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!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Painting the Nursery Mural

This is the story of my daughter, Soraya's mural.

Our minister had seen Soraya drawing during church, so Rev. Heather asked Soraya if she'd be interested in painting a mural in the Nursery.

It took a while to build up the courage and find the right time, but Soraya finally planned and created the mural this summer.

She drew a sketch, researched how to paint a mural, and together we collected the supplies and spent a week at church. It was an excellent experience.

First, we got the girl in the paint department in Lowe's to help us pick colours for the background and decide how much we needed, and then we went to Michael's and to our basement for the rest of our supplies. We used latex paint, and acrylics mixed with matte medium, large and small rollers, and a variety of brushes and sponges and black marker.

The background was so pretty on its own!

At church, Dianne got us a ladder and the overhead projector as well as some overhead transparencies, and opened the door for us a couple times a day for a week.

We measured and taped and painted and waited. Waiting for layers to dry was time-consuming.

Using the overhead projector was magical. Soraya simply traced her drawing lightly with a pencil as it was being projected on the wall. Well, drawing while standing on a ladder wasn't easy, but the method was simple.
Using the overhead projector was magical.

I was allowed to help with the background (you can see me here touching up the green a bit) and the second coats of animals. It was fun.

Sometimes things looked strange at first.

It was interesting to see how the parts came together as a whole. It took some patience, but was worth it. 
When I first saw the finished lamb, how it was transformed by the final details, I was brought to tears by the miracle of it. 

When the lamb got its features, I was overwhelmed with emotion.

When the whole project was done, I nearly burst with pride. I literally jumped up and down. It was more beautiful than I had imagined. Each of the animals had its own personality and the colours were bright and perfect. 

We cleaned up and put all the toys back in place, and the mural looked like it belonged there, like it was meant to be. I guess Rev. Heather knew what she was doing!

The nursery mural.

It's wonderful!

I'm so proud of my Soraya's signature on her art on a wall at Trinity United Church in Newmarket!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Love your singing neighbour. Love every dancing child.

I read this blog post about singing that was recommended on a Facebook post. It's about the author's father's belief that he couldn't sing because he was kicked out of his church choir when he was young. The author said: "I think his church choir director confused worship with a concert. In her quest for perfection, she left in her wake a little boy who grew up to be a man afraid to open his mouth and sing."

I've grumbled about this before: People being told by someone that they can't sing, and that stops them forever. So many people when asked to sing along at a campfire or around a piano at Christmas say "I can't sing." It's so sad! Very few people (there's a statistic: 4% or less I think) are actually tone deaf. The rest of us -96%- just need to be supported to go ahead and sing (and I would even encourage people with tone deafness to join in on a sing-along. It's that much fun.). If someone doesn't like the sound of your voice, that's their problem. Same with dancing. We're not talking careers, but enjoying the ways we can express ourselves. Don't steal the pleasure of singing or dancing from anyone. Watch what you say. Be kind. Love your singing neighbour. Love every dancing child.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Current Executive 2013/2014

the Executive of the York Region Community Choir 
for the 2013/2014 Choir Year:

The Executive works together with the Director and Accompanist, and the Reading Committee, to choose music, decide when and where we sing, and make sure people are there to sing and to hear us sing, and take care of our equipment, finances, website and music library.The Executive is elected and the Reading Committee, Conductor and Accompanist are appointed. 

Our President is Lauren Solar (laurensolar@gmail.com). She was VP last year, and is adopting the more responsible role this year. Simply put, Lauren is responsible for everything happening. 

Our Vice-President is Heather Vickers (hvickers@rogers.com), who was President last year. She's taking on a more supportive role and will be there to help Lauren and anyone else on the executive when they need a hand.

** Please note:Sandra Winters (s_winters@bell.net) is not able to continue in her role as Public Relations Chair. If you need to contact us regarding advertising, or to book us for a concert, or just need some information, please speak to our VP, Heather Vickers, above, until we elect a new PR person. The PR role is to keep us connected to the community. Choristers, if you are interested in the PR position, let Lauren know. 

Daphne Young (youngdc@rogers.com) is our Secretary/Treasurer, having taken over from Michele Horton. If you want to write us a cheque, make it out to York Region Community Choir, and Daphne will put it in our account. We accept cash too. Daphne will keep our paperwork in order, creating and maintaining records like the minutes of our meetings and accounting stuff. Michele will support Daphne and will continue to represent us when we share condolences and congratulations. 

Trix Verge (trix.verge@gmail.comis our Music Librarian and Webmaster. She has our music collection in her basement and makes sure we all have music to sing every Monday, and has extra binders made up for guests, or people who are checking us out. If you have a binder of music that belongs to us and want to know how to get it back to us, contact Trix. Trix is the one to go to for help using the website, and she makes sure that it's functioning properly. 

Carol Ford and Debbie Hood are the Registrars. They make sure the membership list is up-to-date and coordinate our Coffee/Social hours, among other things. They will be handling the waiting list. Debbie's had our coffee (and tea) equipment and supplies in her basement for many years. She buys good Decaf. 

Heather Vickers, Teija Cumming and Enid Maize are the Reading Committee. They help choose music and order it from the publishers, shopping in person and on line. They are chosen for their ability to read music and knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses. 

Renate Naghavi (That's me.) is the Conductor/Musical Director of the YRCC. The Conductor chooses a theme and selects music for each season, with the help of the Executive and the Reading Committee, and with input from the Accompanist. The Conductor teaches the music with the help of the Accompanist, and leads the choir in performances. 

Anne Marie Vandekemp has been the Assistant Director, officially and unofficially for at least a decade. Since she is one of the original members of the choir, Anne Marie is consulted on everything from music to venues and managing member politics. Together with Heather Vickers, Anne Marie leads the small group rehearsals. 

Sapphire Navaratnarajah is our Accompanist. She is a talented pianist who helps Renate teach the music and accompanies the choir in rehearsal and in performances.