrei Rubiev (1360-1430) (Source: Wikimedia Commons)


Happy Easter, everyone!

My choir sang so well today!  That had a lot to do with everyone showing up on time.  And there was extra bustle to ignore during our rehearsal.

The tempo changes, dynamic changes at exactly the right time, and watching so we could pull it off together were all wonderful.  And the words were the clearest and most expressive ever.  (Singing a “v” sound like you would say it to someone nearby is not nearly enough.  You need to feel your lower lip buzz!  Also, getting “sing” out on a fast note is not so easy!  It’s important to take time to make sound on the vowel and not go to the “ng” too soon.  We took a little more time on “sing” to do this, the result being that the congregation could understand the text.  No one would perceive taking time for clarity of text as bad rhythm!)

Examples 

  • The keyboard introduction started on beat 2 of the bar, and was only 4 beats long (rest 2 3 4| 1 sing).
  • The first two choral snippets were identical; the next one began one beat later, and was printed on a new system.
  • Several words were tricky to enunciate.  To be as expressive as possible, we needed to sing piano, then crescendo immediately beginning with “risen” in the phrase, “Christ is risen from the dead.”  “Christ is risen” is sung on low notes, so making that happen requires work!
    • “Christ is risen, we are risen” (making “we” expressive rather than a bland continuation of the sentence).
    • “Bled” has 2 consonants at the beginning.
    • “Gladness” also has 2 consonants  to start.
  • The piece included several sudden tempo changes, fermati, and crescendos through final words in phrases.
  • The ending, a long tied note, needed a subito piano inserted so the following crescendo to the end could be effective.  The choir loved experiencing how good they sounded!  (“That really works!”)

Results

Everyone put in quite an effort.  Today’s anthem had something new around every corner!

I conducted a lot today.  This anthem would have been less successful without assertive motions, accented playing (piano), and eye contact from the choir.

And, experienced choral singers that they are, the choir took care of the things I forgot.  One singer returned today after an extended illness.  He opted to remain seated during the anthem, which I assured him was fine.  Of course, when four singers stood in front of him, he couldn’t see me.  So the singer who was directly in front of him simply moved over!  Problem solved with no disruption at all.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

 
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