Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let Singers Sing

Greetings readers,

I always feel like there's an exponential learning curve when I start a new set of Pro Coro rehearsals. At the first rehearsal, I sing hesitantly for fear of my guaranteed-to-be-present wrong notes sticking out. I had to get over myself pretty quickly this time around because you can't sing with full sound when you're being hesistant. By Sunday, I was feeling good, note inhibition was dissipating, I was allowing myself to sing out, others were as well too. As a result, Pro Coro's sound really began to open up. Perhaps Zaugg's previous choir marriage proposal wasn't too premature? I felt like the choir was definitely acknowledging the potential in the relationship instead of being wary at how fast things were moving.

Tonight's rehearsal was remarkable because I didn't know Pro Coro could sound the way it did. During some moments, I just thought to myself, "why don't all choirs sound like this all the time?!?!?" While I'm used to singing with full voice in other choirs, in those groups I've felt that our sound was hard to manage because of varied musicial skills. What happens is that we release our individual reservoir of sound without controlling quality. Thus, loud sounds don't have body and soft sounds don't have intensity. Vocal tone is sacrificed in order to meet dynamic requirements. For budding singers, this fine level of vocal control is difficult to master. Even I'm still experimenting with how much of my voice I can use while maintaining the quintessential core of my sound. Ultimately, everybody should be able to sing with their full voice. Some people believe that vocal soloists can't sing in choir. Clearly, they haven't sung in the right choir. If we are being told to be more quiet or blend with the person next to us... then something is wrong. Sound assimilation is the easy way out. Any choir can sound hooty and whitewashed. It's easy enough to match somebody's sound, but if that's not our voice, then why are we even singing?

With the way Pro Coro is sounding now, it feels like what I'm used to but the resulting choral sound is amplified because of the professional caliber of the singers. It really comes down to the fact that Zaugg lets his singers sing. As Zaugg described, with the right framework in place (intonation, diction, dynamics, and articulation), you can contain core sound. Brassy voice timbre, bright sound, warm color, clean tone, full vibrato etc... all these voice qualities have a role to play because the summation of all these individual variables produces the collective voice of the choir. It also doesn't hurt that Zaugg has the ears and skill to mould the sound that results.

Tonight's rehearsal was the first time I heard Pro Coro's true voice. It's extremely exciting! Needless to say, this coming Sunday concert is not to be missed. There are more concert details at this link.

Until next time readers, take care and sing out! You all have a voice and it deserves to be heard.

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