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Let's work together! The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.-Aristotle



Over tens of thousands of years, humans have engaged in communal singing to express joy and sorrow. Individuals who invest time in this practice often report that it has therapeutic effects and is essential for their well-being. Numerous scientific studies have proven the diverse advantages of group singing. Whether in the form of a choir, a small ensemble, or a diverse cultural gathering, the positive impact on social and emotional health is undeniable. Moreover, group singing activates various brain areas, making it a potent tool for internal therapy.

 

Professor Sarah Wilson, a leading figure in music neuroscience research in Australia, conceptualises the network of brain functions involved in group singing as the "singing network." This network encompasses regions responsible for motor activity, auditory processing, language, emotion, and memory. Other complex cognitive processes also coordinate with the music and other singers. In the experience of singing together, individuals describe a sense of euphoria in the brain, a heightened state of alertness, or a feeling of warmth and togetherness that leads to moments of collective happiness and clarity.

 

Research further corroborates that group singing fosters community beyond mere intuition, which can mitigate loneliness, enhance self-efficacy, and strengthen self-esteem.


It appears that everyone has now sung through all 17 songs in our repertoire for the concert. That in itself is quite a feat!

 

With only seven rehearsals, we will concentrate on performing the songs we all know. 

Go through your music folder and ensure you know YOUR tune, which may not be The Tune.

 

The focus is then on the dynamics, and this can only be done by watching Eamonn. 

Again, familiarise yourself with the words, and then you will have the confidence to look up at the poignant moments and follow Eamonn’s clear direction.

 

It is important to tell the story of the songs and make the words clear so the audience can hear every word.  Enunciate the words in the way Eamonn suggests and keep the vowels open. 

It helps to give a big smile, which brightens the notes too.

 

Smiling also suggests to the audience that we are enjoying ourselves, and if that is the case, they will enjoy it too!

 

Hints and Tips

Generally, think in long phrases unless told to do otherwise, even if there are no words and it is an Ooh,,, Oh, or Ah. As in life, there are always exceptions.

Timing is everything, so watch Eamonn as much as possible.

 

Have You Ever Seen the Rain: Although this is a warm, slow ballad, it needs to be sung with intensity, and the story needs to be told clearly.

Sops come in on the off-beat. Wait for the drum beat, and be ready!

‘I know’ doesn’t have to be too long but do not breathe before you sing it.

Altos and Tenors, be ready with your ‘Ooh’, which starts before the Sops start singing and needs to be heard.

Remember it is ‘Wader’ not ‘Water’ to give a much softer sound.

Make a clear difference in the vowels of ‘Ooh’, ‘Oh’ and ‘Ah’ and then into ‘I’ with ‘I wanna know….’

 


Joshua

We sang a perfect rendition; sadly, there were no dynamics.

This needs clear diction and lots of storytelling with energy and pace. 

We are going into battle, so keep moving forward with vigour!

‘Go blow that ram horn, Joshua cried’; ‘cried’ is on the beat and short.

Make the loud and quiet sections very distinctive.

If we work hard on this, it will be electrifying!

 

Crossing the Bar

Much work has been done on this, and we are embracing it and loving it!

Basses are still being seduced onto The Tune.  Get ready for YOUR tune on ‘But such a tide is turning….’ And you will be fine.

‘Too full for sound and foam.’  ‘sound’ is the longest note

There is no breath once you start singing, ‘I hope to see my Pilot face to face’ the second time, then you can breathe quickly and then don’t breathe again until after, ‘when I have crossed the bar’.

Don’t think of them as long phrases; it will get easier.

 



For those who haven’t sung in concert with Eamonn before, here is a warning:  if you breathe at the wrong time, he will hear you, and you will experience the famous Eamonn glare.  So, beware!  #You do not want it aimed at you!

 

Your Song

Another storytelling song with the Altos and Sop 2s setting the scene.

Tenors keep driving through ‘How wonderful life is now you’re in the world’

Then it all fell apart with the Sop 1s in the naughty corner again!

Please bear in mind these are challenging ‘Oohs’ without the support of our Sop 2s! 

The Altos and Tenors say they have many ‘Oohs’ in every song, so what’s our problem?

These are definitely on the top of the homework list.  I can’t bear to see Eamonn’s face glaring at us again next week if we are not confident ‘Ooh’ singers.

 

What’s Up

This song has many different textures with some long and quick short phrases.

 

Altos, don’t panic at the beginning.  Take it slowly and start off the beat with ‘Twenny five years…..  (Forget the ‘t’ in twenty).

Leading into ‘Brotherhood of man’, the ‘up’ in ‘… that this world is made up…’ is long.

Sop 1s only have one ‘Ooh’ on one note before ‘Brotherhood of Man’, so get it right!

The vowel sound is very important to this song's dynamics. ‘Oh is followed by ‘Ah’. 

Make the vowels wide and smile; that helps.  This sound makes a wonderful cushion for Sops to sit on when they are back in their comfort zone of singing actual words!


Who mentioned The Brotherhood of Man?


In the section ‘And I try, oh my God do I try …..’ make these phrases like pillars of sound by putting strong endings to the words of each phrase and breathing in between each phrase (here is an exception to the rule of don’t breathe)

‘Oh, my God’ should sound like ‘Oh, may Gad’

The chorus, ‘And I say Hey….’ It should be one phrase and connected.  The ‘Hey’ should not be separated on its own.

 

Keep up the good work. Overall, Eamonn is impressed with where we are; it is just a matter of polishing things up and refining our techniques. You know where you need to put in the work.

 

See the obstacles and feel the pain, but don’t dwell on them.  With the right mindset, nothing in life is insurmountable.



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