Tuesday – Thursday, July 2-4, 2024

Jul 4, 2024

We were graciously hosted at St. Johns United Church of Christ in Dover, OH for our three-day pre-rehearsal tour. Each morning the sun shone brilliantly through stained glass windows, and we were serenaded by church bells on the hour. 

These three 8-hour rehearsals included full-body warm-ups, voice-building, tuning, and breathing exercises. We workshopped rep, and we continually explored, under Wendell’s direction, how the singer’s first job is to listen. The rehearsal days are so exciting; after having learned most of the music on our own, we are ready to make music in community! The days also include a lot of focused, intense work, but we are rewarded with shimmers of beauty in momentary chords. 

In rehearsal, Wendell occasionally collaborates with Oasis’s vocal coach, Rosemary Eberly-Lebold. Group vocal coaching sessions take place several times a day and allow singers of all levels to elevate their breathing and vocal techniques. 

Amber Zimmerman, a first-year soprano, commented that the time built into the day to connect physically with the music through voice coaching was helpful (and new!) for her. She also enjoyed Wendell’s deep dive into a text study of the hymn “Holy God We Praise Thy Name.” This emphasis on text meaning was also new for her compared to singing in other choirs. 

This is my eleventh season singing with Oasis Chorale, and I am always struck by the hospitality that we encounter on tour. Whether it is the local community providing home-cooked meals for rehearsal days, or strangers hosting us in their homes, I am always amazed and aware of the generosity of the hosting communities. (Thank you to our Holmes County base cooks and hosts!) We are looking forward to our first concert! 

Esther Swartzentruber 
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