Dear WCC members
Here is the first weekly virtual rehearsal! I hope it will help maintain momentum and be a bit stimulating in these dark times. I for one am bereft! Missing you all!
I thought I would divide it into sections, but feel free to bypass the anecdotes in italics if you wish!
Warming up the voice is really important and I suspect few of you do it at home without a clown standing in front of you, gesticulating. This is where you abandon all pride and stand in front of a mirror!
Shoulder rolls are a good way to relax and exercise the area where tension builds up. And ending with a hunched gesture and dropping shoulders for perfect singing position i.e. weighted shoulders, straight back with head pulled up like puppet, tucked in tail and softened knees.
Alternatively, you could get a partner to massage your shoulders.
Anecdote: I thought I might fling these in as I would in a proper rehearsal. Did Facetime with grandchildren yesterday. They were being home-schooled and having done PE were on to Maths. Their mother, Freya, who started WCC with Sarah all those years ago and who owns a toyshop, had them designing their own shops (Surprise! Surprise!) They had both done business plans and had been working on costings. Toby (8) was running a garden tool shop and Eloise (9) was running a massage business. When I phoned she was standing behind Toby massaging hos shoulders. It looked for all the world as if she was throttling him but there were peals of laughter so clearly not terminal.
Try to sing the 4 notes ascending and descending scales to different vowel sounds too e.g. oo, French ‘eu’ i.e. singing ee with mouth in ‘u’ shape, then aah with open mouth and teeth. As you go into head voice switch back to oo. Starting off with a round is always good because many do not have very wide ranges e.g. Nothing Stirs, Lady come down and see, I sat down with the duchess for tea etc. And start singing softly building up volume gradually.
Warm ups are important. You can always practice your diaphragmatic breathing too. Lie in your back with knees bent and breathe deeply. Be aware of your stomach expanding when inhaling
Anecdote: Last Saturday Paul and I went to meet with Hyde Pipers in Winchester. On our way back a large beautiful barn owl skimmed the verge coming towards us, no doubt in search of prey. That in itself was truly wonderful but just at that moment the backdrop was the Watercress steam train in the distance. It was a picture of bygone days! We felt we should really have been travelling in a horse drawn carriage! And for the first time for years dolphins have been seen in Venice because of lockdown!
If we had met this past week I would have looked at your current song list so please keep singing your parts. You can sing your own part against the tunes on the sound files.
Bushes and Briars is the first folk song that Vaughan Williams collected from a labourer, Charles Pottipher from Ingrave in Essex in 1903. This is a lovely haunting song with a fine arrangement by Sally Davies. The verses are divided in two, the first 4 to be sung by the men and the second 4 by the women with everyone in 4 part harmony in the refrain. It also provides opportunities for solo voices if desired. It needs to be quite slow and legato.
The words are attached and I will send the sound files through to Oliver and Syd. So enjoy this beautiful folk song! Many folk artists have recorded it sand even Dame Janet Baker.
Anecdote: I am spending my time gardening, reading, walking and knitting. Guaranteed to produce lots of socks over the coming months. Missing my family but thank heavens for Facetime and Skype! And missing you all too of course! Stay safe!