Page 119 - Voice for Life Songbook 1
P. 119

                                26. Unfinished story
Track 26
This bright and cheerful song is ideal for use at Christmas and challenges us to consider our response to the birth of Jesus. People all around the world celebrate at Christmas time but not everyone is aware of the origins of the festival or its significance to Christians.
To help prepare your singers for the syncopated rhythms in this song, you can introduce them through some clapping games. Ask your singers to walk on the spot (or stamp their feet, if sat down) at a steady pace. Once the pulse is established, clap the following rhythms and ask the choir to clap them back as an echo:
Try making up some rhythms of your own or ask another choir member to take a turn at being the leader.
Teaching the song
It is probably best to teach the melody of this song in four bar phrases.You may need to repeat bars 18–21 (‘is what we are hearing but we can determine its end’) a few times to enable your singers to get the syncopations and melody correct.
Bars 22–39 are an exact repeat of the melody they have already learnt in verse one, but this time it is shared between the two vocal parts.You will need to split your singers into two teams.
Bars 39–47 (the chorus) is in two parts but both parts are repetitive and simple to learn. Start by asking one team to sing the top part (‘Rejoice’) over and over again, then while they are still singing this, demonstrate to the other team how their part fits underneath – then get them to try it.
There are one or two moments when the lower part breaks into harmony (e.g. bars 50–53 and 67–70 – the same harmony both times).You may consider this harmony optional, but it is easy to learn as it follows the melody in thirds most of the time.
Using the voice well
See if your singers can roll their ‘r’s at the beginning of the word ‘rejoice’ each time – this will give energy and impetus to the start of the note, after which they should allow the sound to diminuendo (but without losing support and with it resonance or pitch).To achieve this effect it may help them to imagine the sound of a bell tolling.
There are a lot of words to fit in, so your singers will need to have energetic mouths, lips and tongues to make sure the text is clear. However, make sure that no tension creeps into the jaw, throat or voice.You might like to take some time out from the song to use some jaw-loosening exercises such as imagining they are chewing on a very sticky toffee, pulling the biggest widest face they can then screwing their faces up really tight or yawning.You could also have a go at a tongue twister!
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