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!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

YRCC vocal exercise

Bring a straw to choir next week, Monday, October 1st!

YRCC Rehearsal 24-SEP-2018

6:45 Small Group Let's Keep Christmas in our Hearts finished! Awesome job, everyone!

We talked about warming up with straws and I promised a video. Will post next.

We had a yummy breaktime with coffee and treats. Everyone wants Cheryl's recipe!

We talked about solos and small groups, about our theme (heavenly peace, grown-up wishes- the meaning of Christmas, and ties to our past through traditional songs, languages. Come forward if you have something you want. A few people have already let me know and I'll choose soon! We also talked a bit about the spring theme so that you can start planning now. Love! Our anchor song is "Put a Little Love in Your Heart". "... and the world will be a better place for you and me..." We'll talk about how if Beauty can learn to love the Beast and if star-crossed lovers happen, then we can love the people across the walls, across the world, across the street, and... music helps!

We talked about October 13! And December 2nd! book your families and friends!

1. Hallelujah: It's so good! Joy and I get to lead Hallelujah at the Police concert!!! YAY! We will do it a little different. The first solo will be sung by all the men and the second by all the women. Our women who sing Tenor can choose where they want to sing, wherever they feel most comfortable.
2. Imagine: So, so good! Joy and I were both thrilled that there were no early entries.
3. 4 Strong Winds: Strong! The doo-doos are very good, and the next part is amazing!!! Tenor and Bass solo part is excellent. Remember the timing is a bit tricky there. Everyone needs to remember that the beginning is all about the bass line. Sopranos and altos are softer, as they don't have melody there.

Did we really only do 3 songs?!

Next week:

6:30 Small group: Adeste Fidelis/O Come All Ye Faithful in 4 parts

  • 4 Strong Winds
  • Why We Sing
  • Go Now In Peace
  • Grownup Christmas List

Friday, September 21, 2018

Siyahamba pronuciation guide

YRCC rehearsal 17-SEP-2018

The first small group met at 6:30 and almost completely finished their song!
Let's Keep Christmas in our Hearts perfectly expresses our theme.

If you have a solo or duet you'd like to do, let me know asap. The theme is peace, heavenly peace, the true meaning of Christmas, and connecting with our heritage/ancestors through music at the holidays.

Warm-ups included Maybe my mummy will go to Miami and maybe my mummy will not :-)

We welcomed a bunch of new folk to choir!
1. Siyahamba is coming together nicely. I spoke to the YRPMC director and they do all 4 endings, and end in English. Instead of doing 2 and 2, they alternate languages.
2. Mansions of the Lord is awesome, and a very sticky melody, stuck in my head for days. We spend some time reviewing the tenor and alto parts, and pointed out the little mistake we made at first (and on the recordings) in the alto and soprano lines where the notes seem to be the opposite of what you'd expect, but actually give the melody to soprano where it belongs.
3. They All Call it Canada: We reviewed the tricky bit at pages 10 and 11. It was very good!
4. 4 Strong Winds: We reviewed the doo-doo part. Very good!
5. We started Grown Up Christmas List. I recommend you move it to right after Go Now in Peace, so that it's in alphabetical order. Some people couldn't find it, but it's just out of order. We sang through once to get an idea of what the arrangement is like. There's a repeat, but it's not too tricky. Sing to page 5, then return to page 2 at the sign. Next time you're at page 5, go down to the Coda on the word "list". There's a bridge, then a key change to the end. We learned parts starting at bar 15. It was great!

Next week:
6:45 Let's Keep Christmas in our Hearts

  • 4 Strong Winds
  • Imagine
  • Hallelujah
  • Grown Up List
  • Peace on This Silent Night

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 10-SEPT-2018

MONDAY 10-SEP-2018
Registration went smoothly as usual. Thank you to Carol and Debbie, our registrars!

We had a very successful first day back. We had to do quite a bit of talking but got lots of singing done anyway.

We talked about the upcoming concert on Oct. 13. There will be more details coming. We got a poster from the Police Chorus and a schedule for Oct. 13. We're scheduled to rehearse first early in the afternoon, and then later in the afternoon we have mass choir rehearsals, and then it starts at 7:30. We'll get tickets to sell soon. They're $15. You'll have all the info soon.

Talked about our theme and solos and small groups. Heavenly Peace/ Peace on Earth/ Grown-up wishes and also the links to past traditions through song- Latin, Hebrew, ancient Who...
The first small group starts next Monday. Let's Keep Christmas in our Hearts. It's a song about how we should think about peace on Earth and kindness and joy all the time. Sign up today!

We sang through all the songs for the 13th, except O Canada:
1. Why We Sing (awesome. we all sang the solos for fun)
2. They All Call it Canada (strong, but we need a bit of work in that one part)
3. Four Strong Winds (better than I expected. we'll work on it)
4. Imagine (super except for that one spot and we all sang the solo)
5. Siyahamba (so good. we reviewed and learned quickly. need to know how many reps)
6. Mansions of the Lord (we reviewed and learned this quickly too. feels too short.)
7. Go Now in Peace (nice! we need to ask about the ending)
8. Hallelujah (always awesome. we all sang the solos. need to find out about solos)

Next week: Let's talk about seating to prepare for our performances.
Monday 17-Sep-2018
6:30 Let's Keep Christmas Small Group

  • They All Call it Canada- that one part
  • Mansions of the Lord-review
  • Siyahamba- review
  • 4 Strong Winds- that one part and/or polish it up
  • Grown-up Christmas- intro
  • Peace on this Silent Night- intro

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

YRCC 2018/2019 Year Starts Sept.10

Monday, September 10th
Winter 2018
Heavenly Peace, Peace on Earth, Grown-up Christmas Wish
Holiday songs connect us to each other, and to our ancestors.
It's been a long, hot summer.
It's time to start preparing for our winter concert.


YRCC Leadership 2018-2019

York Region Community Choir 
Leadership for the 2018/2019 Choir Year:

The YRCC is kept running by a dedicated group of volunteers who are elected every year at our Annual General Meeting (AGM). The Executive works together with the Director and Accompanist, and the Reading Committee, to choose music, decide when and where we sing, and make sure people are there to sing and to hear us sing, and take care of our equipment, finances, website and music library. The Executive is elected and the Reading Committee, Conductor and Accompanist are appointed. The Executive is now officially called the Board of Directors since we are incorporated, but we can still use the name Executive. Some of the former executive positions are not board positions, and that's just the choice of the people holding the position. 

Our President is Lauren Solar (laurensolar@gmail.com). This is Lauren's sixth year as President. Lauren is responsible for everything happening. 

Our Vice-President is Jane Griffiths (jane.griffiths@rogers.com). Jane's role is to help Lauren and anyone else on the executive when they need a hand. She's a fundraising superhero.  

Daphne Young (youngdc@rogers.com) is our Public Relations ChairIf you need to contact us regarding advertising, or to book us for a concert, or just need some information, contact Daphne. The PR role is to keep us connected to the community. 

Karen Andrews (karenc.andrews@sympatico.ca) is our Secretary/Treasurer.
If you want to write us a cheque, make it out to York Region Community Choir, and Karen will put it in our account. We accept cash too. Karen will keep our paperwork in order, creating and maintaining records like the minutes of our meetings and accounting stuff. Michele Horton supports Karen and will continue to represent us when we share condolences and congratulations. 

Trix Verge (trix.verge@gmail.com) is our Webmaster and former Music Librarian. She had our music collection in her basement for years and her organizational skills and patient dedication served us well in our greatest period of growth. Trix is the one to go to for help using the website, and she makes sure that it's functioning properly. Trix has magical computer skills, and could probably herd cats.

Peggy Keall (peggy@yorku.ca)  recently took over the Music Librarian role from Lyn!  Thank you, Peggy! She now has several filing cabinets full of music in her house, along with tables and a printer, and she makes sure we all have music to sing every Monday, and has extra binders made up for guests, or people who are checking us out. If you have a binder of music that belongs to us and want to know how to get it back to us, contact Peggy! 

Carol Ford and Debbie Hood are the Registrars. They make sure the membership list is up-to-date and coordinate registration in September. They will be calling you if you're on the waiting list. Debbie had our coffee (and tea) equipment and supplies in her basement for many years, and together with Carol took care of our refreshment needs, but Sophie has graciously taken over that responsibility.

Teija Cumming and Elizabeth Steele are the Reading Committee. They help choose new music and order it from the publishers, shopping in person and on line. They are chosen for their ability to read music and knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses. 

Renate Naghavi (That's me.) is the Conductor/Musical Director of the YRCC. The Musical Director chooses a theme and selects music for each season, with the help of the Executive and the Reading Committee, and with input from the Accompanist and plans the concerts and performances. The Musical Director teaches the music with the help of the Accompanist, and leads the choir in performances. I conduct with a baton :-)

Anne Marie Vandekemp has been the Assistant Director, officially and unofficially for at least a decade. Since she is one of the original members of the choir, Anne Marie is consulted on everything from music to venues and managing member politics. Anne Marie leads the small group rehearsals. 

Joy Zhang is our Accompanist. She is a talented pianist who helps Renate teach the music and accompanies the choir in rehearsal and in performances.