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, April 24, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 23-APR-2018

Our last rehearsal was excellent!
I'm really impressed and grateful to know that you worked on your choir songs! Well done!

The small groups: What the World, Colors of the Wind, Man in the Mirror were all excellent. I had been thinking of maybe setting up an extra rehearsal or two, but you folks really pulled through and sounded ready to perform.

1. Dona Nobis Pacem: To add an extra element of meaning, we will sing once through as written, and then we'll sing through to bar 25 in unison, everyone singing on the top line the whole way through. Watch me for dynamics.

2. Why We Sing: Debbie and Stanley, Peggy and Blair are the quartet. Remember to look at each  other and blend your voices when you're singing together. We need to rehearse where you're standing and how to get to the mics and back. This is our big finale and it's very dramatic. Watch your dynamics! Start soft and don't get loud too soon. We need room to go ff -double forte, fortissimo, at the end. Feel the words. In particular, on page 8 look at "tear down a wall". Give those accents real power. Think of Trump's wall or the Berlin wall and tear it down.

3. Let there Be Peace: First sopranos, you've been practising. Thank you! This piece is also an end piece and needs to have drama. Watch your dynamics. Start soft and end really, really big!

4. From a Distance: It's a difficult thing to sing soprano and then switch to tenor, but Melinda pulls it off. Lauren will be her partner. Melinda and Lauren, you need to run through you sections together to get the blending happening, and if possible you should stand together. I'm thinking you can stay in place so that Melinda doesn't have to leave the tenor section. Help me to plan the logistics of that. I was truly impressed with how well this piece came together. I love how you watch me at the beginning and at the ending with the oohs and aahs. I tried the beginning straight up and the ending different and it sounded really cool. Keep watching throughout but especially at the end, as usual.

5. Crazy Little Thing Called Love: Fun is the key here. Don't stress it. If you and/or your neighbour mess up the harmonies, don't stress it, but smile and keep singing. Chances are, you're singing the melody by mistake, and that's no big deal. We want this to lift people's spirits and maybe make them laugh. It's crazy and cute and we sing it in our own way. Don't stress the timing. We're all together and that's the important thing.

6. Seasons of Love: After we reviewed all the parts at bar 21, starting at 20 and then starting back at 17, it was smooth sailing. If you weren't there, that's the section to review, please. Getting those notes at 21 is key. It's such a cool song and Nicole does an amazing solo. Don't forget to watch at the end for the extra "seasons of love".

7. Nella Fantasia: Mary-Ellen will do the solo. At the next verse, all the tenors and basses sing that "solo". Take note: the ending is better and more dramatic when we slow down and get quieter starting at that long, awkward note in bar 49 at the top of page 10. The "ending" starts here so start watching here.

Wow! We got through a lot! I'm so glad! I was a little worried when we had to miss last week's rehearsal, but I feel much better now.

We didn't sing Wonderful World, Unity, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing, Hine Ma Tov, Imagine, One Small Step, or You Raise Me Up. Next week, we'll be sure to run through Unity with Teija, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing with Sophie and Cathy, Imagine with Janet, and One Small Step with Melodie, so you can see where it's best to stand how to go to the mic and how to go back.

Next week, Monday, April 30th: Run-through rehearsal at Trinity
Small groups and soloists come early starting at 6:00 (Creatures first, and see calendar for suggested times for the others)
Everyone else be there by 7:15

Everyone should have the concert order. If not, get it from the website. Put your binders in concert order so that we can transition from song to song smoothly. Maybe get sticky notes to mark the first song of a set so you can open your binder quickly to the right page each time.

Get your friends and family booked. Buy their tickets in pairs to save $5.

Seniors' home performances:
The seniors' home tour starts immediately after the concert, on Monday night. The following Monday, May 14th, we will meet after the seniors' home performance to rehearse the 2 Police Choir songs from 8:30-9:30. We will do that on May 28th as well. It will be on the calendar.

Don't forget to sign up for the seniors' home performances on the website.

Don't forget to return your binder before Canada Day! All binders must be returned to Lyn before Canada Day. All music will be removed from your binder and filed in filing cabinets, along with the other 65 copies. All binders will be filled with Christmas season music for the first rehearsal in September.

Take care of your health over the next week and a half!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 09-APR-2018

6:30 What the World Needs Now
7:00 Colors of the Wind
Break: Melinda and Todd
Late: Todd

Warm-up: One Small Step -almost perfect. One comment Tenors and Basses at bar 57, make it strong- it's an important transition moment and you carry it.

1. Unity: still trying to get a good balance on the second page. Tried Teija's solo a cappella, with a run to her note in the beginning and just before everyone comes in. I love her voice! We have to be sure not to get heavy on page 2. Yes, the meaning is strong, but we still want to maintain a sweetness. In keeping with the Disney princess and/or mouse feel, we need the first sopranos to be light and sweet like Snow White on the high part. You cannot overpower the melody in the alto line.

2. I'd Like to Teach: We tried out various pairs of soloists and ended up with Sophie on part 1 and Cathy on part 2. (Sophie had a cool story about her personal connection to the words she's going to sing. Ask her about it.) Melodie would be a good back-up on either part to blend with either of those two. The most important thing on this song, for the soloists and for all of us, is to remember to hold those long notes all the way to the end without cutting out or diminishing the volume.

3. Imagine: Yes! I love this song! Janet's solo is perfect and we're close. We've got to be consistently good on our timing, especially at the end (soprano and tenor-bass special bits) and bar 42 (don't come in early!). We often get it perfect, but not always.

4. Nella Fantasia: Gorgeous! We tried it with just Mary-Ellen on the first solo again, and tried Todd on a solo at the tenor-bass melody part. I think we'll keep Mary-Ellen on the first and have tenors and basses together as written. We reviewed the oohs again. Please use the recordings on the website to review you parts if you're feeling unsure.

5. Seasons of Love: This song always makes me feel happy, a great way to end the evening! We still have to work on bar 21. Somehow it is hard and we can't find our notes there. 

Next Week: Monday, April 16th
****Posters and tickets will be ready!
You can book your friends and family now: Sunday, May 6th 3:00

6:30 What the World Needs Now 
7:00 Colors of the Wind 
Break: Man in the Mirror (please sing along with YouTube as much as possible)

  • Crazy Little Thing
  • From a Distance
  • Let There be Peace
  • Seasons of Love
  • Why We Sing

Thursday, April 5, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 2-APR-2018

Monday, April 2nd (Easter Monday)
6:30 Colors of the Wind small group
Break time: Stanley and Mona
After choir: All God's Creatures

Warm-up Wonderful World
1. I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing: Duet to start, which goes up to bar 40. The important thing throughout this piece is to observe rests carefully. When there's a rest, you rest. Wherever there isn't a rest, you're singing, you're holding those notes all the way through to the next note. This is very important for the duet section. We tried out a bunch of different pairs, and I'm still looking for the right combination. Let me know if you want to try it next week.
2. Seasons of Love: We should be good to sing this as written, as long as the tenors and altos are good and strong in their parts, and as long as the sopranos get their notes confidently and with a balanced strength. The ending is sounding good!
3. Crazy Little Thing Called Love: We're getting it! We'll keep imagining our sassy panties and we won't be too stressed out if we or our neighbours sing the melody by mistake. Here too it is important to observe the rests. Watch out for holding notes where they're short and cutting off where they should be held.
Thank you, Sophie, for the Easter treats. I have to be careful with jelly beans; I was so wound-up after break! It was lots of fun, though, and I needed to release some stress. Thanks for putting up with my crazy moods :-) I love my choir!

Next week: Monday, April 9
6:30 What the World Needs Now
7:00 Colours of the Wind
Break time: Todd and Melinda
After choir: All God's Creatures

  • I'd Like To Teach
  • Imagine
  • Nella Fantasia
  • Unity
  • Seasons of Love