by: Chris Haas
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! 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.
4 Comments on this post:
Liking this one better as I have learned it more.
Thanks for all your help. Should be a great celebration Saturday