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, October 26, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 24-OCT-2016

Monday, October 24th, 2016
6:30 Small Group Please Don't Sing Another Fa-la-la

Warm-ups included breathing exercises

1. Carol of the Bells: excellent!
2. Winter Song: We hadn't looked at the top of page 9. That whole section is a bit different. It says "With more drive" and we're louder, but there is a swelling of emotion at the top of page 9 which is achieved with volume and with the higher notes. It's really cool. We spent quite a bit of time on page 12, trying to get all of us to the end together, and we nearly did it. Joy has re-recorded the accompaniment to include the ending, (although the accompaniment stops in bar 74 and we're acappella at bar 76) and has re-recorded the second soprano part, so that should help.
3. Do You Hear What I Hear:We learned the ending. It's very dramatic! Be sure to watch on the last line. I added a fermata, so we all hold the last note of "light" and stop before Bring us light. Watch for each note on bring us light.
4. Various Themes on Fa-la-la: We learned the William Tell part and reviewed from the beginning up to there.

Next week Halloween Monday, October 31st. 
If you have to be away because of children or grandchildren trick-or-treating, I understand. We will go on and you will be able to catch up. Remember, there are recordings on our website to help you if you need to catch up, or if you just feel like you need a little extra help.

6:30 Please Don't Sing
7:00 Noel Nouvelet

  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • Joy to the World
  • Magic of Winter
  • O Holy Night
  • Various Themes

Various Themes on Fa-la-la recordings on the YRCC website

Our Joy has done an amazing job of recording our accompaniment and parts of Various Themes on Fa-la-la for the website. Sign in and go to the quick link box on the right to music recordings. The name of the piece is the accompaniment alone, and the parts are there beside it. Click on your part and sing along!

Please listen to Joy's recordings and follow along with your part there. I realize that it's sometimes hard to distinguish your part from the piano part, but if you follow along with your music, you should be able to pick it out. We are looking at how to fix that, and hopefully future recordings will be clearer.

For more help and inspiration, go to YouTube and search Various Themes on Fa-la-la. Wow! There are lots of fun performances of it, and there are some recordings of parts, too. Beware, the recordings of parts are not our version. The soprano part starts out the same, but gets different. The other parts are very different from the start. Too bad, it would have been nice to have those to use. But, I do like our version better. It has 4 part harmony, for one thing. Shall I have us gallop like horses, and waltz?  What do you think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 17-OCT-2016

Monday, October 17th, 2016

6:30 Noel Nouvelet with Rebecca on flute (Rebecca now has the music and we will meet again on November 7th to rehearse with Rebecca again.
7:00 Please Don't Sing Another Fa-la-la  started learning parts

Warm-up: Swans Sweetly Singing going up
1. Joy to the World: Acappella 3-part version by me :-) It was quick and easy! This will be our opening song, and I hope we can sing it without music. Please start working on memorizing the words and your part right away so that by December 4th, it's easy.

2. Various Themes on Fa-la-la! It's going to be so much fun! What a great opportunity to learn to sing some very famous melodies! Remember to watch the la-la-las! They're short and choppy. We sang through the whole song, sight-reading, and started learning parts at the beginning and got to the top of page 5! What we learned will take us far, because that theme is repeated several times.

3. Winter Song: Pages 10-12, in particular page 12. Second Sopranos, you will need to work on this. Your parts are important. Please review how the music goes, where you come in and how the repeat works. If you don't understand, please ask.

4. We didn't get a chance to look at the ending of Do You Hear What I Hear, so please take a look at the last page if you have some time before next Monday.

Next week: Monday, October 24

Please Don't Sing Another Fa-la-la Small Group parts at 6:30 (7:00 with Joy)

  • Carol of the Bells
  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • Various Themes on Fa-la-la
  • Winter Song
  • O Holy Night?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 10-OCT-2016 Thanksgiving Monday

I am thankful that such a good group showed up on Thanksgiving Monday!

We had a rough start, as those of us who were there early for the small group at 7:00 were locked out in the cold with the security guard who locked himself out. But, we huddled together in a couple of cars until we got in shortly after 7:30 and had a little bit of a Noel Nouvelet rehearsal before our regular rehearsal which was very productive!

1. Magic of Winter was awesome! It's always extra pretty with a small group. And, I got to sing the tenor part with Stanley, which was a joy.

2. Carol of the Bells was great, too! It's so much fun to sing!

3. Winter Song: Wow! We worked hard! We did the oohs! We started at page 10 where there's a "treble group" on top. That's the Second Sopranos. They sing the melody while everyone else sings oohs. Nailed it. Then we went on to page 12! Page 12 is challenging. The Second Sopranos divide into 3 groups, and each group sings something entirely different and starts at different times, while the rest of the choir sings their "is love alive" bit over and over with a couple of differences. It took us some time and work, but we got it. Now, we have to teach it to the rest of the choir! But, once that's done, we'll have learned the whole song.

4. African Noel: Marianna, Janet, and I added some percussion. We will give the drums 4 extra bars at the beginning, and they will get the last "word", too. It's going to be cool!

5. We Wish You a Merry Madrigal: I got to sing again! It was great! You guys are so lucky to be able to sing every week. What a wonderful feeling!

Next week, Monday, October 17th

6:30 Noel Nouvelet
7:00 Please Don't Sing Another Fa-la-la

  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • Joy To the World
  • Various Themes on Fa-la-la
  • Winter Song

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 03-OCT-2016

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

small groups
6:30 Jeremiah Joy: keep working on clapping and singing
7:00 Noel Nouvelet: blend with your section, watch dynamics-so pretty!

warm-ups included movement again, not easy

1. Carol of the Bells: Melodie sang the solo at the beginning- pretty. Mary-Ellen will be Melodie's back-up. Awesome piece. First row altos showed that they didn't need any help. Remember that everyone sings the second time around. Tenors and Basses have to remember to come in with confidence on the second ending, and to wait for their special moment at the end. All ding dongs should have an accent at the beginning, like a bell.

2. Do You Hear What I Hear: Awesome! We learned the hardest bits: E, H, and D. And, most of the beginning too. Good work, everyone! Watch out for when you do and don't have melody. Melody must be heard above other parts.

3. Winter Song: We started at bar 23. Watch out for the notes that come in on the and of beat 1, just after beat one. We circled those words, like snow, that come late. At the beginning, everything is on the beat, straight-up and cute on the bum-bums (and piano-soft) but then the song starts and it's cool,

4. O Holy Night: Melinda sang the solo part. Amazing range! Well done. Melinda will be Mary-Ellen's back-up. Gorgeous piece! Great job by Joy, too!

Feeling a little lost? Help is a few clicks away! Log on to the website and go to the recordings. Find your part and you'll hear it played alone with the accompaniment. Follow along with your music. Don't feel shy to ask me, or even your neighbour for help during rehearsal. I bet if you have a question, there are others wondering the same thing. Speak up.

We had coffee and treats at breaktime, and it was really hard deciding what to eat. Everything looked fantastic. I had a cookie, a tart, and some cake- too much, but so delicious! Our coffee breaks are a good time to make connections with people in your section so that you can help each other, especially for times when you need to miss a rehearsal Cross over to the other sections too. You'll discover that many of us share other interests and talents besides singing.

Next week is Thanksgiving but we are meeting as usual! If you have holiday plans, don't worry. We'll have a smaller rehearsal, but often we get more done with a smaller group, and then those people will be leaders next time. The cool thing about a choir is that we are always learning from each other and helping each other.

7:00 Noel Nouvelet small group is meeting.

  • Magic of Winter
  • Carol of the Bells
  • We Wish You a Merry Madrigal
  • African Noel (drummers: Marianna, Janet can bring drums if you're coming)
  • Winter Song