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, September 26, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal 25-Sep-2017

6:30 Barenaked Small Group fist rehearsal: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings

Warm-ups were short because we had visitors and plenty of chatting (it's good to hear everyone engaged with each other-natural team building). Enid came with posters for the St. Andrew's concert and we serenaded her a bit. She also reminded us to buy tickets (see Daphne) and offered us a rehearsal time. We'll meet at St. Andrew's on Thanksgiving Monday, October 9th. So, I went off my plan a bit. No worries. We're still on track.

1. You Raise Me Up: We're singing this straight-up, as written (no solos or special instructions. Just watch for dynamics.)
2. On Eagle's Wings: Just adore this arrangement. You did a great job! We've got this.
3. Hine Ma Tov: This is coming along swimmingly. Such a positive song! Love the message and the fun. Our soloists will be Lauren (Hebrew) and Robin (English). Thank you, friends, for volunteering. I think we'll slow down slightly for those 2 verses, then pick up the pace again with the lai-lais and keep it up through to the end. Write in the English words on page 3 for the repeat (in pencil only, of course) and remember to take the second ending on page 4. There are a couple notes that are different, and the Sopranos have to fit in an extra word (repeat the C), compared to page 2.
4. Noel Nouvelet: We have some time to learn this since we're not singing it on October 15th, just December 3rd. It's so cool! I love the flute part. For your part, try to rehearse a bit at home. You can follow along with the accompaniment, and there is a perfect video to sing along with too (see below)
5. Somewhere A Child is Sleeping: When I heard that Philip plays the cello, I thought of this song. We have had Mary Ellen sing the first verse as a solo before, and I thought it would be really cool to have her accompanied by a cello. The piano accompaniment isn't perfect for a cello, but maybe Philip can think of something. The harmonies are very easy and it's really repetitive. That middle part is a bit tricky (with the ahs), but very effective. Take note: the top line is extra. It's really in 3 parts. SAB, Soprano can read the top or the second line (marked Alto). Alto is in the line marked Tenor, but it's in the treble clef and is truly an alto part. The bottom line, in the bass clef is Baritone (or Tenor/Bass).
Mark your music with pencil if this is a challenge. This is a Canadian Christmas song, perfect for our December concert.
6. Go Now in Peace: This sounded beautiful already! Hey, new folks, how did it feel? Were you able to join in? We'll review the A-men ending, but it was really good! This will be our finale song. And, after that we anticipate an encore will be needed, so we'll sing Hallelujah again.
7. Hallelujah: We don't have it in our binders yet. We were not planning to sing it, but when we talked about it being our biggest hit, our fan favourite, we had to sing it. So, we did! Without music. It was awesome.

Next week, Monday, October 2nd:

Barenaked small group at 6:30

  • Go Now in Peace
  • Song for Canada
  • Hockey Song
  • In Our Town in December
  • We Rise Again

Reminder for Monday, October 9th: We're rehearsing at St. Andrew's at 7:30.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal 18-Sep-2017

Another fun, energy-filled rehearsal!

We started off with a short physical warm-up and then tried out our new interval exercises. They're meant to help with our sight-reading. If you missed this rehearsal, you'll need to get the hand-out next time.
1. In Our Town in December. Sweet, multicultural holiday song (mostly Christmas). There are 2 storyteller solos. Bill is going to do the first one (Carol back-up) and Trix will do the second at 24 (Lauren back-up). The choir sings at 13 and 32. Alto, Tenor, Bass are all on Part II. We will not do this on October 15. It'll wait for December.

2. Hine Ma Tov: Bilingual, Hebrew and English. We need someone to sing the first solo in Hebrew, also in a storytelling style, and another to sing the second verse in English, clearly translating the first. Think about it, and let me know if you're interested. This song is for October 15 and December 3rd, and for next Spring (Unity/Peace theme). We have Alto, Tenor, Bass all on Part II. We only sang the melody line this week.

3. Noel Nouvelet: French. Like on Hine Ma Tov, there is a guide to the pronunciation. I disagree with a couple things. Take note: chantons ici = shã-tõ-zee-see, gens=zhã, crions=kree-yõ, l'ange disait= lã-zheh-dee-zay... there are a number of other places where there are nasalized vowels and the letter n simply indicated this but is not pronounced. I'll point them out as we sing. Remember to have your pencils handy to mark your music (never pen!). I have lots of pencils in case you forget yours. We have 2 parts in this song as well, and Alto, Tenor, and Bass are down on part II. It's a really cool part! And, there's a beautiful flute part. I'm so happy that Robin is back! It was fun having Joy's friends play flute with us, but this is more comfortable. Altos, if you have trouble with the high notes, there are a couple of things you can do. 1. just don't sing them, those who can will probably need to sing them louder than usual and we won't notice your voice missing, but be sure to pretend to sing them. 2. sing with the tenors, and skip the lowest notes in the same way. 3. do vocal exercises every day to increase your range. This song is for December 3rd only, not for October 15.

4. Song for Canada: Bilingual French and English! There's a short flute part for Robin in the last verse, the O Canada descant. This is ready to perform. Altos, the last verse is a bit high. Same 3 choices as above apply to dealing with the high notes. Everyone, don't stress about the ahs at the end. I like lots of harmony there. The tenor/bass section (men) have added ahs starting at the French verse which I like, but the women in that section are singing the melody an octave down. It would be good if a few altos could join them in that lower octave. October 15, for sure, and Dec. 3.

5. I Will Always be With You: We have to be careful not to sing this too slowly or too loudly. It's sweet and pretty. Be sure to enunciate well so that the words can be understood. They're lovely. The flute is gorgeous and must also be sweet and not too loud. I don't like the ending, so we'll probably add something there. We will sing this on October 15, but probably not on December 3.

Tickets are on sale for October 15th. 
Tickets at the door will be $30.  
In advance, they're $25, with $20 for seniors and students.
In advance there's a family discount $50 for 4. 

There will be a number of songs only sung at the October concert, but not at the December concert. If you want your family to hear them, then you'll want to get tickets. On Eagle's Wings, You Raise Me Up, I Will Always Be With You, Go Now in Peace, as well as a few solos and small groups (Janet and Kevin, Todd, Trix, etc) are just for Enid. I'll have the order set soon. 

Next week: 25-Sept-2017
Small group: Barenaked Ladies starts at 6:30!
Hine Ma Tov
Noel Nouvelet
Somewhere a Child is Sleeping
You Raise Me Up
You'll Never Walk Alone

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal Review 11-SEP-2017

We're back! 
This is the first rehearsal review of the 2017-2018 season!

This Fall/Winter season is different from others because we have a concert to perform on October 15th, a fundraiser for our friends at St. Andrew's in Aurora who allow us to use their church to rehearse when we cannot have our room at the Admin Centre. We're going to sing some of our past songs especially for Enid. Thank you to those of you who have already signed up for the concert on the website. If you haven't yet, log in on the website and sign up for this "event". 

To start the rehearsal, we did some of our usual warm-ups. Some are physical, to release tension and to raise awareness of the musical instrument that is our whole body, not just the mouth. Sometimes our vocal exercises are also an introduction to following the conductor and working together as a choir. 

1. Wonderful World is one of our top 10 YRCC hits. It's awesome, and it's already performance-ready. Gorgeous.
2. Song for Canada was also super. Front row tenors sing an octave down, coming in at verse 2. The rest of the tenors and basses come in on the second verse with ahs. Very cool. Altos can choose to sing down an octave with the tenors, especially on the third verse after the key change. We will have Robin on flute. She has also sung that descant line before. Should be great! 
3. On Eagle's Wings is probably Enid's favourite YRCC hit. It's a powerful version of a church hymn, full of drama and movement. The ending! If you haven't sung this with us before, please log in to our website and listen to your part and listen to this YouTube video of us.
4. You'll Never Walk Alone is my favourite YRCC hit. It's also based on a hymn and very powerful. It's got a jazzy gospel element which I love. Again, if you're new, you'll want to do some homework. Log in to the website to hear your part. Here's a link to a YouTube video.
5. Hockey Song is still in good form. It's a perfect song for Canada's 150th and winter! The audience will appreciate this rousing, up-tempo piece. 
6. I Will Always Be With You is a sweet and touching piece that is also pretty much ready to go. It will feature Robin on flute. Here we are on YouTube.

Coming up next week: Christmas already.
1. In Our Town in December
2. Noel Nouvelet
3. Hine Ma Tov
4. Song for Canada
5. I Will Always Be With You
I will hand out music for small group: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We 3 Kings
Please sign up to participate in this small group song.