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, January 27, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal on Monday, January 25th and Seniors' Visit Orders

Monday, January 25th

1. I Will Always Be With You is pretty enough, but adding the flute part makes it's magical. What a lucky thing it is that we have Robyn in our choir! This the second time Robyn (the soprano Robyn, or the Robyn with a Y) has played the flute for us. Watch your dynamics! Watch me for dynamics, too. There is a loud part on page 9 at the key change. Tenors and Basses listen to the run in the piano part for your starting note. Remember that your first 2 phrases are the same and nice and big, but get soft quickly with "in the quiet mountains". This one is ready to perform, and the seniors will love it!

2. I'd Like to Teach The World to Sing is coming along nicely. Soloists today were Janet and Carol. Debbie will be the main soloist for the first part. We're still working out soloists and back-ups.
Tenors, Altos and Basses will all be on the bottom part. It's good to have more depth there, as there is a lot of melody in that line. Sopranos are fine alone on top (aren't you!). We reviewed parts on pages 8, 9, 10,11.

3. Hallelujah is still awesome! Blair sang the tenor solo and Lauren sang the soprano/alto solo. Both were super. Blair will be our lead soloist on the tenor solo, and I'd like another Tenor to back him up. Several women have expressed an interest in singing the second solo.

4. Do Re Mi is charming and much more effective now that we have Sopranos alone on top and Altos, Tenors and Basses on the bottom, especially in the section with "When you know the notes to sing"- stunning! Tracey will be the lead soloist here. Lauren can back her up, and several other people have expressed and interest in singing this solo.

5.Thank You For the Music is big and wonderful. We just did a sing-through sight-reading of it while Sapphire recorded the accompaniment for us. There are repeats to worry about, some page-turning challenges, and big 5-part harmonies, but it's so good! We'll have fun learning it. There's a possible solo, or it might be a first soprano part, later in the song "I've been so lucky. I am the girl with golden hair..."

6. Sing! Sing a Song! will be a small group song (I'm picturing a folksy group with guitars) with audience participation for our concert in May, but for our seniors over the next 2 weeks, it will be a big sing-along. What a great song! Such Fun!

7. Canon of Joy is already show-worthy. What a pretty piece, and it shows off the beautiful voices in our Tenor and Bass section! Remember to make it smooth and pretty. Take breaths when other people in your section are not, so we have seamless sound. There is one part where the tenors all took a breath and it was okay: just before voices. It doesn't really make sense grammatically to have a pause there, but the emphasis on voices is nicely dramatic.

8. Magic of Winter will be our only winter song for the seniors. I was considering doing Button Up Your Overcoat, since it's a love song, but I prefer Magic of Winter. This sounded heavenly.

The order for both seniors' home performances (tentatively) will be:

  1. Magic of Winter
  2. Canon of Joy
  3. I'd Like to Teach
  4. Do Re Mi
  5. I Will Always Be With You
  6. Sing!
  7. Sing-Alongs
  8. Hallelujah 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal Mon. Jan. 18

Mon. Jan. 18

  1. Magic of Winter: Beautiful
  2. Canon of Joy: Worked on all parts, esp. Page 7 and end. Tempo is better. Tenors and Basses at bar 49-50: Mark you music, with pencil, to say "thee" instead of "thuh"to anticipate universe so that we hear "thee you" We recorded the accompaniment.
  3. I Will Always Be With You: Worked on all parts, esp. Page 6-7, and end. Watch carefully from bar 67 to end. I will slow down and stop before the last word, you. 
  4. Can't Help Singing: we sight-read through, almost all of us hearing it for the first time ever. Our concert will open with this song! 
  5. Joseph Medley: So BIG! Can't wait to get started on this one? Go to the website and start learning your part. 
Mon. Jan. 25
  • I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (try soloists, seniors' performance soloists) 
  • Do Re Mi ( try ATB on bottom and S only on top, try new soloist- seniors' performance soloist) 
  • Button Up Your Overcoat ? Maybe, maybe not?
  • I Will Always Be With You
  • Canon of Joy
  • Sing?
  • Thank You For The Music (Introduction and recording)
Sign up for Feb. 1 and Feb. 8 Seniors' Performances. Remember that we meet on Family Day, Feb. 15. Small groups will start the week after Family Day. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

YRCC rehearsal Mon.Jan.11, 2016

Our first day back was wonderful despite the despicable driving conditions. What a lot of snow we got suddenly! Some of us were a bit late, but many of us were there and enjoyed reconnecting after the holidays. Most of all, we were happy to be singing together again!

We will not put our winter season totally behind us yet, as we are going to do 2 winter seniors' home performances in February. So, we'll be singing The Magic of Winter a couple more times, and maybe Button Up Your Overcoat. We hope to have a bunch of our spring music ready for those performances as well, but we only need 6 or 7 songs since the sing-alongs are important.

Here's what we sang on Monday, January 11th:

1. Do Re Mi (Melinda and Lauren had turns singing the solo at the beginning and both did a great job. Thanks for stepping up to bat!) So many of us remember singing this one that it was pretty good already! We reviewed the Alto and Bass oo and oh part on page 6, and their "anything"on page 8. We will look at the ending again. It will be soft to start and will build to loud while at the same time getting slower, a nice big ending which you'll have to watch me for :-) Tenors: warning: I'm thinking of moving you to the second part, so that Tenors and Basses are together for more oomph in the lower octave.

2. I'd Like To Teach the World to Sing also begins with a solo, but we all sang it together. There will likely be 2 solos, as we've done before. This time, we tried only Sopranos on top and Altos, Tenors, and Basses on the bottom. I like it! It solves a couple of problems we had last time with people jumping back and forth between lines. This way everyone stays put. At bar 81, First Sopranos begin on beat 1, holding their last note, and Second Sopranos come in on beat 4 with the echo.

3. Canon of Joy Fewer choristers remembered this one, but the melodies of this mash-up are so familiar that it's a joy to learn and sing. Bar 45- 48 is the only really challenging section. Basses have a ton of melody in this song! Enjoy! We want to remember to sound like strings instead of brass here. Gentle and smooth on all parts! Sopranos and Altos especially will want to use staggered breathing, so that the sound is seamless. Take breaths at different times from your neighbours.

4. We sight-read through Why We Sing, which is completely new! Nobody had seen it except for Sapphire, Lauren, Teija, and me. It's a beautiful, beautiful piece! It expresses what we feel about singing perfectly, and sums up our Spring Season theme: The Joy of Singing. The recordings for this piece are already up on the website, so you can start working on it at home.

We had a long-ish break and I spoke to a few people about possible solos. I also spoke to Robin about playing the flute part on I Will Always Be With You. We also needed to talk about the seniors' performances, which happen on February 1st and 8th. Sign up on the website. Not all of us will fit in the seniors'  homes, but it will be a wonderful opportunity for those of us who go. We needed to make quick arrangements for those Mondays, as we discovered that our room had been booked. Be sure to always check your email on Mondays before you come to choir to be sure what the plans are. If you don't have email, make another arrangement with Lauren.

Next week, Monday, January 18th:

  • Canon of Joy
  • I'd Like to Teach
  • Magic of Winter
  • I Will Always Be With You
  • Can't Help Singing Intro
  • Joseph Medley Intro

Saturday, January 2, 2016

January 11 Start to our Season of Singing

Spring Concert rehearsals start on Monday, January 11, 2016!

This season our theme is something like "The Joy of Singing". I want to express how wonderful and fulfilling singing is and how singing in harmony promotes harmony among people.

I've found a bunch of brilliant songs for us to sing, and we'll talk about operas and musicals (Nabucco, Joseph) where singing is central, and I want to mention that to us singing in the middle of a conversation is quite normal.

The list of our current songs is in the right-hand menu on this blog. There are links to the website and to the calendar, which you should use regularly. Always check your emails on Mondays before choir. If there are changes, you will get an email. If you don't use email, please let Lauren know so a different arrangement can be made.