On the fourth day of Workshop, the staff sang to us, four Christmas carols! Today, July 25th, is “Christmas in July.” To get to our breakfast tables, members of the Cardinal Chorale had to walk through a tunnel of staff members singing carols such as “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” and “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Staff were also emblazoned in scarves, ugly Christmas sweaters, and Santa hats. This, along with today’s chilly weather, gave everyone something fun to celebrate for the day!
Our surprise celebration was followed by individual Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass rehearsals. Each section powered through their exhaustion to make great progress on all of this year’s new pieces. “A Chorale Fanfare,” a powerful, yet complicated opening piece, became much more solidified than ever before. Though the whole Chorale was sounding great, it was not until we held “voice placements” after lunch that we really found our true beauty. Voice placing is the exercise of situating similar voices near each other, as to balance the sound and tone of the section. In a choral setting, arranging the “colors” of voices can make a large impact on the performance.
During dinner, to continue with our “Christmas in July” theme, singers and staff sat in groups arranged by their favorite Christmas movies. Angie, John, Michael, MaryBeth, and Jordan had the opportunity to sit with assistant conductor Beth Vaughn and quote “Elf” (2003) the whole time! As a matter of fact, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
Our evening rehearsals were ones for the books! Everyone worked continuously to perfect our art. Four horn players were added as accompaniment to “Festival Piece on ‘St. Anne,” and created an immediate epicness to the song right off the bat! Plus, for the first time in four years, the Cardinal Chorale sang “Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit,” a spiritual that has been in some of our music packets for years. The women’s piece “Give us Hope,” which is also the title of this year’s concert series, was stunning to the ear, especially with our new voice placement.
Tonight, the Cardinal Chorale had the pleasure of listening to the reprise performance of this year’s Musical Theatre Showcase- “When I Grow Up.” For the last three years, Chorale staff members Erin, Haley, Jen, Matt, Peter, and others, have put on a show featuring their favorite show tunes to raise money for Workshop tuition scholarships. Elizabeth really enjoyed hearing Matt sing “A Bit of Earth” from The Secret Garden and Erin’s “Unexpected Song” from Song & Dance. Thanks to the five staff members who put in so much work to help out the Cardinal Chorale and entertain us for a little while!