From the Edge – Notes from Rehearsal


I’m really excited, you guys. I know I just started this series a couple weeks ago but I’m already less than a week from my first performance with the Chorus of Westerly this season!! Monday night’s rehearsal was held on the risers with our new riser assignments (one brilliant individual named Pam has been assigning spots for every singer every season for years according to voice part and height; it sounds like a really challenging job) and it gave our director, Andrew, a chance to hear how we all sound together in the house. From my perspective I think the run-through went relatively well and we’re pretty much polishing our sound in the next two rehearsals before Sunday.

A lot goes on the last few weeks before a performance. From the front end we’re working to perfect our music so we can be proud to perform it for you. Behind the scenes so much is going on- Pam consults with Andrew about where to put every singer on the risers and make sure we all fit, Andrew is rehearsing with the child and teen choristers, travel and accommodations are being made for the incoming soloists and orchestra musicians (there’s at least 40 of them), weather-related back up plans are being made if there is ever a forecast for snow, we’re notifying our followers everyday on social media about the event, our director is talking with local morning talk radio shows, the programs are being printed, the seats in the house need to arranged, the scores for the orchestra are organized, Andrew is preparing for his pre-concert lecture, food for the post-concert reception is being made… Aaaaaand up until the doors open for the first show we’re still selling tickets.

Miraculously a lot of this gets accomplished by volunteers, mostly made up of members of the Chorus and parents of the youth singers. This is one thing that a lot of people probably don’t know about non-profit organizations, is that the paid staff is usually a small group of people while the rest of the operations are taken care of by volunteers donating their free time and skills.

Here’s a shot of the whole chorus (during our little snack break) on the risers for the first time this season and a funny note-to-self in my score:

The humorous result of using a borrowed music score- other people's written notes. "Get the shabby-do into it!"

A photo posted by Erma B. (@stonecoldvox) on

My Rehearsal Notes
Text: (1) familiarize yourself with what the text translates to in English to help determine the type of mood you want to convey for each movement (2) try to memorize more text so you can get your head out of your music (what exactly am I singing? Here’s a translation!)
Keep practicing trouble spots: while rehearsing I draw circles around parts of my score where I mess up and need to review when I have time to practice on my own. It’s a good feeling when I can finally erase those circles with confidence.
Review dynamic markings and time signatures: if you’re like me and feel as though there’s too much to keep in mind while singing, write in the beats above measures where necessary. Note where to take breaths with a check mark or comma.

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