Toran Davenport, now participating in his 9th LAB, reports about LAB X and its sea and pirate related theme: LAB X sailed into its third week with its pirate and treasured themed music. We continued to work on songs such as Sport we my Lovely Treasure, With Cat-Like Tread (from Pirates of Penzance), What Shall we do with the Drunken Sailor, Caribbean Medley, and A-Roving. Work was mainly done with phrasing, dynamics, and tough note spots in the music. We've gotten to the point where the majority of notes are learned and can begin to fine tune the pieces.

The Sea Chanty projects are going very well. Each week several of the singers will present their Chanties for the group. Four singers, including myself, presented their Chanties at this rehearsal: Stormalong John, Her Sweet Sailor Boy, South Australia, and Down Around the Coast of la Barbaree. Each of us had to listen to recordings of our individual Chanty (some of the recording are as old as the 1930’s, and thus sometimes difficult to understand), transcribe it, and perform it for the other singers, adding some stylistic or cultural flare as well. Isaiah Egan, for instance, sung his Chanty (South Australia) with an accent which, while over the top and amusing, was accurate to how the Chanty was originally sung.

Even though it was the third week, we still took time to get to know one another. One activity we did after the lunch break was we paired up with a fellow LAB member and learned some things about them and shared it with the rest of the group. This included their greatest strength in music, their greatest challenge in music, and, in the spirit of the LAB theme, their favorite pirate memory. There are more than 20 singers in LAB X (last LAB session had 14), and with a lot more new singers and those who just did the Skills/LAB session last summer it takes longer for the group to "lock". Getting to know your fellow singers greatly helps with overall ensemble, as we can figure out what the group excels at and what needs the most work. This results in more productive rehearsals and better trust between us.

Next week we will start choreographing With Cat- Like Tread. Along with our usual homework of working on what we learned during rehearsal and notes we still need to work on, we will have to memorize the whole piece.