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!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November 25th and December 2nd!

Wow. It's almost December!

We have 2 performances this week! Tomorrow at Doane House, and Friday at the United Way Craft and Gift Sale! 
I'd love to see a couple of extra people at both events, especially tenors and basses.

Somewhere my Love is coming along well. We met at 6:20, and will meet again at 6:20 next week.
12 Groovy Days is excellent. The end is Groovy! We'll meet again at 6:50 next week.
Farewell to Nova Scotia is excellent. They're meeting again next week at 9:30.

Silent Night: some individuals were rehearsing with Sapphire at break-Thank you. We will all meet at break next week. Now, I really have to work on memorizing my words!

We had a quick physical warm-up and warmed up our voices singing 12 Songs.
12 Songs of Christmas is finished! Hooray. You might want to review the section at 180, page 18.
In Our Town in December was pretty and we figured out back-up soloists.
Calypso Christmas is great! What a fun song! Remember to watch me at the end for when the altos and tenor/basses change notes.
Mele Kalikimaka is excellent too. Fun and cute.
Somewhere a Child is Sleeping is wonderful. Remember to come in soft at 28 on pg 6. When neither soloist is there, I think we'll have just the sopranos start at the beginning. We tried with everyone and it becomes a bit too repetitive. Also, keep in mind that the climax, the loudest part is right after the second ending at the bottom of page 9 and over to page 10 : "So we might love each other in peace and harmony."

Next week, we'll have to review everything else for the concert. The following week will be the run-through and sound check at Trinity Anglican in Aurora.

December 2nd
Banks of Newfoundland
Hava Nagila
Come Emmanuel
So Long, Farewell
Song for Canada
You'll Never Walk Alone

December 9th
***All small groups and soloists arrive early, starting at 6:30, to work with microphones and where to stand, sit, etc. If you're later on the list, you don't need to be there at 6:30.

Tentative order of soloist/small group sound checks:
Somewhere My Love
Jane, Lauren and Trix
12 Groovy Days
Janet and Todd and the Kevins
The Kevins
Silent Night
Farewell to Nova Scotia

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sandra in our thoughts

Today and tomorrow, we will have Sandra on our minds, in our thoughts and prayers, as she gets together with family and friends in Calgary to say goodbye to her father, who passed away on Friday.

Here is a link to the web page where you can read about the wonderful man who clearly had a great influence on our Sandra. I was not surprised to learn that he was musical, kind, active and generous like Sandra.

The executive, on behalf of the choir, has made arrangements for flowers to be there tomorrow as a symbol of our love and support for Sandra, and our sincere condolences to her, her son Joseph, and her whole family at this difficult time.

Choir members who wish to offer individual condolences can send a message through that website as well, and you have access to Sandra's contact information on the choir website in the members only section.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November 18 and November 25

6:20 Somewhere My Love
6:50 12 Groovy Days
9:30 Farewell to NovaScotia
Small Groups, same schedule next week

Lauren was sick and asked me to make a couple of announcements, which I forgot! Sorry!
1. The next group of equipment volunteers is:

2. We are hoping to decorate our concert space this year. Jane is willing to order poinsettias for us. Individuals will buy poinsettias and take them home after the concert. So, we get to have them decorate our concert space, and then they decorate your home for Christmas! Isn't that a great idea?! Once we know that enough people are on board, we'll be able to set prices and give details.

Warm-ups were quick, so that we could get to work.
1. Magic of Winter was our vocal warm-up. We paid special attention to dynamics. We reviewed the alto and tenor parts of the whole song.
2. Welcome, Welcome Winter: we did quite a bit of review here too.
3. Banks of Newfoundland: we learned the last bit of ahs and put it all together! Remember that most of the time, you're singing background and it's soft. There's that really long note. Nobody can do it alone. We're a team, so we do what's called staggered breathing. You take a breath, then somebody else does, then someone else. Listen to your neighbours so that you're taking your breath when they're not.
4. So Long, Farewell is easy-peasy. The last note: Sopranos divide: S1 is on the G, S2 is on the D. Tenors can divide the same way an octave down. Altos and Basses will sing the E. And, it says it should be soft, but we're going to be loud. I like a big ending and it's a nice chord :)

Next week: 

We need to go over our Christmas stuff for our upcoming performances. I'm hoping we can sing through each just once or twice.

In Our Town in December
Mele Kalikimaka
Calypso Christmas
Somewhere a Child is Sleeping
12 Songs of Christmas (we still have to learn pg 13- the end)

It would be good if we could review Banks of Newfoundland.

Please note that the orders for our performances are up on the website. 
Go to Members Only and then to "Seniors' Performance Orders", even though they're not all seniors events. Remember, Doane House is November 28, the United Way Craft Sale is November 29 and the CARP social is December 4th. I'm getting excited!!!

Please, as much as possible, review parts on your own, with the recordings online, or however you can. We don't have much time left. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 11th review and preview for November 18

Small Groups
6:20: Somewhere My Love
6:50: 12 Groovy Days
9:30: Farewell to Nova Scotia
**same schedule next week

scales going up and down, using your hands to help you to open up as the notes get higher, tongue twisters

  1. 12 Songs of Christmas: we sang through and learned up to pg.13
  2. Magic of Winter: we sang through and it was really pretty! 
  3. Banks of Newfoundland: we started learning from the beginning and went to the bottom of page 4!
  4. So Long, Farewell: we sang through to see how it goes and it will be fun and charming
Next week
  1. Welcome, Welcome Winter: review
  2. Magic of Winter: dynamics and enunciation
  3. Banks of Newfoundland: next ahs and then put it together
  4. So Long, Farewell: clarify parts and learn harmonies
  5. 12 Songs of Christmas: pg 13 to the end
Looking ahead:
Monday, November 25: We will review Calypso Christmas, Mele Kalikimaka, Somewhere a Child is Sleeping, and generally prepare for our performances at the end of that week on November 28 at Doane House and on November 29 at the United Way Craft Sale. 

Monday, December 1: Our last learning rehearsal. The next one will be a run-through for the show at Trinity Anglican in Aurora. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 5th review and November 11th preview

Somewhere My Love met at 6:20
12 Groovy Days met at 6:50
Silent Night met at break
Farewell to Nova Scotia met at 9:30

Same schedule next week for small groups, except for Silent Night (You can rehearse on your own for a while, and I suggest you memorize the words. All we have to do to perform it is decide the order to sing in and we're good to go!)

Warm-ups were brief

1. Come Emmanuel- we had to review the ahs and remind people to sing "wai 'in" and "commmmm". Also, Sopranos have to be careful to sing softly so that we can hear the other parts.

2. Song for Canada - we reviewed the ahs and I suggested you listen to the recordings for timing. In particular, the recording of me singing it so you can hear where the words go. The timing can be tricky.

3. Banks of Newfoundland- we started with the last page and it was awesome! The sound you make in 6 part harmony is just beautiful! Please take some time to listen to the recording of this piece and your part before next Monday.

4. Magic of Winter- we learned from 5-20. So pretty (and not hard)!!!

5. 12 Songs of Christmas - we just sang through the whole thing again.

6. So Long, Farewell - we just looked at it, noting that we'll be jumping around in the parts.

Next Monday:

Banks of Newfoundland from the beginning, and reviewing the end. Please take some time to listen to the recordings

Magic of Winter we'll try to finish it. You can listen to this recording too, but it's pretty easy.

12 Songs of Christmas let me know which parts you'd like to review

So Long, Farewell We'll sing it through, sight-reading. Please mark you parts in pencil on your music so you know when to sing. See below.

Welcome, Welcome Winter Let's see how much we remember and learn the ending

Here's how So Long Farewell is going to be divided: 
Please mark your parts in pencil, ready for next Monday!

2-6  Altos only
6-17   Part l: SA              Part ll: TB
23-57  Part l: Ladies         Part ll: Gentlemen
57-62 Part 1: Sopranos      Part ll: Altos
63 Ladies
65 Gentlemen
68/69 Ladies
69/70 Gentlemen
70-90 Part l: Sopranos         Part ll: ATB
95-103 Partl: Ladies             Part ll: Gentlemen
103-109 Part l: Sopranos     Part ll: ATB
Last note: G: S1   C: T and S2   E: A B

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Singing with Spirit

This morning, the YRCC sang at church for the first time ever. We have sung in churches many times. We always have our public performances in churches, preferably Trinity Anglican Church in Aurora, because the acoustics are great. So, we're used to sounding amazing in a church. But, what we're not used to is being at church together, in the context of a church service- the minister, prayer, readings from the Bible...

We sang for our friends at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Aurora because they asked us to help make their Anniversary Sunday special. We've sung for a couple of other events for them in the past. They always give us free use of their space when we're bumped out of our free space at the regional administrative centre, and a few of our members attend St.Andrew's.

This morning, we sang On Eagle's Wings and You'll Never Walk Alone better than we've ever sung them before. It was awesome, truly awesome. The difference between our warm-up and our performance was huge.

I'm sure that we were all feeling something this morning, something powerful and moving. It came through in our performance.