Welcome to Renate's Baton. This blog is mostly for and about my choir, The York Region Community Choir.

But, While I'm holding the baton, I'm in charge. So, if I want to talk about other parts of my life, I will. :)

The choir itself is a community and I'm discovering that we have a lot in common with one another besides our love of music and singing.

When I go off on a tangent, there is always a crowd coming along. Join us!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 14-JAN-2019

Everyone, or nearly everyone was back!
It was great to see and hear you all, even when you were all chatting, or maybe especially then. So happy to see you so happy!

The first small group, Who Put the Bomp met at 6:30.
They got through the whole song!!! But, a few people were missing so be sure to be there next week!

We warmed up with stretches and breathing and straws.
1. True Colors: we learned the ending with snaps where it says claps, starting at 49. It was awesome!
2. Blue Skies: also has snapping, but we had had enough snapping for one night, so we just sang through. Trix sang the first solo and Janet sang the second. Fun!
3. Seasons of Love: we went straight to the tricky bits, pg 3, bar starting at the pickup to bar 21 and pg 7, starting at the pickup to bar 49. Then, we sang the whole thing. It went really well! Joanne sang the solo and it was great! Remember to harmonize on the last note (the added Seasons of Love)
4. Put a Little Love in Your Heart: Our theme song. It was good! We started learning at bar 13 and stopped at 36, but were able to sight-read through to the end.
5. Higher and Higher: This one is also not difficult, except that the Tenors and Basses have some tricky timing and it's very different from what the altos and sopranos are singing. Tenors and Basses please review this piece and try listening to recordings, ours and any others you can find. I love the build up to the ending!
6. Verdi: Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves is awesome. Harder for Joy than for any of us, and many of us have learned this very thoroughly, so you'll have someone to follow.
7. All I Have to Do is Dream: This was just a bonus, as we had 5 minutes to spare. Such a sweet treat! This song is pretty and pretty easy.

Joy has been busy making recordings, and Trix will get them up on the website as soon as she can so that you can start rehearsing at home if you have the time, and if you're missing things at rehearsal.

Next week:
Small group at 6:30 Who Put the Bomp

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Verdi
  • Higher and Higher
  • Put a Little Love
  • Seasons of Love

Thursday, January 10, 2019

YRCC 07JAN2019

We rehearsed despite the threat of freezing rain, and it did come shortly before 9:00. So, we went home. It was fine, if a bit scary.

If you missed it, don't worry. Have a look at the songs we sang on the website. The music is scanned and posted for use online and when we have recordings, they're there too.
You need to log in, go to Members Only Content and then Recordings and Music Scans. Or, after logging in, you can go to the quick link "Music Recordings".
We warmed up with straws, doing sirens, hills and Lean On Me.
We sang:
Why We Sing (everybody on solos)
I Will Always Be With You
All I Have to do is Dream
Blue Skies (without snaps)
Seasons of Love
True Colors

Next week:
Who Put the Bomp small group starts at 6:30

We will sing:

  • Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves (can we call this the Verdi for short?)
  • Higher and Higher
  • Seasons of Love
  • Put a Little Love in Your Heart
  • Blue Skies

Monday, January 7, 2019

Weather update Monday, January 7th

We are meeting; we will sing!

The weather forecast looks bad, but the weather hasn't been too bad all day. So, we're going to hope that the freezing rain doesn't happen.

Don't feel bad if you can't face the possibility of horrible driving conditions.
Stay home and be safe if you're too worried.

You will have opportunities to catch up. I'll post what we sing, and you can look on the website for some of the music, and the rest you'll get next week.

I look forward to seeing some of you later.

Have a wonderful week if I don't see you.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

YRCC 2019 spring season starts Monday, January 7th!

We've got a big season planned. Lots of great music to learn. I've posted the list here in the right menu. The website should be updated soon. Joy is working on recordings.
The small groups are starting up right away on January 14th and I've got the Events entered on the website, but you can't sign up yet to make it fair. I'll open them up after rehearsal on Monday. Have a look!
Can't wait to start singing on Monday!

The Meaning of Fa-la-la: SING for well-being

I'm not the only one who thinks that Fa-la-la is an invitation to everyone, everywhere to sing more, and in essence is a call to peace and love. Everyone is included. The world would be a better place if everyone sang together more often. It's not just for Christmas and not just for children.

Well, maybe I go a bit farther than most, but most will agree that singing together is very good for our well-being and everyone should join in.

Here's another article that says that people who sing together are happier and healthier, according to studies. I like that this article says that singing regularly in a group is better than doing sports!

Read it here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Merry Christmas to YRCC Choristers!

My very warmest wishes to my beloved choristers
for a Christmastime which is a perfect balance of
joyful and peaceful, 
exciting and restful,
a holiday that's perfect for you.

I hope you have opportunities to sing, 
or make opportunities to sing.

If you're among loved ones, 
they will love your voice as much as they love your face, 
because it's yours, and perfect for them. 

I'm looking forward to seeing you in the New Year
and I wish you a year of peace and love 
and lots of singing!


Congratulations YRCC on Super 2018 Winter

Congratulations, YRCC!
Our Winter 2018 season was a huge success!!!
We sang to a very satisfied full house on Sunday, December 2nd!
They were satisfied musically and spiritually and their sweet teeth were also satisfied- our bake sale was glorious!
I heard so many wonderful compliments!
There are always a few people who are especially touched by something, and a few people who think this concert is "the best one yet". And, I guess in a way each concert is the best yet.
We are always improving and our sound is truly beautiful, especially when we sing songs we love and have meaning for us. When we sing with our hearts and souls, then we touch the hearts and souls of our audience members. This was certainly true this season!
We were lucky to have Philip play his cello and Robyn play her flute again! They add a special touch to our concerts that is priceless. Our Let There Be Peace was the very best ever and impressed our audience as much as I had hoped it would. And, as always, the Kevins provided a valuable change of pace, and I love their hearts.
Joy was amazing! I had tears in my eyes when she played her Silent Night. It was so moving and so special, but I also felt a bit of pain at the thought that she would not be playing at our next Christmas concert. I will miss her horribly.
Our seniors' visits were also successful, extremely rewarding, and enjoyable for all of us and all of those in our audiences (who were all awake, except one).
I'm especially happy with our choir party this year. I loved sharing our beloved choir songs with you without the pressure to "perform" but just to sing for fun. We'll definitely have to do that again. And, as usual, the food was fantastic!
Thank you for all your work learning your parts, especially those of you who missed rehearsals and used the recordings to help, thank you to all of you who came to each and every rehearsal and worked hard to learn and improve, and thank you for watching me, especially at the concert- it really works and it looks so good when you do!
I'm so proud of my choir!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 26-NOV-2018 run-through

It was perfect; that is, it was perfectly imperfect. There were sufficient messy bits, and mistakes, and things that didn't sound good at all, so that all should go beautifully on Sunday!

I like the order, so nothing will change there. But, I'm making a change in Twelve Days After Christmas, to add Blair at the mic during the tenor melody lines (F and G). There's a lot going on in those sections and I don't want to lose track of the melody and I want to make sure we can hear the words. All tenors and basses will continue to sing there, but there will be added clarity with one voice at the mic.

Just to confirm, for Silent Night:
1. Robin, Joy and Philip- (J&P stay)
2. Pat, Carol, Joanne- German
3. Sophie-Dutch
4. Robin and Karen- French
5. Anna-Italian
6. Stanely and Mona- Cantonese
7. All and audience- English

 I'm working on my script, and I think our concert will say what I hoped it would say.

The meaning of fa-la-la is that we can all join together in song, no matter what language we speak, or how well we sing, or whether we can remember the words. And, when we join together in song, we are one. We are one with each other and with our ancestors when we sing traditional songs together, so we do it at important occasions like birthdays and holidays, baptisms and funerals, hockey games, soccer matches...

The songs of the Christmas season are about peace, kindness, love, and joy.

Keep those things in your heart when you're singing and the message will be felt in the hearts of our audience.

Amazing coincidence: Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent for Christians, when the first candle on the Advent Wreath is lit, and it is also the first day of Hanukkah, when our Jewish friends light the first candle on the Menorah!

  • Remember your baking for the bake sale.
  • Remember to park farther away to give good spots to those who need it most.
  • Remember that we have a seniors' visit at Amica on Monday!
  • Remember to hand in your binder before Christmas, so that you get your new music in January.

You can hand in your binder on the 10th at our party or after the 17th if you're singing then.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 19NOV2018

6:30 Mary Did You Know- Good. Be careful not to overpower the melody. Microphones will help.
7:00 Adeste Fideles - Good. Missing our Tenors. No accompaniment and no key change.

1. Hallelujah- all tenors on first solo, all sopranos on second.
2. 12 Days After Christmas. Choir comes in only at "my true love".
3. O Holy Night- we will have the music, but we did really well without it.
4. Let there be peace. OMG! I love it.
5. Peace on this Silent Night. Excellent.
6. Welcome Christmas- tenors review please.
7. We Wish You a Merry Madrigal. Excellent!

Next week: Run-through rehearsal at Trinity Aurora.
6:00 solo and small groups start.
7:00 everyone there.
We might finish late

Reminder: on concert day, don't forget to bring baked goods for the bake sale.
They should be cut into small serving sizes, but not individually wrapped.
They are served buffet-style. Donations are per plate which can be filled and re-filled during intermission.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 12NOV2018

6:30 Mary Did You Know
7:00 Let's Keep Christmas in Our Hearts

1. Siyahamba: nice! Singing as written, repeat 1 and 2 English, 3 and 4 Zulu, ending English.
2. Let There Be Peace with flute and cello! Wow! So powerful!
3. We Wish You a Merry Madrigal Yikes! a new song so late in the season?! We rocked it. No worries. It's perfect.
4. Welcome Christmas middle, and beginning and end again- review with the recordings on the website if you need extra help.
5. Grown-up Christmas List- all good except many of us forgot the ending. Review with the recordings on the website if you can, please.
6. Imagine- so beautiful in combination with Grown-up List and also in the spirit of Remembrance Day, where we remember but we also move forward with  hope towards a peaceful future.

Get your tickets!!! send the poster to everyone you know

Next Week, Monday, November 19
6:30 Mary did You Know
7:00 Adeste Fideles

  • Welcome Christmas
  • Grown-up List
  • Merry Madrigal
  • O Holy Night
  • Do You Hear
  • Let There Be Peace (if the cello and flute are there)
The following week, Monday, November 26 is the run-through rehearsal at Trinity Anglican in Aurora. Small groups and soloists arrive starting at 6:00, everyone else at 7:00 so we can start a bit early. This is usually a very long night. We will try out the order and will figure out where everyone should stand and sit and walk, and deal with microphones and everything. I have to give you the order of the concert soon!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 05-NOV-2018

6:30 Angels Among Us- done! So good!

Posters for the concert were ready and ticket sales have started. Tickets will be available for pick-up and purchase starting Monday, Nov. 12.
the concert is called "The Meaning of Fa-la-la"

1. Do You Hear What I Hear- this is going to be the finale, and I've slowed it down a bit so that it's really dramatic. I love this arrangement. We reviewed the Soprano and Alto oohs, and all the places where the sopranos divide. Slowed down, it's a bit easier. If you missed this rehearsal, please review you part for this song and keep in mind that we're slowing it down.

2. Various Themes- this is going to be the show opener. We're fine now that we have a strong beginning and a strong end, even though Daphne reminded us that we're less than a month away from the concert and it felt scary!

3. Welcome Christmas-work on this one. We reviewed the beginning and ending, the oohs, and it ended up pretty good, but the middle is still new-ish and messy. If you have time, review this one on your own to help us out. Also review Grown-up Christmas List if you have some time.

4. Silent Night- We talked about how we will have a number of solos of Silent Night in different languages, end in English with audience and all. We've got German, Dutch, French, Italian and Mandarin!

Next week:  Monday, November 14th Buy Tickets!

6:30 Mary Did You Know- quartet
7:00 Let's Keep Christmas in our Hearts- small group

  • Siyahamba
  • Welcome Christmas
  • Grown-up Christmas List
  • Let There Be Peace on Earth- cello and flute

Sunday, November 4, 2018

YRCC at Grease Sing-Along this Thursday, November 8

It's finally here!
Sing-Along Grease at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts

We're meeting for dinner at the  Falcon pub at 10300 Yonge Street in Richmond Hill at 5:45.
The show starts at 8:00.

Can't wait!

YRCC Review October 29th, 2019

It was good to be back and to find that you've made good progress!
6:30 Angels Among Us sounded so beautiful!

Hine Ma Tov: this year we'll sing it only in Hebrew, all verses (2+2). I'll invite the audience to sing the lai-lais. Be sure to smile and sing them clearly and accented. If we can add tamborines, it would be fun.

12 Days After Christmas: this is so much fun! We learned page 10 to the end, where the choir is all together and also reviewed parts where the choir is singing in the background behind the soloists. Soloists: memorize please so that you can sing with great clarity and drama!
One change we made, the duba duba part will go to the whole front row, still soft but stronger than just a duet to balance the whole tenor and bass section.

Welcome Christmas: So good! We're getting it. We spent time on the beginning and the end, the oohs. I love the oohs! We'll do this again.

Various Themes on Fa-la-la: is now more important. I decided to call the concert "The Meaning of Fa-la-la" so this is now a focus. The transitions are the hard part here, but we're getting them down. We'll review them; don't worry.

Monday, November 5th:

      6:30 Angels Among Us with Renate

  • Grown-up Christmas List
  • Welcome Christmas
  • Various Themes Falala
  • 12 Days After Christmas
  • Do You Hear What I Hear

Thursday, October 25, 2018


Sorry I missed last Monday's rehearsal!
I hear it went well.
Thanks, Lauren, Anne Marie and Joy!
I hadn't posted my review for the previous week yet, so there were questions about who is singing what in the Twelve Days After Christmas and I'll clear up Let there be peace on earth as well.

Let there Be Peace on Earth: Mary-Ellen will start by singing sections A, B, C, and D as a solo, with Robin (soprano) playing the descant part on the flute. What I refer to as the descant part is the top choir bracket, where it indicates 4 or 8 girls and 4 or 8 boys. We will all go back to the beginning, with the first sopranos singing only the top (top of treble clef) part of the descant and all the rest of us on the bottom choir bracket as usual, SATB, for A,B,C and D. The flute will continue to play with the first sopranos. At E, it's softer, SATB, and dramatic with crescendos and decrescendos. At F, the drama intensifies. Very soft but quickly getting loud so that "peace eternally" is quite loud. Don't give it everything yet, though, because the ending is ff, double forte. We are not singing the optional quiet ending. In the second system on page 6, tenors and basses can all sing the quarter notes in that third bar, so that begin has 3 beats, like the second sopranos. The tenor clef is so annoying!
Twelve Days After Christmas: Mostly little solos. A: Carol (back-up ?) B: all come in at "my true love" very soft. C: Debbie (back-up ?) and everyone comes in again at "my true love" softly. D: Trix (back up Joanne?) with tenors and basses singing ooos. E: Robin (soprano, back-up Roxanne?) with tenors and basses. D and E soloists sing the du-ba section with Peggy W on melody at F? Everyone is in at G SATB getting louder at "my true love". Everyone is in until the end, with me on the spoken solo on page 11.
Grown-up Christmas List: review the key change. But, don't stress. We'll continue to work on it over the next month or so.
Welcome Christmas: we had a good start. Learned from 27 to 44, and looked at most of the rest. Sopranos note that there are optional notes for the seconds to sing in a couple of places. Use them if those notes are too screechy.
Do You Hear What I Hear: love it! Sopranos and Altos have to remember when they don't have the melody-hint, C. We'll review that. We'll review the oohs.
Fa-La-La: Fun!!! We will work on the transitions between songs.

Next Monday, October 29th
Angels Among Us is meeting early 6:30

-Various Themes on Fa-la-la
-Twelve Days After
-Welcome Christmas
-Hine Ma Tov

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 08OCT2018

Thank you to all who came out on Thanksgiving Monday! We had a great rehearsal, and the best part is that we ended on a surprise, singing Do You Hear What I Hear! It was really good, and that's a hard arrangement.
We rehearsed all of our songs for Saturday and I think we're in really good shape.

For Saturday:
Arrive in good time to find parking, find our room to put away our uniforms, and figure out where to meet at 2:00. So, let's say 1:30 or 1:45 at the latest.
The schedule is posted on the calendar. But, briefly, it is:

1:30 aim to be there
2:00 mass choir gathering
2:15-2:40 YRCC sound check and rehearsal
4:20-5:30 Mass Choir rehearsal
5:30-6:30 Supper and get dressed
6:30 Pictures taken on stage
7:00 Doors open
7:30 Concert Starts
8:30 Intermission
8:45 return from intermission
10:00 approx end (What a long day!)

Plan to rest on October 14!

Next week, 15-OCT-2018
YRCC rehearsal is ours alone :-) We can spend all of our time on our concert preparation.

6:30 Adeste Fidelis Small Group
7:00 Angels Among Us Small Group

  • Peace on This Silent Night
  • Let There Be Peace on Earth
  • My Grown-up Christmas List
  • Welcome Christmas

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal Review 01-OCT-2018

6:30 Small Group Adeste Fidelis quickly learned the whole thing! Next time we meet, we'll just go over the Latin and figure out how many verses we want to sing.

Warm-ups were playing with our straws! I love my choir! Several people brought packages of straws to share. You people are wonderful! If you haven't watched the video, do so. And, try out the various exercises. You can search YouTube for even more. Have fun!

1. Why We Sing: It's beautiful and we could perform it as is, but we'll try to get it as close to perfect as possible. We had to review the last couple pages. There were timing issues on the bottom of page 10. If you weren't there, please review your part there. Also, at the top of 11. "This is why" is actually thiii-siz-why. Don't leave any space between this and is. When you do, then we end up hissing: this-s-is-iz-why. Remember on pages 5 and 6 to hold those whole notes all trough the bar, overlapping with the other part: for example, the soprano/alto "Soothe a soul" goes all the way to the end of the bar, not stopping when the tenor/bass "Soothe a soul" starts but after they've said all the words. We'll review it again.

2. 4 Strong Winds: We reviewed the doo-doos and the part that comes after again. We've got it! Watch me for the tempo fluctuations. Tenors and Basses have the melody quite a bit in this piece. Remember to sing softly, Sopranos and Altos, so that we can hear their part. Section A, B, and D are theirs. I also need to hear more of the Bass line in E. It's really cool. This song is stuck in my head!

3. Go Now in Peace: Easy-peasy, especially with the short ending. Remember to sing "Know God will guide you". It's inclusive

4. Peace On This Silent Night: New piece from our archives. Only a very small number of people know this one. It's not difficult and very charming. It's 2 parts: Soprano on top and Alto, Tenor and Bass on the bottom. Tenor/Bass starts alone at 11. Soprano alone comes in at 19. then everyone at 23, softly with a crescendo to the F at 27. At 91, Silent Night starts. It's cool!

5. Grown-Up Christmas List: Totally new this year, but we've already had one look at parts starting at 15. It's such a pretty song and with such a good message. We are so good at sight-reading! The only part that gave us trouble is the bridge to the key change (26-31). We'll learn it in no time.

After the October 13th concert, we'll be able to focus on preparing for our December 2nd concert.
We did a fair bit of talking about the schedule for October 13th.
Key moments:
2:00 Gathering at the RHCPA followed immediately by our group's rehearsal time
4:20 Mass Choir rehearsal
5:30 dinner 
6:30 group photo in uniform on stage (formal concert uniform, please)
7:00 Doors Open
7:30 Concert starts

Next Week is Thanksgiving Monday and we will rehearse from 7:30-9:30. 
There will be no small groups. 
Concert run-through and last-minute clean-up, polishing. 

If we don't see you Monday night, Happy Thanksgiving! 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

YRCC vocal exercise

Bring a straw to choir next week, Monday, October 1st!

YRCC Rehearsal 24-SEP-2018

6:45 Small Group Let's Keep Christmas in our Hearts finished! Awesome job, everyone!

We talked about warming up with straws and I promised a video. Will post next.

We had a yummy breaktime with coffee and treats. Everyone wants Cheryl's recipe!

We talked about solos and small groups, about our theme (heavenly peace, grown-up wishes- the meaning of Christmas, and ties to our past through traditional songs, languages. Come forward if you have something you want. A few people have already let me know and I'll choose soon! We also talked a bit about the spring theme so that you can start planning now. Love! Our anchor song is "Put a Little Love in Your Heart". "... and the world will be a better place for you and me..." We'll talk about how if Beauty can learn to love the Beast and if star-crossed lovers happen, then we can love the people across the walls, across the world, across the street, and... music helps!

We talked about October 13! And December 2nd! book your families and friends!

1. Hallelujah: It's so good! Joy and I get to lead Hallelujah at the Police concert!!! YAY! We will do it a little different. The first solo will be sung by all the men and the second by all the women. Our women who sing Tenor can choose where they want to sing, wherever they feel most comfortable.
2. Imagine: So, so good! Joy and I were both thrilled that there were no early entries.
3. 4 Strong Winds: Strong! The doo-doos are very good, and the next part is amazing!!! Tenor and Bass solo part is excellent. Remember the timing is a bit tricky there. Everyone needs to remember that the beginning is all about the bass line. Sopranos and altos are softer, as they don't have melody there.

Did we really only do 3 songs?!

Next week:

6:30 Small group: Adeste Fidelis/O Come All Ye Faithful in 4 parts

  • 4 Strong Winds
  • Why We Sing
  • Go Now In Peace
  • Grownup Christmas List

Friday, September 21, 2018

Siyahamba pronuciation guide

YRCC rehearsal 17-SEP-2018

The first small group met at 6:30 and almost completely finished their song!
Let's Keep Christmas in our Hearts perfectly expresses our theme.

If you have a solo or duet you'd like to do, let me know asap. The theme is peace, heavenly peace, the true meaning of Christmas, and connecting with our heritage/ancestors through music at the holidays.

Warm-ups included Maybe my mummy will go to Miami and maybe my mummy will not :-)

We welcomed a bunch of new folk to choir!
1. Siyahamba is coming together nicely. I spoke to the YRPMC director and they do all 4 endings, and end in English. Instead of doing 2 and 2, they alternate languages.
2. Mansions of the Lord is awesome, and a very sticky melody, stuck in my head for days. We spend some time reviewing the tenor and alto parts, and pointed out the little mistake we made at first (and on the recordings) in the alto and soprano lines where the notes seem to be the opposite of what you'd expect, but actually give the melody to soprano where it belongs.
3. They All Call it Canada: We reviewed the tricky bit at pages 10 and 11. It was very good!
4. 4 Strong Winds: We reviewed the doo-doo part. Very good!
5. We started Grown Up Christmas List. I recommend you move it to right after Go Now in Peace, so that it's in alphabetical order. Some people couldn't find it, but it's just out of order. We sang through once to get an idea of what the arrangement is like. There's a repeat, but it's not too tricky. Sing to page 5, then return to page 2 at the sign. Next time you're at page 5, go down to the Coda on the word "list". There's a bridge, then a key change to the end. We learned parts starting at bar 15. It was great!

Next week:
6:45 Let's Keep Christmas in our Hearts

  • 4 Strong Winds
  • Imagine
  • Hallelujah
  • Grown Up List
  • Peace on This Silent Night

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 10-SEPT-2018

MONDAY 10-SEP-2018
Registration went smoothly as usual. Thank you to Carol and Debbie, our registrars!

We had a very successful first day back. We had to do quite a bit of talking but got lots of singing done anyway.

We talked about the upcoming concert on Oct. 13. There will be more details coming. We got a poster from the Police Chorus and a schedule for Oct. 13. We're scheduled to rehearse first early in the afternoon, and then later in the afternoon we have mass choir rehearsals, and then it starts at 7:30. We'll get tickets to sell soon. They're $15. You'll have all the info soon.

Talked about our theme and solos and small groups. Heavenly Peace/ Peace on Earth/ Grown-up wishes and also the links to past traditions through song- Latin, Hebrew, ancient Who...
The first small group starts next Monday. Let's Keep Christmas in our Hearts. It's a song about how we should think about peace on Earth and kindness and joy all the time. Sign up today!

We sang through all the songs for the 13th, except O Canada:
1. Why We Sing (awesome. we all sang the solos for fun)
2. They All Call it Canada (strong, but we need a bit of work in that one part)
3. Four Strong Winds (better than I expected. we'll work on it)
4. Imagine (super except for that one spot and we all sang the solo)
5. Siyahamba (so good. we reviewed and learned quickly. need to know how many reps)
6. Mansions of the Lord (we reviewed and learned this quickly too. feels too short.)
7. Go Now in Peace (nice! we need to ask about the ending)
8. Hallelujah (always awesome. we all sang the solos. need to find out about solos)

Next week: Let's talk about seating to prepare for our performances.
Monday 17-Sep-2018
6:30 Let's Keep Christmas Small Group

  • They All Call it Canada- that one part
  • Mansions of the Lord-review
  • Siyahamba- review
  • 4 Strong Winds- that one part and/or polish it up
  • Grown-up Christmas- intro
  • Peace on this Silent Night- intro

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

YRCC 2018/2019 Year Starts Sept.10

Monday, September 10th
Winter 2018
Heavenly Peace, Peace on Earth, Grown-up Christmas Wish
Holiday songs connect us to each other, and to our ancestors.
It's been a long, hot summer.
It's time to start preparing for our winter concert.


YRCC Leadership 2018-2019

York Region Community Choir 
Leadership for the 2018/2019 Choir Year:

The YRCC is kept running by a dedicated group of volunteers who are elected every year at our Annual General Meeting (AGM). The Executive works together with the Director and Accompanist, and the Reading Committee, to choose music, decide when and where we sing, and make sure people are there to sing and to hear us sing, and take care of our equipment, finances, website and music library. The Executive is elected and the Reading Committee, Conductor and Accompanist are appointed. The Executive is now officially called the Board of Directors since we are incorporated, but we can still use the name Executive. Some of the former executive positions are not board positions, and that's just the choice of the people holding the position. 

Our President is Lauren Solar (laurensolar@gmail.com). This is Lauren's sixth year as President. Lauren is responsible for everything happening. 

Our Vice-President is Jane Griffiths (jane.griffiths@rogers.com). Jane's role is to help Lauren and anyone else on the executive when they need a hand. She's a fundraising superhero.  

Daphne Young (youngdc@rogers.com) is our Public Relations ChairIf you need to contact us regarding advertising, or to book us for a concert, or just need some information, contact Daphne. The PR role is to keep us connected to the community. 

Karen Andrews (karenc.andrews@sympatico.ca) is our Secretary/Treasurer.
If you want to write us a cheque, make it out to York Region Community Choir, and Karen will put it in our account. We accept cash too. Karen will keep our paperwork in order, creating and maintaining records like the minutes of our meetings and accounting stuff. Michele Horton supports Karen and will continue to represent us when we share condolences and congratulations. 

Trix Verge (trix.verge@gmail.com) is our Webmaster and former Music Librarian. She had our music collection in her basement for years and her organizational skills and patient dedication served us well in our greatest period of growth. Trix is the one to go to for help using the website, and she makes sure that it's functioning properly. Trix has magical computer skills, and could probably herd cats.

Peggy Keall (peggy@yorku.ca)  recently took over the Music Librarian role from Lyn!  Thank you, Peggy! She now has several filing cabinets full of music in her house, along with tables and a printer, and she makes sure we all have music to sing every Monday, and has extra binders made up for guests, or people who are checking us out. If you have a binder of music that belongs to us and want to know how to get it back to us, contact Peggy! 

Carol Ford and Debbie Hood are the Registrars. They make sure the membership list is up-to-date and coordinate registration in September. They will be calling you if you're on the waiting list. Debbie had our coffee (and tea) equipment and supplies in her basement for many years, and together with Carol took care of our refreshment needs, but Sophie has graciously taken over that responsibility.

Teija Cumming and Elizabeth Steele are the Reading Committee. They help choose new music and order it from the publishers, shopping in person and on line. They are chosen for their ability to read music and knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses. 

Renate Naghavi (That's me.) is the Conductor/Musical Director of the YRCC. The Musical Director chooses a theme and selects music for each season, with the help of the Executive and the Reading Committee, and with input from the Accompanist and plans the concerts and performances. The Musical Director teaches the music with the help of the Accompanist, and leads the choir in performances. I conduct with a baton :-)

Anne Marie Vandekemp has been the Assistant Director, officially and unofficially for at least a decade. Since she is one of the original members of the choir, Anne Marie is consulted on everything from music to venues and managing member politics. Anne Marie leads the small group rehearsals. 

Joy Zhang is our Accompanist. She is a talented pianist who helps Renate teach the music and accompanies the choir in rehearsal and in performances. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Grease is the word with YRCC friends Nov.8, 2018

Sing-along Grease!!!
Thursday, November 8th at 8pm
Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts

We can dress up in period costumes- you kept your poodle skirts, right?- and dance and sing along with a theatre-full of other fans as we watch and sing along with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in Grease. Here is the link for getting tickets. They're $20 each, but if you act fast you can contact Roxanne and get in on our group, a batch of 10 tickets for $18 each. If you're too late, contact some choir friends or other sisters to make your own group. Maybe we can meet before and/or after to gush :-)

Saturday, June 2, 2018

YRCC AGM this Monday, June 4th

Our Seniors' Tour is going really well so far!
We've had two performances and our third and final one is coming up this Monday, June 4th. 

We'll be at Mackenzie Place for an hour and then we'll head over to our room at the Admin. Centre for our AGM and potluck party. It will be 8:30 before we're all gathered, so it's a good idea for those who are not performing to arrive early to set up and take advantage of the extra time to socialize and get a head start on refreshments.

Monday, June 11th we're back at the Admin. Centre in our room to rehearse the new songs for October and to review Four Strong Winds and They All Call it Canada.

YRCC was SNAP'D at our 2018 spring concert

Here's a link to the SNAPD article on us: SNAPD at YRCC Concert 

Harmony and Unity

They took some nice pictures.
Here's one:

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 23-APR-2018

Our last rehearsal was excellent!
I'm really impressed and grateful to know that you worked on your choir songs! Well done!

The small groups: What the World, Colors of the Wind, Man in the Mirror were all excellent. I had been thinking of maybe setting up an extra rehearsal or two, but you folks really pulled through and sounded ready to perform.

1. Dona Nobis Pacem: To add an extra element of meaning, we will sing once through as written, and then we'll sing through to bar 25 in unison, everyone singing on the top line the whole way through. Watch me for dynamics.

2. Why We Sing: Debbie and Stanley, Peggy and Blair are the quartet. Remember to look at each  other and blend your voices when you're singing together. We need to rehearse where you're standing and how to get to the mics and back. This is our big finale and it's very dramatic. Watch your dynamics! Start soft and don't get loud too soon. We need room to go ff -double forte, fortissimo, at the end. Feel the words. In particular, on page 8 look at "tear down a wall". Give those accents real power. Think of Trump's wall or the Berlin wall and tear it down.

3. Let there Be Peace: First sopranos, you've been practising. Thank you! This piece is also an end piece and needs to have drama. Watch your dynamics. Start soft and end really, really big!

4. From a Distance: It's a difficult thing to sing soprano and then switch to tenor, but Melinda pulls it off. Lauren will be her partner. Melinda and Lauren, you need to run through you sections together to get the blending happening, and if possible you should stand together. I'm thinking you can stay in place so that Melinda doesn't have to leave the tenor section. Help me to plan the logistics of that. I was truly impressed with how well this piece came together. I love how you watch me at the beginning and at the ending with the oohs and aahs. I tried the beginning straight up and the ending different and it sounded really cool. Keep watching throughout but especially at the end, as usual.

5. Crazy Little Thing Called Love: Fun is the key here. Don't stress it. If you and/or your neighbour mess up the harmonies, don't stress it, but smile and keep singing. Chances are, you're singing the melody by mistake, and that's no big deal. We want this to lift people's spirits and maybe make them laugh. It's crazy and cute and we sing it in our own way. Don't stress the timing. We're all together and that's the important thing.

6. Seasons of Love: After we reviewed all the parts at bar 21, starting at 20 and then starting back at 17, it was smooth sailing. If you weren't there, that's the section to review, please. Getting those notes at 21 is key. It's such a cool song and Nicole does an amazing solo. Don't forget to watch at the end for the extra "seasons of love".

7. Nella Fantasia: Mary-Ellen will do the solo. At the next verse, all the tenors and basses sing that "solo". Take note: the ending is better and more dramatic when we slow down and get quieter starting at that long, awkward note in bar 49 at the top of page 10. The "ending" starts here so start watching here.

Wow! We got through a lot! I'm so glad! I was a little worried when we had to miss last week's rehearsal, but I feel much better now.

We didn't sing Wonderful World, Unity, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing, Hine Ma Tov, Imagine, One Small Step, or You Raise Me Up. Next week, we'll be sure to run through Unity with Teija, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing with Sophie and Cathy, Imagine with Janet, and One Small Step with Melodie, so you can see where it's best to stand how to go to the mic and how to go back.

Next week, Monday, April 30th: Run-through rehearsal at Trinity
Small groups and soloists come early starting at 6:00 (Creatures first, and see calendar for suggested times for the others)
Everyone else be there by 7:15

Everyone should have the concert order. If not, get it from the website. Put your binders in concert order so that we can transition from song to song smoothly. Maybe get sticky notes to mark the first song of a set so you can open your binder quickly to the right page each time.

Get your friends and family booked. Buy their tickets in pairs to save $5.

Seniors' home performances:
The seniors' home tour starts immediately after the concert, on Monday night. The following Monday, May 14th, we will meet after the seniors' home performance to rehearse the 2 Police Choir songs from 8:30-9:30. We will do that on May 28th as well. It will be on the calendar.

Don't forget to sign up for the seniors' home performances on the website.

Don't forget to return your binder before Canada Day! All binders must be returned to Lyn before Canada Day. All music will be removed from your binder and filed in filing cabinets, along with the other 65 copies. All binders will be filled with Christmas season music for the first rehearsal in September.

Take care of your health over the next week and a half!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 09-APR-2018

6:30 What the World Needs Now
7:00 Colors of the Wind
Break: Melinda and Todd
Late: Todd

Warm-up: One Small Step -almost perfect. One comment Tenors and Basses at bar 57, make it strong- it's an important transition moment and you carry it.

1. Unity: still trying to get a good balance on the second page. Tried Teija's solo a cappella, with a run to her note in the beginning and just before everyone comes in. I love her voice! We have to be sure not to get heavy on page 2. Yes, the meaning is strong, but we still want to maintain a sweetness. In keeping with the Disney princess and/or mouse feel, we need the first sopranos to be light and sweet like Snow White on the high part. You cannot overpower the melody in the alto line.

2. I'd Like to Teach: We tried out various pairs of soloists and ended up with Sophie on part 1 and Cathy on part 2. (Sophie had a cool story about her personal connection to the words she's going to sing. Ask her about it.) Melodie would be a good back-up on either part to blend with either of those two. The most important thing on this song, for the soloists and for all of us, is to remember to hold those long notes all the way to the end without cutting out or diminishing the volume.

3. Imagine: Yes! I love this song! Janet's solo is perfect and we're close. We've got to be consistently good on our timing, especially at the end (soprano and tenor-bass special bits) and bar 42 (don't come in early!). We often get it perfect, but not always.

4. Nella Fantasia: Gorgeous! We tried it with just Mary-Ellen on the first solo again, and tried Todd on a solo at the tenor-bass melody part. I think we'll keep Mary-Ellen on the first and have tenors and basses together as written. We reviewed the oohs again. Please use the recordings on the website to review you parts if you're feeling unsure.

5. Seasons of Love: This song always makes me feel happy, a great way to end the evening! We still have to work on bar 21. Somehow it is hard and we can't find our notes there. 

Next Week: Monday, April 16th
****Posters and tickets will be ready!
You can book your friends and family now: Sunday, May 6th 3:00

6:30 What the World Needs Now 
7:00 Colors of the Wind 
Break: Man in the Mirror (please sing along with YouTube as much as possible)

  • Crazy Little Thing
  • From a Distance
  • Let There be Peace
  • Seasons of Love
  • Why We Sing