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 26, 2014

November 24th-Last Regular Rehearsal of 2014

6:30- Sapphire and Renate recorded one accompaniment for spring, and the bass part of Christmas in our Hearts.
6:45 Christmas in our Hearts is so pretty! We reviewed all parts at Fam- lies and friends...

Our warm-up was Magic of Winter. It's a good warm-up because you have to watch carefully for all your starts and stops and work as a team, and it starts off soft and easy. There's a lot of dynamics (loud and soft) and it's really pretty.

Blue Skies. Watch for your snapping starts and stops. Jazz hands at the end on the last word (on). Heather and Janet are the smoothest scat singers anywhere!

Somewhere a Child is Sleeping. Watch out: you'll be tempted to make "Bless all the little children" the biggest part. Hold back a bit here so that you can make "so we might love each other" the loudest part. It will also help if you always make "somewhere a child is sleeping, a child was born on Christmas day" soft and pretty. Bill rocks!

You Raise Me Up is always beautiful, and I think this version of ours is the very best yet! Go, Stanley!

The Hockey Song is so much fun! Gerry is perfect as the announcer! Great! Wayne! Gretsky!

They All Call it Canada will make all the hearts swell with pride in our beautiful country! "My country is my cathedral. The northern sky its dome...When you look up and sing this to the audience, they'll shiver. Sopranos- on page 9, "I call it home" sounds a bit like an ending. Go up there; it's okay.

O Holy Night Both groups of soloists were wonderful! All the ahs and oohs were very good! It's awesome. Just remember that bar on page 6, at 63, the "oh" of "oh hear" is on the second beat, longer than you want it. On the second verse, "oh praise" you do it right every time.

At break, you might have heard Teija and Heather's duet and Trix's solo. Next week you'll also hear the Huron Carol small group and Janet and Kevin's duet.

Next week, December 1st, we will run through the order for the concert. We won't sing all the way through all of the songs, but just enough to feel how it will work. We need to rehearse how to walk in and out, how to get on stage and off stage when the soloists and small groups perform, and the soloists all need a chance to rehearse with microphones. If you can't be there, let someone near you in your section know so they can save a spot for you and lead you on Sunday. There is not much time before our show to go over anything. 

Soloists and instrumentalists come at 6:30 and small groups at 7:00. We start punctually at 7:30, so come before to settle in and take your coats off, etc. 

I'll send out the order as soon as I set it, so that you can put your binders in order for Monday. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 17 rehearsal review and November 24

Wow! We're getting close!

We had really wintry weather! Baby, it was cold outside.
Breath of Heaven met early and sounded perfect.

We warmed up with stretches and wiggles and the chorus of 1. They All Call it Canada.

Then, we sang the whole thing, but a lot of people forgot to look up at page 10 when we sing that chorus. Make a note at the bottom of page 9 to look up and sing the chorus.

2. Baby, It's Cold Outside was fun and so appropriate! remember vicious and suspicious go all the way to the next word, so that we all say the s at the same moment.

3. Button Up Your Overcoat was also perfect for the cold, cold evening. Timing is key, here. Review how it goes on pages 7 and 8 especially.

4. In the Bleak Midwinter. Todd did a great job on my favourite part (snow was falling snow on snow, snow on snow.) We watched our dynamics and it was awesome!

5. O Holy Night. We went over our parts for Truly he taught us to love one another. It's awesome. It has to be really strong there. The second string soloists sang and it was wonderful.

6. We Rise Again. It was Heather's night tonight. She's Kristen's back-up too, and she rocked We Rise Again. We reviewed the Tenor and Bass lines at section C, since they're so good. Be sure not to sing too loud, Sopranos and Altos. We want to hear the tenors and basses here.

7. Welcome, Welcome Winter. We're a bunch of tough Canadians and we welcomed the wintry night with this moody and dramatic, but fun song. Remember to enunciate and watch what you're singing, especially with slipping and sliding the first time and later, slipping sliding down as we head to the end, slower and softer.

Next week, November 24:

Sapphire recording at 6:30
Christmas in Our Hearts at 6:45
Kristen at 7:10

  1. Blue Skies
  2. Hockey Song
  3. Magic of Winter
  4. O Holy Night
  5. Somewhere A Child is Sleeping
  6. They All Call it Canada
  7. We Rise Again
  8. You Raise Me Up

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mon. Nov. 10 at St. Andrew's and Mon. Nov. 17 at the Admin Ctr

November 10th
Heather rehearsed Winter Song with Sapphire. It's going to be a duet with Teija.
Heather and Robyn rehearsed the Olympic Fanfare and Theme with Sapphire.

We talked about this Saturday's carolling gig for Doane House. Contact Roxanne if you can join a small group of YRCC members to sing Christmas carols at a craft show Saturday from 1-3 at the Newmarket Community Centre. Visit the craft sale from 10-4. See our Facebook Page for their ad.

Sign up for the December 11th performance! We had a lot of hands raised but only 4 signed up. This is an important event for us. Please make every effort to participate.

Michelle and Roxanne started selling concert tickets.
Jane started taking orders for poinsettias.

Warm-ups included stretching and yawning :-)

1. Wonderful World was wonderful ;-)

2. On Eagle's Wings was also wonderful. We remembered our "make you to shine like the sun" parts.

3. O Holy Night: We reviewed the oohs and changed some to aahs. They can all be a bit stronger. Our soloists are excellent and so strong that we have to support them a bit more with our parts.
14: Tenors come in louder, smooth with no breaths audible within the phrase line. Here it's ooh.
18: Altos come in strong, also smooth with no breaths audible within the phrase line. Stagger breathing if necessary. Here, it's still ooh.
43: Everybody oohs here. Sopranos and Altos can get their note, middle C, from Sapphire's part, most bars start with a middle C. Also, Mary-Ellen's last note is a middle C. Altos are used to finding that third-down-from-melody note.
52: Everybody switches to aah here, when all 3 soloists are singing. The next word is Fall. It sounds great.
101: Altos and Tenors ooh here.
110: Everyone aahs with sopranos joining in. Next word is Christ, with a big open mouth, so it almost sounds like Chraah-ist.
Coda: last note is Hm, as written.

Next week we'll review the Truly he taught us parts. It has to be good and strong here.

4.In The Bleak Midwinter: We missed Todd, but Kristen did a great job on the solos. Watch the dynamics. When we paid attention to dynamics, the last page was 200% better! One key was for the Sopranos and Altos to come in soft and pretty, way up in their heads, with no chest. Keep soft coming in on the second line, even Tenor and Bass. Follow the arrows to get louder and softer. That third line is all soft, until the very last note, the sopranos "Yet". (everyone else can get a bit louder on their 'yet's too) After a very loud "heart", everyone is very soft for the last phrase, and fades to super soft.

5.We Rise Again: We reviewed the Soprano 2 part at the end. Next week we'll get the Tenors and Basses to fix their timing at  bar 22. Take a look. You're holding the note as if you're singing the melody. You're not. You're with Sop.1. We'll review the oohs and aahs next week.

6. Blue Skies: we went a bit late, but it was fun, and we remembered to do the jazz hands (most of us).

November 17th

6:30: Recording
6:45 Breath of Heaven

  1. Baby it's Cold
  2. Button Up
  3. O Holy Night
  4. They All Call it Canada
  5. We Rise Again
  6. Welcome, Welcome Winter
Buy tickets from Michele and Roxanne! Advance tickets are 2/$25 for a $5 saving.
Order poinsettias from Jane to take home after the show.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Monday, Nov. 3 YRCC Review and Preview of Nov 10

Monday, November 3
No small groups met early. Sapphire and I recorded parts for a Bach piece that we're singing in the spring.
Kristen went through her piece. It was beautiful.
Huron Carol Group met after choir.

Warm-ups included a rhythm exercise/physical warm-up and we all sang the chorus of They All Call it Canada, from memory. We're all going to memorize that bit (pg 10-11).

1. The Hockey Song was great fun, as usual. We were perfect on Great! Wayne! Gretsky! Kevin was the announcer without a whistle...

2. Button Up Your Overcoat was excellent. Carol did the cutie bits. The tenors and basses were nice and strong on the beginning, once they realized it was a competition (they could sing louder than me, but barely).

3. On Eagle's Wings: we worked on the words "make you to shine like the sun". They come up 4 times, and each time they're different. Review your parts. Find them on pages 2, 4, 6, and 8.

4. O Holy Night is coming along beautifully. Our second-string soloists were up front and did a great job, especially Heather who didn't know she was Mary-Ellen's back-up :-)

5. We Rise Again. We love singing this one! I love hearing Kristen's solo. But, we did work on it first. We reviewed all parts at section C, on page 5, and all of the first soprano parts.

Next week: Sapphire and Heather are meeting at 7:00 to review Teija and Heather's piece.

Monday, November 10

  1. Blue Skies
  2. Bleak Midwinter
  3. O Holy Night
  4. On Eagle's Wings
  5. We Rise Again
  6. Wonderful World