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, September 30, 2015

Be sure to vote!!! Do your civic duty! But, make sure you can come to choir too ;-)

Voting in the advance polls is so much easier (and faster) than voting on Monday, October 19. You can go when it's convenient for you and of course, you will be able to arrive at choir practice on time on election day!!!

Your Voter Information Card will have the Advance Voting Days information on it. On the card I got in the mail, it says I can go to the Newmarket Community Centre from October 9-12 from noon to 8 pm.

You can vote at Elections Canada starting now until October 13! The Newmarket-Aurora office is at 17315 Yonge St. (on the east side of Yonge just beyond the light north of the Admin Centre where we practise). To vote there before October 9th, you need to know who the candidates are and you will get a Special Ballot Voting Kit. The official Advance Polling starts on October 9th, and they use regular ballots.

The hours when you can vote at the Elections Canada Office are:
  • 9:00 am - 9:00 pm Mon. to Fri.
  • 9:00 am- 6:00 pm on Sat. 
  • 12:00 - 4:00 pm on Sun.
Isn't that amazing?! No excuses! Go and vote!

For more early voting  information and info on other ridings you can call 1-866-256-2872 or go to the website, elections.ca. It's very easy to use.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wow! Another great YRCC rehearsal! Sept.21 was super. Sept.28: what to expect

(* I have a water bottle that was left behind in the Soprano Section. It's grey and black.)

Sept. 21 was super!

Our warm-ups included, swaying and clapping and singing A-men and Hallelujah.

1. We started with A-men and all sang the Tenor melody line on page 7. When we got the hang of it, we sang all the way through and it was sounding very good. I've asked for a few 2nd Sopranos and a few Altos to join the Tenors on page 7, and might need them to do the A-mens with them too. They're just too far outnumbered. So far, Kit, Trix, Jenne, Carol, and Debbie have volunteered.

2. Some of us had sung Little Tree before, so when we sang through, it was pretty good already! I love, love, love this song. We learned parts up to the bottom of page 5.

3. O Holy Night is amazing! Most of us sang it last winter, but forgot a couple of key bits. We'll review them next week.

4. We continued learning the 12 Days After Christmas. We learned our parts in sections C and D, and reviewed A and B.

5. We had run out of time before singing You'll Never Walk Alone, but everyone agreed that it was worth being a little late for. What a satisfying song to sing!

We talked about small groups and solos. I spoke to the soloists that I had in mind for things, namely Mary-Ellen for O Holy Night,  Kristen for the Sussex Carol, Heather for What is This Lovely Fragrance, and Janet for In the Bleak Midwinter. I might divide the Bleak Midwinter again, as we've done in the past. Still thinking. Haven't spoken to the men yet.

Small groups: I'm still looking for another small group, at least mixed, maybe just men? I found a nice TTBB arrangement of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

A couple of business items:
Equipment Roster will be posted on the website soon. We all take turns helping Lauren set up and take down the keyboard and stuff. 4 people at a time have a 2-week shift. 2 come early and 2 stay late. The 4 decide.
Chair arrangement: someone is needed to oversee the arrangement of the chairs before everyone has arrived. It's harder to move chairs when people are sitting in them ;-) See Lauren if you'd like to take on this role.
Please consider taking over the role of Music Librarian from Trix. You'd have to have room for 4 or 5 tall filing cabinets, and a table or two for the sorting of music and preparing binders. There's also a printer. You will have help when it's time do do the binders, but you see Trix always has extra binders and music in case we have guests, a few bins of things to carry around every week. Talk to Trix and Lauren if you'd like more information about this Executive Role as soon as possible.
Small Group Assistant (Director or Accompanist) starting in January: Help Anne-Marie lead small group rehearsals either by playing parts or directing or taking turns with Anne-Marie.

September 28th

6:45 Breath of Heaven sign up online to join the group.

  • Come Emmanuel
  • In The Bleak Midwinter
  • O Holy Night
  • Shine Hanukkah
  • Twelve Days After Christmas

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Wow! Great start to YRCC's 20th Christmas season! Small groups to form asap. solos?

We had a very successful start to our season!

Our registration went smoothly thanks to the careful preparations of Carol and Debbie, our registrars, and to Trix, our music librarian, and to the large number of members who pre-registered online!

Once we got singing, it was obvious that we'd been looking forward to that first night of singing together. We were amazing!

We sang:

1. Magic of Winter, beautifully with dynamics and everything. Wow! And, people started and stopped perfectly throughout the evening! You watched me! It felt fantastic! Thank you!

2. Button Up Your Overcoat was super and we stayed on the subway very confidently.

3. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring was excellent. You were soft at the beginning and very strong in my favourite section. Thank you!

4. We started learning the 12 Days After Christmas. It's so much fun! A few of us have sung it before, so it's not entirely new, but there are lots of tricky parts. We have to work on getting the words out clearly,especially final consonants. Our audiences need to understand the words we're singing. We sang through the whole piece, and learned sections A and B.

5. We learned a whole new piece!!! A-men! Only 2 or 3 of us have ever sung this song before, but we sang through and learned parts to the whole song! It's fun and groovy. We need to get a feel for the jazzy timing, but it's not hard.

On Monday, September 21st, we will sing:

  • A-men
  • Little Tree
  • O Holy Night
  • Shine Hanukkah
  • Twelve Days After Christmas
Our first Small Group will start very soon, maybe next week, Sept. 28 if we can manage it. We'd like a group of women to sing Breath of Heaven.  We will not spend much time learning this, as there are a good number of you who know it. 

The Coventry Carol Group will be reunited to sing it again for us.

I'd like another small group to sing one of our songs from the past 20 years. Is there a choir song that you wish we had included which would work as a small group selection? 

- Somewhere a Child is Sleeping
-Noel Nouvelet/Christmas Comes Anew
-We Wish you a Merry Madrigal
-Calypso Christmas
-Mele Kalikimaka
-Carol of the Bells...?

Or, maybe you remember a solo. duet/small group that you particularly liked that might be adapted to a new small group?
- Little Drummer Boy/ Peace on Earth
- Mr. Santa
-Bright Star of Bethlehem
-Christmas Dinner...?

I've asked Trix to sing  Santa Baby, and I am hoping that Anna will sing Ave Maria. 

Another solo and/or a duet would be nice too. If you are inspired, talk to me.

Solo songs in the choir pieces:

O Holy Night (I'd like to hear Mary-Ellen sing the solo again, and alone. Heather b/u)
In the Bleak Midwinter (1/2 Janet? Kristen/Todd b/u)
What is this Lovely Fragrance (2- S&T- difficult, wide range goes quite high Heather and Todd? b/u?)
Sussex Carol (1- strong solid soprano voice: Kristen? b/u?)