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!

Monday, January 29, 2018

SNOW DAY! No YRCC rehearsal tonight, Jan. 29, 2018

The one time a snow day is not happy news!
Let's be safe and spend the evening relaxing indoors.
I'm sad to miss choir !

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 22-Jan-2018

Another messy day, weather-wise, with fog and freezing rain and rain on an off. Yuck! We're so lucky to have choir to end our Mondays on a positive note ;-)

6:30 Small group: What the World Needs Now is Love: brave folks got there early and learned half the song already. Way to go!

We did another move-and-sing exercise for our warm-up. This time we danced and sang along to the Beatles' Twist and Shout! We tried to sing harmonies along with Paul and George or the melody with John. You'll be very sad if you missed this rehearsal!

1. Imagine: We spent the whole first half on this because we were really getting it. The plan was to learn from bar 40 to the end. We did that so well that we sang the whole song through and did an excellent job. So, now we're ahead on this song. Hooray!

2. Nella Fantasia: We learned bar 42 to the end, and it was beautiful! Listen to the recordings- there are lots. The ones that Richard did have him singing the parts. You might find that easier, hearing the words.

3. Seasons of Love: This was only supposed to be an introduction, but we got all the way to the bottom of page 3, learning parts. We sight-read to the end, and it was fun! I love this song.

Next week:
Monday, January 29
6:30 What the World Needs Now

  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • From a Distance 13-25
  • Nella Fantasia 28-37
  • One Small Step
  • Seasons of Love 28-40 (talk about solos- soprano here and tenor at 40)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal Review 15-Jan-2018

Monday, January 15th
was a snowy, messy day on the roads.
What a good thing we had choir to help us escape!

Warm-up was a dance-and-sing-along exercise to Seasons of Love. (an excellent reward for having braved the scary drive)

1. Unity: We made some changes. The first verse is sung by sopranos only until bar 14 "Sometimes our paths will wind." This section, from bar 14 until bar 23, is under construction. We're moving down to give more support to the bass line. So, first sopranos are on top in the soprano line. Second sopranos are in the alto line. Altos are in the tenor line (it's treble clef an octave down). Tenors are on top of the bass line in the bass clef. Basses are on the very bottom. The important bit in the tenor line is a bit low for the altos, but maybe it will work better when more of them are there. If necessary, we'll add some tenors in on bar 16. Don't forget to write in the words for verse 2. (With respect and dignity come peace and unity. No race, religion, skin, nor creed, for you are you and I am me. Together we're we.) Remember to skip to the second ending at the bottom of page 3.

2. Nella Fantasia: One of my all-time favourite pieces of music! I love it when it's Gabriel's Oboe best of all, but our version is pretty awesome. We made similar changes to what we did in Unity to Nella Fantasia in bars 11 to 21. Bar 21 is under construction. We'll see how that ends up working. At the beginning, Mary-Ellen sings a solo and that solo continues through to 21. Todd has offered to be her back-up. Won't that be special! Under that, the sopranos will sing "oo" in the alto line. The altos will sing in the tenor line (again in that special treble clef an octave down), and the tenors and basses sing together in the bass clef. For the rest of the song, all parts are in their usual places. Note that the tenor and bass parts are in unison from bar 23 to 27. Then, the tenors have the melody, and then give it to the altos, but the basses get their own melody, as do the sopranos. Sopranos and basses, make a note at the bottom of that page that you have a special "in my fantasy" after the page turn! Altos and tenors finish the word humanity on the page turn and hold it one bar only. Everyone should try to take some time to listen to their part on the recordings. We all forgot how this goes! We laughed because it was pretty awful but at least we were all in the same boat. Log in to the website and listen to the recordings, please!

3. From a Distance: Last time we sang this, Jane was the soloist and Daphne came in for the duet parts. There were back-ups, but we can't remember who. I think it will be really dramatic and cool for Melinda to sing the solo. People will remember that she sang it as a solo song and so this will sound like we are all backing her up. Of course, it ends up being total choral 4-part harmony, with 6-part harmony at times! We need to find someone to sing the soprano part above her in those harmony bits, and we need a back-up too. Jane will back Melinda up. Recordings for this song are also on the website. Notice that sopranos and tenors divide. Also, notice that there is no accompaniment. There is a recording of all parts together, though. It's a cappella. Joy will help us for a while, and then we have to learn to fly on our own. We learned the section from bar 38 to 45 which repeats.

4. Imagine: OMG! This is so good! We will have some work to do still, but many of you remember it. You'll remember that timing is special and has to be tight. No worries; I'll have you in line in no time. This is Janet's solo. We'll need a back-up. Poor Janet was stuck in traffic and had to miss choir, but that meant that everyone got to sing from the beginning. The solo goes from the beginning to the middle of page 4. So, the sopranos sing soprano from bar 13 to 16, but sing oos with the altos starting at 17. Back to normal at 25.

Next week:
Monday, January 22nd

6:30 Small group: What the World Needs Now is Love
I just now created the "Event" on the website, so if you aren't signed up don't worry, just show up.
There might not be enough copies of the music, but we'll see.
Note that it is SSA and the first soprano part gets quite high.

  • From a Distance (bars 13-25)
  • Imagine (40-end?)
  • Nella Fantasia (42-end?)
  • Seasons of Love (beginning to 20)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal Review 08-JAN-2018

First post of 2018!
We're back! And, we're sounding fantastic!
Our theme this season is Unity and Harmony.

First rehearsal, Monday, January 8th, 2018

  1. Wonderful World: done. It's always wonderful.
  2. Dona Nobis Pacem: almost done. We just have to work on making it sound interesting and pretty. Part 1 is Soprano, part 2 is Alto, part 3 is Tenor and Bass. 
  3. I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing: We sang all the way through and it was pretty good already. We're going to try to make it more interesting and less repetitive by having 2 soloists sing until bar 40. I'm looking for volunteers for those 2 parts, a woman and a man and two back-ups. 
  4. One Small Step: This will also start with a woman and a man, 2 very short solos, and then they come back for a line just before the end. This is such a powerful song and has excellent harmonies that are not very difficult. We learned from the pick-up to bar 15 to bar 23, and sight-read the whole thing a couple of times. It won't be hard.
  5. Let There Be Peace on Earth: We're doing this a bit differently from last time, so get your eraser out and start erasing the last page notes. We're doing the big ending, not the quiet optional ending. Also, we're going to use alternative lyrics which are accepted by copyright. They are: with Earth as our mother, her children all are we. There is an extra note for the word "her" and it is just a pick-up note before the first note of page 4. Use that note. 
  6. Hine Ma Tov: Bam! We got it. It was never better. We're going to add a tambourine this time.
  7. Why We Sing: I'd like to have Kit and Stanley start again and we'll need back-ups. We'll have to replace Enid and Rob and have back-ups as well. I'm looking for volunteers. This is our finale song. When I sang through the final set for myself, I started to cry. This is why we sing.
I'm going to post about small groups and solos and duets. I've got a couple of songs and some ideas too.

The first small group will be What the World Needs Now is Love, starting on the 22nd. 

Next week's songs:
  • From a Distance
  • Imagine
  • Nella Fantasia
  • Unity