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, May 29, 2012

Music for Healing

We know that music is magical. It affects our health and well-being. Singing in the York Region Community Choir is a wonderful, healthy activity that we enjoy every Monday evening.
Lately, our Mondays are even more rewarding.
We're on our seniors' tour. We're visiting retirement residences and nursing homes in our community. Last week we visited Doane House Hospice in Newmarket.
When we visit seniors to sing for and with them, we feel great because we're doing what we love to do, and it's good for us, and we can feel great about contributing to the health and well-being of our audience members.
I just read about The Vancouver Chamber Choir's Music For Healing recordings:
 a series of three discs designed to accompany people facing serious life challenges. It has been funded entirely through generous donations by individuals and organizations who want to be part of an important and ongoing gift to the therapeutic process in their communities.
The first two discs look amazing and are available on their website. The choir is presently working on the third CD. It's an impressive project. I can totally relate to their desire to connect with the community in this way, and can imagine that it's a very successful and satisfying mission. They say:
It is our way of saying through our music, “You do not stand alone”. 
Choral music can do that best. The sound of a community of singers, people's voices joining together in unison and in harmony, is special.
Check out the sound clips on the website. They are really extraordinary. There are samples of all kinds of music the choir sings.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul. (Plato)

Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul. (Plato)

When our music makes people laugh and cry, when people stand up and start to dance in response to our music, when we can see that our music has touched someone's soul, we have shared a little of what we feel when we make our music. This giving and sharing is immensely gratifying. Each laugh, each tear, every dance step is a great gift to us. Sharing an hour of music with seniors reminds us of how very lucky we are to have the privilege of immersing ourselves in music together every week.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

After the big show: "down" time

Hey, Everyone,

Do you feel like I do after the big show? A little down?

It was fantastic. We were wonderful. The audience was wonderful. They loved us. A standing ovation! (I told you so. Glad we had the encore ready.) The second standing ovation, we bow again and say our thank-yous, and clean up.

And it's over.

For the next few days there's relief, but also a sadness.

We worked really hard and gave our all, and the joy is intense, but so short-lived!

It's got a name, this feeling: Post-Show Depression. Really. Some people get hit really bad.

We're so lucky to have the seniors' visits lined up so that we can continue to perform our music for a while, so all is not lost. And, we know we'll be back in rehearsals in September. But, the big show is over. And, it makes most people feel at least some sense of loss.

Rest assured, it's normal and most of us were affected in one way or another.

Even if the thrill is fleeting, it's totally worth it, isn't it?!!

Yours in harmony,