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!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

YRCC Executive Cautiously Preparing Fall 2020 Rehearsal Season

YRCC Members: Please respond to recent email with your feelings, comments, intentions

YRCC members received an email on June 30th with a request to respond to the email to let us know whether or not they are interested in returning to a choir season "for fun, friendship and our choir community" with no Winter concert planned. Some of you responded right away. Thank you! If you haven't yet, or even if you have, send us your thoughts.

At the moment, we are hoping that it will be possible by September for us to meet in the larger space which we used while our room at the regional building was being renovated (it's still not done) so that we can spread out, socially distanced, and we would all wear face shields. Depending on the number of people interested, we might all be able to meet weekly. or we could look into a way to rotate attendance if the numbers are large. It's hard to plan when so much is still uncertain. But, we feel that it is necessary to plan, to be optimistic, and to gather to sing together somehow as soon as we can. 

YRCC Members: Please return your binder

In the meantime, please return your binders to Peggy or Ann so that they can manage the sheet music.
You also have an email about that with details. We will start out singing for ourselves, just to keep up our repertoire, and to soothe our souls, to stir our hearts, and to exercise our instruments (our bodies). We'll sing some of our favourite YRCC music for any season and some favourites for the Winter and Christmas season. I can't imagine not singing at Christmastime! 

Which songs do you miss the most?

You Raise Me Up
You'll Never Walk Alone
Why We Sing
We Rise Again
Monday, Monday
Somewhere Out There
Your Song
Let There Be Peace on Earth
They All Call it Canada
All The Little Rivers 

Monday, April 6, 2020

YRCC members can join the Great British Home Chorus

Cheryl from the Soprano section (you know the one with the sweet accent) shared with me a link to the Great British Home Chorus. This is a fun idea! Gareth Malone is a very famous choir director (choirmaster) who is posting daily rehearsals on YouTube and then I think he’s going to make a recording after!
If you’re missing our choir rehearsals, nothing compares. Sorry, but nothing is like all of us getting together as usual. But, you can do all kinds of fun musical things until we get back together.
This is one idea for you. If you try it, let us know how it goes. Maybe post of Facebook or send an email through the website.
Here’s the first of the videos and it has the information you need to join officially. I think you can probably join unofficially by watching and singing along.
Have fun!
Keep in touch and stay well until we meet again. We will meet again (quoting the Queen).


Monday, March 30, 2020

YRCC Cancellations: Sad, but Confident in our Decision

So, I'm sad about missing choir. It was difficult to make the decision to cancel our rehearsals and our concert, but I'm so glad we did! We can see clearly now that we did the right thing.

Bill sent me a link to this story in an email about a choir that went the other way. They decided to rehearse but are now regretting it.

There's a choir about an hour away from Seattle Washington that took the chance and had a rehearsal on March 10th. 45 out of the 60 members who were there are sick, 3 are in hospital and 2 have died.

Read the story here. It's in the Los Angeles Times and entitled:
A choir decided to go ahead with rehearsal. Now dozens of members have COVID-19 and two are dead

YRCC COVID-19 Pandemic Songs

Here's a list of songs you'll find on our website to sing with that Blair calls
 the YRCC Playlist for Covid19 Times:
Button Up Your Overcoat
From a Distance
Let There Be Peace on Earth
You Raise Me Up
You'll Never Walk Alone
We Rise Again
What the World Needs Now is Love
Why We Sing

They all have more meaning now.

Enjoy the selections of songs we have in our archives here.
Remember, you have to log in with your email address and password.
The list on the left is scans of sheetmusic and the list on the right are recordings.
So you can download the sheet music, and download the recording of the accompaniment or your part on top of the accompaniment to sing along.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

YRCC during the pandemic 29-Mar-2020 3:00PM sing along!

Melinda sent this:

 ChoirChoirChoir is doing their third sing along this Sunday. Here is the info:

Choir on Sunday @ 3


Join us for Choir!ntine: A 'Springtime'

Social Distan-Sing-Along!

We’ll be LIVE at Facebook.com/choirx3 (gotta “like” the page first) or via YouTube You tube 


Lyrics on Google Drive 



Here's a peak at what's on Google Drive:

Sunday, March 22, 2020

YRCC 2020 Spring Season Suspended, Concert Cancelled-COVID-19


We will never forget 2020, the year everything stopped and everyone stayed home. 

Our May 2nd spring concert is cancelled.

Our 2020 spring season is suspended. We definitely cannot return to our rehearsal room until late in April, but I'm sure they will soon send us notice that we are to stay away indefinitely. Nobody knows how long this period of social distancing and self isolation will continue, but I've been hearing that it will be months still. 

If we do get back to normal by the end of April, we will try to book some seniors' home visits. If they can have visitors, I'm sure a concert about love will cheer them up and the singing will be good therapy for all of us. If it's not May, maybe June, and I guess we just have to wait and see and keep in contact. 

Everything everywhere is up in the air, so we will just be patient and keep on top of our music for our eventual return. 

We have all kinds of music on the website, scans and recordings. Go to Previous Seasons Music for fun! It will help you to keep your music reading skills sharp. Why not sing You'll Never Walk Alone, We Rise Again, Thank You for the Music, On Eagles Wings, What the World Needs Now is Love, ...

We will be back. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

YRCC Rehearsals Suspended in response to COVID-19

What a stressful week this has been! With all the news of cancellations and closures, you must be wondering what will happen to choir.

We will join  in solidarity with other groups and the YRCC will stop meeting until COVID-19 is under control. Already researchers have made headway, and with people withdrawing themselves from the potential pool of victims, and from the potential need for medical care, etc., together we will stop this thing.

Keep your eyes on the website. There's an announcement on the home page. We'll continue to watch Facebook for news and will post there too.

While you're on the website, head over to the recordings and sing along with your part and then sing along with the accompaniment when you're strong on your part. For songs that don't have recordings, take a look here at my blog. I've posted links to YouTube videos of performances of the songs we're doing, and often they are the same arrangement so you can sing along with those too.

Keep singing.

Sing while you wash your hands, sing in the kitchen, sing in the bedroom, sing in the bathroom in the shower as usual, sing in the car and sing while you walk in the park. Sing to the dog and sing to the kids and grandkids (maybe you're babysitting during the extended March Break).

Singing will help you to take deep breaths and maintain your composure. You will feel less stressed and in better control. Try it.

People hearing your singing will benefit too, and maybe they'll join in to benefit even more.

Keep singing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

YRCC Rehearsal Review 02-Mar-2020 and 09-Mar-2020

This is a double review because I was sick last week with a horrible stomach bug.

Last Monday, March 2nd, Carol and Debbie rehearsed their duet with Peter

We had a serious warm-up, now that February is over. Lauren led the warm-ups with lessons learned in her singing lessons. So cool to learn stuff from a professional! Visualizing the vocal chords and redirecting your attention to movement were features.

1. Top of the World: So pretty and pretty easy too! We're pretty good. The polishing of this piece will be to make it sound prettier and more relaxed. There is a tendency to march this.

2. Your Song: Coming along beautifully. The tricky bits keep on tripping us up. We'll get it.

3. City of Stars: We sang this as a show-off piece for Joy!!! She came all the way from Montreal to visit us. (she was home for reading week) This is a joy to sing. We've got it.

4. You Raise Me Up: Also done for Joy. This one is good for pulling heart strings. Mary-Ellen sang the first verse and chorus as a solo. We forgot that we wanted to keep things long in the third verse, the loud verse. It's another way we're reinterpreting this one. We'll review it again.

5. Till There Was You: We did the doo-doos! It was good! We sang the whole thing for Joy. Impressive.

6. Love is an Open Door: Fun! I sang the solo part with Blair!!!

Monday, March 9th

The Randomnotez quartet rehearsed from 6:30-7 and Bill rehearsed his solo at 7.

1. Your Song: We spent a good amount of time on the sections at 28 and 62 and 70, all parts with oohs, and tricky timing. I picked on the tenors and basses quite a bit (with excellent results!) and the sopranos too, but the altos only got a tiny bit of a hard time.
Tenor and Basses: 62 Those oohs are not hard. Come in strong and sing with confidence. We need your notes there, especially on beat one at 62. 79 but=the=suns=been=quite 
I love the bass notes throughout this piece! The really low notes here and there are awesome! 
Sopranos and Altos: 36: Much. get your much tch in the right place. -not=much=but= it's= the and 65 MOSS -just leave out the s and sing Maaah if you can't get the s in the right place. 

2. Till There Was You: Doo-doos are so good! The basses have the coolest part! We're really getting this song now. It's very dramatic and impressive.

3. Seasons of Love: We took Marlene for a test drive on Nicole's solo. Fun to hear different voices on our solos. I do love this song. 

4. Moon River: I'm so happy with how well you've learned this one! It's also dramatic and impressive, but with a relaxed vibe that you totally get. 

5. Love is an Open Door: Trix joined Blair and rocked her first shot. Who's going to be Blair's back-up? Blair, you are not allowed to get sick! 

Next week: Randomnotez at 6:30,  Carol and Debbie at 7:00
  • Rewrite the Stars
  • You Raise Me Up
  • When I'm 64
  • Till There Was You
  • Moon River
Book your friends and family for Saturday, May 2nd. Have them invite you over for pizza and wine after the concert. Or, you can have them over. You won't need a big dinner, because the bake sale will fill everyone up!

Our concert is called Written in the Stars. How can they resist? It was meant to be. 

Friday, February 28, 2020

YRCC Rehearsal Review 24-FEB-2020

6:30 small group: Night of Stars
They're done. Awesome. Keep singing and we'll rehearse this again in April.

Warm-up: We danced again. This time we started with some stretches, neck, shoulders, etc and then danced for fun to my daughter Victoria's song Charisma. Look for it on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, wherever you stream music. Search for Charisma by Vix. Stream, download, and buy it!
To Vix, "Congratulations on your Charisma!"

Thank you to Lynne and the bakers who treated us to coffee (and tea and juice) and sweets for a special social breaktime. It's good to make time for everyone to have a chance to get to know each other, to meet someone from the other side of the room, and to chat about choir and other things too.
We have to be quiet so much and focus on learning that we need some time to let loose once in a while.

Start talking up our concert! Written in the Stars: Saturday, May 2nd at 3:00pm 
Book your family and friends, and get them excited to buy tickets from you. 

1. Top of the World: With the work that was started last week, we conquered this one quickly!
Fun and easy. We're going to have Sopranos and Altos do the first verse, Tenors and Basses the second. Everyone comes in at 28.

2. City of Stars: I'm loving all the tenors and basses doing the beginning of this. So good! I've still got this song stuck in my head 4 days later. Remember to be loud and clear at 29 with the words "it's love" and stress/accent the word love on beat one of bar 31. Tenors and Basses, bottom of page 7 -
Think I wan-it to sta-ay- slow and soft and kind of lazy-easy. Sopranos and Altos, at 57, same thing.

3.Somewhere Out There: Cathy sang the little solo at the beginning. So nice to have a solo here, and everyone comes in soft. The beginning is quiet and cute.

4. Till There Was You: we're pretty good from 15 on. Next we tackle the beginning.

5. Love is an Open Door. Good! Robyn and Blair are getting pretty good with their tricky duet, despite Blair's bad attitude ("I thought she said we're doing something fun!" I heard that, Blair!).

Next Week: Monday, March 2nd 
The beginning of March marks the end of our dance warm-ups, so we'll get back to some more serious stuff.
7:00 Carol and Debbie have time to rehearse their duet with Peter.
  • Rewrite the Stars
  • Your Song
  • Till There Was You
  • Love is an Open Door
  • Top of the World

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

YRCC Review 17-FEB-2020 Family Day Monday

We had a great turn-out for a holiday Monday!
We had some fun warming up with some dance music to get us feeling syncopation and claps on beats 2 and 4, and we even sang along for some vocal warming up.
The first song I played was just a warm-up to the idea of dancing. It was called Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels by Todrick Hall. I recommend it for dancing around the house for exercise and self love. We did dance together to Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind & Fire. We moved our arms to beats 2 and 4 and even did some John Travolta disco pointing. We danced and sang along to Shake, Rattle and Roll by Bill Haley & His Comets, paying some attention to our hips and bellies while twisting.
I think February should be a month dedicated to dancing with friends and family.

1. When I'm 64 Excellent but remember the pause before Mine forevermore in bar 50
2. City of Stars Amazing! We just started and we already sound so good! We had all the tenors and basses singing at the solo part and I think I prefer it that way. We spent some time on the section at 29. I want that to be good and strong, loud and clear. "It's Love"
3. Love is an Open Door Fun!!! Robyn and Bill had a couple shots at the duet part in the middle. So cute! We reviewed bar12-14, But with you...  and the last door for the Sopranos and Altos.
4. You Raise Me Up Coming closer to where I want it. Cathy and Joanne each had a shot at the solo and they were pretty good. I want the solo to be strong and dramatic and then the choir comes in soft for the second verse and second chorus, but then is loud right away at the bottom of page 5 and all the way to the end. Don't get quiet and short at the middle of page 4. Stay loud and hold the word up in You raise me UP to more than I can be. 
5. Top of the World New! We sight-read and it was already pretty good. Peter was awesome! We went over parts a bit already, but it's really quite easy. We're going to enjoy this one so much!

Next week: Monday, February 24th.
6:30 Night of Stars small group.
  • Somewhere Out There
  • Till There Was You
  • Top of the World
  • Love is an Open Door
It's not too early to book your family and friends for our concert. Saturday, May 2nd at 3:00. Maybe plan to go out for dinner after, or host a pizza night at your house! Mark your calendars.

Reminder: I'm doing the fundraising walk, Coldest Night of the Year on Saturday. There's still time to donate through my page if you missed it last week.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Coldest Night of the Year Fundraising Walk

It's cold out there!

The Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) is on Saturday, February 22, 2020. 

Please consider donating to my fundraising page or to my daughter Soraya's fundraising page
Just follow the links and you'll find it's very easy to donate online. 

CNOY is a family-friendly national walk-a-thon that helps you raise funds for charities that serve hungry, homeless and hurting people in your town, and in 136 communities across Canada.
The Coldest Night of the Year is a moment when tens of thousands of Canadians step outside the warmth and comfort of home and shine a light of welcome and inclusion.

Together, we're collecting donations that fund critical services at a local charity partner who serves and supports vulnerable families and individuals in our CNOY community.

In Newmarket, our funds go to Inn From the Cold. 

Services offered by Inn From the Cold:
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. 

 We walk through the cold and dark on February 22, 2020 to declare our concern for people who have no home, and take shelter in nooks and crannies.

 We walk for those whose days are a battle to house and feed their families, and whose nights are filled with fear and frustration.

 We walk for those driven from home by violence and abuse. And we walk for people overwhelmed by isolation, guilt and despair.

 We walk humbly, realizing that anyone can lose their footing and then lose everything else.

Each step we take brings someone closer to safety, health and home, as together, we raise funds for organizations whose commitment and work transforms peoples’ lives.

YRCC Rehearsal Review 10-Feb-2020

Our wonderful president, Lauren, brought us sweet treats for Valentine's Day and a special chocolate rose for me! Thank you so much, Lauren! Happy Valentine's Day to you, Lauren! Your choir loves you!

A special Happy Valentine's Day to Catalina and Peter! We love you! We are so grateful for your kind and generous sharing of your talent and time with us!!!

Happy Valentine's Day to each one of you, YRCC choristers! You are loved and appreciated in our choir family!

6:30 Small Group Night of Stars sounded beautiful by the end of their first rehearsal together!
Wow! I'm impressed. This group will meet again on Feb. 24th.

Warm-ups included stretches and yawns to relax us and to open our bodies and especially our airways to prepare us for lots of singing.

1. Your Song: In honour of Elton John's Oscar win on Sunday night, we had to sing our Elton John song. It's very, very good. But, the same tricky spots seem to slip us up every time. Review this if you have some time, but we'll sing it again a few times before May.

2. Moon River: We reviewed the last page some more and then sang the whole thing, and it's really good! We are doing so well on this difficult piece!

3. Till There Was You: Ditto. Doing so much better than I expected on this difficult piece! We did 59 to the end!  And, we sang from 15 to the end and it was good. OMG! Now we just have to learn the doo-doos at the beginning.

4. Seasons of Love: This is always good, but it wasn't great either. Jane took a shot at the solo, and she was very good, and it was nice to hear the lower octave. Think about singing a solo. I'm in the mood for changes, so it's your chance. We can always count on the original soloists, but a change is fun for the audience and an opportunity for you.

5. City of Stars: I didn't expect this to be difficult and it really isn't. We have learned the whole piece. It's not too hard and not too long but it's pretty sweet.

6. You Raise Me Up: Here's another opportunity for a new soloist. A few people have tried this one, and tonight Roxanne and Jack sang this beautiful solo. Remember that the choir comes in only on the second verse, and softly, holding back on the chorus, but then goes loud right away at the bottom of page 5, the second ending.

Next Week: Monday, February 17th Family Day Monday
We are meeting on Family Day, but do not feel bad if you miss this to be with your family! You'll catch up; no worries.

No small groups Family Day Monday. Everyone starts at 7:30. Hopefully many of you can have dinner with family and come after. Singing is the best dessert ;-)

  • When I'm 64
  • Love is an Open Door
  • City of Stars
  • You Raise Me Up
  • Tricky parts of any song that the group would like to work on 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

YRCC Rehearsal Review 03-FEB-2020

Thank you for singing Happy Birthday to me! Tomorrow's my birthday and I'll have you all in my heart.
We had a dance warm-up, exploring clapping on 1&3 and singing on the off-beat (syncopation) as we listened to Grammy Award-winning song Bad Guy by Billie Eilish.

6:30 Come Rain or Come Shine was amazing. So good, so fast! Keep singing on your own and we'll meet again in April.

1. When I'm 64 YAY! It's so good! We reviewed the ahs. No worries, just sing a bit softer when you've got ah or oh, and other people have words, as usual. Bottom of page 7, bar 50, mark the first beat, circle it or something, because you want to come in off the beat there, after beat 1, on mine forevermore.

2. Till There Was You You guys are amazing! We're doing much better than I expected with this song. We reviewed 15 to 39 and learned up to 59! Well done!
Here's some inspiration, and a preview of what's to come in the next section. It gets big!

3. City of Stars From the Academy Award winning movie La La Land. This is a moody/romantic song, and it features a tenor solo at the beginning (and possibly the end). We started to learn it in the middle, at bar 35. Not many people were familiar with this song, so I'll give you a couple videos to watch: the recording of our arrangement and the soundtrack version.

4. Moon River This one is also coming along swimmingly! We did page 11, the end. Watch out for the timing- not just the 3/4 to 4/4 but also the slowing down at the end.

5. Seasons of Love Robyn sang the solo for us. I think she can sing anything. In lots of things, Robyn is willing to go for it. Think you might be willing to sing a solo? Let me know. We've got this one. I love this song.

Next week:
6:30 Night of Stars begins. This is a SA small group and I want it to be maybe 6 or max.8 ladies only.
You will have to blend together as one voice in your part.
Sign up on the Events page.
See video below
  • City of Stars
  • Moon River 
  • Till There Was You
  • Seasons of Love

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

YRCC Rehearsal Review 27-JAN-2020

We had another wonderful evening together!
It was sweetened with sweets from Stanley to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Thank you, and Happy New Year, Stanley!

The Come Rain or Come Shine small group is progressing well and I will join them next week.

We marched and clapped to warm up and sang Happy Birthday to Kit as a vocal warm-up :-)
We talked a bit about the Grammys and I promised a link to the Moon River arrangement that won a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement, Instrumental Or A Cappella. Ours is so easy compared to this! Here it is. Enjoy! (be patient. the melody starts at 1:27 and he starts singing words at 3:47)

1. Rewrite the Stars: We worked on the timing of "say what we get to be/ tell us what we can be" and it worked out well. Lauren and Blair sang the solos and did well, but we all discovered that Todd and Nicole make a difficult part sound easy. We always manage better on the second try of this song. Be sure to make notes in pencil on your music to remind yourself of the tricky bits, so that you can get it right the first time.

2. Love is an Open Door: We worked on the "door"s, getting the alto and tenor/bass parts big and strong. We learned pages 7 and 8 and were ready to sing the whole thing, faking the duet part in the middle. (We'll ask Blair and Robyn to try it next time, and they'll need back-ups) It's too short! This song is so cute and fun, but then it's over way too quickly. I wish there were a few more verses.

3. Till There Was You: This is going to be the song we work on all season. It's a challenging jazz arrangement with cool harmonies and a fair bit of drama. We started at bar 15 and got to bar 39. So far, so good! I love this song! I explained that this expresses a part of our theme very nicely. And, this is how I will tie in singing: When we're in love, the world looks different, more beautiful; and when we're in a choir, making music and immersed in big themes of love and beauty and peace and hope, the world is more beautiful and we see peace and love and hope.

4. You Raise Me Up: We sang it with Jack on the solo of the whole first verse. Somehow, this song seems to be over quickly too when we do it this way. It does give it a new feeling and I like it.

Next week: Monday, February 3rd

6:30 Come Rain or Come Shine with Renate

  • Seasons of Love
  • Till There Was You
  • Moon River
  • When I'm 64
  • City of Stars

Saturday, January 25, 2020

YRCC Come Rain or Come Shine small group

Come Rain or Come Shine small group members can click on this link to get to a recording of our arrangement of your song!

You can also find it by going to the Alfred Music website www.alfred.com and searching for it. But, Blair has done it for you and he sent me the link.
Thank you, Blair!

Here's a video that I found:

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

YRCC Rehearsal Review 20-Jan-2020

Thank you to Anne-Marie for standing in for me last week, on January 13th!
I was in bed with the horrible cold that's been going around since the beginning of December. I'm still feeling a bit under the weather and the cough is dragging on. But, I had so much fun Monday night!
It was "Blue Monday", the third Monday of January, considered by some to be the most depressing day of the year. It's dark and cold and the glow of Christmas has worn off and the bills for Christmas have arrived, and by now you've broken all of your New Year's Resolutions. It's hard to be depressed when you're singing Love is an Open Door.

Last week you sang, When I'm 64, Moon River, Your Song, and Love is an Open Door.
This week:

6:30 Come Rain or Come Shine small group is progressing well

We warmed up with stretches to open up our bodies and we drew attention to our cores to remind us to draw our breaths from deep within our bodies and not just from our throats.

1. You Raise Me Up: We sang it with a soloist on the first verse (Blair) and it was good. This way, we don't have to hold back for 2 verses, only one, because the first is softer and simpler. A few people have expressed interest in singing this solo. It can be anyone from any section. Let me know if you want to be considered.

2. Moon River: We started at the section just before the time change. We got through the key change and all the way to the top of page 11. Don't worry; we'll review these parts again. It's coming along beautifully, but this is one to work on, for sure.

3. Love is an Open Door: Almost done! Well, we're going to cheat a bit. We'll have a duet in the middle, where the timing is especially difficult- bard 27 to 34. This way, only 4 of us have to learn that part. (2 women and 2 men so we have back-ups. Robyn, Trix, and Blair have agreed so far). We spent a fair amount of time on bars 13 and 14, and the "door"s. The altos and tenor/basses move on "door", and those notes have to be strong and dramatic. With the altos, I was suggesting they channel an enthusiastic 8-year-old. For the tenors and basses, I suggested James Bond. But we had a big laugh when Todd wondered what kind of James Bond movies I've watched and I said "Disney James Bond?" So, okay, it's not 007, but there's got to be drama in those notes, please and thanks ;-)

4. Rewrite the Stars: We pretty much just sang through twice as a treat with Todd and Nicole as soloists. The second time you fixed most of what was shaky the first time. We still all have issues with "say what we get to be/ tell us what we can be" rhythm (hint: they're supposed to be the same). Something to look at. Let's try a couple of new soloists next time (although I could listen to Nicole and Todd sing all night long).

Next week:
6:30 Come Rain or Come Shine

  • Rewrite the Stars (say what we get to be/ tell us what we can be)
  • Till there Was You
  • City of Stars
  • Love is an Open Door (7&8)

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

YRCC Rehearsal Review 06-Jan-2020 First Monday of the Year!

Happy New Year!

We're back!
It was awesome to see and hear you all!
We had a very brief warm-up and then did a whole lot of singing.
The concert title will be Written in the Stars and the theme is love.
The Stars theme will change a little for the 2020-2021 season, but Stars is my thing right now.

1. Rewrite the Stars is still pretty good. It won't take much to polish this up for performance. There are 2 solos here, alto and tenor. Todd and Nicole did an excellent job last time, but maybe you'd like a shot at it. Let me know. We all sang those solos for fun and it was fun...

2. Seasons of Love is also close to ready. There's a soprano/alto solo in the middle, maybe another short one for a tenor. Joanne, Nicole, Trix, we have choices, but maybe you think you'd like to try it. Let me know.

3. Your Song is really good still and won't take much work to get ready either. Good thing, because we'll need time for Moon River and our new pieces.

4. Moon River We did recently sing this, but it's such a cool arrangement that we'll need to spend a whole bunch of time remembering how to do it again. No worries. It'll come back, and we have recordings!

5. When I'm 64 We sang this ages ago, but it's a fun and simple enough arrangement that we can learn/ re-learn it quite easily. And so much fun!

6. Somewhere Out There: easy-peasy. I think we'll start with a solo. And, maybe have a tenor solo or tenor/bass duet in the middle. Let me know if that sounds like something you'd like to do. Melodie and Anne-Marie have done the solo at the beginning, and Cathy has expressed an interest.

7. You Raise Me Up Yes, we sang seven songs!!! You Raise Me Up is always a treat. We do it so well! I want to have a solo on the first verse again. Stanley has done it in the past, Bill maybe too. It doesn't have to be a tenor. What do you think?

Next week: Monday, January 13th

First Small Group at 6:30 Come Rain or Come Shine (please sign up on the events page)

  • Moon River
  • When I'm 64
  • Your Song
  • Love is an Open Door

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Ready, Set, Go! Prepare for tomorrow's concert. Giving our Hearts Dec.1, 2019

Our concert tomorrow is going to be another "best ever".
You are all so good!
And, we'll be giving all we can, our hearts.
That's got to be good.
The songs are excellent and the choir sounds better every year.
You might be nervous or even a little frightened about performing tomorrow.
Use that adrenaline by thinking "excited" instead of nervous.
I'm super excited!!!

I had some good advice for preparing for a performance a few years back.
Read this old post about performing.

Line up all the little things- clothes, shoes, binders, baking- and prepare your bodies by sleeping well and eating well, keeping hydrated, and all the work we've been doing since September will fall into place.

If you are so inclined, pray. Pray for the snow/ special weather that they're calling for will not result in dangerous driving conditions. No ice pellets and slippery roads, please! Snow would be okay, but not too much.

If the weather is bad, consider car pooling with someone who has snow tires and is happy to drive. Take a cab, maybe? If you're driving, please be careful and leave extra time. Walk carefully and maybe bring extra shoes? Be prepared. Be safe. We need you, but we need you to be safe.

Take good care of yourself- you belong to me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Another article about music and well-being. YRCC members know the power of music

Here's another article about how healthy music is!
Click here.

Doctors Now Prescribing Music Therapy for Heart Ailments, Brain Dysfunction, Learning Disabilities, Depression, PTSD, Alzheimers, Childhood Development and More

This is a brief review of a bunch of some of the things that people have studied relating music to well-being.

I think that those of us who already use music as a kind of therapy (Monday night therapy at YRCC) will find these really obvious, but it's nice to have scientific support for stuff we believe, right?

Try to google music is medicine, or music therapy, or health benefits of singing, and you can read all day about the cool things that people do with music.

YRCC Rehearsal Review Monday, November 18th, 2019

I'm very pleased with this last rehearsal. I admit that I was worried about a couple things, but you all did an amazing job catching up and sprinting into the finish!

Small Groups In the Bleak Midwinter and We Need a Little Christmas were impressive!

1.We started with the 2 sing-alongs, Jingle Bells and Winter Wonderland. The thing to remember with this is to smile and enjoy these so that the Audience follows you and they enjoy themselves too. You can move a little and harmonize wherever you can and look like you're having fun. That's it.  We'll have lyrics printed in an insert in the program.

2. Somewhere a Child is Sleeping is going to be so good! At the beginning, Robyn will join the piano solo on the piano melody before Mary-Ellen starts singing. When we go back to the beginning at the repeat, Robyn will play the melody, and then she'll continue to play the melody throughout with the choir. It will be so pretty and such a wonderful change from the last time! Thank you, Robyn, for creating this new YRCC arrangement! I love it!

3. All I Want for Christmas is YOU! I love my choir! This has turned out so good! Some people are even suggesting we add some actions, choreography. Don't worry. We won't this time. (maybe next time a small group can do it with choreography?)
We reviewed a couple of key spots before we sang and it helped. Review them at home so you're ready:
The beginning- we took away the Ahhs! So you can now sigh with relief, aaaahhhhh.
Bar 43: the tenor/bass melody. soprano and alto are soft on the wah so we can hear the melody.
pages 8, 9, 10.

4. Your Song is also excellent! We reviewed the sections at 36 and 87 and going into the Coda, and it helped. It's now performance ready!

5. Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow is also ready! We worked on dynamics again. Remember to sing soft and sweet except for the Let it Snow parts, and in the waltz time (3/4) sing soft, sweet, and sexy! We imagined ourselves in sparkly (yet comfortable) low-cut gowns reclining on pianos wearing high heels and possibly smoking (pretend, prop) cigarettes. Smoky, sultry jazz. It's going to be so much fun!

We have worked hard on all of these new pieces. We deserved our cookies and squares and crackers and cheese at breaktime. Thank you to Lynn and Liz and Chris and Debbie for arranging all that!

Thank you to Jane for doing the Poinsettia fundraiser again!
Thank you to Roxanne and Michele and Lauren and anyone else working on tickets to get us the early bird discount!
Harry will be there next week to sell last-minute $15 tickets from 6:00 to 7:15. After that, we'll be singing. After that, tickets will be $20 at the door.

Next week: November 25th, run-through rehearsal in the sanctuary.
Arrive on Monday with your binders in order. (go to the website, sign in, and under Members, click on Winter Concert Order. There's a link to a printable page if you need one.)
6:00 to 7:15 small groups and soloists will sing with microphones and working on staging.
7:15 START please come early so that we can get in position and warm up and start the program at  7:30.
We might go late so plan to be there until 10:00. If we finish closer to 9:30, then that will be a bonus.

I suggest Stanley and Mona and Blair and Marlene should go first. Then, Tab, Patricia, Randomnotes, Nothing More Trio, and finally the small groups. But, we'll see who's there and go with what makes sense when we get there.

YRCC 2019 Winter Concert Order is up on the Website

YRCC, you can now find the concert order on the website under "Members" in "Winter Concert Order". Please have your binders in order for next week's run-through.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 11-NOV-2019

Snowstorms should not be allowed on Mondays.
It was such a messy night, such a slow and slippery drive, but a good number of us bravely made the trip to choir.

In the Bleak Midwinter was unbalanced so we'll meet again next Monday.
1. You'll Never Walk Alone was awesome! A bunch of us didn't have music so we shared and some of us didn't have music, but it appears that we've just about memorized this one! So good!
2. All I Want for Christmas was so good! I was a little worried about this one, but we're going to be just fine. We reviewed the ahhs under the solo at the beginning, and we'll do it again next week. We had it, but it's still kind of new. We spent time on the part at 43, the tenor and bass line is not familiar and the timing is tricky. Tenors and Basses, please review this if you have a few minutes this week.
We also spent time on page 8, especially "won't you please bring my baby to me-e-e-e-oh-o" in the soprano line. Page 10, bars 73-81 needed some help, so review that please, everyone.
Check out the energy in this video:

3. Let it Snow is also not so scary anymore! Sounding good! We paid attention to dynamics and it was good! Middle of page 4, bar 30, mark this soft, sopranos and altos. We need to hear the tenors and basses. Bottom of page 6 same thing, soft so when the tenors and basses come in we can hear them and when they have the melody at 62, the volume should not suddenly drop. Page 8 soft but getting louder at 78 and loud on let it snow. Soft at 86 and softer at "how I hate going out in the storm". The tenor and bass part there is so beautiful! Some inspiration:

Next week: Monday, November 18th
6:30 In the Bleak Midwinter- please altos and tenors and basses come.
7:00 We need a little Christmas
We will have a social time at coffee break.
This is our last learning rehearsal. November 25th, we're upstairs for the run-through. 
Let me know if there's something you need to learn. 
Buy tickets and order poinsettias! You can pay by Visa, cheque, or cash. 
  • Higher and Higher
  • O Holy Night
  • All I Want for Christmas
  • Let it Snow
  • Your Song

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal Review 04-Nov-2019

We're getting there! Less than a month now.
Small group, Evening Prayer is ready. So pretty!
Warm-ups included stress points and a little clapping and stepping (almost dancing) with singing thanks to Catalina who spontaneously started playing a song which many of us started to sing along to and I can't remember which song (so frustrating to not be able to remember!) We sang and moved beautifully and easily. It feels good and it's supposed to be very good for you to sing and dance at the same time. We should do it more often.
1. Little Tree is ready. My favourite. Remember to get good and loud at the F (I'll dress you up) and watch at I'll give them all to you as we slow down and get softer. Review those two I'll give them all to yous if you weren't there, and maybe if you were too. Those words must be clear and obviously important.
2. Somewhere a Child is Sleeping is ready. Mary-Ellen will sing the solo again. Cathy will be the back-up. It's beautiful and easy. Maybe Robyn will think of something to give us on flute at the beginning and/or middle (repeat)?

3. All I Want for Christmas is almost there! We learned the oohs at the beginning and the ending from 73. I think we have a little bit in the middle missing still, but it's sounding really good. Please listen to the recording of the choir singing it here below. Sing along. Get a feel for the swing of the piece. We tried soloists Lauren and Melinda and next week we'll hear Todd on the solo.

4. Let it Snow is almost ready! Again, you can rehearse at home by singing along with a video.
Here is a good one:

5. Your Song is almost ready! Here's a video to sing along with:
Some spots to watch out for are: the timing of the sections at bar 36 and 87

Next week, small groups:
6:30 We Need a Little Christmas
6:50 In the Bleak Midwinter
Break: Stanley and Mona

Be prepared to buy tickets and order poinsettias! We can now pay by credit card with Square.
People ordering tickets by phone can pay by credit card only. How cool is that?!

We're having coffee at break with goodies. Leave room for dessert.
  • You'll Never Walk Alone
  • Button Up Your Overcoat
  • Let it Snow
  • All I want for Christmas

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal Review 28-OCT-2019

6:30 Randomnotez Quartet rehearsal

Warm-ups were brief with a quick physical warm-up to release the stress of our day, and then some vocal exercises starting with low notes.

1. Magic of Winter: A perfect warm-up song! Only, we're still far away from winter, right? I love using this song for the beginning of seniors' residence visits. Make sure to sign up to sing for seniors this season. We've added a Thursday afternoon to sing at the home where Enid is staying.

2. Your Song: We learned the ending, the Coda, from page 10 to the end, and sang the whole thing all the way through. Here's an inspiring performance to listen to.

3. Let it Snow: We did the ending of this one too, starting at the return to 4/4 time at 104. We got to the end, but ran out of energy to go back and put it all together. We're almost done!
Here's a link to the recording with the music to follow along with. And, here's another with an inspiring performance. Don't forget to listen to your part on our website to really get it in your head.

4. All I Want for Christmas: We reviewed the beginning and started the new section at 43. We noticed that (or, Teija pointed out that) we were singing everything in straight quarter notes. There are two things to look out for:
    1. notes that don't fall on the beat, like the ones in bar 16.
    2. notation that tells us to swing, like at bar 11. Oh, my! We're supposed to swing the whole song.
Here's some inspiration: a video of young choir rocking this arrangement.

You can start getting your friends and family to set aside the date, Sunday, December 1st for your concert. We sing from 3-5, so you could plan an evening get-together for after at a local restaurant or bar maybe. Or, invite everyone over for hot chocolate and pizza after?
We've got a poster almost ready, and you're going to love it.

Next week: Monday, November 4th
6:30 Evening Prayer small group
Break time: Blair and Marlene The Prayer ( it's a theme?)

  • All I Want For Christmas
  • Let it Snow
  • Somewhere A Child is Sleeping
  • Your Song
  • Little Tree

YRCC Straw warm-ups

I keep forgetting that I told you I'd post links to YouTube videos of straw exercises so that you can do them at home.
I love how we hummed O Canada through our straws on election night. It was so good! And, I have to admit it wasn't entirely my idea. In his video, link here, Ingo Titze recommends the American National Anthem. My timing was pretty perfect though, I must say.
You'll notice that there are lots of straw videos. Ingo Titze seems to be the guru of this practice.
Here's another straw video. Vocal chord strain for singers is the theme here.
This one starts with blowing bubbles in a glass with your straw. Fun!
Have fun and keep bringing your straw to choir on Mondays!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal Review 21-OCT-2019

6:30 In the Bleak Midwinter
Warm-ups straw exercise including O Canada (for election night)
1. All I Want For Christmas: We got pretty far! We sang from 15 to the end of the repeat 42 and we repeated! Sopranos and altos, take note: in bar 35 the altos divide with the G# going to the front row and the E going to the back row. Middle row can choose up or down.
I have 2 people interested in the solo at the beginning. Let me know if you want to be considered. There's a really low note and a really high note so you've got to feel comfortable in quite a range. Give it a try at home and see what you think.
2. Let it Snow: We did the beginning. "Let it cover the night with a blanket of white. Let it snow!" It's fun to slide down. It's written as a one beat slide, but we might slide a little longer. We'll see. Sopranos divide and the second soprano part is pretty hard. Now all we have to do is learn the ending, and sing it again and again until we get it. Tab's recordings will help!
3. Your Song: We did great! Now all we have to do is learn the ending. Yay!

Next Week: Monday, October 28th
6:30 The Randomnotez quartet will rehearse

  • All I Want for Christmas
  • Let is Snow
  • Magic of Winter/ Little Tree
  • Your Song

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

YRCC Let it Snow recordings

If you didn't know what a treasure Tab (alto) is, then now you will.
Tab has recorded parts for Let it Snow for us!
Go to the website or click here. (you'll need to sign in)
This is so wonderful!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 30SEP19 and 07OCT19

I'll start with what happened after break yesterday.

But, first, I have to express my love for my choir. I LOVE MY CHOIR! I'm ever, always, grateful for this beautiful community we have, and the times we share, of art and life and feelings and emotions that we express in very big inclusive ways sometimes and sometimes in very personal ways. The music surrounds us and we are the music, so we are surrounded by beautiful people every Monday. We have shared joy and we've shared sorrow.

Yesterday was one of the saddest Mondays, maybe the saddest, ever. It was bad, but good to have our beautiful friends at our sides and all around.

Lauren made an announcement, sad news from a choir member who's planning for us to sing at her funeral. We're going to put Wintersong on the shelf, maybe to pick it up next year. We're going to add You'll Never Walk Alone, Higher and Higher, and Hallelujah to this season. Our friend is very private, so I won't write much here. Please contact Lauren for the few details we are able to share.

Our community is so beautiful that we have some special folks who stood up yesterday and said, "Come to me, if you need to talk. This is what I do." Cheryl (sop) is a social worker and she offered herself to help you, or if you prefer, to recommend someone else to help. Carol (alto) is a palliative care nurse, and she offered the same. Then Pat Richards (sop) came forward too. She works at Hope House in Aurora. Grief is a tricky thing. Singing at a funeral is a gift, an honour, but hard.

Some of us sang after break, and singing was what we needed and being together was what we needed. Going home was better for others, what they needed. Let's respect our friends and the different ways we take care of our selves. Please take care of yourself throughout this season and do lean on us- we'll hold each other up.

I'm sorry I missed last week's rehearsal. I had such a bad cold! I'm still feeling unwell. Anne-Marie was also sick. Lauren was sick but well enough to lead you, along with helpers Melinda and Jane, and Catalina of course.

Monday, September 30th (Evening Prayer met at 6:45)

  1. You Raise Me Up was part of the warm-up. Mmmm good.
  2. Let it Snow: 39-86, the 3/4 section.
  3. My Grown-up Christmas List: discovered the coda needs work
  4. Winter Song: mixing the new arrangement with the one we have is confusing. We can hand this back to Peggy starting next week. It's going to be hard next year too, but maybe I'll re-write the whole thing over the summer so that it's all in one piece.
  5. Your Song: coda needed some work here too. 

Monday, October 7th (In the Bleak Midwinter met at 6:30)
1. My Grown-up Christmas List: We relearned the coda and then put it all together. It was great!
2. Let it Snow: We did the whole 3/4 section from 53-102! We will need to do it again and next time we'll try to sing the swing and straight sections with a marked difference. We sang from 15 to 102 and it's getting pretty good. If you have some time, listen to this choir sing and follow along with your music. This video is actually the sheet music, so it's right there. Peter hasn't been able to record the parts and now he's out of the country, so please try to sing with these videos to help you learn your part, and please try not to be absent!
3. You'll Never Walk Alone (we had a recording, but Catalina is planning to learn it)
4. Higher and Higher (Tab played the accompaniment, beautifully!)
5. Hallelujah (Tab played the accompaniment, beautifully!)

Monday, October 14 (Thanksgiving Monday- no small group)
Please come to choir if you can. But do spend time with family if you can and don't feel bad about missing. Whoever is there will continue to work on their parts and the team will benefit. We listen to and follow each other, need each other, so whenever one of us is strong, others will be stronger too.
Your Song
Let it Snow
Stuff for fun: Magic of Winter, Little Tree, Somewhere a Child is Sleeping?

Monday, October 21 (In the Bleak Midwinter 6:30)
Bring straws if you have a preferred one. I'll have a bag of straws too.
All I Want for Christmas
Let it Snow
Higher and Higher
You'll Never Walk Alone

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 23-SEP-2019

I really needed choir last night! It's such a wonderful escape from our day-to-day worlds, isn't it?! When the day is especially stressful, choir is perfect. Warm-ups included some gentle stress-releasing stretches. ahhhhhh

The small group Evening Prayer met at 6:30 and I hear they've all learned all of their parts. I can hardly wait to hear it next week.

1. Your Song: We spent quite a bit of time on this and it's coming along beautifully. We got all the way to the D.S al Coda on page 10, so we just have to go back and repeat and then learn the ending! We had some challenges with timing, notably in bars 36 and 37. The counting goes like this:
2, 3+ , +, +, +, +, 1, 3+ (the off beats are: much but it's the). Check out the word syncopation in Wikipedia. Also, remember that much is one note. On page 7, bar 65, the word moss is two notes, but the second note comes on beat 2, much earlier than you want it to. Watch out. At bar 70, the basses have the melody. Basses give it all you've got. The tenors will need to sing those high notes softer, and that's not easy. On page 9, at 87 the melody and the timing are not what you expect. Also,
sweetest eyes is tricky. Blair has found this YouTube video of a choir singing our arrangement. Thank you, Blair!

2. Let it Snow: We spent some time on 3 different versions of the phrase "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow": on page 3, page 4 and page 6. The one on page 4 is the trickiest. We sang from bar 15 up to bar 47 where there's a time change and it sounds like a key change. You'll see. We'll do it again. We will take it slow and work on little bits at a time. It will feel so good when we've finally mastered this piece!

3. Button Up Your Overcoat: We're not going to stress over this one. Most of you know it/remember it and it should be fun and doesn't have to be perfect. Every time we sing it, it gets better.

4. Wintersong: This is a new Wintersong. We just walked through and talked about how I'm creating an arrangement to suit us (SATB) based on this one (SSA) version I found. Listen to a SSA choral version, which I couldn't find, here. It's pretty, but I wanted more choir and more "Oh I miss you" and a stronger ending. For homework, please write in bar numbers (the words start at bar 9, there are oohs at bar 17, the sign/segno is at bar 33) so that we can refer to them and compare them to the new ending I've created. You'll be getting a few extra sheets of music next week to add to what you now have. The timing is difficult, but we're going to leave the first two pages to our soloist, Teija to learn. Lauren has agreed to be the back-up.

Next week: September 30th, 2019
6:45 Evening Prayer

  • Grown-up Christmas List
  • Let it Snow
  • Your Song
  • Wintersong
The new small group song will be In The Bleak Midwinter. Sign up on the website.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 16-SEP-2019

Our second rehearsal was very successful!
If you missed it, you'll want to go over some music to prepare for next week.

6:30 Small Group Evening Prayer met and got through the whole piece. It's beautiful, but challenging, and it has to sound sweet and effortless in the end. Please sign up if you haven't yet done so (only 4 people are signed up but I know there were more of you). There are links in the event description to videos to help you.

Warm-ups: We did a short physical with notes on stance and breathing and we sang arpeggios on ooh and ahh after a yawn to give us good air position.

1. We started with Little Tree, reviewing parts and noted that we all had to hold the notes together to sound smooth and pretty. Be sure to observe the rests. First Sopranos start where it says small group or solo at the beginning. Everyone joins in at bar 13, the rest of the sopranos at the pick-up and the altos, tenors, and basses on beat 2. Notice that you need to sing softly (p and mp). Notice that the sopranos don't have the melody, but an echo on a descant on page 4. Page 5 is dramatic, my very favourite, and you need to watch for the ritardando at the bottom of the page. We'll review those notes, as they're different. Everyone must be together in bar 41. It's very effective. Always watch at the ending.

2. Your Song:We learned the two pages after the segno, starting at 45 and then sang from the beginning to page 7! It's not very difficult but there are some difficult moments and the timing is mostly what you expect, but not always. You'll need your pencil out when you're learning this to make notes to help you remember when it's different. Listen to this choir singing our arrangement. They do some different stuff with dynamics. Listen to their fortes. Cool. We won't be so dramatic with this one. I love drama but I feel that this is a lighter, sweeter song.

3. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! OH MY! This is going to be a fun ride. I thought it would be a fun challenge to learn a very jazzy piece and since it's a very familiar song, I think it will be more fun than hard. The things about jazz that are notably difficult and different are the harmonies and the timing. The timing features syncopation, where notes fall off the beat. In bar16, at the top of page 3, you see the bar begins with an eighth rest so you sing not on beat one but the and of one. There's lots of that. Tricky rhythms. Harmonies are also an issue. You'll see where we're in 4 or 5 parts, the harmonies are not what you expect. Don't worry, you'll have lots of help and we'll feel proud and confident by December. Peter is working on recording the parts and they should be up on the website soon, but in the meantime, Tab has discovered a video of Let it Snow to help us. It's our arrangement (except that the accompaniment is an orchestra) and you can see the music and hear a choir singing at the same time! Thank you, Tab! And, here's another video. This one is just choir and piano, but watch them. It's cool how many men there are and that they're all mixed up and not in sections.

4. Button Up Your Overcoat: This will be stuck in your head all week. Sorry, but not sorry. It's so good! We just sang it and didn't go over any parts but it's already better than last week, and really quite good. So many of you remember it well and the rest are following along really well that we don't have to spend much time on this to get it concert-ready. Yay!

Next week: September 23
6:30 Evening Prayer Small Group

  • Button Up
  • Let it Snow
  • Your Song
  • Wintersong