In Choral Rehearsals I have seen multiple Choral Conductors use words to get their choirs to show emotions for a phrase or a word in a piece of choral music. An example would be when a conductor tells his/her choir to feel “longing” for a phrase or “loss” for this phrase. Then there is times when conductors use scenes to get emotive singing from their choirs, for instance; when a conductor says “to end this phrase make it as if it were a sunset with the sun slowly fading, then its gone”. This can work well for some choirs, but my main thought is that not every has seen the same sunset(s), not everyone feel longing or loss in the same ways.
Since thnking about all this I have come up with some variations on what conductors can do in a rehearsal to help get emotive singing from their choir(s). For a sunset “ending of a phrse”, literally blow up a COLOR picture of a sunset or use a video (with no sound) to show to your choir, and as they see this, read them a poem and use it as an example of how to give a “sunset ending”. Another one of my ideas would be for emotion would be; play a movie without sound ( a love scene or death scene, etc) and have the choir sing their (love emotions or loss emotions) while watching the scene (as if the choir was the soundtrack).
These can be useful to help gain expressive/artistic/emotive singing from a HS/MS/College and possibly a professional/community choir. It wouldnt hurt to try something new. I have seen it work well at the college level. I also have more example that can be used in a choral rehearsal. I just feel that saying (sing this phrase with the color red or brown or purple, etc) can only go so far. Unison Expression in a Choir is what a group is about.