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!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Conducting the Audience

Today, I started a new sing-along technique.

It actually began this past Monday, at the Barton. We were singing with the seniors, and I had handed out the shakers and drums as usual, but this time there was a little group of seniors who were really into it and I started to conduct them!

They really got a kick out of it, so I tried it again today with our mixed audience at Hillary House (National Historic Site/Museum in Aurora). It was excellent! It sounded great and added a new level of interactivity to our performance.

The added bonus is that I can easily ask them/tell them to keep the instruments quiet while we're performing our pieces, and when we're doing a quiet song. I even added them to our Calypso Christmas and Mele Kalikimaka.

I wish I had thought of it before, but better late than never!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Still in our performance season!

Tonight: The Barton 7:00 pm (and our holiday party 8:00 in our room)
Saturday afternoon: Hillary House 1:00 pm (we still need altos)
Next Monday: Aurora Resthaven 7:00 pm (limit reached but tenors and basses welcome)

Remember choristers:

  • We always wear black and white. Informal means you can have short sleeves and short skirts.
  • Have your music ready and in order. Bring all your music and the sing-along book. 
  • Arrive at least 15 minutes early to warm up and to confirm the order of the music, and soloists.
  • Keep the sing-along book if you're performing again.
  • Hand in your binder and all music and the sing-along book after your last performance.
  • Our last performance is Dec.23. After this, Trix will have all the binders and all the music (except the 3 pieces of Choral Extravaganza music, if you think you'll work on it over the holidays)!
The Spring Season starts Monday, January 6th, 2014. 
You will get your binder back with all the spring season music in it. Sapphire and I will be recording accompaniments and parts over the holidays, so that they'll be going up on the website in January.

Check the calendar for details and maps.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Show Tomorrow, Saturday, December 14th!


(not really like this but, it's how it will feel, right?)

So Incredibly Excited!

12:45 choir arrives 
1:00 set-up done, everyone in the sanctuary
review of 2/3 songs (just bits)
reminders (smile, don't let mistakes show, no faces, watch and listen)
pep talk
doors open at 1:30. 
We wait in the chapel for our big entrance
2:00 we sing!

The snow will be manageable
the audience will be brave and kind and huge
nobody will notice anybody's mistakes. 

That's the plan!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Choral Extravaganza Preparation

Those YRCC members who have signed up for the Choral Extravaganza on January 26th should already have their mass choir music-3 pieces that we're going to sing (with all the other 8 choirs!). When you're handing in your binder at the end of this season, you can keep those 3 pieces to look at them over the holiday.

We will start rehearsing them as soon as we're back in January and there are 2 additional Sunday rehearsals.

You can begin looking at your music, and becoming familiar with the words, where you sing, etc. I'll give you links to recordings of the songs here.

Nella Fantasia (In My Fantasy) by Ennio Morricone and Chiara Ferrau arr Audrey Snyder
The publisher's page (click on "closer look" and then click on the sample audio.) There is a short sample of the arrangement. 

Spacious Firmament by Tobin Stokes
The publisher's page (you can listen and read along on the music right there)
(a Children’s choir will sing the beginning and end)

Haydn: Come Gentle Spring

If you haven't signed up do so asap and you too can get your music in advance.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Concert Sunday night in Richmond Hill

I'm sharing this invitation I received from Richard, the director of the Choral Extravaganza (and of the Auoroa 150th Choral Concert we participated in). 

I think Sapphire and Jonathan might also be involved in this.

Hello everyone,

I would like to let you know about our performance of the Messiah (the Christmas parts) by Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church.  I have been the music director for 8 years now, and this is one of our biggest projects so far.  We have some very good soloists from within the choir, as well as a guest soprano: Susan Ryman (She performs regularly as soprano soloist with the Men of Note Choir and the Harfentoene German  Male Choir).

The choir has been rehearsing since June.  They tell me Handel's melodies have been going through their heads for months now.  We would like to share this glorious music with you, so we can all get into the Christmas spirit.  Please come on Sunday night at 7 pm to Richmond Hill's Presbyterian Church at 10066 Yonge St. (just North of Major Mackenzie on the West side). We hope you can join us for refreshments after the performance.  Tickets are only $15 (free, if you are 18 years or younger).

Hope to see you on Sunday,
Richard Heinzle

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

YRCC members representing us well

This is an excerpt from the Aurora Horticultural Society newsletter:

"Our annual Potluck dinner will be held on November 22. Please arrive between 5:30 and 6:30 pm with your potluck dish. Dinner will start at 6:30 pm sharp.

There will be entertainment by York Region Community Choir Trio (Heather Vickers, Michael Wasylenky and William Reid), as well as prizes to be won in a 50/50 draw and a bucket ruffle!
See you all there!"

They also had our beautiful concert poster in the newsletter!

This picture was taken by Bill when they rehearsed at his house before the show. The feedback after the show was very positive! We're so lucky to have such amazing talent in our midst!

Thank you for representing us so well, Heather, Michael and Bill!

Monday, December 9 at Trinity Anglican in Aurora

6:30-7:15 will be set-up and first sound checks with microphones

Starting at 6:30 (if you're later on the list you can arrive later):

  1. Sapphire
  2. Somewhere My Love
  3. Jane, Lauren and Trix
  4. 12 Groovy Days
  5. Janet and Todd and the Kevins
  6. The Kevins
  7. Kristen
  8. Silent Night
  9. Farewell to Nova Scotia

Starting at 7:30 Concert Order Run-through (we'll see if this order works)

1.       In Our Town in December
2.       Song for Canada
3.       Farewell to Nova Scotia (sm. group)
4.       Red-haired Boy (instrumental)
5.       Hava Nagila
6.       Calypso Christmas
7.       Mele Kalikimaka
8.       Silent Night (sm. group)
9.       12 Groovy Days (sm. group)
10.   Flight of the Bumblebee (Sapphire's solo)
11.   Somewhere My Love (sm. group)
12.   Magic of Winter

1.       Welcome, Welcome Winter
2.       Come Emmanuel
3.       Somewhere a Child is Sleeping
4.       Mr Santa (sm. group)
5.       I Believe (Janet, Todd, Kevin)
6.       Ordinary Miracle (Kristen's solo)
7.       On Eagle’s Wings
8.       You Raise Me Up
9.       12 Songs of Christmas
10.   You’ll Never Walk Alone

11.   So Long, Farewell (encore)

Tonight: CARP Social 6:30- 9:00

Here is the information about the CARP Social from their website:

CARP Newmarket Aurora Chapter 44 Presents:
Christmas Season Drop In Social
Featuring Live Entertainment by
Voices of Joy Choir
John Lemme
York Region Community Choir
Wednesday December 4, 2013
Lions Hall, 200 Doug Duncan Dr, Newmarket
Drop in anytime between 6:30 and 8:30 pm.

Festive Food and Refreshments will be served
Free to CARP members and guest

- See more and learn about CARP on their website by clicking here

This looks like it will be a fun and entertaining evening. Plan to be there early to see the other singers.

Location: The event will be in the Lions Hall 1-  Newmarket Community Center, 200 Doug Duncan Dr.
Right by the skating rink at Riverwalk Commons behind Main St. There's lots of parking.

The event is scheduled from 6:30 to 9:pm.  

We are schedules as the final act so we should be ready to perform around 8 pm. Be there by 7:45 at the latest. Some of us will be there the whole night. We are welcome to come and enjoy all the festivities of the evening.   

We will be there as early as 5:30 pm to start our setup.
There is space available to hang coats and we will have space available to store purses in the kitchen area.

Wear your formal performance uniform: black to the floor, white to the wrists.