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 25, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal Review 23-JAN-17

Warm-ups were different moves done as we sang Frere Jacques in a 4-part round. It was not easy.

1. All the Little Rivers is so cool! We worked on the a cappella part and it was excellent! It reminds me in parts of Pocahontas :-) I love Pocahontas too. We worked on the dynamics of the rest of the song. Make sure you pay attention to where to those ps and fs and mfs! Also, save your ff for the parts that are marked ff. This is a very challenging song, so use the recordings to help you if you're feeling uncertain.

2. Hockey Song! We learned sections B and C and sang to the end. It's not as easy as it sounds, so listen to your part recorded for you and posted on the website. It will help!

3. Song for the Mira. We learned the 4-part section before 5 "Can you imagine". It's my favourite part of the song. (aside from the words "stars on the river face sparkle and spin". Sometimes a group of words makes me especially happy. The "snow was falling snow on snow, snow on snow"of Bleak Midwinter is my all-time favourite. Maybe I just like the alliteration of sibilants.) The timing here is pretty tricky, and we all have to be together. If you missed this rehearsal or just want to review what we learned, go to the website and download the recording of your part. Sing along, watching your music and listening. For a challenge, listen to another part and sing your part with it!

4.Ca-na-da. If you remember this from the Centennial, you're lucky. I don't quite remember how it goes, and a bunch of us are even younger than I am, but we'll learn it. We have to learn a bit of French for this song, too! Wow! We're becoming so bilingual! We talked a bit about changing the words, since it refers to the centennial year and the population at the time. I think we should sing it as is. It's history. And, we can make fun of the word sesquicentennial instead of singing it. My plan at the moment is for the Altos, Tenors, and Basses to sing the main melody and the Sopranos can sing the special bits on top.

Next week, Monday, January 30th:

Bilingual small group V'la l'bon vent starts at 6:30.

  • All the Little Rivers (B and C)
  • Ca-na-da
  • Coho Flash Silver (E)
  • Song for the Mira (5)
  • Song for Canada (ending)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal Review 15-Jan-2017

We were at St. Andrew's in Aurora because we were bumped out of our room in the Admin Centre.
Thank you to Lauren and Enid for arranging that!

We started with a moving and singing warm-up with ha-ha, ho-ho, and hee-hee, since it was supposed to be the saddest day of the year. How can you be sad at choir!? We're so lucky to have happy Monday nights every week!

1. Hallelujah was better when we put our music away and watched so that we were all together. Watch. Not just at the endings. When you know the song so well that you could sing it without the music, you should be watching almost the whole time.

2. They All Call it Canada. We reviewed pages 10 and 11, all-new with the descant part over top of the tenor/bass melody. Even the tenors and basses found it challenging, but it's really cool and we're getting it!

3. Song For Canada. We sang the French verse a few times to get used to the pronunciation and how the syllables go with the melody. If you want, you can hear me sing it on the website, but you can find it on YouTube sung by lots of different choirs, including the YRCC.

4. The Hockey Song! Yay! It's so much fun! We have to review it, as there are some bits that are tricky. We started with the Great! Wayne! Gretzky! part. It was heavenly! Hey, thanks, Rob, our "announcer", for bringing the whistle! It was Great!

5. Where the Coho Flash Silver: New song! We're all in the same boat, on this one (har-har), since nobody knows this, except for Karen and Daphne who learned it during a choir camp this past summer. (Yes, overnight camp for grown-ups where you sing!) We started learning it at C, where we all sing. OMG! It's going to be awesome.

Next week (23 Jan):

All the Little Rivers (focus on a cappella)
Hockey Song (B and C)
Song for the Mira (Section 5 page 9-10)
Where the Coho Flash Silver (E)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal Review 9-Jan-2017

First rehearsal of 2017!

1. O Canada. It sounded beautiful! Especially a cappella! We reviewed the alto, tenor and bass parts, and they're really cool, especially when you can hear how they blend with the soprano part. We will have to perform one verse a cappella. I think it will be the "pines and maples" verse, which I love. We need a verse that the audience can sing, so that will be the first verse, I guess, except, maybe we'll repeat it at the end? We will sing a French verse. I'm not sure how it's going to be, but we will have a big O Canada this year.

2. They All Call it Canada! What a big, patriotic song! It will be even bigger this year. We will sing the soprano and alto descant part on pages 10 and 11 over the tenor/bass melody. We started learning it, and it's quite hard. We'll have to make a recording of this part for the sopranos and altos, but don't worry, we'll review it often.

3. All the Little Rivers. So pretty! We'll need to review this, as it's also quite difficult. You can watch us sing this on YouTube, so we've done it before and we can do it again. Just, maybe take some time to review the recording of your part.

4. Four Strong Winds. New Song!!! So, nobody is ahead on this one. We're all starting together on this. We just sang through to see what to look forward to. We didn't really look at parts, but just sang the melody. It's so pretty! Just so you know, the Tenors and Basses get the melody at the beginning! That means sopranos don't. There is a doo-doo part later on and it's a cappella! And, it doesn't have a big ending. The piano part is really sweet. Joy has recorded the accompaniment and the 3 parts so you can practise at home. Thank you, Joy!

5. Song For the Mira. will be different this time. We will not have 6 solos, because it was messy and distracting and the song suffered. So, we will have 2 solos, one male and one female. Todd and Lauren sang it tonight, but I haven't decided who will get those solos. There will be a back-up for each to choose as well. We need to have a flute, so if Robin doesn't come back, then we'll ask Rebekah back again.

6. Song For Canada will be different this time too. We will not have a solo. I haven't quite decided how it will go, but I want a group on the first verse, probably the sopranos, and then everyone on the French verse and everyone on the last verse. The descant will be done by the flute. I want everyone to hear the beautiful words of the last verse. We will work on enunciating them and using dynamics to create drama and variety in the song.

Next week:

  • All the Little Rivers (a cappella part)
  • Hallelujah
  • Hockey Song 
  • Song For Canada (French part)
  • They All Call it Canada (page 10-11 again)
  • Where the Coho Flash Silver (intro)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

YRCC Celebrates Canada: This year, we sing more O Canada.

We need to spice up our O Canada for our special Canada theme.

I'm thinking about having us sing a whole verse in French, or maybe some of us?

Ô Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

And, we need to sing this verse:

O Canada! Where pines and maples grow.
Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow. (all the little rivers)
How dear to us thy broad domain,
From East to Western sea.
Thou land of hope for all who toil!
Thou True North, strong and free!

What about this verse?

O Canada! Beneath thy shining skies
May stalwart sons, and gentle maidens rise,
To keep thee steadfast through the years
From East to Western sea.
Our own beloved native land!
Our True North, strong and free!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Small Group and Solo songs for YRCC spring 2017

Soloists and Small groups, we need some pop songs, famous melodies, some fun stuff.

Please see me soon with your ideas!

Canadians have created some excellent songs.

I'd like to do a sing-along of a Canadian Pop song, too. What do you think?
What song do you think everyone will enjoy singing?

Here are some ideas, some songs I found online, some melodies to get you thinking:

Wondering Where the Lions Are or Lovers in a Dangerous Time by Bruce Cockburn?

If I Had a Million Dollars by the Barenaked Ladies?

Summer of 69   or Everything I do I do it for you Bryan Adams

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald or anything by Gordon Lightfoot

Snowbird Anne Murray

Put Your Head on My Shoulder Paul Anka

No Time The Guess Who

Big Yellow Taxi Joni Michell

Here for a Good Time Trooper

Life is a Highway Tom Cochrane

Spinning Wheel Blood Sweat and Tears ( ooh. need some brass)

That don't impress me much Shania Twain

My Own Way to Rock - Burton Cummings

Well? What would you like to sing?

BTW: here's where I found these titles:

York Region wishes us all a Happy 2017