Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Iron Recital Room in the music department. At the first rehearsal, we were given the manuscripts we were to cover for the semester. Measurements were taken for the custom-made gown for women and men were to buy or rent tuxedos. Rehearsals usually start with warming-up, body stretching and chest- expansion. These exercises help the body to let go of bad tension and build good tension. Tension in the neck, shoulders or at the base of the tongue is bad, while tension in the sound of the voice is good; it arrests the ear. Tension in the diaphragm and legs helps to introduce tension into the voice. As choristers, we were expected to sing as if there was an orange at the back of our throats, our mouths in an ???O??™ shape so that we could make a yawning sound when singing.
I was still at a loss at how to read the notes. So, I made friends quickly because I desperately needed help. Shauna was very helpful. After every class, she would take about ten minutes of her time to put me through the notes. I believe she was God sent and I cherish my relationship with her very much. I learned fast, recognizing the beat counts, the rests, the keys etc immediately I saw them. Women sang soprano and alto which mostly involved the head voice, while men sang tenor and bass which involved the deeper chest voice. If the men had to sing very high notes, then they would sing a falsetto. I tried incorporating vibrato into my singing; a totally straight note is not attractive especially if it is a high note. At the end of the course work, students are supposed to have developed techniques required for good choral singing including proper posture, breath support and control, resonance, placement, intonation, blending and diction.
I try to maintain a cordial relationship with the members of my community and they all have been wonderful people. Jason, who is a bass singer, is quite funny. Sometimes, he gets so caught up in the euphoria of the music that he doesn??™t notice when our director gives us the sign to stop. And so, he gets picked on. Nevertheless, I like his enthusiasm and I would say that he is one of the best male singers we have. Susan is the prim and proper lady, decent in manner, speech, posture and dressing. I find myself staring at her sometimes wishing that I am as much a lady as she is and I am definitely working on that. Our director is a pleasant lady and she doesn??™t hesitate to commend us when we sing well.
As a choir, there are certain values we hold very dearly. For example, we are allowed to mark music with pencil only. This is so that it could be legible enough for others to read. Other more pressing issues are etiquette and blending. All choir members are to be very courteous to each other no matter what. Also, we are supposed to be recognized as a group when singing; no individual, for whatever reason should stand out. Therefore, no one should wear anything that would make him or her noticeable. This is what makes a good choir, second to the voices. I look forward to the dress rehearsals and concerts coming up later in this semester. They are going to awesome, I am sure. I have accepted all the values represented in this choir. After all, this is not the first choir of which I was a member.
Joining the UTA Choir endeared me more to music and its complexities. It helped me overcome challenges I never thought I could. It has also provided me with a sense of accomplishment. But, there is still so much to learn and plenty of room for improvement.