Ladies, if you’ve been preparing correctly for the Area audition (and if you’re reading this you probably are! 😉 ) Celebremus is probably your number one jam right now. And for good reason!
If there ever was a guarantee in life, it would be that this song is going to be a major factor in your Area audition. It’s difficult in every way, from pitches to rhythm to language and vocal technique. There is complicated articulation and other challenges presented by the practice track. Let’s lay out some important things to consider while putting some finishing touches on this piece.
There are TONS of little articulation indications in this score and you need to be doing every.single.one. I’d recommend that you take a break from singing through this piece and rewind to your score preparation days. Make sure you’ve got every single staccatto, tenuto, and accent highlighted in a bright color. You may be surprised that you’ve actually missed something!
Now, in terms of accomplishing all of these acrobatics, I do hope you have a trusted vocal technician advising you because it’s no easy task. And sometimes not just difficult but even…illogical? For example, sometimes the staccatto makes sense and is easy to do, like for instance, when you’re repeating a note without changing the word or syllable. But other times it seems super random, such as occuring in a slightly different place although the notes are just about the same… but you, All State goddess, are up for the challenge.
Dynamics and Phrasing
The COOLEST chance to really show off your dynamic contrast happens on page 5. You basically spend the entire page crescendo-ing from pp to ff!!! Am I nerding out too hard here? Consider this a challenging vocalise…you will grow so much in your singing if you’re able to pull off this page. AND if you’re worried about breath control here, reining in your crescendo (not too loud too fast) will actually save you some air. Focus on making your pp singing speech-like and clear, as if you’re talking quietly to a friend, as opposed to an exaggerated, airy whisper.
Another note about breathing in this section — you have indications where you have to breathe and others where you cannot. But as far as I’m concerned, any other time is fair game (as long as it’s not the middle of a word). So I suggest adding one or two more breaths…they won’t be big ones, but you’ll thank me later.
Do them…. c’mon gals this is AREA we are talking about! Biggest offenders are the ‘Q’s…I can never get enough!
The Dreaded 6/8 Section
You can do this, I promise! It’s one place in the track that reliably stays in the same tempo. The trick is to listen to the lowest voice in the piano in the 2/4 measure before you enter (mm 50). It gives you subdivided 16th notes that your ear can grab on to. The higher voices give you 16 notes but they start with a tie which makes everything sound off-kilter. They’re quick and quiet but believe me, listen to the track a few times and you’ll hear it!
Next, make sure you’re observing those teeny decrescendos… they say poco but need to be obvious enough to hear. This is no time for subtlety.
The Practice Track
I’ve already gotten grief for pointing out the obvious flaws in the practice track but ya know what, I don’t care! I’m not putting anyone down who is a better pianist than I, my aim is to help YOU, the auditionee, have your best audition and this information is critical to you sticking with the track.
So here are some places to watch:
Measure 1: Right off the bat, the track speeds up. This follows our formula of “When you hold a pitch out you start counting faster and faster” which happens to every musician, ever. The pianist counts a bit fast through their whole note, so put some top spin on your first phrase so you can arrive in mm 2 together.
The 6/8 Section (beginning mm 51): There are several slow downs here: you can identify them by the 32nd notes in the accompaniment that just take a bit more time. I’d circle the later bits of measures 56, 58, and 59. Try to line up with the big beats (the first and fourth 8th notes) in order to stay on track.
Measure 90-91: Again, the piano holds for 4 beats which go by a little too quickly. This means that while they’re holding you’ve gotta put a little more speed into your singing. This is especially difficult for S2 who has to rest and then come in off the beat with a tie (Godspeed, ladies!)
Fermatas: Once again, you need to put into words how each and every one works. I won’t do all your homework for you but, as an example, you’ll notice from mm 101-102 after the fermata there are two beats in silence.
Remember: even if you are metronomically correct, you still get penalized for being off from the track. The Region chair actually stood up at our Pre-Area audition judge’s meeting (we auditioned Celebremus) and explained that the judges should pass the girls on to Area who were so well studied on the quirks of the track that they were able to adjust and stick with it…NOT those who sang the correct rhythm or tempo despite it. Some of the judges in my room had not taught or even heard the song, and asked me to point out in the score where things got weird. So I did, which they said helped a lot in their judging. Hopefully the area judges will be this thorough.
mm 4 vs. mm 9 and mm 6 vs. mm 13. There are tons of places where there is a near exact repeat of material with one teeny tiny difference. I don’t care if you usually remember these places, don’t ever assume you’ve got it right and stay focused! (S1 See also: mm 79 vs. mm 90.)
Measure 45: There always seems to be one extra beat in this measure, huh? Make sure you’re paying close attention here.
Measure 97: You’ve got 16th notes AND a triplet. Make sure they sound different!
One blanket statement: I’ve had students go through a lot of grief over placing words and syllables on the right note in a melisma. Sometimes the singer on the practice track is wrong and it stuck in your head, sometimes it’s just weird in the score. Don’t stress if you misplace something in your audition…honestly, I doubt a judge will both catch the mistake and penalize you big time for it. Musicality is so much more important, so get past it and make music!
Alright, ladies…you’ve got this! Time to Celebremus!