The vocal ensemble program is focused on strengthening your versatility as a vocalist and musician in a small vocal ensemble setting. Small vocal ensemble work focuses on improving vocal technique, implementing a variety of tones and performance techniques and bringing individual voices together to form one unified powerfully emotional sound. The ensemble works on complex arrangements from a variety of music styles with a Jewish history emphasis, past selections included pieces from the Renaissance, Yiddish Jazz, Ladino, Israeli pop, Acapella, Broadway and Contemporary Classical. Arrangements often focus on 4-7 part harmony with 1-2 singers on a part. This is a great opportunity for members of a large choir to find their individual voice and contribution in an ensemble, and for solo singers to develop harmonizing, musicianship and teamwork skills.
In addition to ensemble work, you will have the opportunity to study music theory, collaborate on creative projects with instrumentalists and develop your own solo voice through master classes and private voice lessons.
The 2017 vocal ensemble worked intensely focusing on mastering a diverse repertoire through vocal technique and tone, sight-reading, harmonizing, musical interpretation, emotional connection and performance technique. Throughout the summer the vocalists participated in master classes as well as private lessons with Brandeis faculty and ensemble director while working to improve fundamental vocal technique. In rehearsals the group worked on versatility with tackling challenging harmonies in different styles, requiring a variety of tones and performance attitude. Our repertoire included a formal SATB setting of the Ladino folk song “La Rosa” by Paul Ben-Haim, “Coward” by Israeli-French singer-songwriter Yael Naim which included intricate background vocals and solo opportunities connecting to a deeply personal subject matter, the Manhattan Transfer setting to the jazz standard “Java Jive” in both English in Hebrew focused on bright jazz tone and phrasing, chromatic lines and dense harmonies and the Pentatonix version of “White Winter Hymnal” complete with intricate body percussion. The ensemble worked with diligence, focus, support and mutual respect and their hard work was evident in their process, growth and final performance.