Archive for the ‘Spring 2010’ Category

Traffic Jams for Our Next Concert

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

(4/3/2010) From Fred – Plan to arrive extra early for our next performance on April 11. Traffic has always been a headache at this venue because of cherry blossom celebrations. This time there will be even more traffic headaches because of a Nuclear Security Summit on April 12 & 13.

50 heads of state will be attending. Each one will have personalized security and that will cause far more traffic diversions, blockades and rolling blockades. Be sure to tune to a radio station that gives frequent traffic reports when you are in transit. WTOP at 103.5 FM is a good one.

The subway is another great option. In addition, we’ll pass on traffic plans and information.

See: for additional information from the WTOP radio station.

My thanks to Ellie Briscoe for this information.

Performance Program

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Performance Program (.pdf) for the Italian Choruses performances, March 28 and April 11

From Mary

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

(4/1/2010) From Chorister Mary: Dear NOVA people,

Our next performance will be next week Sunday at the Church of the Epiphany, which is located on G between 13th and 14th.

In case you and your guests would like to have dinner after the concert, here is a coupon for Chef Geoff

From Dr. Whitmire

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Dear Singers- Several of you made checks directly to WMPO. I would be most appreciative if you could write a new check to NVCC Foundation, as I have already sent a $1000 donation to WNPO on behalf of NOVA Community Chorus. I can return your previous check tonight.

Spring Schedule

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

(3/30/2010) Dear Singers- A Late Spring 2010 Schedule will be available tonight. Here is a digital copy (.pdf). See you tonight.

From Dr. Whitmire

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Dear Singers – You were fabulous beyond my wildest expecations last night. Such a wonderful tone, and so responsive to the tempos. The orchestra was very on as well. The Priests and Soldiers were in fine form, and our Francisco brought the house down. Of course the big hitch was in Aida at the end of the trumpet section. Measure 134 ends with three beats of rest, and I presumed that measure 135 would start on my downbeat, but the brass had other ideas, But is was a small flaw in an otherwise delightful program. I hope you had a fraction of the fun that I did. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night.


Monday, March 29th, 2010

(3/28/2010) From Fred:

A great performance with great stage movements.

I knew I could count on you to get where we need to go and make it look professional.

I’ll let you know when Whole Foods Markets want us to make a surprise performance like:

which I sent out a day or so ago. Witches on one side of the store and Soulders on the other should do it.

Lost Keys

Monday, March 29th, 2010

(3/28/2010) From Fred: Ul James, our orchestra director, found a set of keys after everyone had left. Let me know if you believe they are yours.

Stage Instructions

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

From Fred: Chorus,

As you will see from Ul James’ note, below, the orchestra will rehearse from 1:30 to 2:00.

We have use of the stage only from 2:00 until 2:30 = only 30 minutes.

(We must leave the stage while the audience takes their seats.)

Unless Dr. Whitmire directs otherwise – I will use 10 minutes to practice moving on/off.

The following instructions are similar to my previous instructions.

At 1:45, we will form up in the hall as though on the risers, row 4 against the West wall.

At 2:00 we will process onto the stage with row 4 stage right leading. #3 follows, etc.

Once on stage, those seated will remain seated (don’t move off the stage).

1. When directed, Sopranos will leave via stage right wings and go to the band room:

Row #1 (Theresa), leading followed by #2, #3, (there is no #4)

On command: Men (as soldiers) will face right, move 5 paces to the right and face left.

2. Altos will leave the risers with row #4 stage right (Megan) leading.

Altos will follow Sopranos into the band room; pass through to the hall then to stage left.

3. On command: Men (as soldiers) will face left, move 5 paces to the left and face right.

3.a. Our Marching Soldiers will march off the stage in reverse order,

turn when all the way off and return to the stage in forward order.

(You are on your own to get this correct.)

4.Sopranos will return to the risers from the band room, row #3 stage left (Pat C) leading.

Altos will return to the risers at the same time with row #4 (Megan) leading.

If all goes well, we should be in the correct order for the remainder of our concert and can now warm up and practice our music. Additional rehearsal time in the band room is likely.

For the concert itself, we can (will) use the same formations as used in Instruction 4 for Sopranos and Altos to go up onto the risers for “Witches”

Please bring your copy of the spreadsheets that Mark sent everyone – if you were able to print it (some of us could not). [Admin note: Here is a riser chart (3-page .pdf for easier printing).]

Be on time, in concert dress before 1:45 on Sunday.

—-From Ulysses S. James:—-


1:30 PM Rehearsal

3:00 PM Concert

We will only have from 1:30 – 2:00 PM to work on Brahms and von Weber. We must start promptly at 1:30 PM with everyone ready to perform. The chorus will rehearse from 2:00 – 2:30 PM.

The concert order will be:

Opera choruses


von Weber

Brahms 3rd

Please put your cases and covers in the band hall against the wall. Do not leave them on chairs or in the wings. As you may remember, the chorus is moving on and off stage and they need free space in which to move. They will use the band hall as an assembly room.

BSO Opera

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

From Fred:

Musical Surprise

On Wednesday, March 24, 2010, shoppers at Whole Foods Market in Harbor East Baltimore received an unusual surprise. Singers from Washington National Opera’s (WNO) Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program disguised as Whole Foods employees were embedded throughout the store.

All of a sudden, the introduction to Giuseppe Verdi’s “Libiamo” or (Drinking Song) from “La Traviata” blasted over the loudspeaker. Then those same “employees” broke into song and performed the entire opera scene for confused and amused Whole Foods customers.

This non-traditional performance is part of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s ongoing mission to make classical music more accessible. The BSO and WNO thank Whole Foods Markets for partnering for this event.

View the Video on YouTube:

From Dr. Whitmire

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

(3/26/2010) Dear Singers – Here is a riser chart (3-page .pdf for easier printing) for Sunday night. It won’t solve all the logistic problems, but it will be a good start. If I have left anyone off, I am sorry. Please don’t take offense- we will fit you in. Please space yourself evenly across the full width of the risers. If possible leave 8-10 inches between you and your neighbor so that the row behind you can see through the spaces. Stand to the front of the riser with toes at the edge.

I have also made an order for the men’s entrance. If you study this chart and use all your brain power, I know you can make it work.

Finally, this concert is about the beauty and joy of Italian opera. Let’s not let the logistics and minutiae get in the way. The only way to convey the spirit of the music is to be in the spirit of the music.

Let’s have a bella notte all’ opera!

Stage Instructions

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

From Fred: Singers,

I’ve attached a plan (.pdf) which we may use to practice stage movement before the Bishop Ireton concert. Think of it this way:

Sopranos always enter and leave via Stage Right wings:

– Lowest rows lead off stage and top row leads on.

– If there is enough room, Sopranos will gather before Witches Chorus and wait during Soldiers Chorus in the band room.

Tenors and Basses always enter and leave via Stage Left wings:

– Lowest rows lead off stage and top row leads on.

– Men will gather and wait during the Witches Chorus in the hall with lowest rows against the far (West) wall.

Altos leave via Stage Right after the Witches Chorus with the top row leading and the bottom row trailing. The top row leads the Altos through the passage way in the band room around to the Stage Left wings. They wait there until “Wedding Guests” begins and then go up onto the stage.

Be kind to our instrumentalist hosts and careful of their instruments and instrument cases. I asked Ul James to have them leave their cases against the band room walls but there is always 10% that don’t get the word.

Be on time for our rehearsal(s) at 2 PM. Don’t be one of those 10%.

From Dr. Whitmire

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

(3/23/2010) Dear Singers –

Tonight is 8th rehearsal of Spring 2010!

Please proof the program roster. Mark any omissions or errors. I will make a Riser chart before Sunday.

Thanks for a great Dress Rehearsal with orchestra on Sunday. If you missed the Dress Rehearsal, please speak to me tonight following rehearsal.

Donations to the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic can still be made. I hope everyone will contribute at least the $10 you saved on your Carmina CD.

Rehearsal Schedule

Opera We will rehearse all six opera choruses at each rehearsal

Carmina Tonight

NOVA Fortnightly

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

The NOVA Fortnightly is the student run newspaper and news source for Northern Virginia Community College.

A piece featuring a number of choristers can be read, here:

Before Finale, NOVA Idol Singers Share Inspirations, Aspirations, published March 23, 2010.

From Dr. Whitmire

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

(3/22/2010) Dear Singers –

I am working on a seating chart. Please let me know if you are a person who need a chair.

reply to: mwhitmire [at] nvcc [dot] edu

Stage Instructions

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

(3/22/2010) From Fred:

Congratulations. We proved our flexibility and willingness to deal with change yesterday.

A few improvements and we’ll be perfect…. well, almost.

Standing risers are always crowded. Help your friends:

– Top row of singers stand back from the edge of your risers.

– All other rows stand with your toes on or just over the front edge of your riser.

Don’t study other persons’ music when it is not your turn to sing. For example, some men studied the Witches Chorus during the women’s performance. It’s too late to help them, it’s not your job, and they won’t listen to you. In that situation, your music folder is down at your side in your right hand and you are looking at your conductor.

Same goes for the orchestra. Lead the audience to believe that you have memorized this music by looking over your music, directly at our conductor and smiling while they play all those notes before we sing.

Don’t chat during rehearsal or performance. Instructions are hard to hear and only given once.

You were using your black folder yesterday, right?

See you Tuesday night.

NOVA Idol Friday, March 26

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

(3/21/2010) From Peggie:

We have two current NOVA Chorus members (Terri LaGoe and Sam Howells) in the finals, and also some former chorus members (Stacy Dumas & Erika Anderson). The winner is determined partially by audience vote, so please come and vote for your favorite. The prize is cash!

Here are the particulars:

Date/Time: Friday evening, March 26, at 7:00 p.m.

Location: Schlesinger Center on the Alexandria Campus of NOVA, 3001 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, Virginia.

Admission, $10 or free with NOVA Student/Faculty or staff ID.

From Dr. Whitmire

Friday, March 19th, 2010

(3/18/2010) Dear Singers,

Our Dress Rehearsal this Sunday at 5:00 pm has been moved to T.C. Williams High School (3330 King Street, Alexandria). There is a parking garage next to the school. The entrance to the garage is the extension of Kenwood Avenue. Park in the garage, walk to Entrance No. 34 and proceed to the auditorium. Please come early. There are chorus risers on stage that need to be repositioned, and we will need help setting up.

Please call any choristers you know who might not get this message.

Dress Rehearsal

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

(3/17/2010) From Fred:


See note from Ul James, Director of the symphony, below.

Please bring and use the black folder that you will use in the concert. Now is the time to become accustomed to using it.

If you are new in our chorus, please go to our web site: and click on “Performance Tips” (.pdf) and “Dr. W’s Choral Singing Tips” (.pdf) in the gold side bar on the right. To Emphasize a few points:

Don’t talk in rehearsals or the performance. We do not wear concert attire at dress rehearsals. Be early, not late. We have to find place to park and their auditorium.

From: Ulysses S. James

Thanks again to Suzanna Sitomer, T.C. Williams Orchestra Director, our dress rehearsal will be in the school’s auditorium. Here are directions:

T.C. Williams is at 3330 King Street, Alexandria. There is a parking garage next to the school. The entrance to the garage is the extension of Kenwood Avenue. Park in the garage, walk to Entrance No. 34 and proceed to the auditorium. Please come early. There are chorus risers on stage that need to be repositioned, and we will need help setting up.

Here is the schedule:

5:00 PM Opera Choruses

6:30 PM Brahms

7:30 PM von Weber

From Dr. Whitmire

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

(3/15/2010) Dear Singers,

Jacques Holden (chorus alum), Jovan Howard (alto) and Jenne Lucas are presenting a program tomorrow at noon in the Bisdorf cafeteria.
Its a mix of R&B, gospel and original songs. Please drop by if you are able.

From Dr. Whitmire

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

(3/15/2010) Please publish and otherwise promote this music event.

NOVA Community Chorus (Dr. Mark Whitmire, Director) and the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic will present

From Dr. Whitmire

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

(3/16/2010) Dear Singers,

Tomorrow night is our 7th rehearsal of Spring 2010!

This Sunday (3/21) is our 5:00 pm Dress Rehearsal with orchestra at B. Ireton The rehearsal is presently scheduled for the cafeteria. If that should change I will let you know.

Donations to the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic will be collected beginning tomorrow night. I hope everyone can contribute at least the $10 you saved on your Carmina CD.

Rehearsal Schedule

Opera: We will rehearse all six opera choruses at each rehearsal

Carmina: This week

Chorus Annual Picnic

Monday, March 15th, 2010

(3/12/2010) From Fred:


I finally have a date for a picnic at our usual picnic grounds when both Mark and the place are available.

Always something new or unusual when OUR chorus does something. Last year we invited the local EMTs over and they drove up in a fire truck, an ambulance and several police cars. See: for a LOT of good pictures.

More later.

Changed Rehearsal Time

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Sent from Fred:


Tonights rehearsal with the orchestra at Bishop Ireton will start at 7 PM rather than 5 PM.

Section leaders: please call around to spread this message.

Singers call anyone you know who may not regularly read Email messages.

Words to Aida and Hebrew Slaves

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

(3/7/2010) From Fred:

I’ve attached a PDF copy of the above words in case you need one.

I did not get the handout and had to borrow this one.

Reminder: Stay tuned for info on section rehearsals on Tuesday night.

I will be testing a computerized, variable speed, enhanced, rehearsal music system at the bass rehearsal. Not quite Avitar quality yet but I’m working on it.