Every week we go to rehearsal and sit or stand in front of the conductor and sing. We know what we want from the conductor, but have you ever thought about what the conductor wants from us?
The following is taken from Breve, the NZ Choral Federation newsletter, from an excerpt on David Squire's Sing Aotearoa 09 workshop: http://www.nzcf.org.nz/assets/SiteEngineManager/breve%20march%202010%20webmail%20version.pdf
• Punctuality! The first commitment at the time of a choir rehearsal is the choir rehearsal – if this is a problem, make sure you let the conductor know.
• Own warm-ups – on the way to rehearsal. Humming, etc.
• Attentiveness! Aim to be the smartest, quickest, most enthusiastic and positive chorister in the choir!
• 2B pencil! Mark your score! Lots! Conductors don’t actually enjoy going over the same mistakes several times.
• Hold music up! Don’t move your head! Avoid a vertical tennis match!
• Sing what’s on the page first (pitch, rhythm, dynamics, articulation, lyrics, etc).
• Let the conductor shape the phrase by watching the gestures in front of you – particularly when you know the piece well enough to get your head out of the score.
• Sing the text! It is often amazing poetry.
• Research! YouTube, Wikipedia, iTunes, borrowed/bought CDs, public library…
• Own sectionals – own volition! Use your initiative!
• Learn to read music! Then learn to sight-read music! You will be a much more useful member of the choir, and the choir will be able to do much more.
• Listen to other choirs. Analyse different choral sounds and develop a more in-depth understanding of your art.
• Make suggestions… at appropriate times!
• Listen when you sing – tuning, blend, balance. What are the other parts doing?How does your line fit the whole?
• Support the vision! Positive attitude, open mind!
The choir is looking forward to our final concert for the year, featuring Mozart's 'Coronation Mass' which many have sung before. As well as guest artist Rebecca Ryan who will sing the soprano solos, three choir members - Juliana Baxter, Clive Thompson and Michael Buick - will take the alto, tenor and bass solos respectively.
One of the great things our choir is that members with the ability and desire are frequently offered opportunities to perform - solos, duets and small group singing with the relatively newly-created A Capella Concertino. (Authors note: That's my name they picked for the group - I suggested it because in baroque music the concertino was a small group of players from within the full orchestra who played the more virtuoso pieces in the score).
This concert will also feature some Christmas music and no doubt there will be an opportunity for our audience to join in with some traditional carols.
I'm a soprano :)