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!

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

Thursday, April 5, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 2-APR-2018

Monday, April 2nd (Easter Monday)
6:30 Colors of the Wind small group
Break time: Stanley and Mona
After choir: All God's Creatures

Warm-up Wonderful World
1. I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing: Duet to start, which goes up to bar 40. The important thing throughout this piece is to observe rests carefully. When there's a rest, you rest. Wherever there isn't a rest, you're singing, you're holding those notes all the way through to the next note. This is very important for the duet section. We tried out a bunch of different pairs, and I'm still looking for the right combination. Let me know if you want to try it next week.
2. Seasons of Love: We should be good to sing this as written, as long as the tenors and altos are good and strong in their parts, and as long as the sopranos get their notes confidently and with a balanced strength. The ending is sounding good!
3. Crazy Little Thing Called Love: We're getting it! We'll keep imagining our sassy panties and we won't be too stressed out if we or our neighbours sing the melody by mistake. Here too it is important to observe the rests. Watch out for holding notes where they're short and cutting off where they should be held.
Thank you, Sophie, for the Easter treats. I have to be careful with jelly beans; I was so wound-up after break! It was lots of fun, though, and I needed to release some stress. Thanks for putting up with my crazy moods :-) I love my choir!

Next week: Monday, April 9
6:30 What the World Needs Now
7:00 Colours of the Wind
Break time: Todd and Melinda
After choir: All God's Creatures

  • I'd Like To Teach
  • Imagine
  • Nella Fantasia
  • Unity
  • Seasons of Love

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 26-March-2018

6:30: Colors of the Wind small group. Wow! It's going to be beautiful.
7:00: Man in the Mirror

Warm-up: Hine Ma Tov

1. Crazy Little Thing Called Love: We reviewed the timing of page 10 and the timing in general. We have to remember that we are interpreting this piece loosely. We are mostly landing on the beat, so things get moved around a bit. For example, in the tenor/bass line at the bottom of page 4, look at "It shakes all over like a jelly fish". If we land on beat one with "shakes", then "all" comes in on beat two, for one-two-three-and-four-and, straight up with a bit of swing. We are working on getting this to sound easy-peasy and fun, so don't stress over it. Loosen up and feel sassy.

2. Let There Be Peace On Earth: The opposite of sassy, this is the real deal. Impressive and passionate. We reviewed the first soprano part at the beginning. We reviewed page 6 for the poor tenors who move around a fair bit.

3. Nella Fantasia: Todd is Mary-Ellen's back-up for this, but Mary-Ellen suggested that we might want to try to see how it sounds with the two of them singing together. Wow! It was awesome. It's hard to decide though which way to do it. Each of them sounds beautiful and they sound beautiful together. Got some thinking to do. I think I have to stop calling it Nella Fantasia. We sing "In my fantasy" so that's what we should call it, right? I'm not sure. We reviewed the oohs for everyone

4. Seasons of Love: It's pretty awesome. I like the ending we made up, and continue to make up. Give an ending that makes sense to you. It will sound good. I think we might want to add some soprano to the tenor and alto lines, an octave up, in places where it's important.

In general, it's thinking time now. We've learned all our parts, and now we have to polish and clean up, and decide on the best interpretation of the music. We're on our way to the concert in good form. Well done, everyone!

Next week is Easter Monday  Happy Easter!
If you have family plans, please have fun and enjoy your evening and don't worry about choir. The rest of us will be working on our music and you'll be able to follow us when you get back. Check out the review and sing along with recordings on the website to review your music.
 Monday, April 2nd
6:30 Colors of the Wind

  • Crazy Little Thing
  • I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing
  • Why We Sing
  • Wonderful World
  • Seasons of Love

Sunday, March 25, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 19-Mar-2018

OMG! I didn't make a rehearsal review for this past Monday! I'm sorry. I've had a very busy and stressful week, and the next 2 weeks will also be unusually busy for me. Forgive me in advance, please, for letting things drop.

Man in the Mirror tried snaps and various combinations of solos and duets and ended up singing the parts as written. It was pretty good, but we're at odds with the accompaniment. Joy is going to see what she can do to help us out, possibly adding some quarter notes on the beats in the left hand to give us a better sense of the rhythm. We'll try it out tomorrow after Colours of the Wind.

1. Wonderful World was our warm-up again.
2. From a Distance is getting so good! We had Lauren and Trix do the solos to give Melinda and Jane a chance to get their Tenor parts good and strong. It was really very good.
3. Unity is getting better and better, and now we have Teija singing the first verse as a solo! Remember how I had only the sopranos on the first verse and I was asking for a sweet feel, like a Disney mouse? I had a sudden spark of inspiration and asked Teija to sing it. It's a bit more Disney princess than mouse, but it feels just the way I hoped it would. Please pay attention to the notes after the "here I am" parts, it's not the same as it was in the rest of the song. That whole page is the special part that leads to the ending, right?
4. Crazy Little Thing Called Love is so much fun! We're getting it! We reviewed the sassy harmonies in the soprano and alto lines, which are challenging, but good now. Joy is the one who really has the most difficult parts where she has the special instrumental solos.
5. Seasons of Love. We finished! And, we figured out a better ending. We're going to add "Seasons of Love" and you can harmonize as you wish. You all know what kind of ending note you usually get, and that will do fine. If we have 8-part harmony, even better.

Monday, March 26th
Colors of the Wind starts at 6:30!
Man in the Mirror will meet at 7:10 or so to try out the new accompaniment.

  • Hine Ma Tov
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • Let there be Peace on Earth
  • Nella Fantasia
  • Seasons of Love

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 12-Mar-2018

6:30 Man in the Mirror: continue to sing along with Michael as homework
Colours of the Wind small group will start soon. Sign up on the website.

1. Warm-up was You Raise Me Up. It's a good warm-up because the first 2 verses and choruses are all soft. Nice and easy. Hold back so that the audience is yearning to hear that chorus more and louder. After bar 29, remember not to get too soft at the middle of page 6; stay strong. We reviewed the tenor part at bar 24, and every time you sing "You raise me up" after "shoulders". It might not be what you've been singing. Notice the note for 'you' is higher than the note for 'raise'.

2. Seasons of Love was essentially a review of all that we've done up to now. Very few people remembered the parts from page 3 to 6. We found our back-up for Nicole! Trix did a great job on the solo on page 4. Remember that all the sopranos are on that melody at 62. We'll be working on this for the next few weeks; don't worry.

3. From a Distance: We are getting so good at this! We did it for the first time without our "training wheels". Joy didn't play at all, so we were a cappella, and we stayed in tune! We reviewed parts from 43 to 51.

4. One Small Step: I love this song! We do it so well, and I love Melodie's voice on the solo at the beginning. Blair did the second solo and the contrast was so good! Remember to come in fairly softly after those solos. It's got to be sweet at the beginning, 'small steps' that build into 'strong steps'. This song also has a lot of repetition of the chorus, so we have to be careful not to make them all the same. Hold back the first couple times.

Next week: March 19

6:30 Man in the Mirror

  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • From a Distance
  • Unity
  • Seasons of Love

Thursday, March 8, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 05-March-2018

March 5th Rehearsal:

6:30 Man in the Mirror homework: Listen and sing along with Michael Jackson to get more comfortable with the timing.

Warm-up: Dona Nobis Pacem, a round with movement- looked cool, but messy and sounded cool, but messy. It's not easy singing and moving.

1. Let There Be Peace on Earth: Finally learned section D, and now we're done! Just cleaning up now. It's sounding grand.

2. Crazy Little Thing: 43-49 and 60-71 be careful! I gotta be cool is very different both times. We're done with this now too, but we'll need to review page 10 again, and all the little edgy harmonies.

3. Imagine: We tried out some back-ups for Janet. It's good to know we have 3 people who could step up if necessary. Top of page 6 just before the key change, remember the timing changed and we're moving on beat one instead of just before.  And the end, remember the timing at the end. If the tenors are not strong enough on the last "be as one" we need to add the back row altos, right? Did we talk about that?

4. Nella Fantasia: Don't forget to move down on the oohs under the solo, but you're all back in your proper places for "within the deepest soul" at the pick-up to bar 20. We're just perfecting this now. It's so good!

5. Unity: We move the same way here, down a section, with first sopranos on top, seconds in the alto line, altos in tenor and tenors and basses on the bottom together for page 2. Altos sing the melody up an octave though. The speaking parts: "here I am" we need to decide on a back row soprano, Anne will do the alto, or someone mid-alto section, and a bass voice would be nice. Don't forget the together we're we timing and notes are different right after that, heading into the end.

Next week: March Break but not a break for us.
Monday, March 12th

6:30 Man in the Mirror

  • From a Distance
  • One Small Step
  • Seasons of Love
  • You Raise Me Up

Thursday, March 1, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 26-FEB-2018

6:30 Man in the Mirror Small Group started. We are sounding good, and have figured out (sort of) a good ending.

Monday, February 26th YRCC Rehearsal

1. Warm-up was a  move-and-sing with You Raise Me Up. It was wonderful! It felt good moving to that beautiful piece of music and it's amazing how well we know it without music, off-by-heart!!!

2. Let There Be Peace on Earth was going so well, we almost finished! Apparently, I forgot section D. Oh, dear! You sight-read it beautifully. The first sopranos are singing the descant part at the beginning, in the lines on top where it says 4 or 8** GIRLS. So far, we have Melodie, Mary-Ellen, and Nicole on top and the rest on the bottom. Everyone else is in the lower choir bracket, and everyone starts at the beginning except the first sopranos. The words we landed on are: "With Earth as our mother, her children all are we. Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony. "

3. Nella Fantasia is done! Well, we're done learning. Now, we just have to polish it. We reviewed pages 6 to 10, learned the oohs on pages 4 and 5, and even fixed the "Within the deepest soul" there. For the oohs, remember that the sopranos are down on the alto line, altos sing tenor, and tenors and basses are together on the bottom. But, at the pick-up to bar 20, you all slide into your regular places- all sopranos on top, altos, sing the same alto notes as you do in the end, tenors are jumping a bit but will sound awesome, and basses are happily on the bottom.

4. From a Distance is also done! We did 43 to the end. Now, we just review and polish until we can do it without Joy, a cappella. It's so beautiful! I love this song and this arrangement is really special.

Next Week:

6:30 Man in the Mirror

  • Crazy Little Thing (p 6-8)
  • Imagine (be as one- key change and end)
  • Let there be Peace on Earth (D)
  • Nella Fantasia
  • Unity

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 20-FEB-2018

Family Day Rehearsal, Monday, February 20th, 2018

1. Warm up was Wonderful World without music and swaying to the music. It was really cool. It's amazing how much of it we have memorized somehow!

2. Why We Sing was also wonderful! We only reviewed the first soprano descant part. Everything was excellent.

3. Unity: We reviewed page 2, with some changes. It's getting there. The balance was not great before, but I'm working on it. It's really much better. We've got first sopranos on the top alone and making sure not to be too loud when they don't have the melody. Second sopranos are in the alto line. Altos are in the tenor line. The tenor notes are okay for the altos, except in the melody. When you have the melody, sing it up in the same octave as the sopranos. That way the melody continues clearly. Tenors and basses are both on the bass line, singing either up the octave or down. "Love thy neighbour as thy self" is awkward, and we're working on fixing it. It might be fine to just sing below everyone else without being different. I might rewrite that line for tenors and basses. The other thing we worked on is the words "together we're free". There are 3 different ways to sing this: at the bottom of page 2, we sing together. (full stop) we're free. At the top of page 2 and at the bottom of page 3 the timing is different. There's no break between together and we're free. There's a time change but no pause there. You can't stop. The top of page 2 and the bottom of page 3 are different, though. The notes are not the same. Make sure you don't sing them all the same.

4. Crazy Little Thing Called Love: We got pretty far in this, up to page 6. There are a couple places where the sopranos and altos don't have the melody but have a sassy-country-twangy harmony. We'll have to work on being sassy. Tenors and Basses have a lot of melody in this song. Gotta be cool!

We had only a very small break and left early to be home to watch the Olympics, and because it was Family Day.

Next week, Monday, February 26th.

Small group: 6:30 Man in the Mirror starts

  • From a Distance
  • Imagine
  • Let There be Peace
  • Nella Fantasia

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 12-FEB-2018

We had a Valentine's Day sweet feast! A number of people brought sweet things for (decaf) coffee break. We had cakes and squares and cookies and Donna's famous butter tarts and fruit and... OH MY! Thank you to all the bakers and purveyors of wonderful treats!

What the World Needs Now is Love: this small group is so good! Joy has made recordings of your parts so you can brush up from time to time, but we're done rehearsing this for a while. Thank you, Anne-Marie and Joy for doing a great job leading this group!

Warm-ups were more physical than vocal even though we should know Crazy Little Thing Called Love enough to sing along to most of it! I guess I got you doing too much with your hips and arms and hands. We're supposed to be moving and singing, but we had fun! And, for me, it's important to feel the song with my whole body. It helps with the rhythm and dynamics and it makes it more fun. We used the Dwight Yoakam version to move and clap and sing to.

1. Crazy Little Thing Called Love: We learned pages 10-11(my favourite part).We did that thing where we decide to sing on the beat instead of just before. It's not as cool and jazzy, or country-cool, but cool enough. It's easier for sure.
Watch me for the timing of this section, and always at the end. We will have Joy play all the way to the end of her part before we say "Yeah!" so that it has its own special moment.

2. Seasons of Love: We learned from bar 28 to 48! There is a solo which Nicole sang really well! While she's singing her solo, sopranos are with the altos, and it is a similar thing to what you sing during other parts of the song. We spoke the words "Celebrate, remember a year in the life of friends" to learn the rhythm of that phrase. It's not as hard as it looks. We sang thorough the whole song, and it is getting easier to sight-read now that we know so much already. There is an optional solo section starting at 62, but we'll have all the sopranos on that line, but soft so that the other parts come through-all the parts are important and we have to figure out how to blend together. We also have to figure out an ending. I really don't like the (non-) ending of this arrangement. So, be prepared to play with that a bit.

3. Let There Be Peace on Earth: We learned the ending from the top of page 6 after the fermata (which we will observe) to the end, the first (loud) ending, not the optional (quiet) ending, part of section F. I had planned to do all of section F, but we had too much fun at break time. Remember to move into your own line at the beginning of the second system. Except maybe the tenors- I suggest that you write your part over the bass part in the bass clef. You'll stay there, at the top of the bass clef, for the ending. Tenors, for the word "begin", sing the quarter notes. Everyone, there is a rallentando that we're observing. (language lovers: 'lent'or 'lento' is in there) We will slow down the words "let it begin with", leaning into those quarter notes in the alto and tenor lines especially. Watch for the rest, because we go back to the regular tempo (a tempo) and Joy has some awesome chords to play, and a tremolo at the end (Why do I like tremolos so much? Thank you, Joy for indulging me!). We sang from section E to the end.

Next week is Family Day. We will meet, but there will be no early group. Everyone starts at 7:30.

  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • Let There Be Peace on Earth
  • Unity
  • Why We Sing
  • Wonderful World
Sign up for Man in the Mirror! It starts the week after next at 6:30.  I need all parts, please.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

YRCC solos spring 2018

Here's my worksheet for solos for spring 2018:
Help me fill in the blanks and decide who sings what. Which solos would you be interested in?
I've made a few suggestions and some are already decided on (bold).

From a Distance: 
1. 6-13 and 26-33
back-up: Jane
2. 10-13 and 29-33
Soprano for duet: Lauren? Joanne? Sophie?

I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing: 
1. 9-16 and 25-39
Soprano/Alto: Jane? Debbie? Melodie? Trix?
2. 17-39
Tenor/bass male: Blair? Philip?

1. 5-12 and 17-24
solo: Janet 
back-up: Teija? Joanne?

Nella Fantasia: bars 6-21
1. solo: Mary-Ellen 
back-up: Todd 

One Small Step: 
1. 5-9 and 75
Soprano or Alto: Melodie? Teija? Debbie?
2. 9-14
Tenor or Bass: Stanley? Blair? Todd? Bill?

Seasons of Love: 33-40
1. Soprano: Nicole? Teija? Trix?

Why We Sing: 9-25
1. Soprano: Kit/ Trix
2. Tenor or Bass male: Stanley/
3. Alto or Tenor female: Peggy/ Debbie?
4. Tenor or Bass male: Blair?

YRCC Rehearsal 5-FEB-2018

Monday, February 5th, 2018 was my birthday and it was a wonderful way to spend my special day.
Thank you for all your kind and loving birthday wishes! I love my choir.

When I arrived, the small group What the World Needs Now is Love was singing and it was heavenly.

We warmed up with the Hallelujah vamp from Your Love is Amazing. We swayed and swiveled and we clapped and we moved our feet while singing 3-part harmony. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah: Your love makes me sing! We're not ready to join a gospel choir, but we can have fun moving and singing. Do this in the kitchen, but not in the bathtub.

1. One Small Step is so good! We reviewed the section that starts at 58, at the bottom of page 9.
Melodie sang the solo at the beginning which comes back at the end. Blair did the the second solo from the pick-up to bar 10 to bar 14. I think I need to assess the solos and see who is willing and able to sing what. That will be another blog post. If you liked these solos, and think you'd be interested in singing them, let me know. I think Melodie's voice is perfectly suited to this one, but I'm open to suggestions. At the top of page 6, we will have only the altos sing from bar 32 to 36. All tenors and basses from pick-up to 37 to 41.

2. From a Distance is coming along really well. I got goosebumps a couple of times. The harmonies are beautiful!  (apparently, the goosebump thing means I'm special) We learned from bar 13 to 25, so we can now sing all the way to the bottom of page 6. Don't worry if you missed this; it's all on the website to listen to. You can catch up at home. (except some tenors. We divided the tenor part differently from what's on the recordings. For second tenors, the middle row, "From a distance there is harmony" is FFGEb GABb BbAG I think will be easier. It sounded really good.)

3. Nella Fantasia never fails to move me. It's so good, even without the words. In fact, my favourite versions of this song are when it's called Gabriel's Oboe and it's performed by an orchestra with an oboe solo (or sometimes a clarinet, my instrument). Sometimes when it comes on the radio, I weep, and if I'm driving I have to change the station. We learned the hard part from 28-37 and we sang from page 6 to the end. Everybody has something special in the section and there's so much going on. Learn your part well. There are two sets of recordings for this, so no excuses :-) It was such a nice birthday present to hear this!

4. Crazy Little Thing Called Love was a good way to end the night, with everyone laughing. For most people it was their first time so it was understandably messy. It's a cool Queen song, and our version is based on the Dwight Yoakam version. So, ours is all kinds of groovy. Shall we dance? Can we have a line dancing night?

Next Week: Monday, February 12th: 
Coffee social at Break Time

Same small group at 6:30 What the World Needs Now

  • Seasons of Love 28-40
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love (start at end-pg 10-11)
  • Let there be Peace on Earth
  • Why We Sing

The next small group will be Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson. It's in 3 parts, SAB.
Sign up now on the website under Events.
You can also start signing up for the seniors home performances as they get booked for the spring.

Monday, January 29, 2018

SNOW DAY! No YRCC rehearsal tonight, Jan. 29, 2018

The one time a snow day is not happy news!
Let's be safe and spend the evening relaxing indoors.
I'm sad to miss choir !

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 22-Jan-2018

Another messy day, weather-wise, with fog and freezing rain and rain on an off. Yuck! We're so lucky to have choir to end our Mondays on a positive note ;-)

6:30 Small group: What the World Needs Now is Love: brave folks got there early and learned half the song already. Way to go!

We did another move-and-sing exercise for our warm-up. This time we danced and sang along to the Beatles' Twist and Shout! We tried to sing harmonies along with Paul and George or the melody with John. You'll be very sad if you missed this rehearsal!

1. Imagine: We spent the whole first half on this because we were really getting it. The plan was to learn from bar 40 to the end. We did that so well that we sang the whole song through and did an excellent job. So, now we're ahead on this song. Hooray!

2. Nella Fantasia: We learned bar 42 to the end, and it was beautiful! Listen to the recordings- there are lots. The ones that Richard did have him singing the parts. You might find that easier, hearing the words.

3. Seasons of Love: This was only supposed to be an introduction, but we got all the way to the bottom of page 3, learning parts. We sight-read to the end, and it was fun! I love this song.

Next week:
Monday, January 29
6:30 What the World Needs Now

  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • From a Distance 13-25
  • Nella Fantasia 28-37
  • One Small Step
  • Seasons of Love 28-40 (talk about solos- soprano here and tenor at 40)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal Review 15-Jan-2018

Monday, January 15th
was a snowy, messy day on the roads.
What a good thing we had choir to help us escape!

Warm-up was a dance-and-sing-along exercise to Seasons of Love. (an excellent reward for having braved the scary drive)

1. Unity: We made some changes. The first verse is sung by sopranos only until bar 14 "Sometimes our paths will wind." This section, from bar 14 until bar 23, is under construction. We're moving down to give more support to the bass line. So, first sopranos are on top in the soprano line. Second sopranos are in the alto line. Altos are in the tenor line (it's treble clef an octave down). Tenors are on top of the bass line in the bass clef. Basses are on the very bottom. The important bit in the tenor line is a bit low for the altos, but maybe it will work better when more of them are there. If necessary, we'll add some tenors in on bar 16. Don't forget to write in the words for verse 2. (With respect and dignity come peace and unity. No race, religion, skin, nor creed, for you are you and I am me. Together we're we.) Remember to skip to the second ending at the bottom of page 3.

2. Nella Fantasia: One of my all-time favourite pieces of music! I love it when it's Gabriel's Oboe best of all, but our version is pretty awesome. We made similar changes to what we did in Unity to Nella Fantasia in bars 11 to 21. Bar 21 is under construction. We'll see how that ends up working. At the beginning, Mary-Ellen sings a solo and that solo continues through to 21. Todd has offered to be her back-up. Won't that be special! Under that, the sopranos will sing "oo" in the alto line. The altos will sing in the tenor line (again in that special treble clef an octave down), and the tenors and basses sing together in the bass clef. For the rest of the song, all parts are in their usual places. Note that the tenor and bass parts are in unison from bar 23 to 27. Then, the tenors have the melody, and then give it to the altos, but the basses get their own melody, as do the sopranos. Sopranos and basses, make a note at the bottom of that page that you have a special "in my fantasy" after the page turn! Altos and tenors finish the word humanity on the page turn and hold it one bar only. Everyone should try to take some time to listen to their part on the recordings. We all forgot how this goes! We laughed because it was pretty awful but at least we were all in the same boat. Log in to the website and listen to the recordings, please!

3. From a Distance: Last time we sang this, Jane was the soloist and Daphne came in for the duet parts. There were back-ups, but we can't remember who. I think it will be really dramatic and cool for Melinda to sing the solo. People will remember that she sang it as a solo song and so this will sound like we are all backing her up. Of course, it ends up being total choral 4-part harmony, with 6-part harmony at times! We need to find someone to sing the soprano part above her in those harmony bits, and we need a back-up too. Jane will back Melinda up. Recordings for this song are also on the website. Notice that sopranos and tenors divide. Also, notice that there is no accompaniment. There is a recording of all parts together, though. It's a cappella. Joy will help us for a while, and then we have to learn to fly on our own. We learned the section from bar 38 to 45 which repeats.

4. Imagine: OMG! This is so good! We will have some work to do still, but many of you remember it. You'll remember that timing is special and has to be tight. No worries; I'll have you in line in no time. This is Janet's solo. We'll need a back-up. Poor Janet was stuck in traffic and had to miss choir, but that meant that everyone got to sing from the beginning. The solo goes from the beginning to the middle of page 4. So, the sopranos sing soprano from bar 13 to 16, but sing oos with the altos starting at 17. Back to normal at 25.

Next week:
Monday, January 22nd

6:30 Small group: What the World Needs Now is Love
I just now created the "Event" on the website, so if you aren't signed up don't worry, just show up.
There might not be enough copies of the music, but we'll see.
Note that it is SSA and the first soprano part gets quite high.

  • From a Distance (bars 13-25)
  • Imagine (40-end?)
  • Nella Fantasia (42-end?)
  • Seasons of Love (beginning to 20)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal Review 08-JAN-2018

First post of 2018!
We're back! And, we're sounding fantastic!
Our theme this season is Unity and Harmony.

First rehearsal, Monday, January 8th, 2018

  1. Wonderful World: done. It's always wonderful.
  2. Dona Nobis Pacem: almost done. We just have to work on making it sound interesting and pretty. Part 1 is Soprano, part 2 is Alto, part 3 is Tenor and Bass. 
  3. I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing: We sang all the way through and it was pretty good already. We're going to try to make it more interesting and less repetitive by having 2 soloists sing until bar 40. I'm looking for volunteers for those 2 parts, a woman and a man and two back-ups. 
  4. One Small Step: This will also start with a woman and a man, 2 very short solos, and then they come back for a line just before the end. This is such a powerful song and has excellent harmonies that are not very difficult. We learned from the pick-up to bar 15 to bar 23, and sight-read the whole thing a couple of times. It won't be hard.
  5. Let There Be Peace on Earth: We're doing this a bit differently from last time, so get your eraser out and start erasing the last page notes. We're doing the big ending, not the quiet optional ending. Also, we're going to use alternative lyrics which are accepted by copyright. They are: with Earth as our mother, her children all are we. There is an extra note for the word "her" and it is just a pick-up note before the first note of page 4. Use that note. 
  6. Hine Ma Tov: Bam! We got it. It was never better. We're going to add a tambourine this time.
  7. Why We Sing: I'd like to have Kit and Stanley start again and we'll need back-ups. We'll have to replace Enid and Rob and have back-ups as well. I'm looking for volunteers. This is our finale song. When I sang through the final set for myself, I started to cry. This is why we sing.
I'm going to post about small groups and solos and duets. I've got a couple of songs and some ideas too.

The first small group will be What the World Needs Now is Love, starting on the 22nd. 

Next week's songs:
  • From a Distance
  • Imagine
  • Nella Fantasia
  • Unity

Saturday, December 30, 2017

YRCC last post of 2017

I hope everyone knows what a wonderful year the YRCC has had. 2017 was Canada's sesquicentennial year and we were proud Canadians and sang some awesome Canadian music! Our concerts were well attended (total capacity at Christmas) and comments were that they were our best concerts yet!

I'm so proud of all of us!

I'm also ready for another fantastic year. Our theme of unity/peace is another good one for strong feelings, powerful music, and joyful collaboration. We have lots of great music already in our repertoire, and I've picked out some super songs with the help of our reading committee to add something new.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again on Monday, January 8th, 2018.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

YRCC Run-Through Rehearsal 27-Nov-17

We're going to be great. The last rehearsal made sure you'll keep working until the last minute :-)

At the end, I said you should know what you need to work on. Some of you will think that you've got your parts so you don't have to look over anything, but please do anyway. You see, if you were so strong on your part, the ones who were lost would have been able to follow you, right?

Here's what needs review:

1. Hine Ma Tov (the words, the melody, when to come in)
Here's a link to listen to: Hine Ma Tov (fast but clear)

2. River: Listen to Joni Mitchell This is the one that inspired our arrangement. You'll hear it. Just get a handle on how the 3 verses go, with the 2 endings and the coda. (Joy will give us the same 2-bar intro just before each verse so that the start is clearer) Remember the ending is slowish, and starts with the two slow pa-pas.

3. Watch the conductor for every entry and every ending, always! So, learn those entries and endings so you don't have to look at your music and you can look at me.

Soloists and small group members please memorize your parts as much as possible so you don't have to look at your music too much. Sing to the audience.

That's not bad considering we're presenting 26 pieces of music!

As always, everything will come together when we're in front of the audience. Thank you for all your hard work over the season!

Break a leg!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal 20-NOV-2017

Early group was Silent Night

I'm sorry I left early. I'm sure Anne-Marie led a great rehearsal for the last half-hour. I was very pleased with River!

The concert order is posted on the website. Please sign in and put your binders in concert order for our run-through rehearsal on Monday, November 27.

1. Concert Order is on the website under Members Only Content: Winter Concert Order
2.What to wear at the concert is on the website under Members Only Content: Concert Wardrobe: Formal Concerts. You can see how we look if you look for us on YouTube.
3. Seniors' Homes visits start Monday, December 4th! Sign up for these performances under Events Sign Up. These are such a good thing for everyone, for us and for our audiences!
4. Seniors' performance orders are tentative, but they are listed under Seniors' Performance Orders.
Your binder must be returned to Lyn after your last performance and before Christmas! Do not leave Lyn with a straggling binder to set up just before (or after!) our January start!!! You will get all new music in your binder in January. Help this to happen.
5. Stay healthy and be prepared for the concert. Read my post on Performance Tips.
6. Small Groups and Soloists should start arriving at 6:00 on Monday for microphone and music stand stand set-up, and everyone else should aim for 7:00 so we can figure out where to stand and sit and have a warm-up, and start the run-through no later than 7:30.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal 13Nov2017

6:30 Barenaked small group rocked! We got it.

We had a surprise sing-along of Ahead by a Century by The Tragically Hip. Some of us were unfamiliar with that song. We'd like to add it in to the show somewhere, so please listen to it a few times before then. Here is a link to a video for you. I think we'll sing it with the Kevins and Janet playing guitar and drums. Joy might want to join them.

1. In Our Town in December: Bill wasn't there and we found a few good back-ups. I'm hoping Bill and Teija can sing the solos at the show.

2. River: It worked! It felt so good to hear our arrangement come together as I had hoped, or even better than I had hoped. It does help to be able to hear the solos. We have to remember to be soft when we come in during the solos, wispy and hushed on the word wish. It was beautiful.

3. Hockey Song: Excellent!

4. We Rise Again: Such a powerful song! We are so good on this! Joanne will charm everyone with her solo. Robyn is a super back-up. Don't be too soft on the oohs and ahhs. Joanne will have a mic. The way that the oohs and ahhs move and sound so good, we don't want to miss that. Altos and Second Sopranos need to try to be soft and try to hear the tenors and basses especially on page 5. The tenors and basses have some cool stuff that needs to come out. First sopranos, you need to review your part please. Try to be confident and not stressed on your part so that it sounds pretty and strong. Sometimes it sounds harsh.

Monday, November 20th :
Last chance to buy advance tickets and poinsettias! Tickets will be available at the door, but they will be $15 for everyone.

Silent Night small group will meet early at 6:30

  • Hine Ma Tov
  • Magic of Winter
  • Noel Nouvelet
  • Somewhere A Child is Sleeping
  • River
  • We Rise Again

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

YRCC Christmas Concert

YRCC Rehearsal 06-Nov-2017

Tickets are on sale. Pick up tickets for friends and family.

Poinsettias are on sale. Order them for yourself and as gifts for friends and family, especially those who are coming to the show. This is a good fundraiser and we will have a beautifully decorated concert space. The quality and size of the plants is outstanding.

6:30 Pentatonix Silent Night

1. Song for Canada: We worked on dynamics. Be sure to save some Fortissimo for the crescendo at the top of page 12. We get loud at 81 on page 8 but we have to save some for page 12. And, we can't be loud before page 8. We made the first verse soft and pretty instead of strong, so that we can build to loud and strong at page 8. Page 8 to the end is very proud and big.

2. River: We sang all the way through to get used to where we sing and how the repeats work. We learned that the timing isn't always as written. Don't worry. We will sing with the soloist and under the soloist mostly, so focus on your notes and the timing will work itself out. We learned the second ending oohs and the coda. Don't forget to mark the coda "way on" to remind yourself that it's very long.

3. Noel Nouvelet: Don't forget that Tenors and Basses sing where it says Alto. We talked about how the piece is in cut time even though it's not fast. The time signatures are 3/2 and 2/2 (4/4 cut is 2/2) so the half note gets the beat (we count the half notes), and you'll feel extra weight on the third quarter note.  The cut time gives a special motion, a different drive, to the piece that's not about speed. Where there are 3/2 bars and then 2/2 bars, count 1and2and3and1and2and3and1and2and1and2and...

4.We Rise Again: Such an awesome piece! We looked at the tenor part on page 11. There's a special bit that is very effective at bar 53 and 55. We looked at the ending too, and some of the tenors move there so that we've got tenors in the tenor line, tenors on the top of the bass line and Bass on the very bottom. Check out this recording of Lydia Adams leading her Amadeus Choir on her arrangement of We Rise Again, which is our arrangement of We Rise Again! You have to be able to sign in on Facebook. I don't know if it's anywhere else.

Next week, Monday, November 13

Barenaked Small Group at 6:30

Hockey Song
Somewhere A Child is Sleeping (if Philip can bring the cello)
We Rise Again

Friday, November 3, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal 30-OCT-2017

When Halloween is the night after choir, the choir director forgets all about writing the rehearsal review. Sorry; I've had a wicked week. This is late, but hopefully will still help.

The small group that met early was Pentatonix Silent Night. Those of us who got to hear a sample of this group's work were impressed.

Warm-ups included minor scales which sound spooky, or moody. Minor scales are used for sad, moody, or spooky music. Major scales are what we're more accustomed to. It was difficult to sing those minor scales!

1. Wonderful World: We discovered that we were singing the top of page 7 wrong last week. It's an important part, and getting the notes right is a big part of expressing the meaning of that line. It's like the top of page 5. So, we did page 5 first. "the bright blessed day; the dark sacred night" has a big contrast between the two phrases, which we accomplish by singing the first part louder and the second softer, but the notes also help us create the moody "dark sacred night". The interesting chords and the dynamics underscore the words. On the top of page 7, we have the loud section, "I see friends shaking hands..." It ends with "I love you." --They're really saying, " I love you."-- We put the quotation marks there by singing I love you softly, and the notes really help to add emotion to the words and to set them apart. Let's be sure to hear the altos and the bass especially- they have key notes.

2. River: This is hard now, but will get easier when everyone gets a feel for when to sing, and where to go to repeat.  It's also a different format from what we're used to reading. It's the free music-writing software that Joy and I were able to find and learn relatively quickly that looks unusual and that's throwing some of you off too. I'm sorry. Remember that there are 3 verses, so we go back to the beginning twice. There is a first ending and a second ending and a coda. The coda is the ending-ending. We jump to the coda before the third verse is finished. It's like the 3rd verse is a bonus bit and it could be seen as the beginning of the ending. Also, we decided that it was nice for the choir to come in on page 3 and we'll do it on the first verse too. So, you should have a note written in on beat one of bar 23 in the first ending. Soprano=D, Alto=A, Tenor=E, Bass hold your D. If not, write it in.
We sang the third verse up to the beginning of the coda (ie: page 1 to the top of page 2 in bar 8, and then jump to the last page bar 51.) If you don't have the word way written in on beat one of bar 51, please write it in. There should also be a tie/slur to attach the note before "on" to the previous note. You hold "way....."and drop to the next note still on "way" before you sing "on".

3. Hine Ma Tov: sounding good! Don't forget to bounce those lai-lais and smile! You probably want to write the English words in on the second repetition of page 3. Sopranos will notice that there aren't enough notes in the soprano part in bar 39. Repeat the same note, the C, in the same rhythm as the other part has below (which you heard on the top of page 2 bar 21). sing to-ge-ther-in-song.

4. We Rise Again: We learned section E, which is from the pick-up to bar 40 to the first note of bar 43, basically the first system of page 9. It's not very hard, but the Second Sopranos and the Tenors move here, each down a line. Second Sopranos sing with Altos on mostly melody, and Tenors go to the top of the Bass line. Bass gets the bottom. We reviewed section D, where oohs turn to aahs. The altos were getting lost, so if you have some time, practice your alto part on pages 7 and 8.

Next week: Buy tickets! They're beautiful! The posters have a typo in the phone number, so we'll have new ones. Think about where you could post a poster.

6:30 Pentatonix Silent Night small group

  • Noel Nouvelet
  • River
  • Song for Canada
  • We Rise Again

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal 23-OCT-2017

7:00 Baby it's Cold Outside

1. Somewhere a Child is Sleeping: So beautiful with the cello! Philip changed his accompaniment (which he is creating on his own) to whole notes, and it was not only easier, but also more beautiful!
I'm still thinking how best to use this wonderful gift. We might have only the cello and Mary-Ellen on the first part. Won't that be special? And, for the instrumental interlude between verses, Joy and Philip will have something special. We'll figure it out (right, Philip?).
2. Wonderful World: performance ready. It's so special! But, we found a bit that we can improve on: the top of page 7.
3. We Rise Again:We worked on section D: bar 29-39, the oohs, which we turned into aahs at the page turn :-) So, as you go from page 7 to page 8, your oohs turn into aahs. It's really cool, really. The tenors and altos have very cool parts at the bottom of page 8. If you missed today's rehearsal, you will want to review page 7 and 8 for your part. Listen to the recordings on the website. It will help. We also reviewed the previous section, C, from bar 19-29, which we learned last week. If you missed that, you probably want to review that section too.
4. River: My aim was to learn page 3, and we kind of did. We're still getting used to how this is going to work. So, we spent some time "walking through" the piece. I've added in the choir on the first verse, so it's not exactly as written. I will have the sheet music for the solo version put on line. That might help the music-reading folks.
5. Noel Nouvelet: This gets better every time. It will take some time to get the choir and flute and piano to all be together, but it's getting very close. The choir is sounding very good. We'll have to work on dynamics, but that has time. Great job, everyone!

Next week: Monday, October 30th

6:30 Pentatonix Silent Night small group

We Rise Again: Section E and reviewing B, C, D
River: 3rd verse up to the pa-pas
Hine Ma Tov
Noel Nouvelet
Wonderful World: top of pg 7

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

YRCC in the Auroran Newspaper RE ACC

Click here to read the article in the Auroran Newspaper about the Aurora Community Cafe and our concert!

YRCC Rehearsal 16-Oct-2017

6:30 Barenaked Small Group: learning to live up to our name, we're sounding less 'sweet and pretty'.

Warm-ups: Interval sheet, major intervals going up and minor intervals going down.

1. Magic of Winter:
"We could perform this right now!" Beautiful, always satisfying.
2. River: 
We're all doing it! Well, there will be 2 solos, but we all get to participate and the choir does the third verse in harmony with a special a cappella ending. Joy and I created this arrangement in her basement. It was cool. Today, we just walked through it, getting the general idea of how it goes. Trix will do one of the solos for sure, probably the second (who else is sexy enough?). Yes, you don't have the words for the second verse. It's okay. It's a solo and if you want to sing it, I'll give you that part.  I'm already thinking of how to improve this arrangement (even my own arrangements, I have to "interpret"). I think we'll have the choir come in for both 1 and 2 at the top of page 3. We'll have to change the first ending to give everyone a landing note. We're going to start learning this next week.
3. Noel Nouvelet:
We learned the middle section where the flute and piano are the focus, pages 5 and 6. The choir comes in at the 3/2 bar at the bottom page 5. It's reminiscent of the beginning of the song where there are also 2 bars of 3/2 time. The counting here goes: 1and2and3and1and2and3and1and2and1and2and...
The altos, tenors, and basses start first in bar 48 on the and of 1
The sopranos come in on the and of 1 in bar 49.
Remember that you are the "accompaniment" here, so keep it soft and sweet.
We sang through the whole song a couple of times, and it's getting pretty good! We reviewed the ATB parts, which are not easy, but repetitive. The hard thing with this song is getting all the timing to come together, the 2 voice parts, the piano, and the flute. It will be so impressive when we're done!
4. We Rise Again:
We also worked on pages 5 and 6 on this song! This part I call section C. It goes from bar 19 to 28. This is the most important part of the song. The first time the audience hears the chorus, we sing it in 4-part harmony. It's broad and moody and moves in mysterious ways. It will be very impressive if we can hear the tenor and bass parts. Tenor especially had a cool part.  Give it all you've got, Tenors and Basses, and lean in on all notes that you have in interesting places (beat 3 of 19, beat 2 of 22, beat 3 of 23, beat 3 of 24). This is the first time we hear that Soprano descant part too and that's really impressive, but it has to be soft and light. Let those high notes float gracefully out of your eyeball sockets. Second Sopranos and Altos have the melody, and it has to be tight and light. Timing cannot be mushy and you have to be able to hear the Tenors. We even had to ask Joy to be softer on the accompaniment! The blending here is very important!

Next week:
7:00 Blair and Trix
  • We Rise Again: oohs and aahs: section D (and reviewing section B)
  • Noel Nouvelet: timing
  • River: Page 3
  • Somewhere A Child is Sleeping: dynamics