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, March 25, 2015

March 23rd-Rehearsal Review and Preview of March 30th

Monday, March 23rd

Thank you to Jane and Tracey for bringing treats and to Debbie and Carol for taking care of the delicious decaf for our social time at break!

6:30 Musical Medley of Medleys

Warm-up was I'm Always Chasing Rainbows. Sang it twice and then on the third time, we also snapped through the whole song. It was a challenge, but we can do it! We'll stop somewhere on the last line since the timing there is hard.

Shenandoah is so beautiful! We reviewed the oohs at the beginning, and the top of the last page, and the rest was excellent!

We finished Moon River!!! The ending is very cool and we'll review it next week. So happy that we've done so well learning this really tricky piece. Thank God it's a great melody that everyone loves!

Tup Tuppa doesn't seem to be everybody's cup of tea, but I've had enough with the bad attitude I'm hearing. From now on, no more rolled eyes and no more moaning about this charming piece of music (not even joking, Really.)! You will find it much easier if you adopt a positive attitude. The first page is really very good already, and you need to work on the second page. Please listen to and sing along with your part on the website. Some people report that it's easier when they don't look at their music, because to them that's intimidating. When they just listen and sing to the recording, it's easier to just let go and sing without thinking about it.

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring was also intimidating at the beginning, but now it's so good, we can do it in our sleep. We talked a bit about some of the really scary challenges we've overcome together. It's such a great feeling when we conquer a scary piece!

Hallelujah is our reward for all the hard work we do. It's one of our most beautiful and satisfying songs to sing. Our arrangement is the best I've heard. Gerry and Trix did a great job on their solos. When you remember to stay strong on the last chorus, it's magical!

Next week, Monday, March 30th:

6:30 Musical Medley of Medleys

  1. Button Up
  2. Moon River
  3. We Rise Again
  4. Yesterday Once More
  5. Tup Tuppa
  6. Hello, Goodbye/ Monday, Monday/ Eagles Wings? (we'll see what we feel like and how much time we have)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 16 Rehearsal Review and Preview to March 23

March 16

6:30  Sapphire recorded all the parts of Tup Tuppa on their own. Listen to your part and sing along!
7:00  Born This Way! 

Warm-ups included lots of stuff for paying attention to the conductor and breathing exercises.

Do Wah Diddy Diddy is easy, but you have to pay attention to where you're singing and where you're not singing. Sopranos have to be confident coming in on each section. 

Button Up Your Overcoat is good! We can stay on the subway! It was fine. 

Tup Tuppa is coming along. Each time we sing it, it gets better. Keep on singing it. Use the recordings. 

This Little Light of Mine is fun. We decided to pronounce our Ts carefully on the first page to make a bigger contrast between the "Sunday School" beginning and the groovy gospel part that starts on the third page. Gerry and Kevin sang the solo together and it was great! After the solo section, the chorus is quieter. The end is loud, starting at the key change at bar 68. It's at the page turn, so make a note at the bottom of the page. 

Moon River is so cool! It's pretty hard, but so rewarding! We continued on with the oohs on page 7 and learned pages 8 and 9 and reviewed everything from the beginning. It's coming along nicely, but please have a look at it at home if you have some time. The recordings are up for that, so you can sing along.

Next Week,    March 23            Coffee and Treats at Break! 

6:30 Musical Medley Group
  • Hallelujah
  • I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
  • Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
  • Moon River
  • Shenandoah
  • Tup Tuppa

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March 9 Rehearsal Review and Preview to March 16

***Please check your binders and bags for missing Keynote's Choir music, Steal Away. We were given #20-40 and there are 4 missing: #21,24,31,33

Thank you to everyone who participated in our performance on Sunday. I'm very, very proud of you for coming to Roy's funeral and for being so wonderful! You learned new music in half an hour and did a great job with it, and of course On Eagle's Wings was fantastic. Emanda Richards, the Trinity music director sent a nice email thanking us, and the family presented us with a lovely card an an honorarium.

The Born This Way Small Group met at 6:30 and they've re-vamped their already awesome version of this popular Lady Gaga song! The Boogie Woogie Man group met at break. It's so much fun! We're working on page 7 and the ending. The rest is just a matter of looking at the words.

Warm-ups included stress-reducing stretches.

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring was excellent! It's hard to believe we used to think it was really, really hard!

Tup-Tuppa is really, really hard. I wonder if it will ever feel as good as Jesu? We sang it through, with both repeats, and it wasn't great, but it's getting better. We are planning to re-record the parts so that you only hear your part so that you can try to do more work on it on your own. It's going to come together.

Moon River is a treat! It's not easy, but it's so rewarding! All parts are on the website with only the accompaniment in the background.

I'm Always Chasing Rainbows is coming along really, really well! I'm thinking we might be able to do the snaps all the way through the way it's written. Once we're comfortable with our parts, let's try it!

Hello, Goodbye is getting close to perfect. I think we even got the "no mac" part the last time through!

Monday, Monday is always fun and when the tenors and basses get their "fine" in strong and on time, it feels magical.

Next week, Monday, March 16:

6:30 Sapphire and Renate recording
7:00 Born this Way

  • Button Up Your Overcoat
  • Do Wah Diddy Diddy
  • I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
  • Moon River
  • This Little Light of Mine
  • Tup Tuppa

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March 2nd Rehearsal Review

The Musical Medley group met at 6:30 and learned the Joseph piece, and sang the whole thing from the beginning up to that point, then sight-read through I Could Have Danced All Night. Great ending!

Warm-ups included marching and wiggling and All I Have to Do is Dream. It's pretty

Hello, Good-Bye is almost done! We learned Ticket to Ride and Can't Buy Me Love, and sang the whole thing through!

Tup Tuppa is hard, but we have to make it sound easy. Try to relax and have fun. If we have a bit of extra harmony, it will be okay ;-) Here's a link to the video of an orchestra all singing their instruments' parts in the William Tell Overture.

Yesterday Once More is sounding excellent already. We looked at the shoobie-doo lang-langs on page 5, 9, and 11, and the ending. The timing at the end is tricky. We'll look at that again.

At breaktime, the Boogie Woogie group got together and sang it for the first time. (Enid, Lauren, Janet, Debbie, Altos and Sophie S2, Trix S1) Pretty good. Great team. We've to to look at the alto part on page 7 again, and page 8 is not quite what we expected. We'll do it again at break next Monday.

Next week, March 9

  1. Hello, Goodbye
  2. I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
  3. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
  4. Moon River
  5. Tup Tuppa

Funeral Sunday- Music and details

On Sunday, at Roy Bryson's funeral at Trinity United Church in Newmarket, we will be given the opportunity to sing with the other choirs (Trinity church choir, the Keynotes and the Harmony Chorale). This is voluntary, but I highly recommend it.

Come at 12:15 and we'll try to learn Steal Away. Here is a link to a video of a small choir singing it on YouTube. Here's one without the clarinet. Not sure if we'll have one. If you're looking for other versions, look for the arranger Helvey. I'll see if I can get the music and scan it for you and put it up here or on the website.

We'll be sitting in the congregation, on the far right (north) side in the front.

All choristers are wearing black and white. We will wear our formal concert uniform, which is white on top to the wrists and black on the bottom to the floor (pants or long skirts, and black hose/socks and shoes) plus our scarves.

We will have our black binders with On Eagle's Wings at the front, ready to go.

The library reserves some parking spots in the town lot. Be careful not to park there. The town lot opposite the church by the library fills up. So, you can park on the street (lots of streets allow parking on Sundays) and at Roadhouse and Rose Funeral Home, and down in the town parking lot by the skating rink. There's a stairway up to Main Street that lands you right across from Trinity. Carpooling is probably a good idea.