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Keep Your Vowels Open



The official reason for the new recording of the classic 1966 Beach Boys song was to mark the launch of BBC Music, which the corporation describes as “an ambitious wave of new programmes, innovative partnerships and ground-breaking music initiatives that amount to the BBC’s strongest commitment to music in 30 years.” As with Perfect Day, the song was released to raise money for the BBC’s Children in Need appeal.


God only Knows

Like the Beach Boys version, Eamonn has mostly stayed the same in this song's arrangement. The downfall is that everyone thinks they know it, and we want to make our audience listen to the lyrics so we can annunciate the words and tell the story with all the ebbs and flows.

 

The Oohs, Doo’s and Ba Ba’s sections needed a little work. 

Altos starts us with Oohs, which sounds like a question and answer.

As each part follows, increase the intensity as if your part is the most important. 

It is all about theatre!

Once we had mastered this, it sounded magnificent.

 

Sops be quiet but energetic on, ‘If you should ever leave me’

After page 7, the words are all the same, so look up, watch Eamonn and enjoy it!


It seems that many of our songs contain many Oohs, Ohs, and Ahs. These vowels' sounds need to be open and distinctive, giving the songs a different feeling and emotion. 

 

It may be a good idea to mark them in your music scores so you know which mouth shape to adopt!

 

Have you Ever Seen the Rain

Unlike God Only Knows, this song has been entirely rearranged by Eamonn and is not like Credence Clearwater Revival, so be prepared.

 

The chords and lyrics in this song show the melancholy, but the singing must be bright.

 

The first note is off-the-beat, so Sops, be ready for your start. ‘Coming down on a sunny day’ is relatively low for the Sops to sing, so emphasize the ‘c’ when coming and announcing your presence. It will make all the difference.

 

Basses, please practice the timing of ‘I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain’. Listen to the Sops, as that is one of the things they get right!

 

Altos and Tenors make your presence felt with your Oohs while others sing ‘When it’s over, so they say’.

 

Make a big difference between the Oohs, the Ohs and the Is (as in I wanna know’) and keep it bright and up in the cheekbones!

 

 



What’s Up

The start is so important.  Altos and Tenors, the pressure is all on you. 

Listen carefully to the intro and wait for the deep notes, boom, boom, before starting to sing ‘Twenty-five years’

Don’t panic; chill and be ready and breathe at the right time.

 

Watch out for the timing of ‘trying to get up that great big hill’. All the notes are the same, even in length.

 

Sops, you only have one note to sing an Ooh followed by ‘Brotherhood of man’ – get it right, loud, and clear. You can do it!

 

Open your vowels with the Oohs, Ohs and Ahs.  They are like choral colours. 

Mark it on your music scores!

 

‘And I say Hey’ – think of it as one phrase and don’t leave a gap big enough for a bus to drive through between ‘say’ and ‘hey’.

 

There is no need to look at your music from page 9 until the end as it is so repetitive. The only direction you need will come from Eamonn, so all eyes should be on him.

This will place your last ‘Heys’ clearly and precisely.  Keep it gentle and tender.

 




Mad World

This was magnificent last time, and We have to keep it up.

 

‘Look right through me’ is pulled right back after a thunderous section and becomes elongated and quiet, stretching it right out until ‘me’

 

Keep the ‘nm’ ‘nm’ as two distinct sounds.

 



Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat

All the Gents start us off by giving a powerful start.

 

Watch Eamonn for the start of the choruses, so the timing is spot on. Trust in him, and you will be fine!

 

Enunciate words like ‘fancy tie round your wicked throat’ etc

 

Open those vowels again with Oohs and Ohs.

 

Sop 2s and Altos hold your harmony on the last ‘devil will drag you under’

 

From Now On

The piano part sounds very slow initially, so keep the singing flowing over the top. 

Gents, try to learn the first part so that you can watch Eamonn for timing. 

If not word-perfect, at least familiarise yourself so that you can look up more often than not!

 

Remember, ‘Winter wind blow cold’ - ‘blow’ and ‘cold’ are on the same note.

 

Altos on page 9, bar 80, be prepared to belt out ‘From now on’. 



This is your Ethel Merman moment. 

Don’t be polite; make yourselves heard.

 

Keep the Oohs open and bright and exciting.

 

We are in a perfect place and get great compliments from Eamonn. 

At this stage in the term, that is praise indeed.

 

Keep up the excellent work.  It is the small details now that will make all the difference.

 

A running order will be sent out soon. Please arrange your music in concert order and remember to bring it with you as Eamonn will be going through everything.

 

Will you be a pleasure to watch?




 

 

 

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