Monday, September 22, 2014

This Week - Work Due & Class Agenda

- GLEE separate men in syufy; women in art rm 105: Bumble & Les Mis - know the parts solidly that we've gone over; be ready for spot checks!  

- 5:25-5:35pm: Men go early to Art Rm for Shadow of the Day run-thru with women
- 5:40-6:40: Chamber focus is "Lux"

7:15-8pm Glee Lab focusing on "Shadow" - getting it memorized with moments

- GLEE shadow and shamba with movement
- CS lux and Tshots
- CS LAB in chapel: Sicut and Gloria (beginning of last mvt.) 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Agenda for Thu 9/18 Glee & Chamber

First - link is now fixed: click here for Commitment form. There are also copies outside my office, LeFevre Rm 5, and I will bring copies to class.

Biz to Take Care of:
- collect any past due commitment forms
- collect names of singers who wish to fully attend Dr. Cornel West's lecture on Oct 11 event: although we sing at the beginning of his event, those without advance tickets will need to wait in a side room (with pizza & drinks) until we sing again at the end of the event. No pressure to attend lecture put if you'd like to your name and advance ticket order is needed (free for choir members). 
(Oct. 11 gig is Moraga Room, Soda Center 2pm call, sing 3:20-3:35, break, sing 5:00-5:05pm; done)
- warm-ups

Music & activities:
Review Shambala; learn descant
Shambala movement with Cathy
excuse Glee only folks
Tshotsholoza movement with Cathy in Art Rm & Chapel
excuse for dinner
Chamber Lab - Bach sectionals with special meetings spots to be announced (e.g. Syufy 110, Piano rm, etc.)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tue Sep 16: Commitment Form Due & GLEE help with Flash mob!! Please read!

Commitment form is due; include in writing any pre-approved  conflicts with regular class or labs.

Special Agenda Today:  to include a flash mob during dinner with ALL Singers on Shambala!

4:45-5:30 Sectionals - men in Syufy 110, Women in Art Rm

5:30 ALL Glee Singers go to Art Room to prepare Shambala to sing in Flash Mob

5:35 Chamber Singers arrive & join Glee on Shambala - SOLO AUDITIONS!

6:00 EVERYONE head over to Oliver Hall - sing in a flash mob! Afterwards Glee-only singers are  excused

6:10-6:40 Chamber go back to Art Rm for 1/2-hour rehearsal

(dinner break)

7:15-8pm abbreviated Glee Lab in Chapel

Friday, September 5, 2014


What a challenging, yet ultimately informative and productive, day!

Here is an overview of the results:
-  We have different combinations of singers in each choir but a grand total of 31 people, plus our two vocal percussionists who are returning on a partial schedule. This number is slightly surpassing the growth of these past four years, yet we are distributing voices with a keener eye toward balance. We also tended to favor sophomores, juniors, and seniors, understanding that frosh have future semesters to get involved.
-  We had many more women than men audition so we had to turn away some talented singers whom we hope will take beginning voice class and Jan Term Extreme musicianship and come back even stronger for future auditions
-  Some women are only doing one choir: several due to limits of space and others due to course conflicts. We are sorry if this disappoints but we aimed to put the needs of the team first, and then integrated the particular gifts of the singers as best we could.
-  We've asked a few women that we could not fit into Chamber to learn the Bach and sing it with us (Bach has three part women - SSA - throughout, so a few more voices can be accommodated).
-  There are additional male singers with whom we have not completed our audition...we hope for positive results: we have room to add four male singers. If we add them it will provide a better balance, but it will not create room for more female voices.

26 (plus two vocal percussionists)
SOPS (7): Becca, Angelica, Julia, Valeria*, Maddi*, Paula*, Mikayla
ALTOS (8): Raegina, Lina, Felicia, Kalise, Emily E, Emily W., Michaela, Alia
TENORS (5): Peter, Andrew, Miguel, Blake, James
BASSES (6): Zac, Danielle, Michael, Massimo, Dinelo, (Thinus, largely through independent study)
...Waiting to hear: Ash (Tenor), Baron (Bass)
VOCAL PERCUSSION (2): Conor & Angelo, semi-regular schedule

*Asterisk indicates the three women we'd like to join Chamber singers in singing the Bach Magnificat. This will be rehearsed during Chamber daytime class; class agendas will be provided a week in advance so that you can plan accordingly. There will be some specific added lab rehearsals for Bach during November.

Chamber Singers: 25
SOPS (7): Becca, Angelica, Delaney, Emily C., Bridget, Julia, Lindsay
ALTOS (7): Emily W., Lina, Felicia, Raegina, Kalise, Kaylee, Alia
TENORS (6): James, Miguel, Andrew, Cody, Blake, Peter
BASSES (5) Zac B, Daniele, Michael, Thinus, Massimo
...Waiting to hear: Baron (bass), Dinelo (bass) 

In terms of placement within sections (e.g. sop I, sop II, etc.), we will determine that next week in rehearsal.

Thank you to everyone for taking the courageous step of auditioning - so many were chosen for call backs that we feel truly blessed. We hope you'll stay in touch and re-audition again in the future. 
Signed ADD / DROP SLIPS will be left for you outside my office (LeFevre theater, Rm 5) after 10:50am, Friday, Sep. 5.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Please take a moment to read the "Overview of SMC Choirs" (see tab above). There is one audition for all choirs which is an assessment of your musical "ear" (how accurately can you sing back a melody that is played for you), your general technical ability (quality of your voice and ability to blend/sing flexibly), and your ability to sing harmonies (hold your part against another part). You need to have a basic ability to follow sheet music and the resourcefulness to learn your music outside of class. RETURNING STUDENTS: unless you sang in the touring choir we need you to re-audition - we need returning students to SIGN-UP for an appt. 6-9pm on MON, Sep 1 by visiting this link: CLICK HERE.

Auditions for Fall: Tue, Sep 2, 4:45pm, Art Rm 105
(Over-flow auditions, if needed, are Sep 4, 4:45 & should be arranged via email:

STEP ONE - sign-up for a "new student" audition time online: Click here. There may be some available slots on Mon, Sep 1, between 6-9pm: if you need that time, please email me at (If you are unable to sign-up now for whatever reason, you can sign-up during the first day of class).

STEP TWO - download a PDF of the audition piece, Shambala, and learn the voice part you wish to sing in your audition (sop, alto, tenor, or bass; we typically need more altos than sopranos, so if you can audition as an alto please do so).

STEP THREE - Attend the open rehearsal: we will go over "Shambala" together, mostly singing by rote.  You'll then hear about the semester and meet the directors and returning singers. We'll conclude after about thirty minutes and then commence with one-on-one audition appointments.

What occurs in the audition (one auditionee sings for a panel of three: the director, the assistant director, and one advanced returning student).
1 - vocal warm up with the director (up and down a mini-scale on "la-la", etc); this helps us hear the quality and range of your voice
2 - sing a simple harmony with one other person
3 - listen to a series of three pitches and sing them back accurately. These get increasingly challenging to allow us to test the limits of your musical memory and discernment of intervals.
4 - sing any piece of your choosing, a cappella, that is 60 seconds long. Any style is fine. If you have no idea what to sing, we will have you sing "happy birthday to you."
5 - sing your part on the piece provided (PDF of Shambala - see link above) along with another singer or two.
6 - we thank you and send you on your way. Those who are ready to sing in the choir will be invited to call-backs BY EMAIL (and results will be posted here on the blog on Sep 4 or 5). Those who we think need more training to prepare for choir will be advised to first take a beginning voice or piano or musicianship class as a starting point, with encouragement to re-audition in the spring.

QUESTION - What if I want to start looking the Chamber Singers call back piece ahead of time? ANSWER - you may do so. It is "Mekletaja" (a Latvian carol) which will be sung on neutral text (e.g. la, la, la) for the audition.  To download a copy of Mekletaja, click here-  (JUST FIXED THIS LINK so it should work now!).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chamber Singers & Glee Club each earn GOLD MEDALS at World Choir Games

A letter from Martin Rokeach, Chair of Music Program at SMC:

Dear Colleagues and Friends of the Saint Mary’s College Choirs,

On Sunday night the Saint Mary’s College Chamber Singers and Glee Club proudly returned from the World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia, each with their own respective Gold Medal. It is difficult to convey the stimulation, intensity and gratification of the experience. Our students joined 460 choirs and over 27,000 singers from 73 nations around the globe.

Before departing for Latvia choir members returned to campus for three days of full-time, high-intensity rehearsal. Though their spring concert in the chapel was excellent, the Glee Club and Chamber Singers surpassed themselves by the time their plane left the ground. But even after arriving in Europe, directors Julie Ford and Sharon Kim gently pushed them to continue working and sharpening their performing skills. By the time their two capstone concerts took place in front of audiences of about 400 each they were not the same ensembles you heard two months earlier. What a pleasure to see our students push themselves to their very limit.

Musical standards at the Choir Games were very high, weak ensembles were not invited to participate. Competing against fifty-five other choirs in the Mixed Chamber category, the SMC Chamber Singers’ stunning 20-minute performance earned a Gold Medal, placing them among the top eight ensembles. In the Popular Music category, our Glee Club competed against twenty-nine other choirs. Their 4-song set was, to my ear, flawless --  the only time in my 30-year teaching career I couldn’t find a single detail to improve. They also also garnered a Gold Medal, placing among the top six ensembles.

Despite the highly competitive nature of the games there was a spirit of intercultural warmth and friendship. Song was in the air. Choirs that couldn’t speak the same language sang together and applauded for one another in parks and on buses. Saint Mary’s students spontaneously “jammed” with choir members from Venezuela, Uganda and China.

I am so impressed with our thirty students, each one a delightful soul. They are:

Miguel Angeles, Zachary Barbieri, Michael Blackburn, Marissa Catabingan, Rebecca Capriulo, Isabella Cha, Daniele Citti, Bryce Cloke, Brandon English, Angelica Estrella, Lindsay Ford, Sarah Gleason, Peter Kenton, Erin Kinda, Jeffery Klink, Maddi Larsen, Angelina Mafi, Conor Maher, Felicia McPhaul, Alexandra Miller, Bailey Minardi, Angelo Montero, Katelyn Russell, Delaney Scott, Lucas Shimizu, Andrew Smyth, Shawn Tachovsky, Thinus Venter, Emily Wallace,andAngelica Whaley.

For many of them it was their first trip outside the U.S., and they were thrilled and grateful. After landing in Helsinki they had a tour of the city, and then a 2-hour ferry ride across the Baltic took them to Tallinn, Estonia’s beautiful capital. One singer described the 800-year old medieval section of the city like “stepping into a Disney storybook.” They toured Tallinn, spent time on their own, and then gave a concert to an appreciative Estonian audience. After a long bus ride to neighboring Latvia they not only performed but also toured the city of Riga and enjoyed a fair amount of free time there. In both Estonia and Latvia they gained a sense of centuries past and also recent Soviet history, vividly conveyed by our guides.

Tremendous compliments go to Choral Director Julie Ford and Assistant Director Sharon Kim. Both are superb musicians, teachers, people-managers, and passionately hard workers. Our students and the College are blessed to have them on the faculty. We are also very grateful to Cathy Davalos for all her movement coaching.

Planning for the trip seemed endless and could never have happened without the dedication and attention to detail of Frank Murray and Jeanne DeMatteo. The Performing Arts Department is so grateful for the support of Steve Woolpert and Beth Dobkin, what an impact their devotion to the arts made both to our program and each individual student. Finally, many of our singers could never have attended without considerable financial assistance. Thanks, double thanks, and triple thanks to Lisa Moore of the Development Office and our generous donors: Br. Mel Anderson, Br. Dominic Berardelli, Jonathan and Kathy Clarke, Bill and Sandi Feaster, Rand Morimoto, Ron and Mary Olowin, Carole Swain, and the late (and sorely missed) Diana Wu and her husband George.

Congratulations singers and deepest thanks to all!

Martin Rokeach, Music Program Director
Performing Arts Department