top of page
  • Stephanie Sepiol, Instructor: Voice

In Tune

Okay, so sometimes not everything goes as planned. By Monday morning, all six conductors had arrived and the workshop was ready to begin. As the clock began to inch toward the scheduled 9:30 downbeat, those in charge began to wonder, "Where is the accompanist?" When she finally arrived it became clear that due to a communication error she was only just receiving the music that morning, which led to, of course, an interesting state of musical affairs. As she plodded through the not easily plodded Mozart and Bach scores, each conductor began to stress. Could they rehearse at the tempos they had planned? Could she understand the instructions they were giving? As she would fall further behind the conductor's beat, so would the choir. It was a mess. After a while, however, it all began to click. No matter what mistakes you hear, look. Listen. Breathe together. Choral singing is all about ensemble--a unified voice. Some people in the room may have a stunning résumé of solo work and personal musical accomplishments, but in a choir, everyone is equal. Every section must have balance. If you are a sports fan, think about it this way: LeBron James played magnificently in the NBA Finals, but his team failed to provide him the support he needed to win the championship. The Golden State Warriors had the league MVP on their side, but Stephen Curry couldn't win the game himself. A successful choral performance is just like a game of basketball! Well, sort of. You might sound amazing. You might sound so good that if the Queen walked in she would knight you on the spot. But you are part of your section, and your section is part of the choir, and it takes the whole choir to make the song sing. My favorite conductor of the group is a Canadian woman named Kathleen who is patient, encouraging, and meticulous about every detail. If we are not creating the sound she wants, she finds a new way to coax it from us. She is conducting the Runestad "Alleluia," which has some gnarly key changes throughout. She had us warmup by carefully tuning each consecutive key signature before we approached that section of the peice, and from then on each entrance was so much easier to hear. We were finally melodically and personally in tune.

bottom of page