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, November 28, 2017

YRCC Run-Through Rehearsal 27-Nov-17

We're going to be great. The last rehearsal made sure you'll keep working until the last minute :-)

At the end, I said you should know what you need to work on. Some of you will think that you've got your parts so you don't have to look over anything, but please do anyway. You see, if you were so strong on your part, the ones who were lost would have been able to follow you, right?

Here's what needs review:

1. Hine Ma Tov (the words, the melody, when to come in)
Here's a link to listen to: Hine Ma Tov (fast but clear)

2. River: Listen to Joni Mitchell This is the one that inspired our arrangement. You'll hear it. Just get a handle on how the 3 verses go, with the 2 endings and the coda. (Joy will give us the same 2-bar intro just before each verse so that the start is clearer) Remember the ending is slowish, and starts with the two slow pa-pas.

3. Watch the conductor for every entry and every ending, always! So, learn those entries and endings so you don't have to look at your music and you can look at me.

Soloists and small group members please memorize your parts as much as possible so you don't have to look at your music too much. Sing to the audience.

That's not bad considering we're presenting 26 pieces of music!

As always, everything will come together when we're in front of the audience. Thank you for all your hard work over the season!

Break a leg!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal 20-NOV-2017

Early group was Silent Night

I'm sorry I left early. I'm sure Anne-Marie led a great rehearsal for the last half-hour. I was very pleased with River!

The concert order is posted on the website. Please sign in and put your binders in concert order for our run-through rehearsal on Monday, November 27.

1. Concert Order is on the website under Members Only Content: Winter Concert Order
2.What to wear at the concert is on the website under Members Only Content: Concert Wardrobe: Formal Concerts. You can see how we look if you look for us on YouTube.
3. Seniors' Homes visits start Monday, December 4th! Sign up for these performances under Events Sign Up. These are such a good thing for everyone, for us and for our audiences!
4. Seniors' performance orders are tentative, but they are listed under Seniors' Performance Orders.
Your binder must be returned to Lyn after your last performance and before Christmas! Do not leave Lyn with a straggling binder to set up just before (or after!) our January start!!! You will get all new music in your binder in January. Help this to happen.
5. Stay healthy and be prepared for the concert. Read my post on Performance Tips.
6. Small Groups and Soloists should start arriving at 6:00 on Monday for microphone and music stand stand set-up, and everyone else should aim for 7:00 so we can figure out where to stand and sit and have a warm-up, and start the run-through no later than 7:30.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal 13Nov2017

6:30 Barenaked small group rocked! We got it.

We had a surprise sing-along of Ahead by a Century by The Tragically Hip. Some of us were unfamiliar with that song. We'd like to add it in to the show somewhere, so please listen to it a few times before then. Here is a link to a video for you. I think we'll sing it with the Kevins and Janet playing guitar and drums. Joy might want to join them.

1. In Our Town in December: Bill wasn't there and we found a few good back-ups. I'm hoping Bill and Teija can sing the solos at the show.

2. River: It worked! It felt so good to hear our arrangement come together as I had hoped, or even better than I had hoped. It does help to be able to hear the solos. We have to remember to be soft when we come in during the solos, wispy and hushed on the word wish. It was beautiful.

3. Hockey Song: Excellent!

4. We Rise Again: Such a powerful song! We are so good on this! Joanne will charm everyone with her solo. Robyn is a super back-up. Don't be too soft on the oohs and ahhs. Joanne will have a mic. The way that the oohs and ahhs move and sound so good, we don't want to miss that. Altos and Second Sopranos need to try to be soft and try to hear the tenors and basses especially on page 5. The tenors and basses have some cool stuff that needs to come out. First sopranos, you need to review your part please. Try to be confident and not stressed on your part so that it sounds pretty and strong. Sometimes it sounds harsh.

Monday, November 20th :
Last chance to buy advance tickets and poinsettias! Tickets will be available at the door, but they will be $15 for everyone.

Silent Night small group will meet early at 6:30

  • Hine Ma Tov
  • Magic of Winter
  • Noel Nouvelet
  • Somewhere A Child is Sleeping
  • River
  • We Rise Again

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

YRCC Christmas Concert

YRCC Rehearsal 06-Nov-2017

Tickets are on sale. Pick up tickets for friends and family.

Poinsettias are on sale. Order them for yourself and as gifts for friends and family, especially those who are coming to the show. This is a good fundraiser and we will have a beautifully decorated concert space. The quality and size of the plants is outstanding.

6:30 Pentatonix Silent Night

1. Song for Canada: We worked on dynamics. Be sure to save some Fortissimo for the crescendo at the top of page 12. We get loud at 81 on page 8 but we have to save some for page 12. And, we can't be loud before page 8. We made the first verse soft and pretty instead of strong, so that we can build to loud and strong at page 8. Page 8 to the end is very proud and big.

2. River: We sang all the way through to get used to where we sing and how the repeats work. We learned that the timing isn't always as written. Don't worry. We will sing with the soloist and under the soloist mostly, so focus on your notes and the timing will work itself out. We learned the second ending oohs and the coda. Don't forget to mark the coda "way on" to remind yourself that it's very long.

3. Noel Nouvelet: Don't forget that Tenors and Basses sing where it says Alto. We talked about how the piece is in cut time even though it's not fast. The time signatures are 3/2 and 2/2 (4/4 cut is 2/2) so the half note gets the beat (we count the half notes), and you'll feel extra weight on the third quarter note.  The cut time gives a special motion, a different drive, to the piece that's not about speed. Where there are 3/2 bars and then 2/2 bars, count 1and2and3and1and2and3and1and2and1and2and...

4.We Rise Again: Such an awesome piece! We looked at the tenor part on page 11. There's a special bit that is very effective at bar 53 and 55. We looked at the ending too, and some of the tenors move there so that we've got tenors in the tenor line, tenors on the top of the bass line and Bass on the very bottom. Check out this recording of Lydia Adams leading her Amadeus Choir on her arrangement of We Rise Again, which is our arrangement of We Rise Again! You have to be able to sign in on Facebook. I don't know if it's anywhere else.

Next week, Monday, November 13

Barenaked Small Group at 6:30

Hockey Song
Somewhere A Child is Sleeping (if Philip can bring the cello)
We Rise Again

Friday, November 3, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal 30-OCT-2017

When Halloween is the night after choir, the choir director forgets all about writing the rehearsal review. Sorry; I've had a wicked week. This is late, but hopefully will still help.

The small group that met early was Pentatonix Silent Night. Those of us who got to hear a sample of this group's work were impressed.

Warm-ups included minor scales which sound spooky, or moody. Minor scales are used for sad, moody, or spooky music. Major scales are what we're more accustomed to. It was difficult to sing those minor scales!

1. Wonderful World: We discovered that we were singing the top of page 7 wrong last week. It's an important part, and getting the notes right is a big part of expressing the meaning of that line. It's like the top of page 5. So, we did page 5 first. "the bright blessed day; the dark sacred night" has a big contrast between the two phrases, which we accomplish by singing the first part louder and the second softer, but the notes also help us create the moody "dark sacred night". The interesting chords and the dynamics underscore the words. On the top of page 7, we have the loud section, "I see friends shaking hands..." It ends with "I love you." --They're really saying, " I love you."-- We put the quotation marks there by singing I love you softly, and the notes really help to add emotion to the words and to set them apart. Let's be sure to hear the altos and the bass especially- they have key notes.

2. River: This is hard now, but will get easier when everyone gets a feel for when to sing, and where to go to repeat.  It's also a different format from what we're used to reading. It's the free music-writing software that Joy and I were able to find and learn relatively quickly that looks unusual and that's throwing some of you off too. I'm sorry. Remember that there are 3 verses, so we go back to the beginning twice. There is a first ending and a second ending and a coda. The coda is the ending-ending. We jump to the coda before the third verse is finished. It's like the 3rd verse is a bonus bit and it could be seen as the beginning of the ending. Also, we decided that it was nice for the choir to come in on page 3 and we'll do it on the first verse too. So, you should have a note written in on beat one of bar 23 in the first ending. Soprano=D, Alto=A, Tenor=E, Bass hold your D. If not, write it in.
We sang the third verse up to the beginning of the coda (ie: page 1 to the top of page 2 in bar 8, and then jump to the last page bar 51.) If you don't have the word way written in on beat one of bar 51, please write it in. There should also be a tie/slur to attach the note before "on" to the previous note. You hold "way....."and drop to the next note still on "way" before you sing "on".

3. Hine Ma Tov: sounding good! Don't forget to bounce those lai-lais and smile! You probably want to write the English words in on the second repetition of page 3. Sopranos will notice that there aren't enough notes in the soprano part in bar 39. Repeat the same note, the C, in the same rhythm as the other part has below (which you heard on the top of page 2 bar 21). sing to-ge-ther-in-song.

4. We Rise Again: We learned section E, which is from the pick-up to bar 40 to the first note of bar 43, basically the first system of page 9. It's not very hard, but the Second Sopranos and the Tenors move here, each down a line. Second Sopranos sing with Altos on mostly melody, and Tenors go to the top of the Bass line. Bass gets the bottom. We reviewed section D, where oohs turn to aahs. The altos were getting lost, so if you have some time, practice your alto part on pages 7 and 8.

Next week: Buy tickets! They're beautiful! The posters have a typo in the phone number, so we'll have new ones. Think about where you could post a poster.

6:30 Pentatonix Silent Night small group

  • Noel Nouvelet
  • River
  • Song for Canada
  • We Rise Again