Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekly Updates Feb 1-6

Vocal Music Students:

We are now less than a week away from Berklee and have a busy but fun week ahead!

After School Schedule
Monday: Tenor Jazz Sectional (any other sections could meet)
Tuesday: Tenor Choir Sectional....Vocal Jazz night rehearsal 6:30-8:00
Wednesday: Alto Jazz Sectional?? Bass Jazz Sectional?
Thursday: Bass Choir Sectional
Friday: Vocal Jazz Final Set Run-Through

Wednesday Mixed VJE Ahern performance
On Wednesday Mixed VJE will be heading to Ahern to perform
Boarding the bus at 8:30am, gentlemen will wear polka dot ties

Berklee Saturday
Bus leaves at 8:00am sharp, be at school by 7:45am to load the bus
Be back in Foxboro around approx 10:00pm 
More detailed info coming soon

Coming Soon
Vocalogy: Thursday Feb 11
Choir Step-Up Feb 25, 6:30pm

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Two Quick Announcements

Two Quick and Important Announcements:

MIXED VOCAL JAZZ: Rehearsal tomorrow (Friday 1/29): 3:00pm - 4:15pm
CONCERT TONIGHT: Winterfest featuring Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Orchestra!

Please come out and support your peers!  This is very important!

See you at the concert and rehearsal -- Mr. Raymond

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mixed Vocal Jazz Rehearsal Videos

Like Someone In Love:


Want You Back:

The most important thing to work on right now is group blend and intonation.  Some sections are fairly precise, clean, and in tune, and other sections are way off.  In order to accomplish a better group blend we need to do the following:

- Work on a better "choral" sound...use the microphones DONT BELT,

- NO VIBRATO! Be careful not to let higher pitches sink, energize your air and tone, Full warm open resonant straight tone sound

-  Basses, Tenors, and Alto 1, you need to continue to work on your half steps vs whole steps and getting your parts REALLY accurate.    Particularly bad spots include: Coda of Like Someone In Love, Ending buildup chords in Magnolia, Chorus part of Want You Back (Letter H), and the intro chords of Want You Back

- Remember to breathe together, finish all your releases, REMEMBER to use good vocal technique--breath support and vowels!!

Key Spots To Address:
Like Someone In Love: Hold "Lately" a little longer and fuller sounding
Ending Coda--build up chords at the end, use more open vowels, Don't jump to the "M" of "Someone" to soon...think of and open full sound, Like the Hamilton recording!!

Magnolia: Smoother connected lines on the Verses (Letter C & I)
Don't rush the "power chorus" sections, LAY BACK! (Letter B, D, K)
TUNING of the chords at Letter J, and backgrounds at L -- NEEDS work!
All the build up chords from Letter P to the end -- Need to be SUPER precise with pitch

Want You Back: Review the Chorus parts at Letter H and N, Accuracy!!
Tuning of the Chords from m.26-30 and 163-167...careful Sopranos on the high notes
Chord Tuning on the CODA

Reference Videos:
Listen to the these videos again, we want to try to get this level of accuracy in pitch
Listen to their group blend and releases, and open vowels and warm tone!
The middle voice parts (Tenors/Altos) are particularly full and resonant
Open Vowels on the CODA and straight full tone

Hamilton: Like Someone in Love

CSULB: Want You Back

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Weekly Updates Jan 25

Weekly Updates: Jan 25-29

Busy week ahead! We are now 2 weeks away from Berklee, and just over two months away from MICCA.  We have much to accomplish in a short amount of time.  Make sure you are listening to the recordings regularly even daily if possible and practicing with the part tracks.

First, anyone who has not submitted their choir midterm assessment must do so ASAP.  

Weekly Choir Sectionals:
Tuesday 1/26: Sopranos
Thursday 1/28: Altos
Tuesday 2/2: Tenors
Thursday 2/4: Bass

Mixed Vocal Jazz Sectionals:
Only the Sopranos, Tenors, and Alto 2s have told me they've met so far
Every section needs to meet twice before Berklee!! Don't wait until the day before

Tuesday's nights Jazz Choir rehearsal will be in the band room.  We will do a full Berklee practice run with everything set up like the festival.  I will video tape it and share it with you.  By Tuesday everyone should be singing the program by memory.  

Lindsey/Hannah, I want to meet with you both this week to work on your solos--Wednesday?

Upcoming events:
Winter fest concert (orchestra and band) Thursday 1/28
Mixed Vocal Jazz to Ahern Wedesday 2/3
Berklee Saturday 2/6
Step-Up Night Thursday 2/25

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mixed Vocal Jazz Updates

Mixed Vocal Jazz:

Hey everyone, I hope your midterms are going smoothly.  By the end of the week, I would like you to either have had a sectional or have scheduled your sectional.  It is very important that you get together!  In this email, I will write down a list of items to address in your sectional.  I've decided on set tempos for each song.  Please practice with a metronome--especially soloists and rhythm section!  This is the speed we will go with for each song.

-  Like Someone In Love: Quarter note=168  (the entire song)
-  Magnolia: Quarter Note=152 (Opening should sound relaxed and on the back end of the beat, ending groove buildup should be locked right in with that speed and slightly more on top)
-  Want You Back = Half Note=108 (Quarter=216) 
Feel it in 2, practice with the metronome at 108

Like Someone In Love:
- Transition from Swing to Bossa -- don't let the tempo change
- Tighten up the Bossa section, practice it in tempo, "lock-in"
- Expression of the lyrics, overall flow and feel from line to line
- Getting the "background" line in the solo section in tune
- Releases and dynamics (in the coda in particular)

Magnolia (spend most of your time on this one, letters in order of importance)
- Letter S: Spend time on this one! Slow it down, get all the lines/syllables CLEAN, unified
- Letter C & I: Diction, tuning, blend--each section should sound like one voice 
- Letter A/O: "oo's"-- singing as "whoo" in-tune with matching vowel shapes that are open on the inside (remember the pencil drill from the clinic)
- Letter B/D/K: Singing with more aggressiveness/confidence and unified rhythms/pitch
- Letter P/Q: Clarity of words, blend, tuning, entrances/releases -- practice with a metronome
- Overall text expression and meaning...what does it mean to you? Portray that emotion!

Want You Back
- Letter H&N: Clarity of diction and vocal parts really in-tune with the singers in your section
- Confidence and dynamics: Measures 75-77 & 151-153
- Timing, tempo, diction, and confidence from Letter K-Measure 20
- Transition from Letter H to the CODA --Make it Smooth!
- Overall: Staying locked in to the tempo--practice with the metronome, 
- Don't Let the energy drop!!!

Hannah & Lindsey: Make sure you are working on really analyzing the text and coming up with the emotional expressions to match the solos--especially on "Like Someone" and "Magnolia".  Hannah, work on clarity of your diction and tuning of entrances and the buildup on Magnolia.  Lindsey, work on the tuning of your lines and entrances in the beginning of Magnolia, and be thinking about different ways to really bring it home at the end of Want You Back.  I'll want to meet with you both next week to go over these solos.

​Berklee Website:
Finally for those interested you can hear recordings from last year's competing jazz choirs at Berklee by going to the website:  You then click on Competition Results: 2015 Festival: Ensemble Recordings.  You can see videos of the space we'll be in by going on Youtube.  It may be a good idea to check out recordings and videos of some of last year's winners to get an idea of what you're up against.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mixed Vocal Jazz Updates


New Part Tracks for Magnolia have been uploaded -- Please use these to really tighten up your voice parts!!  Practice with the piano part tracks along with the Kerry Marsh part tracks, followed by singing with the recording daily!


Tuesday Night: 6:30-8:00pm
Wednesday: During Midterm Period 3 followed by after school Clinic 11:00am-12:30

Your midterm grade is the Wednesday clinic.  Please be focused and give your best energy and singing Wednesday.  Approach every time like it's the Berklee Performance.

Don't forget to schedule your it out with the people in your section.  Email me once you've met and let me know what you went over.

Tonight I will hear the following soloists:

-Mr. Raymond

Monday, January 18, 2016

Weekly Updates:Midterm Week

Weekly Updates: Midterm Week

After School Schedule:

Tuesday: Evening Vocal Jazz 6:30-8:00pm
Wednesday: Vocal Jazz Ensemble: Clinic with Ned Rosenblatt: 11:00am-12:30
Thursday: Sectional Makeup

On Wednesday, Berklee Vocal Jazz Professor Ned Rosenblatt will be coming to Foxboro.  This is an awesome opportunity to work with one of the best!!  *Reminder* Please make sure if you are in mixed vocal jazz ensemble that you come to rehearsal on Wednesday during the Period 3 Midterm!!! Ned Rosenblatt will be coming in to work with us and do a clinic with the singers during the midterm period.  Rhythm section will join in at the end of the school day (at 11:00am) and we will continue to rehearse with him as a full group until approximately 12:30.  Attending this clinic is your "Midterm".

Also, don't forget, every Mixed Vocal Jazz section needs to hold at least 2 student led sectionals.  Work on Magnolia the most.  Email me either after you've met, (or before you've met if you would like me to listen in).  You can meet anytime before or after school and it will count.  These meetings will count as a grade (and allow you and your section to work specifically on the parts that are the most challenging outside of full group rehearsal time).
Choir: Your "Midterm" will be a vocal assessment: specific sections announced tomorrow
Mixed Jazz Choir: Your "Midterm" will be the clinic with Ned Rosenblatt on Wednesday
Treble Jazz Choir: Your "Midterm" will be a vocal assessment of a section or solo of your choice

Make sure you are listening to the recordings often (daily if possible), and working with the part tracks!  This is essential to learning this much music in a short amount of time.  Doing this will allow us to make even more progress in rehearsals.

See you Tuesday!  Hope everyone is having a safe and happy Martin Luther King Day!
-Mr. Raymond

Friday, January 15, 2016

FHS Choir Updates

Foxboro Singers:

You now have access to mp3 files for all the spring repertoire.  PLEASE listen to all the mp3 files routinely.  Start seeking out additional recordings and Youtube videos as well.  The more you familiarize yourself with the music through listening, the more effectively you will learn the music.  I recommend downloading all the mp3 files and creating a playlist for yourself to listen to on a regular (even daily) basis.  Use these recordings along with the part tracks and sing along in your regular practice sessions and student-led sectionals.

Leaders, make sure you are scheduling student-led sectionals to further augment the work we are doing in our regular sectionals.  The "off-week" for your voice part makes a great time to meet.  

As always, if you are struggling with learning your parts...DONT give up!  Seek out myself or a section leader and we will help you.

The current plan for MICCA (definitely subject to change)

Nuit D'Etoiles
Sail Away

Selig Sind Die Reines Herzens Sind (Blessed Are The Pure of Heart)
If Love Should Count You Worthy
Just As The Tide Was Flowing

BY END OF JANUARY: All Notes and Rhythms Learned
BY FEBRUARY BREAK: All Notes/Rhythms/Dynamics/Phrasing/Diction Clean
BY March 14: All Music Memorized
BY April 1: All Music At A "Gold" level in terms of Expression, Dynamics, Phrases, Diction

Time to dig in and work hard!

-Mr. Raymond

Monday, January 11, 2016

Mixed Vocal Jazz Ensemble Updates

Mixed Vocal Jazz Ensemble Singers:

We now have less than 4 weeks until Berklee (Feb 6).  Make sure you are working and listening to the music daily to improve your parts and solos.  I am creating a reference folder on Dropbox that has multiple recordings.  Listen and sing along as much as possible over the next few weeks--especially soloists!!!

Schedule a sectional with your section if you have not done so already!!!  Try to meet at least 2 or 3 times by the end of January.  If you would like me to be there let me know when you are meeting and I will go.

Tomorrow night's rehearsal will be the last chance for anyone who wants one of the featured solos at Berklee to get an opportunity to sing it.  I will select soloists after Tuesday's rehearsal and will be planning individual sessions with each soloist.

I would like everyone to learn the Scat Solo to Like Someone In Love.  This will be your Midterm.

This is the order and solos available:
Like Someone In Love: Feature Melody Solo, Scat Solo, Bass Solo (Trombone Solo?)
Magnolia: Featured Melody Solo, (Guitar 1st Improv Section), (Vocal 2nd Improv Section)
I Want You Back: (opening--Molly and Claire?), Featured Melody Solo, Guitar, Trombone, End riffs

Reference Videos---PLEASE watch/use:

Like Someone In Love (Karrin Allyson)---Our arrangement is based off this recording

Magnolia: Becca Stevens -- Emulate her style! Listen to the rhythm interplay

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year: Welcome Back


Welcome back, we have a busy month of music ahead!

This week I will be away Thursday and Friday, rehearsals will be in sectional format Thursday and run by student leaders (I will have a plan for you)

Sectionals will be Tuesday (1/5) after school will be Sopranos (No sectionals Thursday).  Next week we will have Altos/Tenors Tuesday (1/12) and Tenor Thursday (1/14)

Senior District Music Festival is later this week: consult the handout for details

Mixed Vocal Jazz Tuesday 6:30-8:00pm.  Very important that everyone be at every Tuesday evening rehearsal all month--we have 5 evening rehearsals until Berklee.

Upcoming Spring Dates:
All-State Auditions 1/23
Berklee Jazz Festival 2/6 (Mixed VJE)
Vocalogy Clinic and Concert (mixed and treble perform) 2/11
Choir Step Up Night Feb TBA
Coffeehouse Jan/Feb TBA
Choralpalooza March 3
Junior Districts March 4-5
All-State March 10-12
Spring Concert March 31
MICCA (April 1-2) Concert Choir & Women's choir performs Friday evening April 1
TOUR: April 27-May 1
Spring Jazz Festival: May 4
Pops 2016: May 14-15
Spring Chamber Concert: May 26
FMA Potluck: May 27