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, May 22, 2014

Videos of our show are now on line!

You can now see and hear how fabulous we were!
Standing in the choir and singing, you don't get a good sense of how we sound. You'll be amazed at how wonderful the choir sounds and how great we look when you watch the videos that Gerry posted. I've only watched a couple so far, and they're amazing!
Here's Song for Canada. Heather sounds beautiful, the French sounds really good, the descant at the end is powerful, and the ahs are excellent (really-listen)! I love it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Real Success: What makes a wonderful show?

Your Best Concert Ever!!!

I can't tell you how many times I've heard this over the past few days. Saturday night's concert, Take Me Home, was indeed our best concert yet. It felt wonderful, didn't it? What a high!

The concert was far from perfect, though. And, I'm not looking forward to seeing some of the videos, reliving some of the messy moments. But, recordings are very different from live performances. Being there was exciting and the experience of the show was powerful. The recordings will not be able to replicate the experience.

So, if we made a bunch of mistakes, forgot words, lost control of our voices, had issues with getting on and off stage elegantly, didn't all wear black to the floor, and didn't smile like we're supposed to, how was it so good, the best?

1. When we sounded good, we sounded really great. 50+ voices are powerful and we had lots of really impressive music, with lots of perfect endings with good strong harmonies. Trinity Anglican Church in Aurora has excellent acoustics and a great sound system, so sound was excellent.

2. The music was excellent. We had a great selection of music, with a huge variety so that everyone was entertained and impressed. The theme was Canada and Home, so it was easy to find great music.

3. Emotion and passion. The theme was so good because it inspired passion and lots of emotions. We had the audience laughing and crying, singing and clapping along and pin-drop silent, feeling homesick and patriotic, and then jumping to their feet for 2 standing ovations.

4. The audience was great! They were friends and family and they want us to succeed, but we work hard to make them happy too. We engaged the audience and we gave them a good ride, with emotions going up and down, with the tempo and volume changing, visual and aural stimulation in good balance, but they were supportive coming in. And, it helped that it was a huge audience. There's a lot of energy in numbers.

5. Food and comfort. When people get together, you'd better have refreshments. We have the very best bake sale anywhere, ever. And, our space is comfortable, we fit. There are bathrooms upstairs and downstairs, there's space for us to move around and talk during intermission, and there's lots of free parking. The room doesn't get too hot or too cold. Physical comfort is a big deal.

6. Fun. The intangible thing. We enjoyed ourselves, and the audience enjoyed themselves, and that made us even better, so they felt even better, and so on. (Remember that TV ad: "When you're looking good, you feel good. And, when you feel good, you look great!) Right from the beginning, we could see the audience loving us and enjoying the music, so we responded with an even more joyful performance. Enthusiasm counts big-time, and I can't repeat enough that you should smile and relax and have fun when you perform.

As your leader, I try to start with enthusiasm. I get really excited about a show, so the energy is there with all that adrenalin. But it really begins before we even start rehearsing. I start with a selection of music that I love, and as soon as we start rehearsing, I try to get you to love it too. I put energy and love into each song, and when all of you do too, it's powerful.

I also prepare you for mistakes so that when I'm a bar late with your entry, Sapphire can fix it when we do all come in, because we are all together. We don't worry about our messy bits, but go on, and the parts that weren't perfect are quickly forgotten, if they were even noticed, water under the bridge. They will be there in the recordings, but the recordings are not the show. The show was magnificent! We were fantastic!