Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Altos Won the Stunning Section Award

A couple of weeks ago, the alto section won the Stunning Section Award. Rain took it home, and it has been on some adventures! Here are the highlights:

 After a violent weekend storm, the SS Award helped survey the damage to the Jeppson's fence from the safe vantage point of the nectarine tree.

 The award also got to help welcome home the Jeppson's newest family member!

 It helped in the garden with the beautiful spring flowers,

 and spent some time enjoying the sunny disposition of the forsythia bush.

Best of all, the SS Award got to go camping in the backyard!

See what the SS Award can do at your house--win the award with your section and ask to bring it home! It loves adventures!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

On Editing Files

I thought maybe some of you were curious about how I go about creating the audio files each week. Here's a little run-down of how I do it. I use an audio editing program called "Audacity." There are other programs out there, but this one is free and I'm used to it, so I can get through things more quickly than using another program.

Here's an image of last week's rehearsal audio file, as downloaded into Audacity, and then saved as an MP3 file, then re-opened into Audacity. You can click on it to see a larger picture. I've tagged the different sections of the rehearsal. There are two tracks because I record in stereo. Where the line is narrow, that's talking, which is quieter. The dark sections get wider as we sing louder. The numbers on top are minutes, adding up to roughly 2 hours of rehearsal.

My next task is to separate the rehearsal into single-song sections. I usually will eliminate most of the talking at this stage in my work after listening to it first, to make note of any important announcements, or notes about the songs that I will post in the "Song Notes" section of the blog.

Once I have the songs separated out, I will pull each one individually back into Audacity and edit them. Here is what "I'm Gonna Sing and Shout," which is the 4th song, looks like in Audacity. Again, you can click on the image to see a larger version. I've zoomed in (stretched it out) so that I can see where I need to make edits.

You can see where we stopped and started a couple of times to correct things. I have to splice those sections into one continuous version of the song. This is not easy, but, with practice, I have become pretty good at it. My goal is always to make the splices undetectable. Sometimes this is impossible, given that we often start without the regular accompaniment, and often we start out mid-song quieter than we originally were singing that section.

Once I get the songs all edited, I save them as individual MP3 files and upload them to my Google Docs cloud, then link to them on the blog.

How long does all this take me? Well, it depends on how many times we start and stop and how many songs we sing, but it takes a good portion of my Saturdays. Hours. Just so you know. At the beginning of the season we sing fewer songs, but have more starts and stops. Towards the end of the season we start & stop less, but sing more songs each week. So, it all amounts to about the same amount of work for me. I am happy to do this, as I believe it provides a very useful tool in rehearsing at home (or in the car), but please, appreciate and use it. You can make my editing job easier by learning the music so that Cory doesn't stop us as often. Just sayin.' :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Stunning Section Award Has Been Busy

 The Stunning Section Award helps us practice our music

And helps us bake yummy sourdough bread!
 Next, it assists with the blog...

The SS Award does St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Rehearsal Notes From March 13, 2014

In our last rehearsal, Cory emphasized that we need to learn our songs by the end of March. This is so that we can spend the remainder of our time getting the style down and not have to go over notes anymore. Here's what Cory wants us to do: Practice, practice, practice.

We'd also like to recognize that the tenors won the Stunning Section award last week (03/06/14), and the Sopranos won it this week (03/13/14)! Congratulations to these sections!

There is a NEW ADDITION to our audio files page. Two of them, actually. At your request, I have provided zipped files of all of our songs. There is a parts version and an accompaniment version. Enjoy!

As a little heads up, we'll be planning a PARTY next month, so start gettin' in the mood! We'll do a sign-up for food as we get closer to the day.

See you Thursday.
~ Karen

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Balm of Gilead

If you're like me, you have only a vague understanding of what the "Balm of Gilead" refers to. Here's what the Bible Dictionary says:
An aromatic gum or spice used for healing wounds (Gen. 43:11; Jer. 8:22; 46:11; 51:8). A bush producing the resin from which the balm was made grew so plentifully in Gilead in Old Testament times that the balm came to be known as the “balm of Gilead” and was exported to Tyre and Egypt (Gen. 37:25; Ezek. 27:17).
The prophet Jeremiah asks:   "Is there no abalm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?"

The balm of Gilead is symbolic of the healing power of the atonement of Jesus Christ, the Great Physician. Through the atonement we can be healed from all sickness and afflictions, particularly those of a spiritual nature.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

15 Reasons You Need to Sing Every Day

1. Singing releases endorphins, which make you feel instantly happier.

2. And when you sing you also release oxytocin, which is a natural stress reliever and is found to alleviate feelings of depression and loneliness.

3. You'll also sleep better, as a result of being less stressed

4. Tests have shown that singing improves heart rate visibility, which reduces the risk of heart disease.

5. And, when singing with someone else, your heart rates can even sync together.

6. Your posture will get straighter and you'll gradually look more confident.

7. And your feelings of safety and confidence increase when singing in a group.

8. It's actually a good workout. You'll work out your lungs, improve your circulation, and tone your abdominal and intercostal muscles.

9. Singing has also been proven to boost your immune system.

10. Even if you're already sick, just hum a little number and you'll open up your sinuses and respiratory tubes.

11. It's really good for your brain and will enhance your mental awareness, concentration, and memory.

12. You'll develop healthier breathing patterns, which can help cope with various lung diseases.

13. It's been used as an all-natural way to help treat dementia, lung cancer, depression, and chronic pain.

14. You'll probably live longer, in general.

15. So raise your voice, because the benefits are endless.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Welcome to Spring Season and Song List

Welcome back, singers!

It was great to see you all and sing together again. I have missed it!

Remember there is no rehearsal this Thursday, the 6th, due to Cory's 29th birthday. So, we will resume rehearsals on Thursday, the 13th. Cory will be sending us an email about how much the music will cost. Please bring money for your music on the 13th.

Here's a complete list of the songs we're singing this season, in alphabetical order:

  • Elijah Rock
  • Go, Tell It on the Mountain Pulled 04/03/14
  • Gospel Magnificat  - Pulled 03/27/14
  • Heaven Bound
  • I'm Gonna Sing and Shout!
  • In That Great Gettin' Up Mornin' - Pulled 03/27/14
  • Joshua Fit de Battle of Jerico
  • Lead Me Home
  • Listen to the Lamb
  • Places Deeper in My Heart
  • Plenty-A-Music
  • Precious Lord, Take My Hand
  • Soon I will Be Done
  • Sing and Shout Together, Children
  • That Old-Time Need of Prayer
  • There is a Balm in Gilead
  • Until I Found The Lord