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Today is a RED Day.

For the next couple of days, WATER is your best friend. Alcohol most certainly is NOT!

Amy is OUT OF OFFICE TODAY and going to visit Hobbiton! If you need something, please contact Rachel instead of Amy so that Amy can live her best LOTR dreams. Thank you!

Thursday, July 11 Schedule

7:45-8:45 am Breakfast buffet downstairs in the lobby/cafe area at Airedale Boutique Suites. Please stay to the RIGHT side of the cafe area, at least at first, so that the staff can reset and clean up from the first round of breakfast.

8:45 am – 5:45 pm Enjoy your day in Auckland! Make sure you either have a late lunch or early dinner because you will not have time to eat in between the sound check and the Choral Celebration concert.

5:45 pm Meet in Airedale Lobby in casual or concert attire for an acoustic sound check at Town Hall (across the street)

7:00 pm Meet in lobby in FULL concert attire (hair! bowties! scarves! black socks!) This exact time is subject to change!!! Keep an eye on the chat!

7:30 pm Kaleidoscope Celebration Concert at Town Hall

Diction Notes from 7/10

Onnis on inimene

  • ANYONE SINGING AT MEASURE 5 – the “nou-“ syllable needs more of the first funky mixed vowel in the diphthong, just like when you nailed the “tou-“ syllable in measure 58. 
  • SOPRANOS – take a look at the phrase from measure 16-18 on that first page. The same diphthongs on that pesky mixed vowel are not coming through. Relate the balance to the “tou-“ syllable on measure 58 like the previous note.
  • ALL – Final “d” consonants like the end of “kipuvad” (measure 50), “mind” (measure 62), and “nüüd” (measure 76) need to have a dental [t]. HOWEVER, resist the urge to overcompensate and start to aspirate those. I know that means we don’t hear a ton of sound, but they’re not sounding at all in the house right now.
  • ANYONE SINGING MELODY AT MEASURE 76 – “vaimule” has a pure [u]. I’m hearing a mixed vowel in there

Die Himmel…

  • SSA – This was a fluke, but the first time you came in on the “und” in measure 7 I heard a GIANT aspiration before the initial “u” at the start of the word. That doesn’t need to be a super hard glottal vowel, but it should be a glottal. The second time we went through it was correct, but I heard several “h”s on the first run.
  • TTB – At letter B I heard the [ts] sound for the initial sound of “sagt’s”. That should be a [z]/“z” sound
  • ANYONE AT LETTER C – I need more [k] sound in “keine”
  • ALL – The articles (words for “the”) of “der”, “den”, and “dem” should all have a closed [e].
  • TTB – Measure 60 into 61 — at “aus seiner” I need to hear more between the final “s”/[s] of “aus” into the initial “s”/[z] sound of “seiner”. All you do is add voice to the sound to move from the [s] into the [z] for re-articulation. I don’t think we need to come off and separate the sounds, just find the right time to start using the voice to get both sounds.
  • ALL – the word “held” (measure 66-67) needs a [t] at the end. Not super aggressive, but present and crisp.
  • ALL – the word “weg” (measure 74-> letter K) needs about 25% more [k]. I’m just not hearing it at all, and there is a different between “weh” and “weg” BUT there’s also a difference between “weg” and “wek-“. We need to thread the needle there.
  • SSA – I’m hearing a [v] sound instead of the correct [f] at the start of “verborgen” (measure 90).

Lähto (Rautavaara)

  • You all have done WONDERFUL work with this piece!!! Thank you for your attention to the details. There’s still some memorization to polish up in this, though, so spend time ironing that out (myself included with that pesky “näen” on pg. 6. You bet I’ll have that nailed down for all of you tomorrow). 
  • The ONLY note I have in this is that I need more of the diphthong on “nousee” on page 3. Equally divide the [o] and [u] vowels on eighth notes to find the right flow/balance.


  • Just a reminder that “ziehst” (measure 14 ->) begins with the [ts] sound, not [s]. 
  • In that same span of phrases be sure to differentiate correctly in the “als müsst ich den Gruß…” section. There should be a [y] vowel for “müsst” and a pure [u] for “gruß” (I know I disagree with Dr. Carter on this for those of you that took his German diction course. Brian and I still like each other and can sit down for a very pleasant and jovial cup of coffee, accepting that we’re both right based on where in Germany you studied. It’s a beautiful thing.)
  • “trag” (beginning in measure 30) is missing the flipped “r” completely turning it into the word “tag” which translates to “day”. That very much changes the meaning of the phrase into you showing the day your foot. Please include the flipped “r”.
  • “sanft” (measure 52) begins with a [z] sound, not an [s] sound
  • “klingenden” (measure 53) — I spoke about this in the rehearsal, but make
  • sure you’re not clipping the vowels and aggressively hitting the [n] consonants. It was improving as we spent time on it.
  • “rufen” in measure 60 has a pure [u] vowel
  • “lockende” in measure 63 needs an open [o] vowel. It’s very closed as of now
  • Conversely “vor” in measure 96 and on needs a more closed [o] vowel

A note from Dr. Williams / Luke,

I can’t thank you all enough for your attention to the diction. It REALLY separates an excellent group when the sounds are correct and not generalized or compromised for utterances more in our own language. The Lähto nearly brought me to tears with how fantastic it was today (god, I’m a nerd…). The items listed above are refinements to keep us engaged, and will continue to separate us from the pack if they’re as exact as possible. Please go back and reference the diction videos if you have specific questions, and if they don’t answer your question come and ask me. If I get multiples of the same question I’ll raise it to the group, but the rehearsal time is so precious to get shape, phrasing and tone down that I don’t want to take up time unless there’s something really glaring going on. 

Again, thank you all. As a member of the ensemble I am so glad to be spending this time making meaningful art with every single one of you, and value your artistry immensely. I’ll be ready to bring my absolute best for every event this week, and firmly know I can count on you all to do the same. That steely (dare I say electric?) feeling walking on to the competition stage knowing we’re all zoned in is one of my favorite feelings in existence. I much prefer the team sport aspect of this art, and I’m very proud to be a member of this team.

(From pdh: THANK YOU DR. LUKE!!!)

Notes from PDH

In case you didn’t see it in the chat this morning, my suspicion was correct. We’re on the concert tonight as we were identified as one of the “finest choirs attending the 2024 World Choir Games.” (Their words in the program, not mine!) Knowing that there are several other really fine choirs from the US here this week and next, I think that is a huge compliment as a result of everything that’s gone before us! GO BLUE HENS!

Just a few words about the final approach…

They say that landing a jumbo jet is the most intricate part of any flight! That’s when pilots are the most “hands on,” paying attention the subtleties of varied conditions such as visibility, crosswind, runway condition and all the things.

We have SIX PLANES TO LAND in the next 9 days!

The tradition of pre-performance communal silence dates back to my high school teaching days. It has always been a social contract of sorts of expressing your esprit de corps with a vote of silent focus as you hone in on the runway and prepare to touch down. While it should go without saying, I’ll say it here anyway to make sure we’re all on the same page…

Just as a fine actor becomes one with their character while standing in the wings, we as musicians are charged with exactly the same. Audiating the music in your head while taking a moment to ponder the words that are about to come out of your mouth – AS AN ENSEMBLE.

We all have different thresholds for finding that meditative state, but I prefer to assume the common denominator of eliminating every possible distraction while you visualize yourself walking on stage and captivating the audience with your first step onto the risers. A state of mind that says “I’ve got this aircraft under control and we’re going to make the most incredible landing!” Cheesy, I know. But I literally think about that every time.

TL;DR: Once we go into the final approach sequence – e.g. when I raise my hand as we fall into position – NO TALKING TO ANYONE, FOR ANY REASON! Find the zone!

From looking at all the materials, I’m surmising that we are closing tonight’s concert – another sign that the organizers must think “we’re the sh**.” And quite honestly, I would not want to bring my choir on stage anywhere after the Gibbs God is a Rock. This moment at the 2007 Estonia competition was an absolute turning point for us when we sang in a similar exhibition concert the night before the competition began. Except that choir was not nearly as unified and committed as the choir you’re in right now. (And THEY came home with the Grand Prize!) My hope is to set the bar for the rest of the festival, that DCS is a force to be reckoned with. Or more importantly, we are a moment of artistic Nirvana not to be missed. Most of us can count the performances of that caliber that we’ve witnessed on one hand! To that end, I will reiterate, yet again, why I believe we are here…

Rare is the instance when the right people, with sufficient talent and work-ethic coupled with the desire to enrich another human’s life simply by phonating with others – are gathered as we are. This always has been, and always will be, one of the greatest mysteries of the human experience to me. (The magic of humans phonating together!). Personally, I look forward to savoring every breath, vowel, dissonance, and sonority – tonight and onwards.

Let our love be heard!

That’s what we came here to do.

Knock ’em dead tonight.


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