This morning marked the beginning of the annual Summer Tour as members of the Cardinal Chorale assembled in Coshocton. For many, this rehearsal day was not only a good chance to review the more than 60 songs the ensemble will perform during the next six days on the road, but also an opportunity to refresh and renew friendships with fellow singers.
Attempting to stay cool in the mid-June heat, the Chorale began work right away shaping and molding the full-ensemble sound. With a sizable amount of work ahead, Chorale members showed their impressive resolve and “can-do” attitude by jumping right in to an intense rehearsal. By lunchtime, the singers had worked up quite an appetite, and were very thankful for the shredded chicken and sloppy joe lunch provided by members of the Presbyterian Church, Coshocton–yummy!
With full stomachs, Chorale members split into smaller rehearsal groups for each of the four main voice parts–soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. Singers worked diligently on difficult passages, correcting mistakes and even having mini-voice lessons as a group with knowledgeable staff members. In the mid-afternoon, singers worked together in men’s and women’s sectionals to work on balancing ensemble sound and rehearsing pieces chosen for more specialized TTBB and SSAA voicings.
One of the highlights of the day was a master class and interpretation session with conductor friend Len Thomas, an expert on the Fred Waring sound that forms the basis of the Cardinal Chorale’s repertoire. His incredible work ethic (along with some well-placed jokes and stories) refined the ensemble’s sound on the classic Pennsylvanians arrangement of “All the Things You Are.” Before long, it was time to eat again! This time, the Chorale enjoyed the savory taste of baked chicken and cheesy potatoes, all while enjoying a little silliness with tabletop Mad Libs.
Following dinner, the Chorale went to the movies! and enjoyed a showing of a Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians television special recorded by PBS in the 1970s. It was a wonderful way to envision and understand the stylistic elements Mr. Thomas had presented earlier. Then it was time to head to the risers for another batch of rehearsals with the full ensemble. The Chorale really started to make its magic, just before sending members off with local host families to rest up and prepare for the long but exciting journey ahead!