Welcome


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!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

YRCC Run-through Rehearsal 29-Apr-2019

It was perfect!

We had moments of utter perfection and moments where we knew we needed to work a bit harder. When not everything goes perfectly, it's the best. The concert will be our best work, better than our last rehearsal.

Wasn't it inspiring to hear the recording of us singing Bring Him Home!!! Now you know why I frequently get goosebumps listening to you. When you're immersed in your section, and your focus is on your part, you don't get a good feeling for how everything sounds together. That's what it sounds like! It's awesome!

On Saturday, everyone must be there and all the baking should be put away by 6:00. Doors open at 6:30, so we will get ourselves in position, have a warm-up and file out the back, so that we can file back in gracefully. We will rehearse the ending of Put a Little Love in Your Heart, and that's it, unless someone has a request to review anything.

5:00 - 6:00 is for soloists and small groups, and for ticket set-up and bake sale and coffee set-up. Don't forget to bake!

Be sure to get a good night's sleep Friday night so that you have lots of energy and staying power for Saturday night.  Put your feet up in the afternoon if you can. Maybe plan to have some friends over for drinks after. Hey, invite your friends and family to the concert and then out for drinks, or to your place for drinks, so you don't need a designated driver.

Don't forget, Monday is our first seniors' visit! I'll put up the order when I can, but it might not be until Sunday. Always have all of your music just in case.

Break a leg, everyone!


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 22-Apr-2019

Easter Monday, and we had a very good turn-out for this last rehearsal.
Next week is our run-through rehearsal!
We’ll be at Trinity Anglican Church in Aurora from 6:00-10:00!
6-7 is for small groups and soloists.
The rest of the choir should aim to be there at 7:15 to get into place and warm up to be ready to start the run-through at 7:30.

At yesterday’s rehearsal, we tried out a new way of singing Put a Little Love in Your Heart. We’re going to have solos at the beginning. Mary-Ellen and Blair will sing up to the top of page 3. Everyone else comes in at bar 21, not too loud please. And, we get a bigger ending if we repeat the section at bar 62. It worked out great! So, you sing all the way through to 70, but go back and sing from 62 again before going on past 70 to the end. Watch carefully at the end. The timing is tricky and we have to be perfectly together. It’s the last song, the finale.

Bring Him Home was so good it nearly brought us to tears! Remember to be good and loud starting at the bottom of page 4 “If I die, let me die” is the loudest part of the song. Then suddenly (subito) everyone is very soft on “Let him live”. So dramatic!

For Rewrite the Stars, you need to look at the words carefully to get the timing. Remember the beginning is positive “you know I want you”, and so we get “it’s up to you” for example, but after Nicole’s solo “there are doors that we can’t walk through” we get “it’s not up to you”, then there’s the “all I want is to fly with you” part and it turns positive again and changes to “it’s up to you” again. Look at the words.

Higher and Higher is fun and powerful. We worked on getting the second soprano notes at the ending, actually starting at 42!


Friday, April 19, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal Review 15-Apr-2019 and the next two weeks

We're getting close to the end of this season of love. I'm enjoying this theme, and I think we'll continue with love next year, but maybe switch to love and romance, and maybe drama, dramatic love? Just starting to think ahead :-) Christmas will be Love and Peace on Earth, or something like that.

Top of the World and Lean on Me met early and are both sounding ready!

We used new paper straws for our warm-up. They're narrower than the plastic ones we started with, and that's good. You're supposed to work up to a narrower straw until you're blowing through those really thin stir sticks.

We had visitors! Catalina and Peter, our new accompanists came to see us and stayed through breaktime to meet us. How nice! They both worked with the YRCC ages ago, and we've grown and changed a bit, but we still have the same spirit. Catalina will be the principal accompanist, and Peter has offered to help out as a back-up and with recordings. We're still working on the details.

We started with Beauty and Beast, which Peter remembered playing for us. It's such a great medley! We did really well, but we also reviewed a bit. Transitions are always an issue in medleys. Be sure to watch because it's a challenge to switch tempos and it's up to Joy and me to get those but the choir has to be careful to watch. Beginnings and ends are always the time to watch the most, but in a medley its even more important.

Why We Sing is such a joy to sing! This is my main message in every concert. "A sound of love, a sound so strong! It's amazing what is given when we share a song."

Put a Little Love in Your Hear is our theme song, and I was hoping to use it as the finale. I'm having second thoughts though. It's not a strong piece, and we're not certain about our timing. If you have some time, spend some time on this song. I've asked the Kevins to look at it to see if they can add some strumming to fill it out. I'll keep thinking about how to improve it.

And, of course, we worked on Bring Him Home. It's hard, but it's amazing how well it has come together! It's so impressive, and such a strong piece of music! It think we'll have some tears.

Somewhere Out There comes right after Bring Him Home in the concert and is the last song before intermission. It's perfect. Remember to start wistfully, softly, and then at the middle of page 5, the mood changes and it's loud and positive. The tenors and basses lead the repeat with confidence. We end big, with an extra "come true".

Next week, Easter Monday Rehearsal:
Stanley and Mona start at 7:00

  • Bring Him Home
  • Put a Little Love
  • Higher and Higher
  • Rewrite the Stars
  • B&B top of page 29
Buy tickets! Last chance for advance prices. Cheques are good. Make them out to York Region Community Choir. 

Monday, April 29th: Run-through Rehearsal at Trinity Anglican Church

Binders are in order on April 29th to save time. I'll publish the order now. 










Thursday, April 11, 2019

YRCC rehearsal 08-APR-2019

Roxanne and Who put the Bomp met early- Bomps, remember to accent the beginning of each note in the oohs at the beginning, especially the bass beat fours.

We had some good news: our accompanist has been found! Catalina is coming back and she’ll be assisted by Peter. Both are former YRCC accompanists and I’m very much looking forward to working with them again. You might remember Catalina from when we sang at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts in it’s first year. And, Peter was a high school student like Joy when he played for us. You’ll meet them soon and we can share stories from the past and hear about what they’ve been up to in the meantime. I’m so happy :-)

We did the briefest of warm-ups and basically sounded like an orchestra warming up with all kinds of noises.

1. We sang I Will Always Be With You and Robin had her flute and it was so pretty!

2. Somewhere Out There was so good! It’s ready and I’m so proud of you for learning it so quickly! We worked on dynamics and I’m happy with the ones written except the ending where we’re loud. The tenors are joining the basses on the half notes at the end, so the altos are dividing and the sopranos are dividing too, and at the end there might be 8 parts and that’s cool. You do what you think is best and it will be great, a real clear and satisfying ending. Tenors and basses, at 25, at the segno, remember to sing softly and wistfully the first time, but with sweet confidence the second time. Listen to each other so that you’re perfectly together.

3. Seasons of Love is so good! And, we have the loud alternate ending here too where you want to do just what feels right for a good clear ending.

4 Bring Him Home is coming together beautifully. We spent time on page 4 to the end. Next week we go back to page 3. It sounded pretty good even on page 3. I’ve got it stuck in my head still since Monday and now it’s Thursday! Dynamics are important in this piece too. Sopranos should hold back on page 3 where we need to hear the Alto and Tenor part.

5. Blues Skies is always great. Trix and Jack were the soloists and rocked.

Next Week:
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Bring Him Home
  • Why We Sing
  • Higher and Higher
  • Put a Little Love
Don't forget to bring your ticket money. You can pay by cheque to York Region Community Choir.
Reserve your $15 tickets and pay for them next week or Easter Monday. After that the price goes up to $20 at the door. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Bring Him Home for YRCC rehearsal

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/gto63uim30wcome/AABcJykMF-svKPX5lDG_BZdba?dl=0
LINK to video

That link is to a video on Dropbox. Elizabeth, Liz, second soprano Liz, sent me this a while ago and I still haven't found a good way to share it. Hopefully this works.

We will be working on Bring Him Home for the next three weeks, so it would be good if you could do some work on it at home. Watching this video is a good way to get feel for how it comes together, however, it's not the same as ours. I have not found a video of a choir singing our version. Not to worry. We'll get it.

See if you have some time to work with the recordings.

Also, our version is available on Musicnotes. I can listen to mine with all the parts or focus on one part. I know Blair has found that useful too.

Best thing is to come to choir and work hard while you're there, and most of you are doing just that, so I'm not worried.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

YRCC Spring 2019 Poster


YRCC Rehearsal 25MAR2019

6:30 Stanley and Mona
7:00 Randomnotes

Warm-ups were brief because we talked about ticket sales.
$15 is the advance price; $20 at the door.
Advance price is only available when paid in advance. Simpler.
Poster is ready. It's groovy! Here it is:

1. B&B: We finished Beauty and the Beast! It's so good! A couple of notes you might want to add to-pencil in to- your music: pg 21 Melody and Stanley sing a duet (I signaled everyone in and most of you came in. It was good, but let's do the optional duet), pg 23 'prefer' sounds like prafer with a short first syllable and weak vowel, pg 30 'wreak' sounds like reek, pg 33 altos sing with tenors and basses bars 381-385 (to add to the melody), pg 37 'neither' sound like knee, pg 38 altos do not sing "learning you were wrong" and the rest sing a little softer there, so that "certain as the sun" is notably stronger. 

2. Somewhere Out There: Also finished!!! Fantastic! We are changing the ending to be a big one instead of a quiet one. So, we crescendo instead of decrescendo and we're adding the words "come true" starting on beat 3 of the 3rd from last bar. I'm thinking of having the sopranos, or some of the sopranos, sing the bass line up an octave. First sopranos go up to a G (yay!).

3. Higher and Higher: Fun! We just need to get the tenors and basses together and try to feel the groove. Sopranos and Altos are like back-up singers, doo-wop. It should sound easy, so try not to stress over it. We stumbled a bit on the ending, but once we had it, it sounded cool. We'll try it again. 
Listen to this, tenor and bass especially. It's not exactly like ours, (especially the women-they sound like mice) but it should inspire you. 


Monday, April 1st

6:30 Tenor and Bass Sectional  

Buy Tickets!
  • Bring Him Home
  • Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves
  • Higher and Higher
  • Rewrite the Stars
  • Somewhere Out There


Okay, here is a totally different Higher and Higher. Maybe we could slow ours down?
Check out how way back in the background the soprano and alto part goes here. 


Sunday, March 24, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 18Mar2019

I wasn't there! Sorry about that.
It's not often that I call on Anne-Marie to sub in for me, but when she does, I know it will be good.
I hear that you almost learned the whole Somewhere Out There and finished Beauty and the Beast! Wow! That's awesome. I can't wait to hear it. I've got a special ending for Somewhere Out There, so it's perfect that you didn't quite get there. All I Have to Do is Dream and I Will Always Be With You were also excellent, I hear.
Thank you, Anne-Marie!

Tomorrow Stanley and Mona are rehearsing their duet with Joy at 6:30, and then the quartet is coming in at 7:00.

Tomorrow, Monday, March 25th, we will work on:

  • Bring Him Home
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Somewhere Out There
  • Higher and Higher
Our concert has a title!
 (drumroll)
Just Love: it's all we need



YRCC Spring Concert 04MAY2019 Just Love: it's all we need

This year's Spring Concert is called Just Love: it's all we need.

Love is all we need to feel good about ourselves and to feel good about others. We need just love in our families, in our communities and in the world.

Music provides inspiration to make the world a better place with love, just love.

The YRCC will sing, with love in our hearts, about love.

And, our message will be that love can change a person, a family, a community, and ultimately the world.

We continue to sing a message of peace through song. Our feeling, our belief, is that singing together moves people towards peace and brings us closer to Peace on Earth.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 11-Mar-2019

no small group met for this March Break Monday

Our physical warm-up consisted of moving the sopranos and altos to opposite sides of the room.
I'm trying various things to try not to strain my hurt shoulder. People were quite willing to "go back home". Thanks, everyone! Let's try this for the rest of the season, and we'll see how I heal.

Warm-ups included vocal fry and lip trill exercises.
1. Blue Skies was excellent. Trix and Jack sang the solos. Jack had some help from his friends.
2. Rewrite The Stars was excellent. We worked on the timing of lots of +3+4+ phrases. Beware of "it's up to you" and "it's not up to you". The words can trip you up, and you need to be really short on the to. Think t'you, with the briefest vowel there, definitely not a too or two, and not even a ta.
3. Bring Him Home is coming along. We went straight to page 4 and it was cool and not nearly as hard as page 3. Yay! Sopranos, altos, and tenors all have an echo while the basses have the melody. So, guess what? You all have to be very quiet while the basses have to be very strong.
4. B&B: the Mob Song: We learned the first section, pages 29 and 30 and sight-read the rest. I love this one! It's so dramatic!
5. Somewhere Out There: We ran out of time, but a bunch of us stayed to start singing this. We got to the part where you have to go back to the sign/segno and then gave up. But, it was fun. This is such a pretty song!

Next week: Monday, March 18th
6:30 Quartet (Randomnotes): Top of the World

  • B&B Mob Song (and intro to B&B)
  • Somewhere Out There
  • I Will Always Be With You

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 04-MAR-2019

Small Group Lean on Me met at 7:00, cleaning up timing. Sounding Great!
Melinda, Stanley and Mona had time with Joy to work on their offerings.

Warm-ups included Lean on Me with straws and sirens too, after getting our bodies-our musical instruments- ready to serve us.

1. Bring Him Home: We spent the whole first hour on page 3 and still didn't finish! OMG!
We're getting there, but it is taking some work, some very careful counting and working to stay together with your group and not get pulled into a different timing. Luckily, this is a slow-moving piece.
2. Seasons of Love: I think this will be one of many seasons of Love for the choir. I can see us exploring different angles on the theme. The story of Rent and La Boheme which inspired it are both stories of love and friendship in difficult times. It seems we're in a season of Love Being Tested somehow. I'm trying really hard to think of a title for our concert. If you have ideas, send them by email or message or text. Let me know what you think. Joanne sang the solo and it was lovely :-)
3. Rewrite the Stars:We tried 2 different soloists for the Zendaya solo. Both were excellent. Nicole and Emily sang beautifully. It's more of an alto solo, so lower than Nicole likes, and it also has a couple of higher notes that challenge an alto like Emily. Next time, we'll work on some of the timing that we're a bit sloppy on, in particular when a phrase ends on the + of 4. Lots of +3+4+ where we sometimes want to land on beat 1 of the next bar, and then it throws off the next bar. Take a look and see if you can't work on that on your own.
4. B&B Gaston: We ended the evening with Beauty and the Beast. We reviewed Gaston, but also tried the solos on Something There. Melodie and Joanne sang and both their voices suit the part splendidly. Blair is a very impressive Frenchman and also quite a charming Beast.

Next week is March Break, so we will give Joy a break and have no early rehearsal. 7:30 for everyone!

If you're going away, have fun! If you have time you can work on anything you're finding challenging. March Break Monday, March 11th we sing:

  • Bring Him Home
  • Beauty & the Beast
  • Blue Skies
  • Rewrite the Stars
  • Intro to Somewhere Out There





Wednesday, February 27, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 25-FEB-2019

Lean on Me met early. Such a great song! Watch out for the 16th notes on the + of 4. Observe your rests, and stay together. Soft and easy-groovy at the beginning.

Warm-ups included some stomping and some wiggling and some singing through straws.

1. True Colors is excellent. The snaps look great, and sound great too! Remember that it's going to be just choreography for some of us who can't really snap. The audience's attention has to be on the song and the sound of the snaps and not distracted by sloppy or rebellious snappers. We reviewed some of the tricky bits. Watch out for the 16th notes on the + of 4.
2. Verdi: We went over parts at G and H, and really got extra loud and extra quiet. On the next section, let's not sing pianissimo, but mp at least. I like that part stronger. We paid extra attention to the rests after the word renew in the last section. Make sure you observe those rests!
3. Beauty and the Beast: Gaston We sang from the beginning through to the end of Gaston! We had to go back and learn the section I forgot in Belle: bars 151-181. Then we learned all of Gaston. I should have left some time to do more of Bring Him Home :-(
4. Bring Him Home:We are building page 3 up from the end. We started with "and I am old and will be gone", then looked at "fly on and on". We didn't even get to the tenor and alto "fly on and on"! Yikes. If you have time, this is the song to look at. Listen to the recording of your part. Get the words and the notes, and we'll have to get the timing together when we're together.

Next week, Monday, March 4th:
Stanley and Mona 6:30
Melinda 6:45
Lean on Me 7:00

  • Bring Him Home: pg 3
  • Seasons of Love
  • Rewrite the Stars 
  • Blue Skies
  • B&B Gaston

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 18-FEB-2019

Family Day Monday!
We had a lovely rehearsal with not too many people missing. The tenors and basses had nearly perfect attendance (applause).

1. We warmed up with All I Have to Do is Dream. We discovered a few spots that needed review: For the tenors/basses the oohs on page 5, ending with the oohs under "way" and the timing of the Oh at the pick-up to E. 1+2+3+4+1  . Count 123 "oh-Oh I" For the sopranos and altos, we reviewed the oohs at C.
2. Put a Little Love in Your Heart: We reviewed the whole song for each part. Tenors and altos both found that they have to pay attention to the bottom of page 5 and 8 where you move in a different way from the rest. It's pretty repetitive, so you have to be careful when it's not the same, that's all. The big note at the top of page 3 and 5 is only a bit more than 2 beats. Watch for the cut-off and count 3,4 in silence.
3. Rewrite the Stars: we reviewed bars 57-73 and sang through to 100. Everyone should look at page 14 "changin' the world to be ours", especially alto and tenor/bass. Also, pay attention to the words, they change from verse to verse. For example, "it's up to you" becomes "it's not up to you".
4. Bring Him Home: I have OMG written at the top of page 3. We learned that my suspicion was correct. It's really hard. Sopranos are lucky that they have the melody, but even that is hard with all the other stuff going on. Basses have some melody until the middle of the page where they move with the sopranos but then have a whole bunch of stuff of their own at the bottom of the page "on and on and I am old". Tenors and altos have a completely different part with echos and a crazy "how soo-oon they fla-ay". This deserves some work with the recordings. (page 4 is also challenging)
5. Beauty & the Beast: We just looked at the next section which is 2 solos. Think about whether you might like to sing one of them :-). We sang all the way from the beginning to the end of this section and took a little look at Gaston, which is next.

Next week:
6:50 Lean on Me with me :-) Anne-Marie assures me that you don't need to come at 6:30.

  • B&B Gaston
  • Bring Him Home page 3 again
  • Verdi
  • Seasons of Love
  • True Colors

Thank you to my choir friends who supported Soraya and me with our fundraising walk, the Coldest Night of the Year! You warmed my heart and I will walk with love with my head held high.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Benefits of singing in a choir studied in San Francisco

Community choirs reduce loneliness and increase interest in life for older adults

Click on that to read the article from the University of California, San Francisco on Medical Press.

    Here's what the study says:
"Overall, the researchers found that older adults who sang in a choir for six months experienced significant improvements in loneliness and interest in life. However, no substantial group differences occurred in the cognitive or physical outcomes or for health care costs."

I think 6 months is too short, and I'm sure that cognitive and physical changes would occur over time as well. What do you think?

YRCC Rehearsal 11-FEB-2019

Lean on Me met at 6:30 and it's pretty much ready!
I'll be joining them on Feb. 25th to catch up.
We had a wonderful social breaktime with decaf coffee and delicious sweets. Thank you to the bakers!

Warm-ups were quick. We stomped away our Mondays and clapped and marched very successfully.

1. Why We Sing served as a vocal warm-up and a lovely transition to being choristers. We are all singing the beginning. And, this time we tried doing it the way we had the solos in the past. The sopranos and altos sing the first parts (Kit and Peggy's) and the tenors and basses sing the second parts (Stanley and Blair's).

2. Beauty & the Beast: Belle. We started the second song at the end (183 to the end) and then did the beginning. We'll learn the middle next time, but we sight-read through it nicely. We sang from the very beginning of the medley through to the end of the second song! At 89, everyone does the bonjours. At 93, only the altos sing, then they divide at 101. The tenors and basses join them as written. Tenors and basses continue at 115. Everyone sings (SATB) "What a puzzle to the rest of us is Belle." We all sing at 131 (we just sight-read from here to 183). If you missed today's rehearsal, you will want to look at "it's a pity and a sin..." It's very cool and quite a challenge.

3. Bring Him Home: We made a good start. We learned our parts for the first two pages. We also looked ahead to the next couple of pages. They're challenging! There are lots of cool echo parts. Take a look if you have some time over the next week or so. If you missed today's rehearsal, spend a little time with the second ending. It's very cool. Sopranos won the lottery on this one. They have the melody. So, sopranos, the only thing here is to sing sweetly, hold those notes clearly without vibrato please and softly. That's not easy. Altos, tenors and basses have work to do getting your notes and the timing, but it's so worth it! Such a beautiful piece of music! The recordings on the website are a bit mixed up. Hopefully, we'll get that straightened out soon.

4. Rewrite the Stars: We spent time on bars 73-84 where the mood changes and the possibility of rewriting the stars for the star-crossed lovers becomes real. "All I want is to fly with you. All I want is to fall with you. So just give me all of you." Sounds like Valentine's Day. For now, we'll just skip those grace notes, the little jumps before some of the notes. We will make sure where we're aiming first before we slide in. If you're rehearsing at home, just play the main note and learn that for now. That's what we did to start. BTW, the grace note has no assigned value. It's not a quarter or an eighth or a sixteenth. It's very quick. Another thing to take note of, and it's something that happens often with us, is that we are landing on beat one of the next bar instead of the and of 4 for fly, fall, and all. (2+3+4+1+2+3+4+) We're singing (2+3+4+1+2+3+4+1) This timing happens all through the song, so we need to see if we can try to get it, or if we just give in and decide that our version will be somewhat different from what's written. We need to make sure our beat 4 is short. Let's try.

Next week is Family Day. No early group. And, if you have the opportunity to spend the evening with family on family day, do it. You can catch up. No worries.
Those of us who can meet will keep learning and it will be helpful for everyone. Just having even one person who knows her part well helps the whole section. It's nice when it's a small group, too.

Monday, February 18th:

  • B&B
  • Bring Him Home
  • Put a Little Love in Your Heart
  • Rewrite the Stars
The following week, on February 23rd, Soraya and I are participating in the Coldest Night of the Year walk again.
Victoria will be missed. She's in Ottawa studying.
If you'd like to support us, here are the links to our fundraising pages. It's very easy to pay online. Over $20, you provide your address so they can send you a tax receipt. 

Please donate on Soraya's Page, as she needs more help reaching her fundraising goal.




We walk on a cold evening, thinking about what it might be like to live on the streets in the winter. Any winter night a person has to spend outdoors alone would be the coldest night of the year.
Here's what the funds raised do:
Newmarket's Inn From the Cold. Here's what their website says: Inn From the Cold provides emergency shelter and support services for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. IFTC offers a range of helpful services year round that are designed to assist with finding housing, employment, volunteer opportunities, mental health and addiction support and other necessities such as hot meals, clothing, laundry, internet, voicemail, showers and personal care items. A continuum of services from basic needs to securing housing assists our clients on their journey to wellness and self-sufficiency.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 04-FEB-2019

The eve of my birthday and Chinese New Year was destined to be a success!
6:30 Lean On Me had an excellent start
7:10 Who Put the Bomp showed me how they knew their stuff

Warm-ups with stretches and straws were sweet.
1. Blue Skies with snaps: snazzy! Take note: the snaps are sopranos only for the first page, with no snaps in the last bar. Everybody snaps from bar 37 to 51 inclusive (during the scat solos). Jazz hands on the last word, on. We reviewed the ATB harmonies.
2. True Colors with snaps: cool! Snaps where it says claps, until the end on the word beautiful. We reviewed timing at the tops of pages 3 and 5.
3. Beauty and the Beast: We are caught up. We finished the first song!
4. Rewrite the Stars: We learned bars 19-35 and sight-read the rest. It's going to be fantastic! Many people don't know this song. So, your homework is to see if you can watch The Greatest Showman, or at least watch this scene in a YouTube video.
5. Bring Him Home: We just looked at this and sight-read through. It's going to be really beautiful, but if you have time, look at pages 3 and 4.
6. Verdi: So satisfying to sing this! We will work on dynamics on this. It's from an opera, so it really needs to be dramatic.

Next week: 

6:30 Lean on Me

  • Beauty & the Beast
  • Bring Him Home
  • Rewrite the Stars
  • Why We Sing

Monday, January 28, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal Cancelled 28-Jan-2019

So much snow!
And, I have a cold too.
Sorry, we've decided to cancel.
Be safe!
Stay at home and sing with recordings on the website ;-)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 21-JAN-2019

This week, we had more wintry weather to deal with, but most of us were able to travel without too much drama.

The small group Who put the Bomp is doing really well. One more rehearsal for now, and then keep it up on your own.
The next small group is Lean on Me. Sign up on the website.

We have room for another small group and I haven't heard from many solos and duets. It's a big easy theme but you can focus on star-crossed lovers, or on love/peace, or for contrast, on the pain of love, heartbreak, the blues?

Warm-ups: we skipped straws today, but did some raspberries/lip trills instead. That turns out to me more difficult, so we'll go back to straws :-) Get one that is not too thick and not too thin. Thicker is easier, and we should be trying to work our ways to thinner straws.

1. Seasons of Love: I think we got it! It was really good. We reviewed page 6, especially the "let's celebrate..." part.

2. Put a Little Love in Your Heart: Fun! We spent time on bar 62 to the end. We are not quite getting the rhythm, but are ending up on beats instead of just off. It might be best to move to the beat. We'll see. As we said, we're still cool, even when we're not groovy. 

3. Beauty and the Beast: Wow! We started the first song, Be Our Guest, and sight-read through the whole thing to see what's ahead. There's lots. But, it will be so worth it! The music is amazing and the songs are sweet and funny and scary and beautiful.

4. Higher and Higher: Tenors and Basses are the ones with the most work. You finally have the melody of a song, but the timing is really hard and the whole rest of the choir is against you. Sopranos and Altos have a fairly easy back-up vocal part.

5. I Will Always Be With You: Beautiful! Such a treat to sing this song!

Next week:
6:30 Who Put the Bomp

  • Verdi G&H
  • Beauty and the Beast- Be Our Guest
  • Blue Skies with snaps
  • Rewrite the Stars intro
  • True Colors with snaps



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!

Affectionately,
Renate

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!