A group of students in black dresses singing on risers on the chapel stage. There is an oboist playing and a piano player playing. The conductor is front of the group conducting with a hand in the air.

Bel Canto

The Bel Canto curriculum explores historical, theoretical, and cultural aspects of a wide range of repertoire for older, advanced treble choirs. Bel Canto singers prepare music for multiple performances per year, including both the fall and spring Girl Choir concerts. Bel Canto was recently awarded Second Place in the national American Prize competition, has been invited to perform at several state and regional conventions of choral conductors, and has appeared as the guest artist with the Monteverdi Master Chorale (Stevens Point), St. Marys Youth Choir (Ontario, Canada), Viking Choral Festival, newVoices (formerly White Heron Chorale), Makaroff Youth Ballet, Lawrence University choirs and orchestra, and for the Sing Out Loud! and PIPFest women's choir festivals in Minnesota. They have appeared on Wisconsin Public Television and have a performance permanently linked to the WPT website.

Students registered for Academy ensembles are also expected to participate in a curricular (during the school day, for credit) performing musical ensemble when available; Bel Canto should not substitute for curricular music programs.

Auditions for Bel Canto are held in April for the following academic year. Auditions for the 2019-20 season are closed. Please fill out our interest form to receive information about auditions next spring.


  • Additional Performance with Peridot
    • Bel Canto has been invited by singer-songwriter and Girl Choir alum Hillary Reynolds to sing the descant for her band Peridot's composition that will debut this spring. They will perform in the joint Peridot and Fox Valley Symphony Orchesta concert "Over the Moon" as well as participate in a live recording session in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.
      • Friday, April 26
        • Rehearsal*
          • Location: First Congregational Church of Christ, 724 East South River St., Appleton
          • Time: 7:00 p.m. (arrive by 6:30 p.m. to warm up/review; meet in lobby)
      • Saturday, April 27
        • Rehearsal*
          • Location: Lawrence Memorial Chapel, 510 E College Ave., Appleton
          • Time:​ 3:00 p.m. (arrive by 2:45 p.m.; report to Chapel stage)
        • Concert
          • Location: Lawrence Memorial Chapel, 510 E College Ave., Appleton
          • Time: 7:00 p.m. (6:30 p.m. call; report to MD 259, our regular warmup room)
      • Tickets: $25, reserved seating; purchase online

*Bel Canto only needs to be present for the very beginning of rehearsals, which is estimated to be the first 30-45 minutes of each (not including call/warmup).

Click the button below to download and print the Girl Choir Program Handbook.

Girl Choir Handbook


Notes and homework from March 10 rehearsal:

  • Almost there! Please remember to report to the Chapel for rehearsal next week. Setup folks, arrive at 5:15 to help set up chairs in 156. We'll need your help moving risers on stage around 5:30 (quick turnover after the YO concert).
  • Be sure everything (including Finale) is memorized for next week. Be sure you are looking carefully at the structure of things so you remember what comes where (especially in the Finale and Still I Rise; we left both in good shape last night, but it needs reinforcement).
  • Really think about creating space/not pushing in O Virtus. Gentle but legato, energize the consonants without pushing the tone.
  • Be careful, esp sop 1, not to rush Still I Rise (and please clean up the text); everyone be careful to finish "reach;" don't oversing; continue to clean up those muddy transition spots of "yes it's all"/"that it's all"
  • Continue to sing How Can I Cry with the body percussion so it is easy to do both and be expressive while you sing (dynamics as well as text meaning). Practice keeping the sound forward (spin behind your front teeth), especially in the hum at the beginning.
  • Keep the humming idea for Miserere, too. Really use the "m" to balance the sound between open throat and forward spin.
  • Generally speaking, you need to think more actively about dynamics and text. Keep practicing this week to habituate both while you polish the spots listed above.
  • Sing through Hold On so you have a sense of when/where your part fits (pay attention to how it feels in your voice so you can easily find your spot in the chord). I will send an email with the recording link so you can practice with it, but be sure you are singing the correct notes inside the chord. Note the ending is slightly different than the recording; pay attention to/believe the score.

Notes and homework from March 3 rehearsal:

  • Two rehearsals to concert! Yikes! Thanks for being sure to take care of yourself this month as things get nutty in your lives. Wash your hands! Eat a piece of fruit! Have a salad (or at least a vegetable)! Take some Vitamin C! Get more sleep! (yeah, yeah, I know...) But do remember that taking care of yourself, physically and mentally, is critical for us to have the best experience together. Do take care of yourself as well as you can.
  • One big theme from last night: use the resonating space in the front of your face and mouth to help the tone balance. Go for a "chewy" hum and then use that space (in your mouth, not just your nose) to spin the sound forward. This helped everything, especially the Miserere (when you began by really voicing the "Mi") and the two contemporary pieces (Cry, Rise), although it helped each in a slightly different way. Continue to spin (not push) air through the O Virtus consonants and keep tall space on the vowels. Do not oversing!
  • Really thinking about the meaning of the text in O Virtus made a WORLD of difference last night, particularly as you worked your way through the last half of the piece. Please continue to think about that translation, and look for Latin words that remind you of where we are in the English translation.
  • Miserere was beautiful when thinking about placing the tone more in the front of your mouth (while balancing it with open throat space and lifted soft palate); dynamics can still be more intentional (up = cresc, down = dim)
  • Still I Rise was fun, and if you want to be inspired again to move while you sing, watch the video again! :) We are close to being memorized, but still have some lyric issues (especially for sop 1 at the beginning and everyone pages 13-15, knowing when to move to "By prayer and faith..."). Also be sure to address the tricky transition spots ("Yes it's all"/"That it's all"/slight differences in pitches). If you were absent, be sure to talk to someone who was at the rehearsal to learn about the dynamic and expressive decisions we made together.
  • Please memorize How Can I Cry by next week. We had made a lot of progress two weeks ago, but lost a good deal of that since we had a snow day last week. We spent time re-learning some of the chorus and the coda; please be sure to take time this week to solidify all the notes as you work on memorizing (don't memorize wrong stuff!). Also be sure you are comfortable with the body percussion, as we'll be sure to have that added in next week.
  • Look over the finale, especially noting where our part comes in. We didn't get to work on that last night, but it isn't hard - you just have to know when what happens.

Notes and homework from February 17 rehearsal:

  • Please memorize "Still I Rise" for next week, paying special attention to the transition spots to ensure accuracy.
  • Great job with "How Can I Cry" and putting all of the pieces together! Reinforce and review all of it with the body percussion as marked. In the bridge, you will enter after the first two measures and just keep going into the refrain (it should work!).
  • If you were absent, please write in the text meanings of "Miserere Mei" (see inside front cover). This helped us better communicate the text. Continue to think about the translation as you practice this piece.
  • No more official book club (rehearsals will resume their regular 7:45 ending), but I'm always happy to talk about the book if you are reading it! Feel free to stay after pretty much any week to do so.

Notes and homework from February 10 rehearsal:

  • Nice job last night! Please pay attention to the starred spots in O Virtus, and overall please spend some time with the second half of the piece. Attend to the tall vowels, active consonants ("q", "v," etc), and specific trouble spots.
  • Think about tall mouth posture and dynamics in Miserere. The better you know your part, the easier it will be to have the sort of seamless, transcendent experience we touched on last night!
  • Please reinforce and review all of "Still I Rise," particularly the "muddy" transition spots.
  • Learn the chorus of "How Can I Cry" (mm 47-63), and review  the bridge on page 5 (mm 81-90) that we did last night. Recording is linked below if you need/want it.
  • Review the finale, please, and look at how your part fits into the others (so you know when to come in).
  • BOOK CLUB: please have read sections 1 and 2 for next week. We'll chat 7:30-8:15!

Notes and homework from January 27 rehearsal:

  • Thank you so much for being present! If you happened to come in late, be sure to get the score markings from a friend (especially if you are singing Alto 2 this term).
  • Please solidify your part in "Still I Rise" from measure 52 through the end. Recording is linked below (under Jan 20) if you are interested.
  • Here is a version of "How Can I Cry" that should basically match our performance. Review measures 1-46 and 64-80 to be sure you have your part ready to go before we meet again! Please also learn the rest of the piece on your own.
  • We learned all of our part in the finale, which is measures 35-46 and 57-end. Be sure you know what part to look at, especially on pages 13 and 14 (sop 1 and 2 on the middle line, "littles" sing top line on pg 14). Here is a recording of the piece. Note we will end three measures from the end of the piece (the recording goes to the end, and adds lots of repeats to the middle section).
  • Please consider joining me for the Malala film on Saturday, February 9 - see info above. I hope to see you there, and feel free to bring a friend!
  • Thank you, in advance, for being a great choir for our Choral Tech students next week. Dr. Sieck will be here with them, and Ms. Buchman will also be here. If you are on riser setup, make sure you arrive on time (5:10) and set eight sections of risers. THANK YOU for sharing your best selves with future music educators!
  • Book club will start Feb 10; Bel Canto rehearsals will end at 7:30 pm on Feb 10, 17, 24, March 3, March 10 and book club will go from 7:30-8:15 pm. Please join us for as much or as many of those dates as possible! For February 10, please be sure to have read Part One: Before the Taliban (pages 9-88). If you need to purchase a copy of "I Am Malala," you can do so here or here or here - but do check libraries and schools, as there are many copies floating around the valley!

Notes and homework from January 20 rehearsal:

  • It's so nice to be back! We had some great conversations about the theme and content of this semester's music. For this week, please focus on the body percussion of "How Can I Cry?" and spend some time listening to/enjoying this performance of "Still I Rise."
  • If you would like to participate in the book club (totally optional/voluntary), please obtain a copy of "I Am Malala" by Malala Yousafzai (many libraries and schools have them). I'll figure out how to organize this soon.
  • Please, please, please plan to attend rehearsal this coming Sunday (1/27) as we're going to finalize voicing and do a whole bunch of work on our two new pieces. If you were not here last week, please keep "O Virtus" and "Miserere Mei..." as we will perform them in March; please plan to return the rest of your music (fully erased) and pick up the new scores.

Click to view semester 1 assignments

Notes and homework from Dec 16 rehearsal:

  • It's "go time!" Everything must be concert-ready. As you practice at home, please pay particular attention to:
    • Miserere mei Deus (memorization - pay attention to patterns with entrances, open throat, tall vowels, not oversinging, legato line, dynamics - line ascending = louder, line descending = softer). A2 note that the oboe part in the recording is your line. S2 watch your entrances, especially in measure 15 and 19.  Everyone should pay special attention to pages 7-8 overall, and watch the difference between half notes and whole notes, which is often where we make mistakes from which we cannot return.
    • O Virtus (from the sixth line through the end, especially; also not oversinging, tall vowels, open throat, active consonants - "k" "v" etc). Rhythmic issues: long "un-" at end of line 6, triplets "et" "tertia" end of line 8, duple "un-di" beginning of line 9; Note issues: "Laus tibi" in line 9, E-flat to G on "O" in line 10; Text issues: especially line 10, but all of lines 8-11.
    • Ella's Song (melody memorization, groove harmonies sung well and accurately: Do-Mi-Sol --> Sol-Ti-Re-Fa or C-E-G to G-B-D-F)
    • Over Hill (not beginning too loudly, singing *on the breath* in softer spots, activating "f" and "qu" sounds, not dragging behind the beat, tall vowels/open throat)
    • Les sirenes (corners of your lips in on the French, singing confidently with an open throat, especially pages 6-7)
    • Si Verias (you did a GREAT job on Sunday on the first try! Keep that up! Be ready to sing this piece at the PAC on Jan 6!)
  • I can't wait to share your beautiful music, spirit, and dedication with my colleagues in January! Let's show 'em what Girl Choir can do.  :)

Notes and homework from Dec 9 rehearsal:

  • See Dec 2 notes below for Ella's Song
  • Practice a nasal, wide-mouthed sound on Si Verias (in this case, "ugly" is beautiful!)
  • Check rhythms and breath marks on O Virtus; energize all consonants; make sure there is no extra "h" escaping on the lifts; think about the text/portray some emotion as you sing
  • Spend lots of time on Miserere mei to fix counting, a few note issues, and create a tall, beautiful sound.  Keep the corners of your mouth in and lift your soft palate.  Think about where the line is going/dynamics.  Be sure everything is memorized.  A link to listen to and practice with (full ensemble) is here.
  • Remind yourself about all the great work you did on Les sirenes so we don't move backwards.
  • Remember that Over Hill needs to begin much softer, that consonants still need more (voiced "th," "f" of "fairy," "k" of "queen,"), and that vowels must remain tall (schwa on "the," not a wider "uh" etc).
  • You're doing a great job - keep it up!  See you next week (12/16) with everything memorized.


Notes and homework from Dec 2 rehearsal:

  • That last 30 minutes was stunning.  Please remember that you have everything you need to be successful this weekend.  Review the spots we looked closely at on Sunday night (Over Hill - consonants, a few note issues; Les Sirenes - French pucker, dynamics (especially middle section), singing through lines (not just notes) for the shimmer; Si Verias - maintaining forward placement, knowing when to enter/clap/stop hand motions).  We did not review The Fox; please make sure you're ready with it.  Choose to do your best, stay focused, and honor the music and one another with those choices.
  • We'll continue with Ella's Song next week (those on the melody might find this link useful - it's the not-great recording of the actual score, but is fairly useful for melodic/memorization purposes); those on the groove and harmony please remember to stick with a C Major chord (C-E-G) and a G7 chord (G-B-D-F in whatever inversion - no A, please).
  • Rehearsal on 12/9 and 12/16, same time, same place.  We'll work O Virtus, Miserere, and Ella's Song pretty hard, so please come ready and prepared.  These are our last two rehearsals before our dress rehearsal on 1/6 on stage.
  • See you at 3:45 pm Friday (enter via the front doors of the Chapel - up the steps - and park in the lot to the east of the Chapel); see you at 1:20 pm Saturday in Room 259 (enter the opposite glass doors).  Thank you for being the very best version of yourselves this coming weekend!  The Littles are watching.  :)


Notes and homework from Nov 25 rehearsal:

  • We have work to do.  With one rehearsal remaining, you need to think about *how* you are singing in addition to *what* you are singing.  We must communicate the music's meaning through tone, diction, and expression (dynamics, facial, etc).  Open your throat - always.  Keep the corners of your mouth in during the French.  Review all pronunciation and dynamic markings.  Sing *on* the breath with a core to the sound.  Check your memorization spots.  It's time to kick things into high gear.
  • We will sing Ella's Song for the first 30 minutes next week.  Be ready with your part.
  • Here is the link to the partial recording of Les sirenes from last night.  Re-read the text and listen to the watery/shimmery recording linked under October 28.  Be sure you have everything memorized, including the text in pages 6-7 (esp. sop 2).
  • Be sure The Fox is memorized next week.
  • Report directly to the Chapel stage next week, December 2.  We have only one hour in there and then we return to 156.  Have a good week, and thank you for arriving prepared.


Notes and homework from Nov 18 rehearsal:

  • Nice work solidifying Over Hill and Si Verias memorization, on the whole.  For the former, we need a lot more text (especially consonants that take a lot of air - k, qu, c, etc).  Think about your tall vowels, especially on "cow" - "hang" is much better!  For the latter, please reinforce transitions from one section to the next.  If you were absent, check in with a friend about some of the final decisions we made about clapping, ending, and looping back to verse 2.  Keep thinking about that brighter, more forward sound.

  • O Virtus from tonight is linked here.  Use it to work on solidifying memorization, and work on giving each line direction in regard to tempo and dynamics.  Word/syllabic stress will help with this.  Sing the "v," give lots of "k" on the "qu" consonants, and work on dental t's that are internal (it's almost, but not quite, veer-doos).

  • Miserere mei is not in bad shape, but you must memorize the RESTS between each entrance.  Literally write them into your music and count them in your head.  Entrances are the trickiest part of the piece, and it is where you are struggling.  It's preventing you from thinking about dynamics.  As with other pieces, please give me more active consonants, especially on "qu" words.

  • The Boulanger is in decent shape - but don't give up now!  Solidify the entrances around the C# "ah" in the middle, and solidify the ending chords, which must be soft, supported, and shimmery.  Pucker your lips in the French!  Work with the link under the October 28 notes below.  Semi-chorus, please have your part (and entrances) memorized by next time.

  • We assigned parts for Ella's Song.  If you were not here tonight, you will sing a groove throughout the piece.  Consider whether you want to sing the top of the chords, middle of the chords, or bottom of the chords.  We'll spend a lot of time on this next week.

  • Speaking of next week... if we have everyone there, I'd like to assign standing orders if we can.  If for nothing else, I think it would be helpful with Les sirenes.

  • Have a great week!  I am thankful for you!


Notes and homework from Nov 11 rehearsal:

  • Thanks for another good rehearsal.  Over the next few weeks, you MUST make more progress at home.  I can't help you memorize, and that's the bulk of the work now.  Keep at it - we have great performances ahead!

  • Please take the time to re-familiarize yourself with O Virtus.  It should be memorized by next week.  The latest recording is linked below under the October 21 notes.

  • Tiny note/word slips on Si Verias and Over Hill are the only things preventing really solid performances of each.  This week, really work on singing with a "mouthier" sound on Si Verias - and keeping the sound there all the way through the piece.  We raised the pitch to start on D-flat and F, which worked nicely in your range.  We'll keep it there.

  • If you are singing the semi-chorus of Les sirenes, really work on those notes this week, and work to memorize it as best as possible.  If you are *not* singing the semi-chorus, keep refining the memorization and the French - particularly the schwa sound (round your lips!).  Everyone must work on memorizing/tuning the chords at the end, and knowing when you come in on the "ah" spots in the middle of the piece.  Use the link from the Oct 28 rehearsal (below) to practice with.

  • Make a plan for Ella's Song.  Do you want to sing melody?  Harmony on the refrain?  Groove throughout?  We'll discuss and assign parts next week (11/18)!

  • Miserere mei Deus should also be memorized next week.  I think you're close.

  • Reminder - memorize The Fox by December 2nd.

  • Reminder - we DO have rehearsals on December 9 and 16.

  • Reminder - I'll need to know if you want to purchase a "Women of the World" ticket (Friday night, Jan 11, Chapel, 8 pm, $10) soon, so check your calendar/make your decision.

Notes and homework from Nov 4 rehearsal:
  • You made good progress on Over Hill and Si Verias, but they both still need some work, particularly regarding the words.  Think about forward placement on Si Verias (and be sure you have all of the text in verse 2 completely memorized) and work on tempo/transitions in and out of "The cowslips tall her pensioners be..." in Over Hill.
  • Please read through the notes and homework from October 28 to refresh everything else; the Boulanger must be memorized next week (and we'll add the semi-chorus with a handful of you). 
  • Thank you for remembering to watch for times when you give or receive love and care this week.  :)


Notes and homework from Oct 28 rehearsal:
  • We're into the home stretch - only 4 rehearsals to concert!  Ahhhh!!!!

  • If you have not listened to the recording of Over Hill that I posted last week (Oct 21), please spend some serious time with it this week.  It will help you lock the tonal shift from the D Major to g minor chords in measure 30.  Practice measure 30 to the end to fix mistakes and also to bring the tempo up to match that of the first half.  Please have this memorized by Sunday (November 4).

  • We didn't get to Si Verias this week, but please have that memorized by Sunday as well, including the endings we worked on last week.  The recording is linked under August 26 if you'd like to rehearse with it.

  • Please make up a rhythmic/harmonic pattern for Ella's Song this week.  Be sure you are switching between the C Major and G7 chords on both the chorus and the verses.  Please also make up some sort of rhythmic pattern for body percussion.  Remember - you can use more than one note (just keep it in the chord:  C-E-G or G-B-D-F) in your pattern, and the patterns do not need to be complex.  The complexity happens when we put everything together!  Listen to the Sweet Honey recording for inspiration. 

  • Les Sirenes will need to be memorized by November 11 (two Sundays from now), so please begin to work on that.  Here is a new recording for you to work with - I like it better (and you don't need to follow along with the score as directly as the last video did).  It is a little slower, though.  Thank you so much to everyone who auditioned - this was not an easy choice!  I'd like Emma F. and Alana C. to do the solos, but please learn them both and be prepared to sing them for me next week (you can sing them together) before rehearsal.  We'll decide together who sings which one.  Can you arrive by 5:20 or so?  We will also select the semi-chorus next week during rehearsal, so please consider if you are interested in that.  If you want to look ahead at it, the top line will be S1, the middle line A, and the bottom line S2.  We'll need only two or three singers from each part for this.

  • Miserere mei will need to be memorized by November 18 (three Sundays from now).  Please be sure to reinforce/fix the little spots we addressed last night, and practice with dynamics, please.

  • O Virtus will also need to be memorized by November 18.  Reference the recording posted last week (Oct 21) for the latest version!  Open throat, lifted soft palate, energized consonants are all important.

  • The Fox remains a mystery, but we'll run through it next week, I promise.  :)  It will need to be memorized by Dec 3, but it will REALLY need to be memorized then... not by Dec 9.  It's not difficult (and we are singing only two verses of it) which is why I have left it to the end of our learning cycle.


Notes and homework from Oct 21 rehearsal:
  • Well done, everyone.  I put you through your paces last night.  Keep up the great work, and take advantage of your time off this week to hold yourself accountable to what you still need to polish or fix.

  • O Virtus - here is the link from last night.  There are a few things to work on, but ultimately I'd also like you to work on opening your throat (inhale on the vowel!) and lifting your soft palate when you inhale and when you sing.  Watch your pronunciation, too, please (Kwae vs. Kwah, but both with a big K; voiced "v" sounds; dental "t" sounds; tall/pure vowels.

  • Miserere - finish learning the piece on text.  Counting is the biggest challenge.  Watch accidentals.

  • Over Hill - get comfortable singing the whole piece on the words.  Here is a nice recording for you to listen to.  What do you notice about it?

  • Les sirenes - auditions next week begin at 5 pm.  If you are not auditioning, please come into the room quietly, including those of you on riser setup.  We don't have a second room for auditions.  Choir:  please review, review, review, so the French and the notes become comfortable in your voice.  Think about legato lines, although the melodic shape is quite angular.

  • Si Verias a la Rana - really solidify text on phrase endings to help with the transitions between sections.  Work on keeping the quart-quart-quart-one-two-three steady.  Count endings so you know when the next section begins.  Begin to memorize!  I'll ask this to be memorized quite soon, so get some work done ahead of time on this if you can.

  • Ella's Song - if you didn't look anything up about Ella Baker (or even if you did!), read this article for more information about her. We'll look more closely at the octavo soon.

  • Have a great week!


Notes and homework from Oct 14 rehearsal:
  • As you practice this week, really work on opening your throat and lifting your soft palate as you inhale AND as you sing.  You made big changes with that in O Music as your warmup, which was really exciting to hear!
  • We got a lot of work done on deciding rhythms and phrasing of O Virtus.  Here's as far as we got.  Listen to that recording with a critical ear - there's a lot of great ideas and a lot of work to do!  We'll talk about it.  And listen all the way to the end to laugh at me.  :)  Homework for next week is to make rhythmic decisions similarly for the remainder of the piece (duple? triple? one long note?) and to get comfortable with the ornaments (longer first note, fill in all of the middle notes quickly on the way to the second note, but not as a slide/smear).
  • Over Hill was ok, but please do reinforce the notes from measure 39 to the end.  Remember that when I say "solfege this section," it means write in the solfege *in order to learn it* - not just "write in the solfege and walk away from it for the week." 
  • Actively review Les sirenes (with the French), Si Verias (with the steady rhythm), and Miserere (so you don't forget it).  We still have a LOT of work to do before concerts and, while we're on a good track, we need to keep moving forward.  Take this last bullet point of homework seriously - how can you improve on the preparation you did last week to move each piece forward before Sunday?


Notes and homework from Oct 7 rehearsal:
  • Keep up the great work!  Thanks especially to FVL singers for joining us for as much of the rehearsal as you could.  Important:  WEAR YOUR UNIFORM TO REHEARSAL NEXT WEEK.  If you don't have time to hem your new dress, just pin it up.  Wear concert shoes and look nice for photos.

  • Learn a little about Ella Baker this week and come prepared to discuss aspects of her life you learned or were impressed by.  Ella's Song is linked here (slightly different from the score you have).  See if you can follow along with at least some of your part (4-part split, just as Over Hill/Miserere) as you go along.

  • Please review measures 1-30 of Over Hill, Over Dale.  Learn measures 39 through the end on solfege for next week.

  • Les sirenes keeps taking leaps forward - keep it up!!  Continue to review everything, as you have now learned the notes for the entire choral part of the piece.  For next week, add French to measures 60-72.  The text is linked below.
    Text pages 6-7
    Text soprano solo 1 (mm 31-45)
    Text soprano solo 2 (mm 52-59)

    SOLO AUDITIONS OCTOBER 28 (before and after rehearsal - watch for sign-ups)

  • Really work on/solidify the rhythms of Si Verias with the [ta-ta-ta-one-two-three where "ta" = quarter note] so that you can sing (especially sections A and B) reliably without losing the underlying percussive rhythm.  The *end* and the *beginning* of each section are the tricky bits.


Notes and homework from Sept 30 rehearsal:
  • You had another great rehearsal - thank you so very much!  Continue to review Si Verias and O Virtus, then place additional focus on the music below.

  • Les Sirenes - you made great progress!  Continue to refine the French on measures 11-25.  Please learn the notes ("loo") on pages 6-7 (measures 60-73) for Sunday.

  • The beginning of Miserere was beautiful, and we learned up to approximately measure 24 (whenever your voice part finishes the word "mea").  If you were absent, please learn that; if you were present, please review from the beginning up to that point with pure vowels, open throat/lifted soft palate, tall mouth posture, and spinning the sound to the front of your teeth.  Alto 2, don't be afraid to mix into your chest voice to really help the part be heard; remember that your chest voice does not come from your neck.  If you feel tension in your throat, you're using the wrong mechanism to create this sound.  Please see me if you find yourself with this problem.

  • We looked at the text for "Over Hill, Over Dale" and sang measures 1-9 on solfege and then on the text.  For next week, please write the solfege in on your part through the downbeat of measure 30 (fermata) and be ready to sing your part.  Remember that your voice part is the same on this as it was in Miserere mei.  Special thanks to Emily for performing the text for us in class!

Notes and homework from Sept 23 rehearsal:
  • THANK YOU for preparing Les Sirenes so well last week.  This is going to be gorgeous!  Please continue to review and solidify measures 11-25 (which is also 82-97 - hooray!), but now add the text, which you can listen to here.  French speakers, please note that sung French does have some different rules from spoken French (sorry about that - it might make you a bit frustrated).  Side note - I have noticed that the recording I linked for you (because it follows along with the music) has the singers taking breaths in awful spots - like in the middle of words.  So please don't assume we will do that.  :)
  • Please learn your part (S1, S2, A1, A2) in Miserere mei Deus, mm 1-13 (downbeat).  Follow along with the link to hear how your part fits into the whole (A2 = oboe).  Remember pure, tall vowels and that the half note gets a beat in 4/2 meter.
  • Please solidify the notes in O Virtus, particularly the spots we worked on this week.
  • Please solidify the rhythm of the text in Si Verias, particularly at the end of the A/beginning of the B section and then again at the end of the B section.  Begin to work on increasing the tempo as you sing it.  The link to the piece remains below.
Notes and homework from Sept 16 rehearsal:
  • It's so good to be back with you!  Thanks for the great conversations, especially about O Virtus Sapientiae.  Please be sure to have all the notes learned (pay special attention to the B-flats and E-flats) correctly for next week, and be ready to sing all of it on the Latin text.  Listen here for the pronunciation.  Here are a few additional recordings for you to listen to:
    • O Virtus - choir with vocal drones
    • O Virtus - choir with soloists and vocal drones
    • O Virtus - professional choir with lower octave drones
    • O Virtus - alto soloist with viola drone
  • Learn the first bit of Les Sirenes on "la" (French will be next week).  Sop 1, that is mm 11-22; Sop 2 mm 12-23, Altos mm 13-25.  Don't worry about the semi-chorus part (yet), which appears above the chorus parts beginning in measure 21.
  • Solidify Si Verias a la Rana and be ready to sing the whole song on the text.  Listen here for the pronunciation.  We'll perform it as follows:
    • A1 - unison, A2 - add drone
    • B as written both times (with the fall-off at the end of the second ending)
    • C1 unison, C2 - add harmonies
    • Vocalise - Da, da da, da, DAI da/ da, da da, da DAI da/da, da da, da, DAI da/da da, da, da da, DAI-a-da/da___ (fall-off on second ending, but not at the very end of the piece)


Notes and homework from Aug 26 rehearsal:
  • Great first rehearsal, in spite of all of the facilities challenges - thank you!
  • Please review all of Si Verias a la Rana; remember that we learned text at C and are changing to "da" at measure 17.  Come with all notes and rhythms learned on "da" (except at letter C).  Here is a recording of our version, and here is a recording of the Turkish/Ladino source material.
  • Spend some time listening to Les Sirenes (while you watch the score) so you begin to get the piece in your brain.
  • Learn all of O Virtus Sapientiae; come next time with ideas for phrasing, tempo changes, etc.  Not all quarter notes are equal.  Don't worry about the ornaments just yet.  You should be able to sing this confidently.  Note that all Bs and Es are flat (each line functions as a "measure" in this regard).
  • Save the extra dates of our convention dress rehearsal (Jan 6) and performance (Jan 12)!
  • Our next rehearsal is September 16 - happy practicing!

Choir Materials

  • Bel Canto singers must bring a black three-ring binder and two sharpened pencils to every rehearsal.
  • Music is the property of the Academy.
  • Singers new to the program will receive a tote bag that becomes theirs.
  • Additional or replacement bags can be purchased through the Academy office for the price of $10 plus tax.

Concert Uniform

  • Bel Canto will have a choice between purchasing a uniform dress or uniform top and pants.
  • Singers who already own a dress may choose to be fitted for and purchase the new uniform top and pants or continue to wear the dress they already own.
  • Bel Canto singers are to wear black, closed-toed, flat-heeled dress shoes, and black pantyhose.
  • Post-style earrings for concerts are acceptable, no hoops.
  • Hair accessories must be small and the color of the hair. Hair must be its natural color
  • No uniform return is necessary at the end of the season.

Electronics Policy

Cell phones, iPods, electronic readers, and other electronic devices are strictly prohibited during ensemble rehearsals and back stage during concerts.   If a family emergency takes place during a rehearsal or concert, please contact the ensemble manager.

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