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!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 14-Nov-2016

6:30 Jeremiah Joy to the World. I forgot to bring the tambourine and other percussion instruments I wanted to add to African Noel, and it made a huge difference. Somehow everything went sideways. We will regroup and will fix this song.

1. Hallelujah was excellent. We remember it. New folks followed very well and can listen to the "tricky bits" of their parts on the website. The accompaniment will be there as well.

2. Joy to the World is super. Almost all of you have memorized it! We will be standing with our binders closed to sing this, first in the centre aisle of the church and then on stage. We will open our binders for the second song.

3. African Noel Will be the first song of the second half. We will enter from the back, walking with closed binders, then open them all together to start African Noel. Remember that there are 8 bars of drums and piano before we start.

4. Various Themes on Fa-la-la is so cool! I've been wanting to do this for years. I love all those classical melodies! The transitions still need some ironing out. Listen to one of the many YouTube performances of this song for help, and sing along with Joy's recordings! Please do a little work on this at home if you're having trouble.

5. Winter Song! We got it! We got to the end together. I know there are still individuals who are feeling a bit lost here (second sopranos in particular). Again, it will help to watch those videos I sent you and sing along with Joy's recordings. We discovered that people were not watching for cut-offs so they were holding some notes too long, and others not long enough. Pay attention to the notes and rests.

6. We Wish You a Merry Madrigal. Be sure to be very powerful on the last page! This is our wish for the audience members, a direct message from us to them. Express it passionately. The second repetition of each chorus and verse should be soft and cute, not slower and not mushy. Crisp and cute and soft, almost like you're being sneaky to repeat it.

Go Tell it on the Mountain small group presented their piece to me and it's so cool! Groove and move to give it that extra oomph, friends!

Next Monday, 21 November

6:30 Jeremiah Joy (adding Joy back in and remembering the tambourine and maybe more percussion)
7:00 Please don't sing another fa-la-la

Run, Run, Rudolph at break time 8:30

  • Canon of Joy (dynamics)
  • Do You Hear What I Hear (dynamics)
  • Hallelujah (fun)
  • Magic of Winter ( timing)
  • Various Themes (transitions)
  • Winter Song (dynamics)
Todd at 9:30

Sunday, November 13, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 7-NOV-2016

Yikes! I was sick on Monday, and although I didn't get hit with a big flu as expected, but only a short couple of days of discomfort, I still wasn't able to get a rehearsal review done. My week was messed up. Sorry.

I do believe you all did well without me. That's what I was told. I know that when I'm not there, you're in good hands. Anne-Marie and Lauren together with Joy must have been an excellent team.

This week, tomorrow, we will sing:

  • African Noel
  • Joy to the World
  • Various Themes 
  • Winter Song
  • Hallelujah (Yes, we need to do this to remember Leonard Cohen.)

We will substitute Hallelujah for We Wish You a Merry Christmas as an encore. I know that a number of people in our audience like to hear it as an encore, and it will be on people's minds this time especially. So, we will not disappoint them.

Jeremiah Joy to the World will meet at 6:30. I have already emailed the group.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 31-Oct-2016 Halloween Monday

Another holiday Monday, but we were mostly at choir :-)

6:30-7 Please Don't Sing small group
7-7:30 Noel Nouvelet with Rebekah

Warm-ups included scary sounds (sirens oo-ee) and minor arpeggios.

1. Joy to the World - a cappella. We started with Joy but easily mastered our parts a cappella. Don't forget to memorize this!
2. Various Themes on Fa-la-la: Fun! We did Beethoven's 5th and the Blue Danube, reviewed William Tell and started 1812 and the ending! We learned so much!
3. Do You Hear What I Hear?: Yes, I do! I hear beautiful sounds. We discovered that a lot of sopranos and altos were singing the melody at C, where they don't have the melody. Little lamb and ringing are the same note, a third above the melody. There are plenty of challenging bits, so we will need more opportunities to perfect it.
4. O Holy Night: Melinda sang the solo, and rocked it. This is a challenging piece, but at least you only have to learn one part. Melinda is bi-sectional on this one. She sings with the sopranos when she sings the solo, and with the tenors when Mary-Ellen sings the solo. Kudos to her. It's important for us to be strong on the one verse where everyone is singing together, the Truly he taught us part. Get yourself into a 1-2 groove from the beginning. The timing is tied to beats 1 and 2 (or 1 and 4 if you count the 6/8 time in 6, but I conduct in 2). This is especially important in the chorus part. 1-2.
5. Magic of Winter: For some reason, we were a bit messy on this. It'll work out. Listen to the recordings to see how you can improve. Listen to the performance too. It's awesome.

Next week: Monday, November 7th: Tickets, posters, poinsettias!

You can buy tickets for friends and family. You can take posters to post in common areas you might have at work or in clubs, anywhere you can think of. Roxanne takes care of tickets and posters. You can order poinsettias to take home after the concert, or to give as gifts after the concert. During the concert, they'll decorate the church. They're huge and impressive, and a great fundraiser for us. Jane coordinates this.

6:30 Noel Nouvelet with Rebekah
7:00 Run, Run, Rudolph

  • Why We Sing
  • Merry Madrigal
  • Do You Hear
  • Winter Song
  • Various Themes