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, January 30, 2015

January 26th and February 2nd YRCC Rehearsals

Monday, January 26th
6:30 Musical Medley Small Group met and went all the way through Be Our Guest!

1. Do Wah Diddy Diddy was fun, but we had some (not quite supportive and respectful) discussion over who should sing what. It's 2 parts, and Soprano is always on top, on part 1. On page 8, there's an echo thing that we're going to do a girl-boy thing with. Sopranos sing 'I'm his' and Tenors and Basses sing 'I'm hers', then Sopranos sing 'and he's mine' and T&B sing 'she's mine', then Sopranos sing 'well, I'm his and' and then ST&B sing he's mine or she's mine together. Altos join in at 'and the wedding bells will chime'. This same thing happens again on page 10
We'll have to go over who sings what next week. I'll have a more definite plan so that there won't be any discussion about it. We might want to talk about our choir culture though.

2. All I Have to Do is Dream is pretty! We learned the whole thing except the ending! It's not very hard, but the Sopranos have to fight the urge to sing what they want, and just sing what's there. For example, at the top of page 3, the Tenors and Basses sing 'want you-ou', but Sopranos and Altos don't.  That happens every time. Also, at the top of page 5, Sopranos have a special "away".

3.Another Op'nin' is the one we have to memorize. We've pretty much got it already; no worries. For people who read music, please don't worry that we don't sing the opening the way it's written, also the ending. We don't overlap the parts, but sing one after the other to make the echo clearer. It's very fast, so make sure you know where you're going. Remember, we repeat  page7 but jump down to the key change at the bottom of 9 the second time through.

4. You'll Never Walk Alone is still very, very special and fantastic! If you're new, you might want to review your part with the online recording.

We enjoyed decaf coffee with treats at breaktime, and the executive had a brief meeting. One of the things we discussed was contacting former directors and accompanists. If you have contact info for anyone, see someone on the executive. We also discussed creating a memory lane audio-visual display for intermission. I'm now thinking that we could also post things on our website throughout our special 20th anniversary year. If you have old photos, programs, posters, videos or anything, see us too.

Next Week: Monday, February 2nd

  • All I Have to Do
  • Do Wah Diddy
  • I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
  • Monday, Monday
  • You Raise Me Up/Hallelujah? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rehearsal Review: Monday, January 19th

Monday, January 19th
Sapphire and Renate recorded the accompaniments for Boogie Woogie Man, Button Up Your Overcoat, Another Op'nin', Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring and Hello, Goodbye. We also did all the parts for Jesu so you can review them at home :-)
Most of the recordings for this season are already up! Spend some time singing at home- or, how about singing in the car?

Warm-ups included Mi Me Ma Mo Mu.

1. Button Up Your Overcoat was amazing!!! The tenor and bass section was especially strong.

2. Tup-Tuppa was hard. We learned our individual parts for the second half. Wow! 32nd notes are fast! Everybody has challenges in the second half.  Look at your music and divide things up into manageable bits. Which parts are the same, repeated? Mark up your music with pencil. Listen to Sapphire's recordings and listen to versions on YouTube. The more familiar you are with the song, the easier it will be to read your music. The first half is already sounding pretty good after only 2 rehearsals. Trust me. It will be great.

3. Hello, Goodbye is fun and not very hard (Yay!) but we do have some work to do. We started with Penny Lane, with the bm-bm part. We noticed that the bm-bms are supposed to be detached, and that's similar to what we're doing in Tup-Tuppa. If it helps you to detach your pa-pas, think of them as pm-pms. We did say that the Tenor and Bass parts have pa-pa-pum and quite a bit of it sounds like pum-pum.

4. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring got messed up last week when we sang the second verse. So, this week we started with the second verse. No worries. Whatever happened got fixed. It was fine this week :-)
Looking ahead, we want to be very strong on our parts in both verses, and remember to sing very softly at the beginning and to give pages 5 and 6 extra attention. There's a lot of drama there.

5. This Little Light of Mine. We just sang through once, sight-reading, and it was already pretty good! Gerry is going to sing the solo in the section that starts "On a Monday" and that section repeats. Sopranos lead the key change out of that second repeat. We'll have to work on making the many repetitions of the chorus interesting by varying the dynamics.

Monday, January 26th: Social Rehearsal with Coffee

6:30 Musical Medley small group rehearsals start! Sign up and come early to sing special selections of our past musical medleys. 

  1. All I Have to Do is Dream
  2. Another Op'nin'
  3. Do Wah Diddy-Diddy
  4. I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
  5. You'll Never Walk Alone

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Monday, January 12th's Rehearsal Review and what to expect Monday, January 19th.

Monday, January 12th.

Sapphire and I recorded the accompaniment and all 4 parts for Yesterday Once More and the accompaniment for Do Wah Diddy Diddy :-)

Warm-ups included pa-pas and tuppa-tuppas.

1. On Eagle's Wings was beautiful, in part because we reviewed all the "Make you to shine like the sun" bits. Remember to give page 6 to the Tenor/Bass section: they have the melody all through the page. Starting from the top, sopranos especially have to be very soft and pretty and altos have to hold back too, except in bar 48. Bar 48 is the pretty alto "sun".

2. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring was beautiful too. As I've said before, we are singing Jay-zoo. We had some discussion (which I dismissed because we're not discussing it. I have investigated and decided and I have expressed that.) over whether to pronounce it Jay-zoo or Yay-zoo or Yay-soo. I know that the Latin is Yay-soo. The German is Yay-zus. I'm going with a more anglicized, but not totally anglicized form. (There are some who would say: Gee-zoo.) I want the written alliteration to be heard, but only barely, because we're singing very softly. We spent some time reviewing pages 5 and 6, which are the hardest, and sang through the whole thing. We should have reviewed the words for the parts on pages 5 and 6, because we totally messed up on the second verse! If you have some time look over pages 5 and 6, both verses.

3.Yesterday Once More is a theme song. Lauren is the soloist on the first page, Janet is her back-up. Only the sopranos come in at 19 with the tenors. Altos start at bar 14, with Oh. Watch your rests! There are lots of places where only the sopranos or only the altos are singing- sticks up are soprano and sticks down are alto, generally. In the recordings, Sapphire sometimes plays the "other" part for timing. Be careful to know which is your part. Also circle every entry of "Every". Some are slow (quarter notes-you come in on beat 3) and some are fast (eighths you wait 'till beat 4). Be careful with these entries.

4. Tup Tuppa. We sang through the whole first part, with the repeat and it was good! It's hard, but it felt so good to get it that we cheered and clapped! I'm a bit worried for the basses, who have been absent for both weeks, but we will have recordings up soon. Sopranos can sing along with the video I inserted into a blog post from a couple weeks ago, but for the altos, tenors and basses, you'll have to use our recordings. The altos and tenors are amazing! Next week, we move on to the second part.

5. Hallelujah is always beautiful. I forgot to ask the new people how they felt singing it. I know they must have loved it, but I like to hear it. Our arrangement is so satisfying to sing!

Next Week: Monday, January 19th

  1. Button Up Your Overcoat
  2. Hello Goodbye
  3. Jesu, Joy
  4. This Little Light
  5. Tup Tuppa

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Monday, January 5th Rehearsal Review, and Preview to January 12th

Monday, January 5th.
We welcomed 3 new members: Jie, Blair, and Bev!

It was great to be together again, and we spent quite a bit of time talking at the beginning of rehearsal. That's fine (and really nice to see for our first night), but we need to get to work at 7:30 from now on. You can talk before or at break time.

We had a quick warm-up and got to work singing. Here's what you missed if you couldn't be there.

1. Another Op'nin' is fast and has a repeat. Make sure you know where you're going. It's in 2 parts. Tenors join Sopranos on the top and Basses join Altos on the bottom. We will be memorizing this so we can walk and sing and do actions! Start now if you're like me.

2. Monday, Monday is fun! Be sure to start off soft, and you're always soft whenever you're singing bah-dah. (for Sopranos and Tenor/Bass that's a lot) Altos have lots of melody. Be strong! Everybody, go over the words and timing at "every other day,"... "but whenever Monday comes"..., especially the Sopranos.

3. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring! (aka, the easier Bach piece) We learned all of our parts, but we'll review them lots, don't worry. Especially that dramatic middle part "Word of God..." Pay attention to dynamics. We felt a huge difference when we sang the first line softly. It's so much better soft than loud! We pronounce it Jay-zoo, not Yay-zoo.

4. Tup-Tuppa (aka Bach Badinerie, aka the other Bach piece) Everyone wanted to sing Tenor, but, really, each part has its blessings (and curses). This will take some time, but we'll be so proud when we master it!!! It will surprise everyone, even some of us ;-)

5. Hello, Goodbye (aka The Beatles Medley!) Yay! This Beatles Medley is awesome, and not too hard. There are only a few tricky bits, and everyone loves theses songs. Altos and Tenors get some fun bum-bums.

Homework: go to my Bach blog post and listen to that recording of Bach Badinerie. Especially if you're a soprano, try to sing along. If you can have your music in front of you, even better. See if you can figure out what your part should sound like. Sapphire and I have made recordings of your parts and Trix will have them up as soon as possible.

Next week, Monday, January 12th

  1. Hello, Goodbye
  2. Jesu, Joy
  3. On Eagle's Wings
  4. This Little Light
  5. Tup Tuppa

Monday, January 5, 2015

Choir starts tonight!

It's really cold out there, but the snow squalls have calmed down.
Take care driving and walking. It's slippery. Bundle up!
We have lots of music to learn, so we want to get started.
I'm so excited to have you see your new music!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Cross your fingers! Snow on the first night of rehearsals!

Let's hope the snow squalls and ice and mess all clear up by tomorrow night for our first rehearsal!

If things are still awful tomorrow and the forecast is bad, you will get a phone call to let you know that choir is cancelled, and there will be a message on the website and on Facebook. Keep your eyes and ears open. 

If we don't cancel and you feel that you shouldn't go out, don't risk it. You have to decide what is best for yourself. If we have a rehearsal and you miss it, you can visit this blog and I will have a review posted and some tips for what you can do to catch up. 

We're going classical as we look "Bach"

YRCC goes classical!
We're looking "Bach" at the past 20 years of the YRCC and choosing some of our favourite pieces from the past to sing this spring.
Listen to this and get ready to sing it!
Yes, it's a whole song without words.
You'll see.
We've done it before; we can do it again.

We'll also be singing Bach's well-known Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring this season. Listen to the YRCC sing Jesu here.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Just a quick post today to say

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Holiday with family and friends and maybe some rest too. I wish you and yours peace and joy and love for this new year 2015.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again on Monday, January 5th!
We've got a lot of excellent music to sing for our 20th Anniversary Concert in May! We'll have lots of fun and quite a few challenges learning it all. I can hardly wait!