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, October 2, 2014

Review of Monday, Sept. 29th, and preview of Monday, Oct. 6th

Monday, September 29th

I was hoping for a cold night, but we had a beautiful day and it was still warm in the evening. I had planned so much wintry stuff and our surprise was that we sang Let it Go from Frozen! It's perfect for our theme: We Are Winter: Survive, Celebrate, Sing!

Our solo songs will be Let it Go, sung by Kristen, River, sung by Trix, Winter Song, a duet, with Teija and Heather, and the Huron Carol, a quartet.

Our first small group, Breath of Heaven, met at 6:30 for the second time and they are doing really well, which I expected. It's an especially beautiful song that we've sung before and so many in the group remembered it very well!

Our warm-ups included roller coasters: oooooeeeeeeooooo and we let all the stress of the day go with Let it Go!

Baby it's Cold Outside was so good, we could have performed it for an audience! The key was to get the altos and sopranos to sing softer so that we could hear the tenors and basses. Everyone was excellent with when to hold their notes and when to stop. The harmony parts are really pretty!

We sang the Magic of Winter and it was beautiful! The key, again, was to have the sopranos and altos softer, especially at the beginning, to balance with the tenors and basses. There's the same kind of back-and-forth and overlapping.

We Rise Again: we went over the first soprano parts for each section. They're all different. The last one is the simplest, even though it has some of the highest notes, and there are some lower notes where you expect high ones to be.  Be careful! The tenors and basses have a beautiful part at the first chorus. We reviewed their parts and it was awesome. Make sure you can hear them in good balance with the melody in the alto and second soprano parts, and try to keep the first soprano part a bit softer too. I'm very happy with how much this song has improved!

Welcome, Welcome Winter impressed me! There was a fair amount of stress about this one, but it's very strong. The first time through, it was a bit messy and we just tried again and fixed most of the issues! We reviewed bars 15-18 and 52-53 where it's not easy to remember who sings what. Mark your part with pencil, and maybe scratch out the part that you don't sing. When the sopranos and altos are holding a note and the tenors and basses are singing "Welcome, welcome" under them, make sure you can hear the tenor and bass part.

We continued with the next section of Button Up Your Overcoat, the strident "that's on the subway" and the fun "Don't eat fat food" part (bars 55-63). The key with the word subway is to be confident with your part and to stick to it. You might feel the need to adjust your note to sound nicer, but it's supposed to sound harsh. "Stay on your rail."

Monday, October 6th

6:30 Christmas in Our Hearts

  1. Baby it's Cold Outside
  2. Blue Skies
  3. In the Bleak Midwinter (soloist: Todd)
  4. O Holy Night (soloists TBD)
  5. Welcome, Welcome Winter

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