Friday, January 30, 2009

Auditioning for college and otherwise...

Hi again... I found another good resource.  If you plan on auditioning for a show in the future, or auditioning for college, check out this website:

Also, click through some of the links on that page for more info on performing ettiquete and other stuff...

Enjoy the rest of your weekend

To Belt or not to Belt...

Hey all... we spoke of belting in today's rehearsal, and I looked around and acutally found this Wikipedia entry to be rather appropriate.  Below is a direct copy - the author wrote it with some jargon, however,  I put what I thought would be important to you in pink italics ..(at least I think it's pink... you know I don't do colors...)


The term "belt" in music means the use of "chest" voice in the higher part of the voice, rather than using the "head voice," etc. However, the proper production of the "belt voice" involves minimizing tension in the throat and modulation of vowels and change of typical placement of the voice sound in the mouth. In a higher range all vowels are modulated to one of two vowels: "eh" as in "ape" or "ah" (bright vowel) as in "ChicAgo." Depending on the range of the singer, the vowels will be more or less modulated. Hence, in a male voice, a belted A-flat might not have the same amount of modulation as a belted B-flat. In males, belted voices often sound similar to classical, or "legit" singing techniques, such as Bel Canto or Speech Level Singing. In females, classical methods are not similar as the higher range of a singer in classical singing in females is done in head and falsetto voices.

In addition to the modulation of vowels, the belt voice sound is produced by properly placing the sound in the mouth. The soft palate is raised and the vowels brightened toward the front of the mouth. The jaw is open (but not fully open) so that a few teeth are typically showing on the top and bottom of the mouth. There are various techniques and vocalises to accomplish this sound. The result is a kind of "soft yell."

It is possible to learn classical vocal methods like Bel Canto and to also be able to belt, in fact many musical roles now require it. The belt sound is easier for some than others, but the sound is possible for classical singers, too. It requires muscle coordinations not readily used in a classically trained singer or female student of Speech Level Singing, however, as these muscles are generally used only during high chest voice production or when making straining noises which singers trained in these styles are told not to do.

Is it safe?

Some singing methods and teachers of them and related methods regard belting as damaging to long term vocal health, they may teach an alternative using the Head register which may or may not be as strong sounding depending on how much practice is done. The subject is a matter of heated controversy among singers, singing teachers and methodologies.

Despite the sound being somewhat of a "soft yell," if produced properly it can be healthy. It does not require straining and it is not damaging to the voice. Though the larynx is slightly higher than in classical technique, the vocal cords are not harmed.

However, it is thought by some that "belting" will produce vocal nodes. Nodes can show up when the vocal cords are unhealthily slapped together in a "glottal attack." Belt pulls the vocal cords very close together, but air can still pass through safely without causing a "glottal attack."

Others believe that a healthy belt technique can be practiced, and in fact belt technique can be used as therapy for vocal cords.

Physiology of belting

There are many explanations as to how the belting voice quality is produced. When approaching the matter from the Bel Canto point of view, one might say that the "chest voice" is applied to the higher registers. The chest voice is merely a description of a sound quality though and does not describe a physical activity. For many years, voice practitioners were limited to judging a voice based on what they heard. Now, thanks to many years of research, more is known about the anatomy and the physical process of singing than ever before. One of the great vocal researchers of these times is Jo Estill. She has conducted extensive research on the belting quality. Jo describes the belt as an extremely muscular and physical way of singing. When observing the vocal tract and torso of singers, while belting, the following is observed:

  • Minimal airflow (70% closure)
  • Maximum torso anchoring (activating the large muscles in the back to control airflow)
  • Head anchoring (activating the neck and head muscles for stabelizing the larynx)
  • Tilting of the cricoid (We know that the space between the thyroid and the crycoid widens. It seems that the cricoid is tilting downwards, although there might be thyroid activity as well).
  • Highest position of the larynx
  • Maximum muscular effort of the external muscles. When produced healthily, there is no tension in the vocal folds themselves.
  • Constriction of the aryepiglottic sphincter (the "twanger")

Belt (music). (2006, September 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:38, January 31, 2009, from

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Digital TV Delay causes issues...

The tech-geek in me was excited when I heard that the switch to digital TV would be voted on to be delayed. The push by Obama and company would have helped us out during our show this year in terms of frequency availability. House republicans successfully voted against the delay. .. Bummer.
See below for a direct copy of the Associated Press release.

House Defeats Bill to Delay Digital TV Transition

The Associated Press
Wednesday, January 28, 2009; 1:08 PM

WASHINGTON -- The House has defeated a bill to postpone the upcoming transition from analog to digital television broadcasting by four months to June 12.

House Republicans succeeded in scuttling a bill to delay the transition, which is scheduled for Feb. 17, less than two days after the Senate unanimously passed the plan.

The defeat is a setback for the Obama administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill, who fear too many Americans are not ready for the switchover.

The Nielsen Co. estimates more than 6.5 million U.S. households that rely on analog television sets to pick up over-the-air broadcast signals could see their TV sets go dark next month if the transition is not postponed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chip In!!!

Hi Everyone!
This year we are going to try something new! To the right, you can see a new widget called "Chip In."
Here's how it works:
Click "Chip In," and donate money to us!
We will recognize donors who donate before the March 5th in this years showbill.
Recognition will be in tiers as follows:
$1.00-$20.00 - "Friend of the Show"
$20.00-$50.00- "Cast Member"
$50.00-$100.00 - "Pit Orchestra"
$100.00-$500.00- "Crew Member"
$500.00+ - "Star of the Show"

Donors who wish to remain anonymous may of course elect to do so.

Thanks for all of your support!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rehearsal Schedule Week of Jan 20th

Hi All,
Here is the schedule for next week:

Tuesday - 3:00-4:30 I,i. Full Cast
Tuesday - 4:30-5:15 - Priscilla Girls, Including Millie, Ms. Dorothy
Tuesday - 5:30-6:30 - Meers, Bun Foo, Ching Ho
Wednesday - 3:15-5:00 - Dance (Office people)
Wednesday - 3:00-4:00 - Meers
Thursday - 3:00-4:00 - Crew Chiefs Meeting
Thursday - 3:00-4:00 - Jimmy (Stelmach)
Thursday - 3:30-5:00 - Full Cast Vocal
Thursday - 4:00-5:30 - Millie, Jimmy
Friday - 3:00-4:30 - I,v, I,vi

More to come in future posts...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You Can't Stop The Beat

Earlier today I made the trip to Port Washington to see John and Eric Pace in a show that they have been working on with the Roslyn Theater Company, and adaptation of Hairspray titled "You Can't Stop the Beat." They clearly spent a lot of time working on the show, and as the older members of the cast, it was clear that the younger kids in the cast looked up to them for leadership. It was a lot of fun and I am really glad that I went to see it. What made my day, however, is seeing so many of the kids from our school make the trip up to support Eric and John. 10 (11?) TMM Cast-mates were there to cheer them on. I thought this was a great example of the sense of family that we have in our group, and made me proud to be a part of the MHS Theater department.
Congrats to Eric (he played Edna) and John (he played Link) on a job well done!

On another note, we're nearing 3,000 hits - from 1,454 unique users!
The highest traffic day was the day of the cast list posting (Dec. 19th) with 294 page loads.
We have had 4 Visits from UK, 2 from Canada, and 1 from both Greece and Poland.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rehearsal week of Jan 12th

Hi Everyone!
Here is our rehearsal Schedule for next week.
It is also on the google calendar below with more details.

Jan 12 - Monday - 3pm-4:45 pm -I,iv Speaking parts only
Jan 12 - Monday - 5pm-6 pm - I,iii. speaking parts only
Jan 13- Tuesday - 3pm-5pm - I,x, Speaking parts only
Jan 14 - Wednesday - 3:15 - 5:15, Stenogs, File Clerks, Millie, Jimmy, Crew (Jimmy and Crew until 4:30)
Jan 15 - Thursday 3:30-5pm - Full Cast Vocal
Jan 15 - Thursday 5:00-6:00 - All Men except Graydon, Jimmy, Ching Ho, Bun Foo.
Jan 16 - Friday 3pm-4:30pm - I,i Full Cast

Attendance this past week was not great... Let's fix that this coming week. ESPECIALLY for the dance rehearsal and for the Full Cast rehearsal on Friday.

Let's make the "off-book deadline" earlier. Most of the dialogue is pretty manageable.
We are planning on creating a cd to practice with (this is especially helpful for those people who have work conflicts.)
Anyone who has a work conflict of any sort should email me as soon as possible with that conflict information - and I have a letter for you to give to your employer.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rehearsal Schedule

Hi Everyone!
...and so it begins, below is the first little bit of the rehearsal schedule.
For those of you new to drama, this is how the rehearsal schedule will look/work.
Capital Roman Numerals are the Act, followed by a lower case Roman Numeral for the scene, separated by a comma and ended with a period.
(i.e.: "I,i." is Act 1, Scene 1.) Everyone in that particular scene should attend that rehearsal, unless it says something like "speaking parts only."
In the Google Calendar (at the bottom of this page) each event is clickable. That will allow you to see any info that is cut off (due to box size), and who should attend rehearsals.
Additionally, the document to the right "Scene Character Breakdown" will tell you about each scene.
I have "shared" the google calendar with anybody who has given me a gmail address.
I will also have a paper copy of the schedule posted on the stage door.

3:00-4:30 - I,ii and I,vi.
4:30-5:15 - I,xii and I,xi.
2:45-3:15 - I,vi.
3:15-4:15 - Millie, Jimmy (we'll work duet scenes)
3:00-5:30 - Dance (Stenog's, File Clerks)
3:00-4:30 - CREW
2:30-4:00 - Full Cast Vocal
3:00-4:00 I,x. Check call board (SPEAKING PARTS ONLY!)

Ching Ho and Bun Foo (w/ Meers) will start rehearsals Next week, Monday at about 5:15. That should be a good lead-time to get moving on the Chinese.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Just a short post to say Happy New Year! I hope 2009 brings you all the best. The rehearsal schedule will be up by Sunday night (hopefully by Saturday). I will put it on the google calendar below, and will email it to everyone on the list.
Have a good hilday, see you soon!