Suggestions in Preparing for Choral Verse Speaking
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Suggestions in Preparing for Choral Verse Speaking

Here are some valuable suggestions to bear in mind when you are preparing for choral verse speaking performance. You must blend your voice to achieve the effect needed for the sound patterns and discipline and time your bodily actions so they are in harmony with the others and do not break the total effect.

Here are some valuable suggestions to bear in mind when you are preparing for choral verse speaking performance:

  • A choir is only as effective as each member chooses to make it. Therefore, if you are a member of a choir verse group, you must remember that you have the same responsibilities during a group performance as in a single performance. You must blend your voice to achieve the effect needed for the sound patterns and discipline and time your bodily actions so they are in harmony with the others and do not break the total effect.
  • Whether or not you memorize your selections depends on personal preference and some practical considerations. Oftentimes, a group feels more secure with manuscripts, especially if the rehearsal time has been limited. All manuscript papers, if typed, must be uniformly bound or mounted on stiff paper for appearance and ease in handling. Black loose-leaf notebooks are practical. Every member of the group must be sufficiently free of dependence on the page to ensure directness and holding the attention of the audience.
  • Depending on the mood and degree of dramatic elements in the material, a choir may stand or sit or assume varying positions on the stage. Steps and platforms are effective for grouping a large choir in a limited amount of stage. If the single selection is long enough, it is often effective to change the grouping in order to provide for variation. When a change of position is used within a selection, the timing and extent of the movement must be in harmony with the mood and emotional tone of the lines. Remember that the positions of your hands and feet, as well as general posture, can be important.
  • If your group is going to give a public performance, it is wise to rehearse coming on and off stage. It is important that you look as if you know where you are going and are ready for the performance. If there are changes of grouping between members, this, too, must be rehearsed so there are no "traffic jams." All changes should be accomplished so quickly and as quietly as possible. Remember everything your audience can see or hear is a part of the performance.
  • Do not use any theatrical costumes for a choral verse performance for if the program includes several selections, there is the danger that costume changes may take longer than the performance. For this reason, and for aesthetic effect, it is preferably better to use simpler dresses because the simple the dress, the less obtrusive the individual members of the choir will be and the more easily the audience will accept them as a single instrument. In general, many groups use dark trousers and white shirts open at the neck for the men and dark skirts and long-sleeved white blouses for the women. Black and white gives enough contrast to look interesting, and the uniformity is pleasing. Although choir robes or academic gowns may also be effective, they may not be easily obtained. All members of a choir should blend into a single unit. Remember that the choir is not asking the audience to believe they are a specific group of characters. They are trying to create images in the minds of the listeners by suggestion.
  • Unless the choir group is a part of a play cast, an individual choral group performance needs no descriptive make up. The use of special lighting effects must be dictated by the material. At times, mood lighting may be appropriate if the selection is long and dramatic enough for such effects to be helpful rather than obtrusive. In general, a choir group does not use extensive lighting because they wish to suggest setting and exterior details.

Lastly, for effective and dramatic choral verse performances, the ballads provide good materials for training and practice in the art of choral verse speaking. The ballad had been suggested because of the poetical structure of this literary work. The ballad is made up of stanzas which would provide for solo voices, or group voices in first stanza and second stanza and a whole choir joining in on each refrain.

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