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, October 25, 2018


Sorry I missed last Monday's rehearsal!
I hear it went well.
Thanks, Lauren, Anne Marie and Joy!
I hadn't posted my review for the previous week yet, so there were questions about who is singing what in the Twelve Days After Christmas and I'll clear up Let there be peace on earth as well.

Let there Be Peace on Earth: Mary-Ellen will start by singing sections A, B, C, and D as a solo, with Robin (soprano) playing the descant part on the flute. What I refer to as the descant part is the top choir bracket, where it indicates 4 or 8 girls and 4 or 8 boys. We will all go back to the beginning, with the first sopranos singing only the top (top of treble clef) part of the descant and all the rest of us on the bottom choir bracket as usual, SATB, for A,B,C and D. The flute will continue to play with the first sopranos. At E, it's softer, SATB, and dramatic with crescendos and decrescendos. At F, the drama intensifies. Very soft but quickly getting loud so that "peace eternally" is quite loud. Don't give it everything yet, though, because the ending is ff, double forte. We are not singing the optional quiet ending. In the second system on page 6, tenors and basses can all sing the quarter notes in that third bar, so that begin has 3 beats, like the second sopranos. The tenor clef is so annoying!
Twelve Days After Christmas: Mostly little solos. A: Carol (back-up ?) B: all come in at "my true love" very soft. C: Debbie (back-up ?) and everyone comes in again at "my true love" softly. D: Trix (back up Joanne?) with tenors and basses singing ooos. E: Robin (soprano, back-up Roxanne?) with tenors and basses. D and E soloists sing the du-ba section with Peggy W on melody at F? Everyone is in at G SATB getting louder at "my true love". Everyone is in until the end, with me on the spoken solo on page 11.
Grown-up Christmas List: review the key change. But, don't stress. We'll continue to work on it over the next month or so.
Welcome Christmas: we had a good start. Learned from 27 to 44, and looked at most of the rest. Sopranos note that there are optional notes for the seconds to sing in a couple of places. Use them if those notes are too screechy.
Do You Hear What I Hear: love it! Sopranos and Altos have to remember when they don't have the melody-hint, C. We'll review that. We'll review the oohs.
Fa-La-La: Fun!!! We will work on the transitions between songs.

Next Monday, October 29th
Angels Among Us is meeting early 6:30

-Various Themes on Fa-la-la
-Twelve Days After
-Welcome Christmas
-Hine Ma Tov

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal 08OCT2018

Thank you to all who came out on Thanksgiving Monday! We had a great rehearsal, and the best part is that we ended on a surprise, singing Do You Hear What I Hear! It was really good, and that's a hard arrangement.
We rehearsed all of our songs for Saturday and I think we're in really good shape.

For Saturday:
Arrive in good time to find parking, find our room to put away our uniforms, and figure out where to meet at 2:00. So, let's say 1:30 or 1:45 at the latest.
The schedule is posted on the calendar. But, briefly, it is:

1:30 aim to be there
2:00 mass choir gathering
2:15-2:40 YRCC sound check and rehearsal
4:20-5:30 Mass Choir rehearsal
5:30-6:30 Supper and get dressed
6:30 Pictures taken on stage
7:00 Doors open
7:30 Concert Starts
8:30 Intermission
8:45 return from intermission
10:00 approx end (What a long day!)

Plan to rest on October 14!

Next week, 15-OCT-2018
YRCC rehearsal is ours alone :-) We can spend all of our time on our concert preparation.

6:30 Adeste Fidelis Small Group
7:00 Angels Among Us Small Group

  • Peace on This Silent Night
  • Let There Be Peace on Earth
  • My Grown-up Christmas List
  • Welcome Christmas

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

YRCC Rehearsal Review 01-OCT-2018

6:30 Small Group Adeste Fidelis quickly learned the whole thing! Next time we meet, we'll just go over the Latin and figure out how many verses we want to sing.

Warm-ups were playing with our straws! I love my choir! Several people brought packages of straws to share. You people are wonderful! If you haven't watched the video, do so. And, try out the various exercises. You can search YouTube for even more. Have fun!

1. Why We Sing: It's beautiful and we could perform it as is, but we'll try to get it as close to perfect as possible. We had to review the last couple pages. There were timing issues on the bottom of page 10. If you weren't there, please review your part there. Also, at the top of 11. "This is why" is actually thiii-siz-why. Don't leave any space between this and is. When you do, then we end up hissing: this-s-is-iz-why. Remember on pages 5 and 6 to hold those whole notes all trough the bar, overlapping with the other part: for example, the soprano/alto "Soothe a soul" goes all the way to the end of the bar, not stopping when the tenor/bass "Soothe a soul" starts but after they've said all the words. We'll review it again.

2. 4 Strong Winds: We reviewed the doo-doos and the part that comes after again. We've got it! Watch me for the tempo fluctuations. Tenors and Basses have the melody quite a bit in this piece. Remember to sing softly, Sopranos and Altos, so that we can hear their part. Section A, B, and D are theirs. I also need to hear more of the Bass line in E. It's really cool. This song is stuck in my head!

3. Go Now in Peace: Easy-peasy, especially with the short ending. Remember to sing "Know God will guide you". It's inclusive

4. Peace On This Silent Night: New piece from our archives. Only a very small number of people know this one. It's not difficult and very charming. It's 2 parts: Soprano on top and Alto, Tenor and Bass on the bottom. Tenor/Bass starts alone at 11. Soprano alone comes in at 19. then everyone at 23, softly with a crescendo to the F at 27. At 91, Silent Night starts. It's cool!

5. Grown-Up Christmas List: Totally new this year, but we've already had one look at parts starting at 15. It's such a pretty song and with such a good message. We are so good at sight-reading! The only part that gave us trouble is the bridge to the key change (26-31). We'll learn it in no time.

After the October 13th concert, we'll be able to focus on preparing for our December 2nd concert.
We did a fair bit of talking about the schedule for October 13th.
Key moments:
2:00 Gathering at the RHCPA followed immediately by our group's rehearsal time
4:20 Mass Choir rehearsal
5:30 dinner 
6:30 group photo in uniform on stage (formal concert uniform, please)
7:00 Doors Open
7:30 Concert starts

Next Week is Thanksgiving Monday and we will rehearse from 7:30-9:30. 
There will be no small groups. 
Concert run-through and last-minute clean-up, polishing. 

If we don't see you Monday night, Happy Thanksgiving!