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!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Support the Newmarket Community: Coldest Night of the Year

CNOY stands for Coldest Night of the Year. 

CNOY is a walk, a fundraising walk which supports programs for homeless people. My daughters and I will participate in the walk this year on February 25th. We are joining a team from our church, Trinity United Church in Newmarket. Walking at night in February gives participants a small taste of what it might be like to live in the streets in the winter. It's meant to be uncomfortable, but we will be walking in teams and will have snacks and a warm home to go to afterwards. We will be reminded of how lucky we are.

To find out more about the Coldest Night of the Year, click here. 

Please sponsor me on my walk! You can donate online here. Just enter my name in the Search box: Renate Naghavi. 

In Newmarket, Inn from the Cold is the recipient of the funds raised. Inn from the Cold started as a shelter for the coldest winter nights only, but has grown to a multi-service centre for people who find themselves homeless or at risk.

You can find out about Newmarket Inn from the Cold here. 

Briefly, here's what they do:

Services offered by Inn From the Cold

Inn From the Cold is a service hub for the homeless and at risk of being homeless. We offer our guests a range of helpful services year round that are designed to assist with finding housing, employment, mental health support and other necessities such as hot meals, warm clothing, laundry, internet and bathing facilities.Our goal is to not only provide the basic necessities of food and shelter but also to help our guests upgrade their skills in order to be able to enter or reintegrate into the workforce and to obtain financial stability.

YRCC Rehearsal Review 20-FEB-2017

Monday, February 20th, 2017: Family Day!

6:30 Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire- Wow! What a beautiful song!

1. Hallelujah: Always a treat to sing this! Having different soloists was fun!
2. Hockey Song Great Wayne Gretzky!
3.We Rise Again: Section C is the hardest part and we did it! It was awesome! I got goosebumps. We also sang the first verse oohs and aahs and they were really cool.
4. Where the Coho Flash Silver: We sang through the whole song so that we could record Joy playing the accompaniment on our keyboard, but it was really hard! There are tempo changes and fermatas and we had some technical difficulties (forgetting that there's a speaker on/off switch on the keyboard). Also, there's the a cappella part which is awkward. I don't think we can sing that without Joy. But, now we'll be able to rehearse it with accompaniment without Joy when necessary up to the a cappella part. We reviewed everything up to the a cappella part as well.
5. Four Strong Winds: We also recorded the accompaniment for this. The same challenges apply here, so we just did it at one tempo, so we could have something, and Joy played something during the a cappella part. We cannot hope to sing this without Joy, but we'll be able to rehearse without Joy when necessary. We reviewed the parts up to the a cappella part here too.
6. Ca-na-da: We recorded this, too. It is a much easier song, and fun, too.

Next week: February 27th ( Joy will be absent, but we have recordings and Anne-Marie! )

6:30 St. Elmo's Fire Group

  • All the Little Rivers (just a sing-thorough)
  • Four Strong Winds (Section F-we'll skip the tricky middle part for now)
  • Song for the Mira (section 2- the oohs)
  • They All Call it Canada (just a sing-through)
  • Where the Coho Flash Silver (bar 27, review up to a cappella)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal 13-FEB-2017

Monday, February 13th, 2017 at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Aurora. Thanks, again, for providing us a home when we're bumped out of our room at the Administrative Centre!

St. Elmo's Fire small group started at 6:30

1. Unity: We learned the whole difficult part on page 2! This beautiful piece holds a special place in our hearts because it was created by a friend of our friend Rob for Canada's 125th birthday. The arrangement was prepared by a friend of Blair's and by me just for us. In case you didn't catch the words of the second verse, which were somehow missed, here they are:

Through respect and dignity
Will come peace and unity
No race, religion, skin nor creed
For you are you. And I am me
Together we're we.

2. Where the Coho Flash Silver: We learned A (the soloist will be Blair or Todd, with the other as back-up) and B (the soloist will be Daphne or Ellen, with the other as back-up). We reviewed C, D, and E and now we're almost done! We looked at the ending, too. We still need review, and there are little bits that we seemed to have missed, but it's awesome.

3.We Rise Again: We sang section F first, where S2ATB have melody and S1 has a descant, and looked at the key change too. There is a small difference in the tenor section which we will ignore. Tenors can sing with Bass throughout that section. We will look at section C next week. It's where there are 4 parts and it's cool.

Monday, February 20th: Family Day -regular rehearsal in our room 

6:30 Small Group St. Elmo's Fire

  1. Four Strong Winds- once through to record
  2. Hallelujah- a treat for missing time with our families :-)
  3. Hockey Song- a family day treat
  4. We Rise Again- section C
  5. Where the Coho Flash Silver- once through to record, plus bits we missed

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal Review 06-FEB-2017

Monday, February 6th, 2017

6:30 V'la l'bon vent was excellent! We've got it moving now, and we'll have an awesome surprise too!

Warm-ups today included trying out harmonies for Happy Birthday! Now, you'll be able to impress your friends and family when you sing Happy Birthday. It was my birthday on the 5th, so I enjoyed being sung to in such a wonderful way! Thank you!

1. Unity is a song written for Canada's 125th birthday by a friend of Rob's, Kathleen Deters, at the same time as Rob wrote and produced a play, Sentimental Journey. They performed the song together with Rob's cast and crew on several occasions in 1992. We are honoured to be chosen to honour her memory by learning and sharing her music. Unity is a sweet and catchy song that you'll be singing all day long.

2. O Canada is going to be great! We tried singing the first verse with the with piano accompaniment, then the pines and maples verse a cappella, then the French with piano and an extra chorus of English as an ending, It was excellent, but I'm still considering different variations.

3. Four Strong Winds: I had goosebumps several times! It was beautiful! We learned C and then went back to the beginning and learned A and B. Take note: the tenors have the melody at A and B, so sopranos and altos don't! Cool!

4. Song for the Mira: More goosebumps! At one point I had goosebumps not only up and down my arms, but across my body, a big frisson! I love this piece! We learned half of section 5 and reviewed the Can you imagine part. It's hard, but so satisfying!

5. We Rise Again: I am looking for a soloist for this. I'd like to hear a few possibilities. We sang through, and a bunch of people sang the solo part to see if they felt comfortable doing it. It's not easy, but the parts are recorded and you can review your part on line. We've forgotten it, but it won't take us long to pick it up again. Please review your parts, everyone, to make it easier.

Next week: Monday, February 13th 

We will not be in our usual room again, having been bumped. We're rehearsing at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Aurora, on Mosley. 

6:30 Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire Small Group

  • Four Strong Winds (D, and E?)
  • Unity 
  • We Rise Again (section F on page 9, then C on page 5)
  • Where the Coho Flash Silver (Try solos- A: Blair/ Todd and B: Daphne/Ellen and continue with C, D,E)

Listen to all kinds of music. Share it.

So, researchers have said that people who listen to more than one genre of music tend to be smarter, more creative, open minded, and honest. 

Is it because of those traits that people are drawn to different kinds of music, or does music inspire people to be better? I think it's both. Maybe it's good, smart people who introduce their children to all kinds of music as part of their education, or up-bringing, who start the cycle? I believe we need to include much more music in children's education, all kinds. I know music inspires me in a million ways. 

Just more than one genre is all it takes? Only one more genre than pop, or rock, or classical can do that? Cool! If you only like rock, then all you have to do is add one other genre? If you only like classical, then you only need one other type of music to make you smarter and more creative? Imagine if you added two or three? I like almost every kind of music I hear, and listen to all kinds. All of the buttons on my car radio are used, and I'd like more. I'd like to hear more world music, and more folk on the radio, but there's so much more, and readily available, than what's on the car radio!

I like that the new "radio", internet sites, YouTube, the Spotify and Apple Music-type things, offer playlists of all kinds: genres, moods, artists, eras, etc. It's amazing what you can listen to while you write on your blog! If you haven't tried it, do a Google search for relaxing music playlist, or study playlist, or Harry Belafonte playlist!

I'm so grateful for all the music in my life! I aspire to being smart and creative, open-minded and honest, and I hope that I inspire that in my children. I know they are both very musical and open-minded consumers of all kinds of music. I sang and danced and made music with them from the moment of conception. My mother and father probably did the same for me. 

I also had wonderful teachers, excellent music teachers, and musical teachers in my very early years. We all had band and orchestra in Junior High School when I was young. Many of us continued to choose music in high school I have an appreciation for jazz because of Mr. Miner. Maybe I'm crazy for John Williams because of my band experiences with him and Mr. Beatty and Mr. Eason and more recently, Madame Leblanc. (It's not the movies. I haven't seen most of them.) Kids I went to school with learned to play violin, viola, and cello and bass, and played music from Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, in grade 8! It was normal. It was awesome. My kids had an excellent music program at their school, but it was exceptional.

Music is magical. Explore the world of music and take your kids there, too!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal Review 30-JAN-2017

Monday, January 30th, 2017

6:30 V'la l'bon vent Bilingual Small Group. Fun! We added spoons and a few repetitions of the chorus so we modified the arrangement from a slowish and soft song to a joyous jig!

Warm-ups were just to get our bodies ready to sing and our spirits ready to sing together. The vocal warm-up was our first song.

1. Ca-na-da from Canada's Centennial is so sweet, we'll sing it twice and we'll invite the audience to sing along the second time. Sopranos are on top (one little, two little,...) and Altos, Tenors, and Basses are all on the bottom singing the main melody.

2. Coho Flash Silver is still stuck in my head! What a sticky melody! We did the difficult part, the a cappella section at E and then the ending. You should have enough of a feel for the song to practise on your own with the recordings at home for a while, as we move on to other songs.

3. Song for the Mira: We just reviewed the Can you imagine part we learned last week, and that was hard enough.

4. Song for Canada: we learned the ending ahs. Mark on your music where you sing. We move around a bit.

5. All the Little Rivers: we just sang it through to remember what we've learned. I think this song is also ready for some individual rehearsal at home. We've learned the trickiest bits together. If you're not sure how to use the recordings at home, ask someone on the executive or the person you sit next to. The resources are there for you. Take advantage.

Next week, Monday, February 6th:

6:30 V'la l'bon vent  Bilingual Small Group meets again. We might be able to finish. We were just not sure of the tempo and dynamics, but the parts were very good already.

  • Four Strong Winds (starting at C)
  • O Canada (French words)
  • Song for the Mira (5)
  • Unity (new)
  • We Rise Again (run-through with potential soloists)