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!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 26-March-2018

6:30: Colors of the Wind small group. Wow! It's going to be beautiful.
7:00: Man in the Mirror

Warm-up: Hine Ma Tov

1. Crazy Little Thing Called Love: We reviewed the timing of page 10 and the timing in general. We have to remember that we are interpreting this piece loosely. We are mostly landing on the beat, so things get moved around a bit. For example, in the tenor/bass line at the bottom of page 4, look at "It shakes all over like a jelly fish". If we land on beat one with "shakes", then "all" comes in on beat two, for one-two-three-and-four-and, straight up with a bit of swing. We are working on getting this to sound easy-peasy and fun, so don't stress over it. Loosen up and feel sassy.

2. Let There Be Peace On Earth: The opposite of sassy, this is the real deal. Impressive and passionate. We reviewed the first soprano part at the beginning. We reviewed page 6 for the poor tenors who move around a fair bit.

3. Nella Fantasia: Todd is Mary-Ellen's back-up for this, but Mary-Ellen suggested that we might want to try to see how it sounds with the two of them singing together. Wow! It was awesome. It's hard to decide though which way to do it. Each of them sounds beautiful and they sound beautiful together. Got some thinking to do. I think I have to stop calling it Nella Fantasia. We sing "In my fantasy" so that's what we should call it, right? I'm not sure. We reviewed the oohs for everyone

4. Seasons of Love: It's pretty awesome. I like the ending we made up, and continue to make up. Give an ending that makes sense to you. It will sound good. I think we might want to add some soprano to the tenor and alto lines, an octave up, in places where it's important.

In general, it's thinking time now. We've learned all our parts, and now we have to polish and clean up, and decide on the best interpretation of the music. We're on our way to the concert in good form. Well done, everyone!

Next week is Easter Monday  Happy Easter!
If you have family plans, please have fun and enjoy your evening and don't worry about choir. The rest of us will be working on our music and you'll be able to follow us when you get back. Check out the review and sing along with recordings on the website to review your music.
 Monday, April 2nd
6:30 Colors of the Wind

  • Crazy Little Thing
  • I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing
  • Why We Sing
  • Wonderful World
  • Seasons of Love

Sunday, March 25, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 19-Mar-2018

OMG! I didn't make a rehearsal review for this past Monday! I'm sorry. I've had a very busy and stressful week, and the next 2 weeks will also be unusually busy for me. Forgive me in advance, please, for letting things drop.

Man in the Mirror tried snaps and various combinations of solos and duets and ended up singing the parts as written. It was pretty good, but we're at odds with the accompaniment. Joy is going to see what she can do to help us out, possibly adding some quarter notes on the beats in the left hand to give us a better sense of the rhythm. We'll try it out tomorrow after Colours of the Wind.

1. Wonderful World was our warm-up again.
2. From a Distance is getting so good! We had Lauren and Trix do the solos to give Melinda and Jane a chance to get their Tenor parts good and strong. It was really very good.
3. Unity is getting better and better, and now we have Teija singing the first verse as a solo! Remember how I had only the sopranos on the first verse and I was asking for a sweet feel, like a Disney mouse? I had a sudden spark of inspiration and asked Teija to sing it. It's a bit more Disney princess than mouse, but it feels just the way I hoped it would. Please pay attention to the notes after the "here I am" parts, it's not the same as it was in the rest of the song. That whole page is the special part that leads to the ending, right?
4. Crazy Little Thing Called Love is so much fun! We're getting it! We reviewed the sassy harmonies in the soprano and alto lines, which are challenging, but good now. Joy is the one who really has the most difficult parts where she has the special instrumental solos.
5. Seasons of Love. We finished! And, we figured out a better ending. We're going to add "Seasons of Love" and you can harmonize as you wish. You all know what kind of ending note you usually get, and that will do fine. If we have 8-part harmony, even better.

Monday, March 26th
Colors of the Wind starts at 6:30!
Man in the Mirror will meet at 7:10 or so to try out the new accompaniment.

  • Hine Ma Tov
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • Let there be Peace on Earth
  • Nella Fantasia
  • Seasons of Love

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 12-Mar-2018

6:30 Man in the Mirror: continue to sing along with Michael as homework
Colours of the Wind small group will start soon. Sign up on the website.

1. Warm-up was You Raise Me Up. It's a good warm-up because the first 2 verses and choruses are all soft. Nice and easy. Hold back so that the audience is yearning to hear that chorus more and louder. After bar 29, remember not to get too soft at the middle of page 6; stay strong. We reviewed the tenor part at bar 24, and every time you sing "You raise me up" after "shoulders". It might not be what you've been singing. Notice the note for 'you' is higher than the note for 'raise'.

2. Seasons of Love was essentially a review of all that we've done up to now. Very few people remembered the parts from page 3 to 6. We found our back-up for Nicole! Trix did a great job on the solo on page 4. Remember that all the sopranos are on that melody at 62. We'll be working on this for the next few weeks; don't worry.

3. From a Distance: We are getting so good at this! We did it for the first time without our "training wheels". Joy didn't play at all, so we were a cappella, and we stayed in tune! We reviewed parts from 43 to 51.

4. One Small Step: I love this song! We do it so well, and I love Melodie's voice on the solo at the beginning. Blair did the second solo and the contrast was so good! Remember to come in fairly softly after those solos. It's got to be sweet at the beginning, 'small steps' that build into 'strong steps'. This song also has a lot of repetition of the chorus, so we have to be careful not to make them all the same. Hold back the first couple times.

Next week: March 19

6:30 Man in the Mirror

  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • From a Distance
  • Unity
  • Seasons of Love

Thursday, March 8, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 05-March-2018

March 5th Rehearsal:

6:30 Man in the Mirror homework: Listen and sing along with Michael Jackson to get more comfortable with the timing.

Warm-up: Dona Nobis Pacem, a round with movement- looked cool, but messy and sounded cool, but messy. It's not easy singing and moving.

1. Let There Be Peace on Earth: Finally learned section D, and now we're done! Just cleaning up now. It's sounding grand.

2. Crazy Little Thing: 43-49 and 60-71 be careful! I gotta be cool is very different both times. We're done with this now too, but we'll need to review page 10 again, and all the little edgy harmonies.

3. Imagine: We tried out some back-ups for Janet. It's good to know we have 3 people who could step up if necessary. Top of page 6 just before the key change, remember the timing changed and we're moving on beat one instead of just before.  And the end, remember the timing at the end. If the tenors are not strong enough on the last "be as one" we need to add the back row altos, right? Did we talk about that?

4. Nella Fantasia: Don't forget to move down on the oohs under the solo, but you're all back in your proper places for "within the deepest soul" at the pick-up to bar 20. We're just perfecting this now. It's so good!

5. Unity: We move the same way here, down a section, with first sopranos on top, seconds in the alto line, altos in tenor and tenors and basses on the bottom together for page 2. Altos sing the melody up an octave though. The speaking parts: "here I am" we need to decide on a back row soprano, Anne will do the alto, or someone mid-alto section, and a bass voice would be nice. Don't forget the together we're we timing and notes are different right after that, heading into the end.

Next week: March Break but not a break for us.
Monday, March 12th

6:30 Man in the Mirror

  • From a Distance
  • One Small Step
  • Seasons of Love
  • You Raise Me Up

Thursday, March 1, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 26-FEB-2018

6:30 Man in the Mirror Small Group started. We are sounding good, and have figured out (sort of) a good ending.

Monday, February 26th YRCC Rehearsal

1. Warm-up was a  move-and-sing with You Raise Me Up. It was wonderful! It felt good moving to that beautiful piece of music and it's amazing how well we know it without music, off-by-heart!!!

2. Let There Be Peace on Earth was going so well, we almost finished! Apparently, I forgot section D. Oh, dear! You sight-read it beautifully. The first sopranos are singing the descant part at the beginning, in the lines on top where it says 4 or 8** GIRLS. So far, we have Melodie, Mary-Ellen, and Nicole on top and the rest on the bottom. Everyone else is in the lower choir bracket, and everyone starts at the beginning except the first sopranos. The words we landed on are: "With Earth as our mother, her children all are we. Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony. "

3. Nella Fantasia is done! Well, we're done learning. Now, we just have to polish it. We reviewed pages 6 to 10, learned the oohs on pages 4 and 5, and even fixed the "Within the deepest soul" there. For the oohs, remember that the sopranos are down on the alto line, altos sing tenor, and tenors and basses are together on the bottom. But, at the pick-up to bar 20, you all slide into your regular places- all sopranos on top, altos, sing the same alto notes as you do in the end, tenors are jumping a bit but will sound awesome, and basses are happily on the bottom.

4. From a Distance is also done! We did 43 to the end. Now, we just review and polish until we can do it without Joy, a cappella. It's so beautiful! I love this song and this arrangement is really special.

Next Week:

6:30 Man in the Mirror

  • Crazy Little Thing (p 6-8)
  • Imagine (be as one- key change and end)
  • Let there be Peace on Earth (D)
  • Nella Fantasia
  • Unity