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!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

YRCC 16NOV20- Choir during Covid “This is Why we Drink”

 We had some fun talking about our favourite drinks. 

Some of us enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of tea while we meet, which the choir executive always did during meetings in the past. A sip of wine can also lower inhibitions so it helps to get us through the Zoom settings thing with laughter and patience.

Last week, I had raspberry vodka and water in my wine glass (I like to try all kinds of things). It was really good. I also recommended a sweet whiskey I’ve been drinking in the evening lately, Sortilege, a maple syrup whiskey.

Blair was extolling the virtues of a certain scotch whiskey-excellent quality for a very reasonable price. So, I asked him to send a picture or link. It’s called Aberlour. Here’s the link. Thank you, Blair! I hope to hear stories of choir members trying it.

Joanne and Andre prefer cognac. I do like Remy Martin, but like Blair’s scotch, it’s just not affordable for me. I’ll also drink a cheap brandy and will enjoy it warming in my hand in a nice brandy snifter.



In between talking, we did some good singing and got through our 4 pieces in an hour, and then a few of us stayed afterward and sang Little Tree. Something we enjoyed was Mele Kalikimaka, which many of us hadn’t sung before. It wasn’t too hard to sing along with even the first  time. It’s one from the archives but we have a good concert recording of it. So good to sing with a bunch of people who know the music well and are in top form! 

That’s what we’re doing every week, singing with concert recordings, so that we are singing with ourselves, and at our best. It’s good! We have fun and keep up our voices and our music reading skills. 

It helps that we don’t have to drive anywhere, so we can sit together with our wine glasses and forget our worries for an hour or so. Sometimes we even forget we’re in a pandemic having choir over Zoom.

Do join us! Let me know if you need help finding the Zoom link or the music. Send me an email or a Facebook message or something. I’m not hard to reach. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

YRCC Zoom chat- What was the name of that choir?

 ONE VOICE (which happens to be the name of one of our songs too)

This is the video that some of us saw on Facebook and cried. Happy tears and sad tears. These children are so beautiful and this song is wonderful. Take a look/listen:


When you’re there on YouTube, you’ll see other One Voice videos recommended. Go ahead and spend some time with them- so worth it.

Musicality is another choir that’s a really big deal and makes very professional videos. They were on a TV contest and I think they were finalists. These are also beautiful young people.

Here’s one of their songs which is one of our songs, just to start you off. Go ahead and spend an afternoon watching them. 



Something else that was suggested was karaoke versions of pops songs. You can be the star. Sing with a band or an orchestra accompanying you. Lauren will be the star of many karaoke bars when they open up again.






Wednesday, November 11, 2020

YRCC Zoom Choir meeting again on Monday, November 16

 

Little Tree, were you sorry to leave the forest? I’ll comfort you.

Yes, we sang Little Tree! I love that song, and someone, I think it was Tab, was saying that they had this little air freshener that said Little Tree and she couldn’t help but sing our song every time she saw it. So cute! 

I have never had one of these things, and said so, and now I’m worried that I’ll receive a dozen of these little trees for Christmas. Please, it’s okay. I found it! If you must get me something, chocolate and alcohol are always welcome ;-)

I have a little tree story too. It was years ago and I was gardening and was transplanting a little tree. I started to sing to it and sang the whole song, every word. I’d memorized it without even trying. I guess I really just love that song.

So, I guess we’ve started on some Christmas music. 

We’ve sung Hockey Song, which is really just a winter song, which could be sung all year round, right?

And, we’ve sung My Grownup Christmas List, and now Little Tree, which are not traditional Christmas things. Also, we’ve sung Let There Be Peace on Earth which is usually on our Winter programme. 

I’m hearing that people are hoping to do more holiday themed singing. And, I do too. 

At my church, we’re not singing, not even remotely. I was so sad at Easter, I can’t even imagine Christmas at church without the singing. 

We are singing! Join us and you’ll see it’s not bad. 

We’re using Zoom so we’re in our own homes, or cottages, or wherever, and we all sing together, with recordings of the choir. So we’re even singing with ourselves. We can sing as loud as we want and we can sing other pars too because everyone is on mute. It works. We’re singing together and we’d like everyone to sing with us.

I made a schedule of songs to sing for the season, as I usually do when we’re rehearsing for a concert. I attached it to the calendar a couple weeks ago. I will follow that, but I’ll add some extra Christmas from now on.

You can follow the link to the calendar that’s here on the blog, or you can get there from the website. The Zoom link and sheet music PDFs are there.

Please join us!

Let’s keep up our repertoire and keep up our spirits during this dark time!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

YRCC songs 09-NOV-2020

 It’s already Sunday?!

Tomorrow is Monday, choir day! Please join us in our Zoom choir hour. It’s not what we really want, it’s not us in a room together singing, but it’s what we have and it’s good. 

It’s good to see our choir friends and to hear that they are fine and coping well during this pandemic. 

It’s good to read sheet music again and remember our art. 

It’s good to sing in the choir. Yes, we sing together with the whole choir, with recordings of the whole choir singing. It’s the closest thing to singing with the choir live. 

Please join us so that we continue to be a choir. When we can meet again in person, it will be almost as if we had never stopped. 

Go to the choir’s Google Calendar every week and find the Zoom link there. Double click and you’ll be with us. Take a moment to make sure your video is on, and choose gallery view (not speaker view). Some people are really good at this and some of us take some time to figure this out. We’ll help. 

Also on the calendar will be attachments, the PDFs of our sheet music for the evening. 

You can download and print it if you prefer, but using it electronically is great once you get used to it. It’s easy and environmentally friendly. No binders needed. I like having my sheet music on my iPad and the choir (Zoom) on my laptop.

We usually chat a bit and mostly remember to have a warm-up. When we’re ready to sing. I’ll choose a song and we all take a moment to call up the sheet music. I’ll get the recording ready and just before I start it, I’ll mute everyone. You will sing and nobody will hear you, but we’ll see you. This way, we avoid the issue of everyone’s individual wifi and device combination having different timing. There’s no way to get everyone in synch. No problem. You hear yourself and the choir, everyone else hears the choir and themselves. With gallery view, you get the feeling of being together. It’s really quite nice. You don’t usually see each other when you sing. You all look at me and I see all of you. This way, it’s kind of fun and new, You’ll notice though that most of the time people are looking at their music, which is what normally happens. So, don’t feel like everyone’s watching you all the time. 

This week, we’re singing Hallelujah, We Rise Again, You’ll Never Walk Alone, and Grownup Christmas List. I’ve added Little Tree in case we have time and energy for more :-)

I hope to see you all tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

YRCC Meet-up 02-NOV-2020 Looking for you!

 Where are you? 

We were missing  some people and some people were telling us that they hadn’t received the Zoom invitation for choir this  week.

What happened?


We discovered that the website has determined on its own that some people’s memberships had expired and many of you were removed from the membership list!

Nobody paid fees this year so I’m not sure what happened. 

Carol is looking into it and trying to get everyone back on the membership list.

If you’ve been getting the emails and have wondered if it’s really necessary to join these Monday night choir things, please do join us and you will be glad you did. They’re not rehearsals for a concert but I do think they’re important.

I’ll write more on this later this week.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for the link on a Monday night, go to the calendar and you’ll find the link there. Double click and you’ll be there with us. The PDFs for the music will be there too.

More instructions to follow.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

YRCC 26-Oct-2020 Zoom Sing and Chat

 We met again with increasing comfort and confidence in Zoom. 

I encourage every member of the York Region Community Choir to join these Monday evening meetings to continue our weekly habit of gathering to sing, to maintain and grow our musical abilities, to see and connect with the community of choir members, and to support each other. 

We don’t have a concert to rehearse, but we do have to prepare for future concerts. We will perform again.

We can’t hug each other but we can share our joys and sorrows, our worries and our solutions to common challenges. It’s such a joy to me to see the beautiful faces, the beloved smiles, and to hear the voices and laughter of my choir friends again!

If you or someone you know has been reluctant because of the technology, please let us know and we’ll try to help. 

We meet for a little over an hour, and might go longer as everyone gets more comfortable. 

We are using electronic copies of our music but some of us print it out. It helps to have 2 devices at hand so you can have one screen for the sheet music and another for seeing everyone.

We sing along to concert recordings so that you hear your part, you hear the whole choir singing with you. You’re not alone.

Please join us!

We sang Let There Be Peace on Earth, Monday, Monday, Why We Sing, and You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Tomorrow, November 2nd, we’ll sing Somewhere Out There, You Raise Me Up, the Hockey Song, and My Grownup Christmas List. 

This is where we are at the moment. Let’s enjoy this season and anticipate with hope our time together in the next one, like this or in some other way.



Sunday, October 25, 2020

YRCC 19-Oct-2020 ZOOMing ahead towards to holiday season

 The YRCC had another successful Zoom meet-up. Successful means all kinds of things, doesn’t it?

We warmed up our voices and then sang a few of our pieces. That was good. 

We reviewed some of the tricky things about the sheet music. That was good. 

We talked about what we’re learning from listening to our concert recordings. Good.

We chatted about all kinds of things including Halloween and Christmas plans during the pandemic. It’s not easy to chat in Zoom because only one person can talk at a time but it’s so important for us to do some chatting so we do what we can. Good, and important.

We took a moment to think about our friend Mary Ellen as she mourns the loss of her husband and loved hearing her sing Let There be Peace on Earth even more than usual. Difficult, but good.

Heather joined us from British Columbia! Remote choir has its advantages.

Hallelujah, We Rise Again, You Raise Me Up, and Let There be Peace on Earth were our songs last week, so now we’re doing 4 songs! And we’re lasting over an hour now too. 

I’ve made a plan, similar to my usual rehearsal plan and I think we’ll probably add some more songs, especially during the holiday season. I attached the plan to our calendar event, along with the sheet music for this week. There’s a link to the calendar here on my blog.

I hope to see everyone tomorrow.



Sunday, October 18, 2020

YRCC Zoom 12OCT2020 Thanksgiving Monday

The YRCC has always met on Thanksgiving Monday because the season is short and we needed all the time we could get to rehearse for our concert in December. 

This year, we met for different reasons. 

We need all the time we can get to learn this new way of meeting and to continue to be a choir in this crazy pandemic time. 

We're meeting through Zoom because we want to see each other. We miss our choir community.

We're meeting because we love to sing our songs and want to keep up our repertoire.

We want to keep our voices in good shape, and not lose our range. (Some days I hardly talk, let alone sing, and I find I'm often hoarse, croaky even.)

We don't want to forget how to read sheet music. 

I need choir in my life. 

We sang Monday, Monday, Somewhere Out There, and We Rise Again. 

It's interesting to sing with our concert recordings. I hear things that will help me to create better balance next time we all sing together. I'm learning different things this way, and I hope you are too. 

We're going to try to sing 4 songs tomorrow, Monday, October 19th:

  • Hallelujah
  • We Rise Again
  • You Raise Me Up
  • Let There Be Peace on Earth



Wednesday, October 7, 2020

YRCC Zooms forward 05OCT2020 and Thanksgiving Monday, 12OCT2020

 It was better than I’d hoped! We met on Zoom, using Tab’s premium work account and it was very, very nice. I used my work laptop this time and was able to see all 28 participants at once!

We lasted over an hour. (I had heard that an hour is most people’s limit. And, I believe it. Because, today I was in a 4-hour conference on Zoom and I was totally exhausted even though I was just listening.) 

We chatted, we sang Why We Sing, You’ll Never Walk Alone, and Hallelujah, and we laughed, and chatted some more. We sang with concert recordings so that it almost felt like we were all singing together. We were all on mute so the timing issue wasn’t an issue. People’s lips didn’t move together but it was okay. It was just so good to all be together singing. Looking out at everyone singing and smiling and hearing the choir recording was so, so very good!

We’ll do it again! 

We’re meeting next Monday, Thanksgiving Monday, and we’ll sing Somewhere Out There, Monday, Monday, and We Rise Again!

Watch for your meeting invitation and I’ll put the link in the Calendar again, along with the sheet music PDFs. 

I’m going to put choir on my calendar every Monday night again! Hope you can join us. 



Wednesday, September 30, 2020

YRCC Zoomed 28SEP2020 Review and 05OCT2020

 28-SEP-2020 

The day the York Region Community Choir went Zoom!

Zoom kind of worked. About 22 people came and talked and sang and we’re going to do it every week. We’ll see how things go as we get better at Zooming. I don’t have great plans, great expectations, as we don’t have a concert or any performance at all to rehearse for. But, I want us to continue to be together and singing our songs. With Zoom, we can be together and we can sing our songs together, sort of. 

We all hear the same recording and we all sing our choir parts in our own homes. We’re all on mute because the quality of our wifi and hardware and software are a bit of an issue. Timing is off for one thing. No problem when we’re muted. 

We sang You Raise Me Up and Somewhere Out There. We had the sheet music on our own devices or printed out from the website. That way, we could use the screen entirely for seeing each other! A lot of us spent a lot of time looking at the music and not each other, but it felt good to be surrounded by our friends any time we looked up. I loved seeing you all singing together. It made me happy.

One big problem we had was that we got kicked out. Suddenly it ended. Free Zoom has a 40 minute limit. It happened a couple times. I forgot to let you know that you could come back. It was enough though for our first time. I think one hour is what most people can manage comfortably in a Zoom meeting, but if we do a variety of things, maybe we can last longer. 

Next week, we’re going to see how it works when someone else hosts. Tab will be the first guest host. She has the total Zoom deluxe package with no time limit, and all the bells and whistles. (Break-out groups sound like an interesting feature-a group for each part?) We will send an email through the website so that we can be sure everyone gets invited (at least I hope so. I missed people with my thing and kept having to add individuals and probably still missed someone-sorry it it was you!). 

Next week, let’s sing Why We Sing and You’ll Never Walk Alone. I’ll attach them to the YRCC Calendar again. If we have extra time and energy, we’ll sing Hallelujah. 

I’ll see if I can put the Zoom info there again too. Should be possible. 

Thank you for being patient with me and each other as we adapt to this new and hopefully very temporary situation. I am longing for the day when we can all see each other again in person, IRL, in real life. We’ll wear the shields Carol arranged to get us and we’ll keep our distance until the day we can hug again. 

For now, we’ll be Zoomers.





Sunday, September 27, 2020

YRCC Zoom Meet&Sing 28-Sep-2020 Preparations

 Well, it doesn’t look like we will be able to meet in person for a while yet, and we can’t have a concert so we have nothing to rehearse for. 

Nevertheless, we will meet. And, we will sing. And, we’ll learn a new way to be a choir during this pandemic.

I had a test run last week wth a smallish group of us. It was chaotic and not choir, but it was fun, it was good, and we want more.

So, we’re all going to meet in Zoom. 

It seems to be an okay place and we’ll give it a go. I do wonder about people who might not have the technology to meet with us. I fear that we might leave people behind. But, hopefully this is temporary. And, the longer it lasts, the more people will become experts in this new virtual world of remote meeting for groups. 

I have to confess, I don’t like the virtual choirs that I see on the internet. I didn’t like the Eric Whitacre stuff, except this one: Fly to Paradise. It’s clever and cool art but it’s not choir. Nearly 6 thousand people sang, but they didn’t sing together. I love choir because of the feeling we get when we sing together, and we blend our voices, adjusting ourselves to our neighbours and we’re all doing the same thing at the same time. And, the best thing is to see the audience and see that they’re getting the feelings we’re trying to send them. I’m so sad about all that being impossible now.

So, I’m not planning to learn to produce a virtual choir song. But, I’m not totally dismissing the possibility of the YRCC maybe preparing and producing one. Something to think about.

For now, we’ll see if we can keep up the songs we know, so we don’t forget. And, we’ll keep in touch with each other, so we don’t forget. 

It might be a good idea to check out your equipment to see if you can use a camera and microphone while on Zoom. Most devices have those built in. You can play with Zoom to test the settings if you just sign in and start a meeting. You don’t need to have anyone else join, but it might be fun to test it with someone.

That won’t mean you’ll be perfect when we meet together but you won’t be totally lost. I practised but still didn’t have it all together last week, and I don’t expect to be an expert this week either. But, I will try hard.

Find the place where you can mute and unmute yourself. Find the Gallery setting, so you can see everyone. If you have earbuds or headphones, have those handy. Find a good spot in your home to prop your iPad, phone, desktop, laptop, whatever device you’re going to use, up so that we’ll be able to see you. Try it out in the evening so that you know that the lighting will be good. 

Maybe have a couple devices ready so that you can have the  sheet music up on one and have Zoom to hear the music and see everyone on another? I’m going to have a few devices ready and we’ll see how we manage. We’ll get better every week. 

I’ll have Somewhere Out There and You Raise Me Up ready. You can too. Maybe next week we can try to sing more songs. 

Please continue to send me suggestions and advice. I am new to this. Some of you have been meeting remotely with Zoom meetings for other groups, even other choirs, and are far more comfortable than I am. Please be patient with me. 



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?

Hallelujah
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



PART III is THIS SUNDAY AT 3PM EDT!

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 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WYGahJfu-A



Lyrics on Google Drive 

https://drive.google.com/drive/mobile/folders/1cRQjLGodPQxNUgLCrFO9tPPge5ZlttY4?usp=sharing



#NEVERSTOPSINGING


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

Sunday, March 22, 2020

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

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.