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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 22 Rehearsal Review, and Sept. 29 Preview

Rehearsal Review: Monday, Sept. 22

Breath of Heaven small group met for the first time at 6:30 and we got through the whole piece! It's beautiful! We'll meet again next week, and then Christmas in Our Hearts meets on October6. Sapphire and I gave everyone a bit of a sample of how it sounds, in hopes of attracting more members to that group. We need 2 Tenors and 2 Basses, 3 Sopranos and 3 Altos for Christmas in Our Hearts, so please go to the sign-up on the website and see if we still need you!

Our warm-up featured conga-line massages! We love those :-)

1. We warmed up our voices with What a Wonderful World. It was wonderful ;-)  We reviewed the middle part where the Sopranos and Altos sing "The colours of the rainbow..." and then the Tenors and Basses sing "Are also on the faces..." The tenors and basses were strong and blended well! We talked about how to pronounce our 't's in "what a wonderful world". Some people are being very careful to say whatta wonderful, while most of us are saying whadda wonderful (it's not really a 'd' sound, but a Canadian flap). I prefer a natural pronunciation, especially for jazzy songs such as this. We do have to be careful to enunciate always, but, I think we can be clear while using our Canadian pronunciation. And, I argued that singing things differently from the way you say them can make the words even more difficult to understand. All that being said, I don't really mind if some of us pronounce things a bit differently. We are multicultural after all. And, after all that, I didn't pay attention to how we were pronouncing "Button Up" ( ba-tin or ba-'n? or some of both?)

2. Magic of Winter was next. We were careful to watch our rests, to make sure we weren't holding our notes too long. There were 2 places where there was some tenor/bass voices holding too long: bar 12 and 31-there's a 2 beat rest, so you can only hold the note for 2 beats. Other than that, it was very good! I'm very happy with how strong the tenor and bass section was last night!

3. We went right to work on the next section of Button Up Your Overcoat, at bar 34. We were careful with rests here too, and noticed that there is a mistake in bar 36. There's an extra beat. We decided to colour in the last note to make it a quarter note instead of a half, and to observe the rest. That makes the first oo shorter than the second, but the Tenor/Bass part is different too, so it makes sense to me. We sang all the way through to bar 55, having gone over the beginning with the Tenors and Basses. We haven't decided yet what to do about those funny little solos in the Soprano line. Maybe Trix?

4.We finished learning Baby it's Cold Outside! All we had to do was learn bars 35 and 71 and the ending, which we did splendidly! It so much fun! What a cute song! We'll keep watching the rests and how long to hold notes here too. To hold, or not to hold: that is the question!

5.The Hockey Song was great, and great fun! Have fun with this one and don't stress. Just watch for when to come in, especially after the announcer bits.

6. Somewhere a Child is Sleeping. I forgot to mention this song when we were talking about solos. Mary Ellen has done the first verse as a solo (up to bar 28) and is willing to do it for us again. I love her voice and this song is a nice showcase for a good soloist. It doesn't look like a hard thing to sing, but it takes good control and a clear lower and higher register. It's also quite long. Robyn bravely gave it a try. Thanks, Robyn!

7. We did a quick preview of O Holy Night, to see how the solos go. It's quite a grand production with lots of stuff going on. Notice that only the first one is a real solo, the next one is a duet over the choir singing oohs, and the third one is a trio over oohs or ahs. I'll assign 3 soloists and 3 back-ups for this song. I've had lots of people come forward to offer their talents, so it will take me some time to decide.

Next week, September 29

Small group: Breath of Heaven at 6:30

  1. Baby it's Cold Outside
  2. Button Up Your Overcoat
  3. Magic of Winter
  4. We Rise Again
  5. Welcome, Welcome Winter

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