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, October 24, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal 23-OCT-2017

7:00 Baby it's Cold Outside

1. Somewhere a Child is Sleeping: So beautiful with the cello! Philip changed his accompaniment (which he is creating on his own) to whole notes, and it was not only easier, but also more beautiful!
I'm still thinking how best to use this wonderful gift. We might have only the cello and Mary-Ellen on the first part. Won't that be special? And, for the instrumental interlude between verses, Joy and Philip will have something special. We'll figure it out (right, Philip?).
2. Wonderful World: performance ready. It's so special! But, we found a bit that we can improve on: the top of page 7.
3. We Rise Again:We worked on section D: bar 29-39, the oohs, which we turned into aahs at the page turn :-) So, as you go from page 7 to page 8, your oohs turn into aahs. It's really cool, really. The tenors and altos have very cool parts at the bottom of page 8. If you missed today's rehearsal, you will want to review page 7 and 8 for your part. Listen to the recordings on the website. It will help. We also reviewed the previous section, C, from bar 19-29, which we learned last week. If you missed that, you probably want to review that section too.
4. River: My aim was to learn page 3, and we kind of did. We're still getting used to how this is going to work. So, we spent some time "walking through" the piece. I've added in the choir on the first verse, so it's not exactly as written. I will have the sheet music for the solo version put on line. That might help the music-reading folks.
5. Noel Nouvelet: This gets better every time. It will take some time to get the choir and flute and piano to all be together, but it's getting very close. The choir is sounding very good. We'll have to work on dynamics, but that has time. Great job, everyone!

Next week: Monday, October 30th

6:30 Pentatonix Silent Night small group

We Rise Again: Section E and reviewing B, C, D
River: 3rd verse up to the pa-pas
Hine Ma Tov
Noel Nouvelet
Wonderful World: top of pg 7

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

YRCC in the Auroran Newspaper RE ACC

Click here to read the article in the Auroran Newspaper about the Aurora Community Cafe and our concert!

YRCC Rehearsal 16-Oct-2017

6:30 Barenaked Small Group: learning to live up to our name, we're sounding less 'sweet and pretty'.

Warm-ups: Interval sheet, major intervals going up and minor intervals going down.

1. Magic of Winter:
"We could perform this right now!" Beautiful, always satisfying.
2. River: 
We're all doing it! Well, there will be 2 solos, but we all get to participate and the choir does the third verse in harmony with a special a cappella ending. Joy and I created this arrangement in her basement. It was cool. Today, we just walked through it, getting the general idea of how it goes. Trix will do one of the solos for sure, probably the second (who else is sexy enough?). Yes, you don't have the words for the second verse. It's okay. It's a solo and if you want to sing it, I'll give you that part.  I'm already thinking of how to improve this arrangement (even my own arrangements, I have to "interpret"). I think we'll have the choir come in for both 1 and 2 at the top of page 3. We'll have to change the first ending to give everyone a landing note. We're going to start learning this next week.
3. Noel Nouvelet:
We learned the middle section where the flute and piano are the focus, pages 5 and 6. The choir comes in at the 3/2 bar at the bottom page 5. It's reminiscent of the beginning of the song where there are also 2 bars of 3/2 time. The counting here goes: 1and2and3and1and2and3and1and2and1and2and...
The altos, tenors, and basses start first in bar 48 on the and of 1
The sopranos come in on the and of 1 in bar 49.
Remember that you are the "accompaniment" here, so keep it soft and sweet.
We sang through the whole song a couple of times, and it's getting pretty good! We reviewed the ATB parts, which are not easy, but repetitive. The hard thing with this song is getting all the timing to come together, the 2 voice parts, the piano, and the flute. It will be so impressive when we're done!
4. We Rise Again:
We also worked on pages 5 and 6 on this song! This part I call section C. It goes from bar 19 to 28. This is the most important part of the song. The first time the audience hears the chorus, we sing it in 4-part harmony. It's broad and moody and moves in mysterious ways. It will be very impressive if we can hear the tenor and bass parts. Tenor especially had a cool part.  Give it all you've got, Tenors and Basses, and lean in on all notes that you have in interesting places (beat 3 of 19, beat 2 of 22, beat 3 of 23, beat 3 of 24). This is the first time we hear that Soprano descant part too and that's really impressive, but it has to be soft and light. Let those high notes float gracefully out of your eyeball sockets. Second Sopranos and Altos have the melody, and it has to be tight and light. Timing cannot be mushy and you have to be able to hear the Tenors. We even had to ask Joy to be softer on the accompaniment! The blending here is very important!

Next week:
7:00 Blair and Trix
  • We Rise Again: oohs and aahs: section D (and reviewing section B)
  • Noel Nouvelet: timing
  • River: Page 3
  • Somewhere A Child is Sleeping: dynamics

Sunday, October 15, 2017

YRCC Monday 16th 6:30 Barenaked Group

Don't forget that the Barenaked Ladies Group (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings) is meeting early this Monday morning (Oct.16)!

I haven't made a proper plan for tomorrow yet, as I've put all my energy into the concert.

I do know we have to rehearse We Rise Again, Noel Nouvelet, and River. You'll be getting the music for River tomorrow!

Next Monday is the first Mistletoe small group rehearsal at 6:30.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

YRCC Oct. 9 Rehearsal for Oct 15 Concert for the Aurora Community Cafe

Our concert rehearsal was perfect. That is, we had enough terrible moments to ensure that the concert goes smoothly. A rehearsal with no mistakes is unlucky ;-)

We will need to work on 2 things before the concert at 1:00: The ending of Hine Ma Tov and the ending of In Our Town in December. We'll also give the soloists a chance to play with Joy and the microphones from 12:30-1:00.

Just a note on the fundraising: We are supporting St. Andrew's, but if you read their flyer you'll know that we are supporting a special project of theirs which will help the whole community:

The Aurora Community Café is a non-profit café with a social purpose involving local non-profit organizations, faith communities and individuals working together to
 - serve fair-trade coffee, tea, and freshly baked goods
- offer work experience to adults with disabilities in a supportive environment
- create a space for the community to come together
Open every Wednesday starting November 8th from 10am – 2pm 
(Located in St. Andrew’s, 32 Mosley St. – Victoria St. Entrance)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal 02OCT2017

Coffee and Treats Night!
Wow! What a sweet spread we had! Thank you to all who contributed!
This is why our bake sale is always so successful. We have talented bakers with kind hearts. You can taste the love in the treats.

6:30: Barenaked Ladies small group is sounding really good! I'd like to hear a bit more punch. It sounds too pretty.

1. O Canada was our warm-up. We will sing 2 verses on October 15th. First verse with piano and audience, second verse (pines and maples) a cappella. I'll bring the audience in at "God keep our land" to the end.

2. In Our Town in December: This is such a good song! Bill and Carol did a great job on the solos. They will sing them on October 15th as well. We fixed the ending. It was not a YRCC ending. We added another "in our town" with harmony. Wait for it and watch. Also, watch carefully for the cut-off on the word "art" we have to be clear that we're singing "art on display" so enunciate the final T.

3. Hockey Song: Blair will provide the "announcer" lines. Sophie and Kit will bring whistles. This is a fun audience favourite. We do a great job. (Except that Melody noticed that there were lines that we sing incorrectly! Never mind. For now, we'll keep singing it "our way".)

4. We Rise Again: We've got lots of time to rehearse this, but it will take some time to learn it. If you can, do some work on your own. Use the recordings on the website to learn your part. I have asked Joanne, Nicole, and Robin to look at the solo part. If you are also interested in trying it, let me know.
We started by singing the mm-ooh-aahs on pages 4-5. In this section, some Sopranos move at bar 19, S1 stays in the top of the choir bracket and sings the descant part but S2 moves to the Alto line, the melody. Altos stay put. Tenors move at bar 16 to the top of the Bass line, but jump back into the Tenor line at bar 19. Basses stay at the bottom. There are lots of places where your part might move to another line. Be sure to make notes in pencil on your music!

5. Somewhere A Child is Sleeping: We have a cellist among us! Philip brought his cello and tried out his accompaniment arrangement for this beautiful, Canadian Christmas song. It will add such a touch of class to our concert! We'll see if we can start off with just Philip and Mary-Ellen for the first verse. I learned that I have memorized this song. I gave Philip my music stand and did fine without it. Ha!

6. Go Now in Peace: We didn't need to, but we reviewed the A-men ending. You guys are amazing!

7. Song for Canada: This is another winner. You sing it beautifully, and Robin makes that flute sing!

Next week: Thanksgiving Monday, October 9th

Yes, we are rehearsing! We are at St. Andrew's for a run-through and sound check rehearsal. If you're going to be singing on the 15th, be sure to be there or to let a buddy know that you will be missing the rehearsal so we can account for you and watch out for you on the concert day. We have to plan where everyone stands and sits, and how people will move to microphones and music stands, etc.
We start at 7:30 but I'm trying to get us the space a bit earlier so that soloists can have extra time.
For the concert order, go to the event page on the website. I've also posted the order on the Seniors (and other) Performances page. Put your binder in concert order please. Add tabs/flags if necessary, as long as they are not visible to the audience.

Monday, October 16th Barenaked Group rehearses at 6:30!
(Mistletoe small group starts the following week!)