Freedom Celebration 2019 - Choir Blog

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Sunday - 9AM Adult Bible Study 10AM Worship Service

sTAY UP TO DATE WITH THE FREEDOM CELEBRATION CHOIR!

Come here for the latest, but if you need resources (music) or basic info (practice dates/times), go to the Choir Home Page. (Here, the newest post is on top; scroll down for older posts.) REMEMBER: Win extra entries in the iPad drawing by reading each post; see 7/15 post for details!

Your Church is ?

by: Chris Haas

07/25/2019

5

As we've done in past years, we will post your church in the program. Below is last year's list. Let me know if your church is not on the list. Thanks!

  • Anoka Covenant Church, Anoka
  • Bethlehem Baptist Church, Moundsview
  • Champlin United Methodist Church, Champlin
  • Constance Free Church, Andover
  • Eaglebrook Church, Spring Lake Park
  • Emmanuel Christian Center, Spring Lake Park
  • Emmanuel Covenant Church, Shoreview
  • North Heights Lutheran Church, Arden Hills
  • Oak Park Community Church, Blaine
  • Pathways Community Church, Ramsey
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As we've done in past years, we will post your church in the program. Below is last year's list. Let me know if your church is not on the list. Thanks!

  • Anoka Covenant Church, Anoka
  • Bethlehem Baptist Church, Moundsview
  • Champlin United Methodist Church, Champlin
  • Constance Free Church, Andover
  • Eaglebrook Church, Spring Lake Park
  • Emmanuel Christian Center, Spring Lake Park
  • Emmanuel Covenant Church, Shoreview
  • North Heights Lutheran Church, Arden Hills
  • Oak Park Community Church, Blaine
  • Pathways Community Church, Ramsey
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What You Need To Know About the Star Spangled Banner

by: Chris Haas

07/25/2019

4

The Star Spangled Banner

  • Watch direction for holds
  • Strong start, down to mf at start of anthem
  • Keep up, steady “march” feel throughout
  • As in all songs, leave room for crescendos – don’t start so loud that there’s no room to go
    • Large crescendo on “was still there,” then big drop, then steady crescendo again, with peak at “free” (longest hold here – watch director).
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The Star Spangled Banner

  • Watch direction for holds
  • Strong start, down to mf at start of anthem
  • Keep up, steady “march” feel throughout
  • As in all songs, leave room for crescendos – don’t start so loud that there’s no room to go
    • Large crescendo on “was still there,” then big drop, then steady crescendo again, with peak at “free” (longest hold here – watch director).
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What You Need To Know About YOU ARE THERE

by: Chris Haas

07/25/2019

4

You Are There

Lots could be said about this song, but focus on these things:

  • Again, watch the director whenever possible. It’s important, especially on exposed parts (such as the mens’ intro phrases), that we are together. Even if I’m off a bit, it will sound better if we are all off together than some right, some not; plus, we’ll get back on track quicker if we stay together.
  • That said, counting (in your head) is even more important on this song than many since the director can’t cue everyone at every place because of the greater number of voices and the… read more
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You Are There

Lots could be said about this song, but focus on these things:

  • Again, watch the director whenever possible. It’s important, especially on exposed parts (such as the mens’ intro phrases), that we are together. Even if I’m off a bit, it will sound better if we are all off together than some right, some not; plus, we’ll get back on track quicker if we stay together.
  • That said, counting (in your head) is even more important on this song than many since the director can’t cue everyone at every place because of the greater number of voices and the way they’re written. If you have practiced with your voice’s track a lot, you’ll likely have the “feel” ingrained in your head; that’s good, but reinforce it with counting.
  • Dynamics, dynamics, dynamics! It is useful to mark/highlight the dynamic markings on your music. I will direct them as well, but if you have them highlighted, you can practice them accurately; then in performance, it won’t be a surprise when the director calls for more or less volume. Here are some of the important dynamics in this piece:
    • From m11-26, follow the crescendos/decrescendos. Men, don’t start too loud in the beginning, but be sure to have room to go even lower (p) at the end of each phrase. Ladies, your coming in at m21 will have a crescendoing effect already, so don’t start too loud working up to the mf at m22.
    • M59-65, as we discussed, crescendo on the word “hand.” You need to be at and sustain f at m63-4 so again, don’t start so loud (at m59) that you can’t do that.
    • Starting at m90, there’s a gradual crescendo to m93, then sustained f all the way through the “You are there’s.”
    • On the rest of the song, again, mark your dynamics (they bounce around a bit in the last several pages, and watch the director. At the very end, as we discussed, if you can do a sforzando and sustain the crescendo to the very end, do it. If you can’t, get a good breath and start the last word (“there”) at p and crescendo to ff.
  • Breathing. You know what you can do. It is best if we all breath together, and in most cases, it happens naturally just by the way the song is written, but be sure in trouble spots, where you think you’ll have difficulty sustaining a note, that you are breathing strategically. At the end of this song, we all have ample opportunity (half a measure +) to get our largest breath possible. The trouble comes in when you don’t manage that breath so that you can crescendo and sustain to the end. Practice this at home, so you know your limits and abilities and you’re not just guessing on performance day.
  • Memorizing. Every song is better memorized, and this one is no exception. Practice it memorized, and see how you do. If you can sing it well with the music but completely fall apart when you try memorizing, then keep practicing; however, if you really feel that you won’t be able to do it, then you can use your music Saturday. Personally, I think this song is easier to memorize than it is to use music, but that might not be true for you.
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What You Need To Know About THE MANSIONS OF THE LORD

by: Chris Haas

07/25/2019

3

The Mansions of the Lord

  • As it stands now, the trumpet will start immediately at the start of the slideshow; trumpet will fade and choir will sing V1, V2, notes of V1 “oohed,” V3; then the trumpet will play one more verse (perhaps muted); hopefully, by then, the slides will be over or close; at the last slide, the crowd will stand and the trumpet will play Taps.
  • Start with reverence, like you’re in a sacred space and you are unworthy to sing the words.
  • I’m going to go slow, but not too slow. It needs to last through the slides, but… read more
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The Mansions of the Lord

  • As it stands now, the trumpet will start immediately at the start of the slideshow; trumpet will fade and choir will sing V1, V2, notes of V1 “oohed,” V3; then the trumpet will play one more verse (perhaps muted); hopefully, by then, the slides will be over or close; at the last slide, the crowd will stand and the trumpet will play Taps.
  • Start with reverence, like you’re in a sacred space and you are unworthy to sing the words.
  • I’m going to go slow, but not too slow. It needs to last through the slides, but I think the song is diminished a bit if we go too slow. We’ll try to get the “right” tempo at practice Thur/Fri.
  • Remember, long e before vowels (the ages), short before consonants (the mansions).
  • Sing the word, “fight,” top of page 2, with conviction and a slight crescendo into it; watch my cut on the “t’s” and “s’s,” such as “fight.”
  • Basses (you know :>)), need to hear your climb up the scale on, “mothers cry and no children weep.”
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What You Need To Know About TRUTH IS MARCHING ON

by: Chris Haas

07/25/2019

4

Truth is Marching On

  • Again, remember dynamics. Leave room in your p to mf to go up, and breath correspondingly.
  • Most of you, having sung this several times previously, are nailing the rhythms (i.e. “corridors of time,”). Keep it up :>).
  • Watch at the very end for my cut and cue for “-ing // on----“.
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Truth is Marching On

  • Again, remember dynamics. Leave room in your p to mf to go up, and breath correspondingly.
  • Most of you, having sung this several times previously, are nailing the rhythms (i.e. “corridors of time,”). Keep it up :>).
  • Watch at the very end for my cut and cue for “-ing // on----“.
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What You Need To Know About THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

by: Chris Haas

07/25/2019

3

Battle Hymn of the Republic

Nothing to learn here, sheet music-wise, but as with all previous years, we will end with the Battle Hymn, David leading, and the rest of us, including the audience, joining on the chorus. The exact arrangement can be found in this performance by the Gaithers, if you’d like to practice. You can sing whatever makes you happy (melody, harmony, lip-sync :>) ).

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Battle Hymn of the Republic

Nothing to learn here, sheet music-wise, but as with all previous years, we will end with the Battle Hymn, David leading, and the rest of us, including the audience, joining on the chorus. The exact arrangement can be found in this performance by the Gaithers, if you’d like to practice. You can sing whatever makes you happy (melody, harmony, lip-sync :>) ).

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VIDEO for YOU ARE THERE

by: Chris Haas

07/19/2019

4

Here is the video that will play (minus the voices) while we sing YOU ARE THERE.

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Here is the video that will play (minus the voices) while we sing YOU ARE THERE.

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Men Only Practice Friday @ 7pm!

by: Chris Haas

07/18/2019

6

This is it, guys! See you at 7!

Like all of you, I'm attempting to do my best, preparing for choir and the Freedom Celebration in general. But also like many of you, life has it's detours. I've had a few this past 48 hours. By Sunday evening, yesterday's through Sunday's posts will have been expanded. I'll remind you then to revisit them. Meanwhile, review the Dynamics chart from yesterday's post, as it can be useful. And pray! And listen! And sing!

Speaking of prayer, keep Tom Miller and family in your prayers in these coming days. Just got word that his… read more

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This is it, guys! See you at 7!

Like all of you, I'm attempting to do my best, preparing for choir and the Freedom Celebration in general. But also like many of you, life has it's detours. I've had a few this past 48 hours. By Sunday evening, yesterday's through Sunday's posts will have been expanded. I'll remind you then to revisit them. Meanwhile, review the Dynamics chart from yesterday's post, as it can be useful. And pray! And listen! And sing!

Speaking of prayer, keep Tom Miller and family in your prayers in these coming days. Just got word that his son-in-law, Josh Richardson, passed away Tuesday. Josh, 46, was a former Marine with a wife (Tom's daughter) and 2 young children. May God give them all strength for the journey ahead.

Chris

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DyNaMiCs

by: Chris Haas

07/17/2019

5

This post is about DyNaMiCs, but I might not get to it until tomorrow, due to some unexpected events; however, you can still comment and earn your iPad entry; just remember to come back and read the rest of it tomorrow! Thanks!

Chris


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This post is about DyNaMiCs, but I might not get to it until tomorrow, due to some unexpected events; however, you can still comment and earn your iPad entry; just remember to come back and read the rest of it tomorrow! Thanks!

Chris


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WHERE SHOULD MY FOCUS BE?

by: Chris Haas

07/16/2019

7

I know too well the distractions and demands of modern life are profuse. From the youngest to the oldest, few are spared the onslaught. Mostly, what distracts us is both trivial and unnecessary for living. But I don't want to get into a long treatise here on what's important in life. As I've shared at practice, I strongly feel that it is tough to imagine much that fills our daily lives that even comes in a distant second to what we are doing on July 27, singing to honor first God and veterans. What we are doing is not trivial;… read more

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I know too well the distractions and demands of modern life are profuse. From the youngest to the oldest, few are spared the onslaught. Mostly, what distracts us is both trivial and unnecessary for living. But I don't want to get into a long treatise here on what's important in life. As I've shared at practice, I strongly feel that it is tough to imagine much that fills our daily lives that even comes in a distant second to what we are doing on July 27, singing to honor first God and veterans. What we are doing is not trivial; it's not unimportant; it is, in fact, one of the best things we will ever do.

So to distill it down to where our focus should be as we prepare, keep these in mind:

  1. Pray. Each day, pray for this event, for the veterans, for the singers/speakers, for our choir, and for your participation and preparation.
  2. Read. Read the lyrics of each song. It's easy to learn songs and gloss over the meaning and impact of the words, as we focus on the other musical parts. Read the lyrics without the music, and let them impact your soul. This is especially true this year with the song You Are There. In fact, I urge you to spend time reading the NIV version of Psalm 139. You Are There is word-for-word verses 1-12.
  3. Listen. Of course it's important to sing, but it's also important to not sing, and just listen (to the demo tracks). Sometimes, it's hard to keep from singing, but even singing very softly, so that you hear the recorded singers more, can be helpful.
  4. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. One of the more challenging things when doing anything well is the monotony of repetition. Whether it's sports, art, music, or any trade even, when we see a master perform, we only see the beauty and ease with which it all happens; we don't see the drudgery of repeat, repeat, repeat, that went into the "final performance." While we aren't performing at the professional level, our "final performance" can be awesome still and can have a profound impact on its hearers, but like it or not, much of that will depend on how often we each push that repeat button!

For the next 10 days, put aside the distractions of daily life when you can; give that extra effort when you're tired and it would be so much easier to kick your feet up and watch TV; and maybe even sacrifice "important" things to have time to prepare your heart and your voice for this event. Thanks so much for volunteering to do so!

Chris

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One more way to win an IPAD - READ THIS!

by: Chris Haas

07/15/2019

14

For those of you who haven't heard, here's one more way to earn entries in the iPad drawing:

READ EVERY BLOG POST, THEN COMMENT. That's it. Below, there are several blog entries. Read each one, then click on the "COMMENT" button, and leave a comment. It could by anything - "Hi"; "Practiced 10 hours today" :>); or ask a question about or comment on the music. Then sign your name. Every time you do that equals one more entry in the iPad drawing.

I will be writing at least one new entry each day between now and the program, so you could… read more

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For those of you who haven't heard, here's one more way to earn entries in the iPad drawing:

READ EVERY BLOG POST, THEN COMMENT. That's it. Below, there are several blog entries. Read each one, then click on the "COMMENT" button, and leave a comment. It could by anything - "Hi"; "Practiced 10 hours today" :>); or ask a question about or comment on the music. Then sign your name. Every time you do that equals one more entry in the iPad drawing.

I will be writing at least one new entry each day between now and the program, so you could easily earn at least a dozen or more entries. That's it for today's blog post, but don't forget to come back tomorrow!

Chris

P.S. Thanks for your diligence in practice! You were sounding very nice Thursday!

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FRAGRANCE FREE REHEARSALS

by: Chris Haas

07/10/2019

12

I forgot to mention last time that there are at least 2 singers who have a strong sensitivity to fragrances, so it is appreciated if all would refrain from wearing any. THANKS!
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I forgot to mention last time that there are at least 2 singers who have a strong sensitivity to fragrances, so it is appreciated if all would refrain from wearing any. THANKS!
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Back Wall Slides for YOU ARE THERE

by: Chris Haas

07/05/2019

7

Some have lobbied hard for the lyrics of YOU ARE THERE to be displayed on the back wall during the performance. I only hesitated because I felt that with 8 voices, it could be difficult to follow; however, I think those concerns might be overblown. I have prepared and timed slides to appear on the back wall, and we will practice with them. For the most part, it's easy to follow; however, in one or two spots, you'll want to look closely at which lines your particular voice should follow. I've included the slides below so that you can familiarize… read more
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Some have lobbied hard for the lyrics of YOU ARE THERE to be displayed on the back wall during the performance. I only hesitated because I felt that with 8 voices, it could be difficult to follow; however, I think those concerns might be overblown. I have prepared and timed slides to appear on the back wall, and we will practice with them. For the most part, it's easy to follow; however, in one or two spots, you'll want to look closely at which lines your particular voice should follow. I've included the slides below so that you can familiarize yourself with following them while listening/singing.
A couple tips:
  1. Don't get distracted by trying to follow all the voices; just focus on your voice on each slide.
  2. It gets easier each time, so don't give up if it feels hard in the beginning. We'll clear up any confusion at practice.



















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Need More Singers! Not too late to invite others!

by: Chris Haas

06/25/2019

11

We had a good practice tonight! We need 40 total singers to make the iPad contest a go, so KEEP ASKING! We're somewhere around 30 if everyone shows, so if even half of you brought just one person, that would do it; and if everyone brought one, we'd have far more than we need. But don't count on the other guy! Keep asking until you get a yes. It's not as hard as you think!

Thanks to all who came tonight! For those who couldn't make it, check back here later for updates on things we covered. And the best thing… read more

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We had a good practice tonight! We need 40 total singers to make the iPad contest a go, so KEEP ASKING! We're somewhere around 30 if everyone shows, so if even half of you brought just one person, that would do it; and if everyone brought one, we'd have far more than we need. But don't count on the other guy! Keep asking until you get a yes. It's not as hard as you think!

Thanks to all who came tonight! For those who couldn't make it, check back here later for updates on things we covered. And the best thing you can do in the meantime: listen to your practice tracks and sing along as many times a day as you can. You'd be amazed how much progress you will make in just a week if you could do that half-a-dozen times a day. Call/email/text me if you want to work one-on-one or in a small group outside of scheduled practices. I'd be happy to do that! Thanks again, one and all, and God bless you for your service to those who have already served!

Chris

P.S. Here's a clip of our practice tonight:


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All Music/Practice Tracks now available!

by: Chris Haas

06/17/2019

10

You can now stream/download the practice tracks and demos (as well as some of the sheet music) at our CHOIR HOME PAGE! Happy Singing!
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You can now stream/download the practice tracks and demos (as well as some of the sheet music) at our CHOIR HOME PAGE! Happy Singing!
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