What can I do to get the most out of rehearsal time?
Sectionals are considered lab time and are not optional. Sectionals usually start at 6:00 pm. Check with your section leader to confirm time and place.
Get to rehearsal early enough to be in your seat ready to sing by 7:00 pm. Be sure to allow enough time to pick up new music.
Rehearsal starts with the warm-ups. Please treat this time with respect by being in your seat ready to work promptly at 7:00 pm.
Bring your tools of the trade; three pencils (one for you and one for each of your neighbors!), a highlighter, your tuning fork (on a leash), a music recorder if you like, and don't forget your MUSIC!
Please do not talk or interrupt Cheryl during rehearsal with questions. It impedes the flow of the rehearsal. Check with your section leader at break if you have a question or email questions.
Watch the conductor! It's amazing how helpful she can be.
Cheryl asks that we focus attention on the many elements of vocal production, some of which are:
Rhythm- Practice by "count singing,"
Vowels- We aim for pure "Italianate" vowels, matched across the choir,
Pitch- Practice with Solfege,
Tempo- Cheryl leads, we follow. Remember to emphasize moving lines,
Tone- Smooth, even, fully resonant, pleasant tone throughout the range,
Phrasing- Always shape and vary a vocal line. Make ends of phrases softer, more beautiful, more in tune and let the ends of chords settle.
Text- Practice by "talk singing,"
Dynamics- Each note should be interesting to the listener as it increases and decreases in volume. Follow the composer's markings, the conductor's interpretation and the meaning or emotion of the piece.
Where can I get some help with my music?
Section Leaders will help with problems and can let Cheryl know where people are having difficulties. They also lead the sectional rehearsals to go over difficult parts.
Talk to the people around you (please wait until the break or before or after rehearsal). All of us get lost from time to time, and everyone will be glad to help you.
Sometimes a recording of the music we are singing is on file in the Cabrillo music lab. You can go into the lab and listen to the music and, if you like, make a copy of the recording for home study.
Sometimes, for major pieces, a member of chorus will donate personal time to make rehearsal recordings available for the cost materials. Commercial practice files are also available for major works. U-tube is a good place to listen to other choir's performances.
Our fall semester concert is Music for the Feast. This concert features a major choral work, and interspersed between our pieces are audience sing-alongs of traditional Christmas carols. We are often accompanied by an orchestra or brass. We offer three performances; Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday evening. We sell out every year, so be sure you get tickets for your friends and family early!
In the Spring, we collaborate with the Santa Cruz County Symphony to perform a major choral work. In the past we have performed works such as Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky, Brahms' Ein Deutches Requiem, Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, Mozart's Mass in C minor, the Verdi Requiem, and the Poulenc Gloria.
There is often a "Summer Chorus" which involves a tour or special performance.
For Men: Concert dress for men consists of a black tuxedo, white tuxedo wing collar shirt, black bow tie, black socks, and black shoes. Dress shoes are best, but all black leather athletic shoes are acceptable as long as lighter colored soles have been blackened.
For Women: Concert dress for women consists of a stylish black dress with a velvet bodice, sweetheart neckline, empire waist and crepe skirt. Accessories include specific earings and necklace, black stockings and underclothing and black closed-toe shoes. Purchase your main costume through the chorus or from members who have left the chorus. Informal concert dress for women consists of a black or jewel toned long-sleeved blouse over black palazzo pants.
Remember, as Cheryl says, people "hear" with their eyes.
Carry your score in the hand away from the audience when entering or leaving.
Lift your score when the conductor signals.
When we're finished; close your book and hold your score down by your side.
Remain attentive and focused onstage. Hearts on fire, minds on ice!
Look up and smile! Keep your face out of your music and show your enjoyment.
At the end of singing your section, if the music continues, freeze - and pay attention! Don't leaf through your score to the next section, shift your weight or otherwise disturb the moment until the orchestra or the conductor are finished!
At the end, smile and maintain poise; don't get carried away and randomly bow - it looks sloppy. The conductor will cue us to take a bow together (or not).
Hold your music folder high and flat, so your voice can carry over it.
Turn the pages of scores slowly and quietly.
Sit and stand without scooting chairs. Cleanly executed sit/stand cues make us look professional.
Clip pages together that you don't use (long solos etc.) to reduce page-turning.
Eliminate fussing and fidgeting as much as possible.
Memorize the endings of sections so you can watch the conductor to the end of the line. You could miss a change of tempo, lift or pause that is exquisitely calibrated if not locked onto the conductor.
Please DO NOT:
Wear perfume, cologne, aftershave, or perfumed hairspray before a concert.
Smoke or indulge in aromatic food or drink before we sing. We are in very close quarters during concerts, breathing deeply, and we need all the clear oxygen we can get!
Never drink alcohol before a performance for a myriad of obvious reasons. Leave celebration until after a brilliant concert,
Talk on stage, at all, ever.
Move or sway your body during the concert unless it has been choreographed.
Tap your feet on stage! Others can feel it through the riser and it's distracting. A certain amount of body English is unavoidable, but be aware that visible "learning aids" such as foot tapping, book bouncing or nodding your head to keep time become habits that are hard to break, and look amateurish on stage.
"Read along" in your score during solos.
Who produces the concerts?
We produce Music for the Feast in December. A tremendous amount of work goes into the production. Some of the responsibilities include:
Arranging performance and rehearsal facilities,
contracting with instrumentalists,
hiring and working with stage managers,
arranging payment for materials and labor,
arranging for the program to be recorded,
selling advertising and tickets,
and preparing the printed programs.
Much of this work is done by volunteers from the chorus, including members of the Steering Committee. A concert costs several thousand dollars to produce, and our goal is to break even or better. To help cover our costs, we sell advertising in the programs, ask our friends and family members to usher, and get as much material donated as possible. We can't afford to give complimentary tickets to friends and family members of chorus members, but we do try to keep ticket prices reasonable.
The Santa Cruz County Symphony produces its own concert in the spring in which we joyfully participate.