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!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Ready, Set, Go! Prepare for tomorrow's concert. Giving our Hearts Dec.1, 2019

Our concert tomorrow is going to be another "best ever".
You are all so good!
And, we'll be giving all we can, our hearts.
That's got to be good.
The songs are excellent and the choir sounds better every year.
You might be nervous or even a little frightened about performing tomorrow.
Use that adrenaline by thinking "excited" instead of nervous.
I'm super excited!!!

I had some good advice for preparing for a performance a few years back.
Read this old post about performing.

Line up all the little things- clothes, shoes, binders, baking- and prepare your bodies by sleeping well and eating well, keeping hydrated, and all the work we've been doing since September will fall into place.

If you are so inclined, pray. Pray for the snow/ special weather that they're calling for will not result in dangerous driving conditions. No ice pellets and slippery roads, please! Snow would be okay, but not too much.

If the weather is bad, consider car pooling with someone who has snow tires and is happy to drive. Take a cab, maybe? If you're driving, please be careful and leave extra time. Walk carefully and maybe bring extra shoes? Be prepared. Be safe. We need you, but we need you to be safe.

Take good care of yourself- you belong to me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Another article about music and well-being. YRCC members know the power of music

Here's another article about how healthy music is!
Click here.

Doctors Now Prescribing Music Therapy for Heart Ailments, Brain Dysfunction, Learning Disabilities, Depression, PTSD, Alzheimers, Childhood Development and More

This is a brief review of a bunch of some of the things that people have studied relating music to well-being.

I think that those of us who already use music as a kind of therapy (Monday night therapy at YRCC) will find these really obvious, but it's nice to have scientific support for stuff we believe, right?

Try to google music is medicine, or music therapy, or health benefits of singing, and you can read all day about the cool things that people do with music.

YRCC Rehearsal Review Monday, November 18th, 2019

I'm very pleased with this last rehearsal. I admit that I was worried about a couple things, but you all did an amazing job catching up and sprinting into the finish!

Small Groups In the Bleak Midwinter and We Need a Little Christmas were impressive!

1.We started with the 2 sing-alongs, Jingle Bells and Winter Wonderland. The thing to remember with this is to smile and enjoy these so that the Audience follows you and they enjoy themselves too. You can move a little and harmonize wherever you can and look like you're having fun. That's it.  We'll have lyrics printed in an insert in the program.

2. Somewhere a Child is Sleeping is going to be so good! At the beginning, Robyn will join the piano solo on the piano melody before Mary-Ellen starts singing. When we go back to the beginning at the repeat, Robyn will play the melody, and then she'll continue to play the melody throughout with the choir. It will be so pretty and such a wonderful change from the last time! Thank you, Robyn, for creating this new YRCC arrangement! I love it!

3. All I Want for Christmas is YOU! I love my choir! This has turned out so good! Some people are even suggesting we add some actions, choreography. Don't worry. We won't this time. (maybe next time a small group can do it with choreography?)
We reviewed a couple of key spots before we sang and it helped. Review them at home so you're ready:
The beginning- we took away the Ahhs! So you can now sigh with relief, aaaahhhhh.
Bar 43: the tenor/bass melody. soprano and alto are soft on the wah so we can hear the melody.
pages 8, 9, 10.

4. Your Song is also excellent! We reviewed the sections at 36 and 87 and going into the Coda, and it helped. It's now performance ready!

5. Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow is also ready! We worked on dynamics again. Remember to sing soft and sweet except for the Let it Snow parts, and in the waltz time (3/4) sing soft, sweet, and sexy! We imagined ourselves in sparkly (yet comfortable) low-cut gowns reclining on pianos wearing high heels and possibly smoking (pretend, prop) cigarettes. Smoky, sultry jazz. It's going to be so much fun!

We have worked hard on all of these new pieces. We deserved our cookies and squares and crackers and cheese at breaktime. Thank you to Lynn and Liz and Chris and Debbie for arranging all that!

Thank you to Jane for doing the Poinsettia fundraiser again!
Thank you to Roxanne and Michele and Lauren and anyone else working on tickets to get us the early bird discount!
Harry will be there next week to sell last-minute $15 tickets from 6:00 to 7:15. After that, we'll be singing. After that, tickets will be $20 at the door.

Next week: November 25th, run-through rehearsal in the sanctuary.
Arrive on Monday with your binders in order. (go to the website, sign in, and under Members, click on Winter Concert Order. There's a link to a printable page if you need one.)
6:00 to 7:15 small groups and soloists will sing with microphones and working on staging.
7:15 START please come early so that we can get in position and warm up and start the program at  7:30.
We might go late so plan to be there until 10:00. If we finish closer to 9:30, then that will be a bonus.

I suggest Stanley and Mona and Blair and Marlene should go first. Then, Tab, Patricia, Randomnotes, Nothing More Trio, and finally the small groups. But, we'll see who's there and go with what makes sense when we get there.

YRCC 2019 Winter Concert Order is up on the Website

YRCC, you can now find the concert order on the website under "Members" in "Winter Concert Order". Please have your binders in order for next week's run-through.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 11-NOV-2019

Snowstorms should not be allowed on Mondays.
It was such a messy night, such a slow and slippery drive, but a good number of us bravely made the trip to choir.

In the Bleak Midwinter was unbalanced so we'll meet again next Monday.
1. You'll Never Walk Alone was awesome! A bunch of us didn't have music so we shared and some of us didn't have music, but it appears that we've just about memorized this one! So good!
2. All I Want for Christmas was so good! I was a little worried about this one, but we're going to be just fine. We reviewed the ahhs under the solo at the beginning, and we'll do it again next week. We had it, but it's still kind of new. We spent time on the part at 43, the tenor and bass line is not familiar and the timing is tricky. Tenors and Basses, please review this if you have a few minutes this week.
We also spent time on page 8, especially "won't you please bring my baby to me-e-e-e-oh-o" in the soprano line. Page 10, bars 73-81 needed some help, so review that please, everyone.
Check out the energy in this video:

3. Let it Snow is also not so scary anymore! Sounding good! We paid attention to dynamics and it was good! Middle of page 4, bar 30, mark this soft, sopranos and altos. We need to hear the tenors and basses. Bottom of page 6 same thing, soft so when the tenors and basses come in we can hear them and when they have the melody at 62, the volume should not suddenly drop. Page 8 soft but getting louder at 78 and loud on let it snow. Soft at 86 and softer at "how I hate going out in the storm". The tenor and bass part there is so beautiful! Some inspiration:

Next week: Monday, November 18th
6:30 In the Bleak Midwinter- please altos and tenors and basses come.
7:00 We need a little Christmas
We will have a social time at coffee break.
This is our last learning rehearsal. November 25th, we're upstairs for the run-through. 
Let me know if there's something you need to learn. 
Buy tickets and order poinsettias! You can pay by Visa, cheque, or cash. 
  • Higher and Higher
  • O Holy Night
  • All I Want for Christmas
  • Let it Snow
  • Your Song

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal Review 04-Nov-2019

We're getting there! Less than a month now.
Small group, Evening Prayer is ready. So pretty!
Warm-ups included stress points and a little clapping and stepping (almost dancing) with singing thanks to Catalina who spontaneously started playing a song which many of us started to sing along to and I can't remember which song (so frustrating to not be able to remember!) We sang and moved beautifully and easily. It feels good and it's supposed to be very good for you to sing and dance at the same time. We should do it more often.
1. Little Tree is ready. My favourite. Remember to get good and loud at the F (I'll dress you up) and watch at I'll give them all to you as we slow down and get softer. Review those two I'll give them all to yous if you weren't there, and maybe if you were too. Those words must be clear and obviously important.
2. Somewhere a Child is Sleeping is ready. Mary-Ellen will sing the solo again. Cathy will be the back-up. It's beautiful and easy. Maybe Robyn will think of something to give us on flute at the beginning and/or middle (repeat)?

3. All I Want for Christmas is almost there! We learned the oohs at the beginning and the ending from 73. I think we have a little bit in the middle missing still, but it's sounding really good. Please listen to the recording of the choir singing it here below. Sing along. Get a feel for the swing of the piece. We tried soloists Lauren and Melinda and next week we'll hear Todd on the solo.

4. Let it Snow is almost ready! Again, you can rehearse at home by singing along with a video.
Here is a good one:

5. Your Song is almost ready! Here's a video to sing along with:
Some spots to watch out for are: the timing of the sections at bar 36 and 87

Next week, small groups:
6:30 We Need a Little Christmas
6:50 In the Bleak Midwinter
Break: Stanley and Mona

Be prepared to buy tickets and order poinsettias! We can now pay by credit card with Square.
People ordering tickets by phone can pay by credit card only. How cool is that?!

We're having coffee at break with goodies. Leave room for dessert.
  • You'll Never Walk Alone
  • Button Up Your Overcoat
  • Let it Snow
  • All I want for Christmas

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal Review 28-OCT-2019

6:30 Randomnotez Quartet rehearsal

Warm-ups were brief with a quick physical warm-up to release the stress of our day, and then some vocal exercises starting with low notes.

1. Magic of Winter: A perfect warm-up song! Only, we're still far away from winter, right? I love using this song for the beginning of seniors' residence visits. Make sure to sign up to sing for seniors this season. We've added a Thursday afternoon to sing at the home where Enid is staying.

2. Your Song: We learned the ending, the Coda, from page 10 to the end, and sang the whole thing all the way through. Here's an inspiring performance to listen to.

3. Let it Snow: We did the ending of this one too, starting at the return to 4/4 time at 104. We got to the end, but ran out of energy to go back and put it all together. We're almost done!
Here's a link to the recording with the music to follow along with. And, here's another with an inspiring performance. Don't forget to listen to your part on our website to really get it in your head.

4. All I Want for Christmas: We reviewed the beginning and started the new section at 43. We noticed that (or, Teija pointed out that) we were singing everything in straight quarter notes. There are two things to look out for:
    1. notes that don't fall on the beat, like the ones in bar 16.
    2. notation that tells us to swing, like at bar 11. Oh, my! We're supposed to swing the whole song.
Here's some inspiration: a video of young choir rocking this arrangement.

You can start getting your friends and family to set aside the date, Sunday, December 1st for your concert. We sing from 3-5, so you could plan an evening get-together for after at a local restaurant or bar maybe. Or, invite everyone over for hot chocolate and pizza after?
We've got a poster almost ready, and you're going to love it.

Next week: Monday, November 4th
6:30 Evening Prayer small group
Break time: Blair and Marlene The Prayer ( it's a theme?)

  • All I Want For Christmas
  • Let it Snow
  • Somewhere A Child is Sleeping
  • Your Song
  • Little Tree

YRCC Straw warm-ups

I keep forgetting that I told you I'd post links to YouTube videos of straw exercises so that you can do them at home.
I love how we hummed O Canada through our straws on election night. It was so good! And, I have to admit it wasn't entirely my idea. In his video, link here, Ingo Titze recommends the American National Anthem. My timing was pretty perfect though, I must say.
You'll notice that there are lots of straw videos. Ingo Titze seems to be the guru of this practice.
Here's another straw video. Vocal chord strain for singers is the theme here.
This one starts with blowing bubbles in a glass with your straw. Fun!
Have fun and keep bringing your straw to choir on Mondays!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal Review 21-OCT-2019

6:30 In the Bleak Midwinter
Warm-ups straw exercise including O Canada (for election night)
1. All I Want For Christmas: We got pretty far! We sang from 15 to the end of the repeat 42 and we repeated! Sopranos and altos, take note: in bar 35 the altos divide with the G# going to the front row and the E going to the back row. Middle row can choose up or down.
I have 2 people interested in the solo at the beginning. Let me know if you want to be considered. There's a really low note and a really high note so you've got to feel comfortable in quite a range. Give it a try at home and see what you think.
2. Let it Snow: We did the beginning. "Let it cover the night with a blanket of white. Let it snow!" It's fun to slide down. It's written as a one beat slide, but we might slide a little longer. We'll see. Sopranos divide and the second soprano part is pretty hard. Now all we have to do is learn the ending, and sing it again and again until we get it. Tab's recordings will help!
3. Your Song: We did great! Now all we have to do is learn the ending. Yay!

Next Week: Monday, October 28th
6:30 The Randomnotez quartet will rehearse

  • All I Want for Christmas
  • Let is Snow
  • Magic of Winter/ Little Tree
  • Your Song

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

YRCC Let it Snow recordings

If you didn't know what a treasure Tab (alto) is, then now you will.
Tab has recorded parts for Let it Snow for us!
Go to the website or click here. (you'll need to sign in)
This is so wonderful!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 30SEP19 and 07OCT19

I'll start with what happened after break yesterday.

But, first, I have to express my love for my choir. I LOVE MY CHOIR! I'm ever, always, grateful for this beautiful community we have, and the times we share, of art and life and feelings and emotions that we express in very big inclusive ways sometimes and sometimes in very personal ways. The music surrounds us and we are the music, so we are surrounded by beautiful people every Monday. We have shared joy and we've shared sorrow.

Yesterday was one of the saddest Mondays, maybe the saddest, ever. It was bad, but good to have our beautiful friends at our sides and all around.

Lauren made an announcement, sad news from a choir member who's planning for us to sing at her funeral. We're going to put Wintersong on the shelf, maybe to pick it up next year. We're going to add You'll Never Walk Alone, Higher and Higher, and Hallelujah to this season. Our friend is very private, so I won't write much here. Please contact Lauren for the few details we are able to share.

Our community is so beautiful that we have some special folks who stood up yesterday and said, "Come to me, if you need to talk. This is what I do." Cheryl (sop) is a social worker and she offered herself to help you, or if you prefer, to recommend someone else to help. Carol (alto) is a palliative care nurse, and she offered the same. Then Pat Richards (sop) came forward too. She works at Hope House in Aurora. Grief is a tricky thing. Singing at a funeral is a gift, an honour, but hard.

Some of us sang after break, and singing was what we needed and being together was what we needed. Going home was better for others, what they needed. Let's respect our friends and the different ways we take care of our selves. Please take care of yourself throughout this season and do lean on us- we'll hold each other up.

I'm sorry I missed last week's rehearsal. I had such a bad cold! I'm still feeling unwell. Anne-Marie was also sick. Lauren was sick but well enough to lead you, along with helpers Melinda and Jane, and Catalina of course.

Monday, September 30th (Evening Prayer met at 6:45)

  1. You Raise Me Up was part of the warm-up. Mmmm good.
  2. Let it Snow: 39-86, the 3/4 section.
  3. My Grown-up Christmas List: discovered the coda needs work
  4. Winter Song: mixing the new arrangement with the one we have is confusing. We can hand this back to Peggy starting next week. It's going to be hard next year too, but maybe I'll re-write the whole thing over the summer so that it's all in one piece.
  5. Your Song: coda needed some work here too. 

Monday, October 7th (In the Bleak Midwinter met at 6:30)
1. My Grown-up Christmas List: We relearned the coda and then put it all together. It was great!
2. Let it Snow: We did the whole 3/4 section from 53-102! We will need to do it again and next time we'll try to sing the swing and straight sections with a marked difference. We sang from 15 to 102 and it's getting pretty good. If you have some time, listen to this choir sing and follow along with your music. This video is actually the sheet music, so it's right there. Peter hasn't been able to record the parts and now he's out of the country, so please try to sing with these videos to help you learn your part, and please try not to be absent!
3. You'll Never Walk Alone (we had a recording, but Catalina is planning to learn it)
4. Higher and Higher (Tab played the accompaniment, beautifully!)
5. Hallelujah (Tab played the accompaniment, beautifully!)

Monday, October 14 (Thanksgiving Monday- no small group)
Please come to choir if you can. But do spend time with family if you can and don't feel bad about missing. Whoever is there will continue to work on their parts and the team will benefit. We listen to and follow each other, need each other, so whenever one of us is strong, others will be stronger too.
Your Song
Let it Snow
Stuff for fun: Magic of Winter, Little Tree, Somewhere a Child is Sleeping?

Monday, October 21 (In the Bleak Midwinter 6:30)
Bring straws if you have a preferred one. I'll have a bag of straws too.
All I Want for Christmas
Let it Snow
Higher and Higher
You'll Never Walk Alone

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 23-SEP-2019

I really needed choir last night! It's such a wonderful escape from our day-to-day worlds, isn't it?! When the day is especially stressful, choir is perfect. Warm-ups included some gentle stress-releasing stretches. ahhhhhh

The small group Evening Prayer met at 6:30 and I hear they've all learned all of their parts. I can hardly wait to hear it next week.

1. Your Song: We spent quite a bit of time on this and it's coming along beautifully. We got all the way to the D.S al Coda on page 10, so we just have to go back and repeat and then learn the ending! We had some challenges with timing, notably in bars 36 and 37. The counting goes like this:
2, 3+ , +, +, +, +, 1, 3+ (the off beats are: much but it's the). Check out the word syncopation in Wikipedia. Also, remember that much is one note. On page 7, bar 65, the word moss is two notes, but the second note comes on beat 2, much earlier than you want it to. Watch out. At bar 70, the basses have the melody. Basses give it all you've got. The tenors will need to sing those high notes softer, and that's not easy. On page 9, at 87 the melody and the timing are not what you expect. Also,
sweetest eyes is tricky. Blair has found this YouTube video of a choir singing our arrangement. Thank you, Blair!

2. Let it Snow: We spent some time on 3 different versions of the phrase "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow": on page 3, page 4 and page 6. The one on page 4 is the trickiest. We sang from bar 15 up to bar 47 where there's a time change and it sounds like a key change. You'll see. We'll do it again. We will take it slow and work on little bits at a time. It will feel so good when we've finally mastered this piece!

3. Button Up Your Overcoat: We're not going to stress over this one. Most of you know it/remember it and it should be fun and doesn't have to be perfect. Every time we sing it, it gets better.

4. Wintersong: This is a new Wintersong. We just walked through and talked about how I'm creating an arrangement to suit us (SATB) based on this one (SSA) version I found. Listen to a SSA choral version, which I couldn't find, here. It's pretty, but I wanted more choir and more "Oh I miss you" and a stronger ending. For homework, please write in bar numbers (the words start at bar 9, there are oohs at bar 17, the sign/segno is at bar 33) so that we can refer to them and compare them to the new ending I've created. You'll be getting a few extra sheets of music next week to add to what you now have. The timing is difficult, but we're going to leave the first two pages to our soloist, Teija to learn. Lauren has agreed to be the back-up.

Next week: September 30th, 2019
6:45 Evening Prayer

  • Grown-up Christmas List
  • Let it Snow
  • Your Song
  • Wintersong
The new small group song will be In The Bleak Midwinter. Sign up on the website.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 16-SEP-2019

Our second rehearsal was very successful!
If you missed it, you'll want to go over some music to prepare for next week.

6:30 Small Group Evening Prayer met and got through the whole piece. It's beautiful, but challenging, and it has to sound sweet and effortless in the end. Please sign up if you haven't yet done so (only 4 people are signed up but I know there were more of you). There are links in the event description to videos to help you.

Warm-ups: We did a short physical with notes on stance and breathing and we sang arpeggios on ooh and ahh after a yawn to give us good air position.

1. We started with Little Tree, reviewing parts and noted that we all had to hold the notes together to sound smooth and pretty. Be sure to observe the rests. First Sopranos start where it says small group or solo at the beginning. Everyone joins in at bar 13, the rest of the sopranos at the pick-up and the altos, tenors, and basses on beat 2. Notice that you need to sing softly (p and mp). Notice that the sopranos don't have the melody, but an echo on a descant on page 4. Page 5 is dramatic, my very favourite, and you need to watch for the ritardando at the bottom of the page. We'll review those notes, as they're different. Everyone must be together in bar 41. It's very effective. Always watch at the ending.

2. Your Song:We learned the two pages after the segno, starting at 45 and then sang from the beginning to page 7! It's not very difficult but there are some difficult moments and the timing is mostly what you expect, but not always. You'll need your pencil out when you're learning this to make notes to help you remember when it's different. Listen to this choir singing our arrangement. They do some different stuff with dynamics. Listen to their fortes. Cool. We won't be so dramatic with this one. I love drama but I feel that this is a lighter, sweeter song.

3. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! OH MY! This is going to be a fun ride. I thought it would be a fun challenge to learn a very jazzy piece and since it's a very familiar song, I think it will be more fun than hard. The things about jazz that are notably difficult and different are the harmonies and the timing. The timing features syncopation, where notes fall off the beat. In bar16, at the top of page 3, you see the bar begins with an eighth rest so you sing not on beat one but the and of one. There's lots of that. Tricky rhythms. Harmonies are also an issue. You'll see where we're in 4 or 5 parts, the harmonies are not what you expect. Don't worry, you'll have lots of help and we'll feel proud and confident by December. Peter is working on recording the parts and they should be up on the website soon, but in the meantime, Tab has discovered a video of Let it Snow to help us. It's our arrangement (except that the accompaniment is an orchestra) and you can see the music and hear a choir singing at the same time! Thank you, Tab! And, here's another video. This one is just choir and piano, but watch them. It's cool how many men there are and that they're all mixed up and not in sections.

4. Button Up Your Overcoat: This will be stuck in your head all week. Sorry, but not sorry. It's so good! We just sang it and didn't go over any parts but it's already better than last week, and really quite good. So many of you remember it well and the rest are following along really well that we don't have to spend much time on this to get it concert-ready. Yay!

Next week: September 23
6:30 Evening Prayer Small Group

  • Button Up
  • Let it Snow
  • Your Song
  • Wintersong

Friday, September 13, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 09-SEP-2019

It was so good to be back together!

We were in a new (temporary-while our room is renovated) spot at Trinity Anglican in Aurora, and without our Joy (who is in Montreal at McGill) but it was still like going back home.
In fact, having Peter and Catalina at the keyboard brought back some wonderful memories and they slipped right back into my heart.
There was a lot of chatting as people enjoyed a little reunion time after a long and wonderful summer.
When we finally got started, we had a quick warm-up and then sang:

1. You Raise Me Up (Most of us remember this, and it will only need a little touch up)

2. Button Up Your Overcoat (Very little work required. Memorable piece.)

3. Little Tree (Also, still fresh somehow. My favourite!)

4. Grown Up Christmas List (Last year's new song; now comfortably familiar)

5. Your Song (New! We started learning right away and got to page 5, bar 45. )

6. Magic of Winter (Such a pretty song! Funny to sing when we're expecting sunny hot days.)

Next week: Monday, September 16

Evening Prayer small group starts at 6:30. Sign up on the website if you took the music home, please. This is a small group of women only SSA.

  • Button Up
  • Little Tree
  • Your Song 
  • Let it Snow

Saturday, September 7, 2019

YRCC Executive 2019-2020

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 seventh 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.  Jane is helping to cover the role of Public Relations Chair until Patty Ko can move into the position.

Patty Ko (pattywlko@gmail.com) will be our Public Relations Chair starting in JanuaryIf you need to contact us regarding advertising, or to book us for a concert, or just need some information, contact Jane in 2019, Patty in 2020. The PR Chair's job is to keep us connected to the community. 

We are looking for a Secretary/Treasurer.
The secretary/treasurer takes minutes at the meetings of the Executive Meetings (approx. 3/year) and at the Annual General Meeting,  maintains the bank account, prepares a budget, and keeps all financial records for the Choir. The former treasurers are very supportive and willing to help. Michele Horton will continue to represent us when we share condolences and congratulations. 

Peggy Keall (peggy@yorku.ca)  is our Music Librarian.   She 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! 

Trix Verge (trix.verge@gmail.com) is our Webmaster. 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.

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 along with Lauren 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 Accompanists, and plans the concerts and performances. The Musical Director teaches the music with the help of the Accompanists, 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. 

Catalina Liu and Peter Yin  are our Accompanists. Catalina and Peter are both former accompanists of the YRCC who have returned as a team. Catalina is our main weekly accompanist and Peter prepares recordings and accompanies some weeks. Both are talented pianists who will accompany us at our performances. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

YRCC Winter 2019 Solos and Small Groups

Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to sing a solo song or a duet, or if you have an idea for a small group song. I'd especially love it if you want to sing a song from our archives (In the Bleak Midwinter, maybe?)

Our theme is love, and there's a sub-theme of giving or gifts- gifts of love, and Christmas too, of course.

I've chosen a small group piece, Evening Prayer (When at night I go to sleep) from Hansel and Gretel. It's SSA, 3 women's parts.

So, if you're anxious to get to work, have a look at the website here , or go to Member's Only, Recordings, Previous Seasons (at the bottom of the page) to look at some of our archive.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

YRCC 2019 Winter Season Starts Monday, September 9th!!! YAY!!!

YRCC 2019 Winter Season
Rehearsals Start
Monday, September 9th!
at 79 Victoria St. in Aurora
Remember that we are meeting downstairs at Trinity Anglican Church in Aurora while our room in the York Region Admin Centre undergoes renovations. We plan to be back there in January.

So excited to get back to choir!!!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Christmas in July: Planning YRCC Winter Season

Christmas in July happened here.

I've done most of the planning for the winter season and listened to and looked at a lot of Christmas music! The music reading committee has given me some input, so they've been listening to Christmas music in July too!

I've chosen a few new pieces and a bunch of good stuff from our collection, and I think we'll have a wonderful winter concert with a theme of LOVE.

It's looking like it might be "Gifts of Love".

It's time for you to start thinking of what you might want to offer as a solo piece or a small group song. Love should be an easy theme but it's more complicated than I thought it would be. Give it a try.

I've posted the list of choir songs here in the right menu, under YRCC Songs This Season. Have a look and see what you think is missing.

You can also look ahead to spring when the theme will also be LOVE, love and romance, I hope.

Are you ready to sing about winter and Christmas in September? It won't be long. Hard to imagine with this hot and sunny summer we've been having. Enjoy the rest of it!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

YRCC Run-through Rehearsal 29-Apr-2019

It was perfect!

We had moments of utter perfection and moments where we knew we needed to work a bit harder. When not everything goes perfectly, it's the best. The concert will be our best work, better than our last rehearsal.

Wasn't it inspiring to hear the recording of us singing Bring Him Home!!! Now you know why I frequently get goosebumps listening to you. When you're immersed in your section, and your focus is on your part, you don't get a good feeling for how everything sounds together. That's what it sounds like! It's awesome!

On Saturday, everyone must be there and all the baking should be put away by 6:00. Doors open at 6:30, so we will get ourselves in position, have a warm-up and file out the back, so that we can file back in gracefully. We will rehearse the ending of Put a Little Love in Your Heart, and that's it, unless someone has a request to review anything.

5:00 - 6:00 is for soloists and small groups, and for ticket set-up and bake sale and coffee set-up. Don't forget to bake!

Be sure to get a good night's sleep Friday night so that you have lots of energy and staying power for Saturday night.  Put your feet up in the afternoon if you can. Maybe plan to have some friends over for drinks after. Hey, invite your friends and family to the concert and then out for drinks, or to your place for drinks, so you don't need a designated driver.

Don't forget, Monday is our first seniors' visit! I'll put up the order when I can, but it might not be until Sunday. Always have all of your music just in case.

Break a leg, everyone!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 22-Apr-2019

Easter Monday, and we had a very good turn-out for this last rehearsal.
Next week is our run-through rehearsal!
We’ll be at Trinity Anglican Church in Aurora from 6:00-10:00!
6-7 is for small groups and soloists.
The rest of the choir should aim to be there at 7:15 to get into place and warm up to be ready to start the run-through at 7:30.

At yesterday’s rehearsal, we tried out a new way of singing Put a Little Love in Your Heart. We’re going to have solos at the beginning. Mary-Ellen and Blair will sing up to the top of page 3. Everyone else comes in at bar 21, not too loud please. And, we get a bigger ending if we repeat the section at bar 62. It worked out great! So, you sing all the way through to 70, but go back and sing from 62 again before going on past 70 to the end. Watch carefully at the end. The timing is tricky and we have to be perfectly together. It’s the last song, the finale.

Bring Him Home was so good it nearly brought us to tears! Remember to be good and loud starting at the bottom of page 4 “If I die, let me die” is the loudest part of the song. Then suddenly (subito) everyone is very soft on “Let him live”. So dramatic!

For Rewrite the Stars, you need to look at the words carefully to get the timing. Remember the beginning is positive “you know I want you”, and so we get “it’s up to you” for example, but after Nicole’s solo “there are doors that we can’t walk through” we get “it’s not up to you”, then there’s the “all I want is to fly with you” part and it turns positive again and changes to “it’s up to you” again. Look at the words.

Higher and Higher is fun and powerful. We worked on getting the second soprano notes at the ending, actually starting at 42!

Friday, April 19, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal Review 15-Apr-2019 and the next two weeks

We're getting close to the end of this season of love. I'm enjoying this theme, and I think we'll continue with love next year, but maybe switch to love and romance, and maybe drama, dramatic love? Just starting to think ahead :-) Christmas will be Love and Peace on Earth, or something like that.

Top of the World and Lean on Me met early and are both sounding ready!

We used new paper straws for our warm-up. They're narrower than the plastic ones we started with, and that's good. You're supposed to work up to a narrower straw until you're blowing through those really thin stir sticks.

We had visitors! Catalina and Peter, our new accompanists came to see us and stayed through breaktime to meet us. How nice! They both worked with the YRCC ages ago, and we've grown and changed a bit, but we still have the same spirit. Catalina will be the principal accompanist, and Peter has offered to help out as a back-up and with recordings. We're still working on the details.

We started with Beauty and Beast, which Peter remembered playing for us. It's such a great medley! We did really well, but we also reviewed a bit. Transitions are always an issue in medleys. Be sure to watch because it's a challenge to switch tempos and it's up to Joy and me to get those but the choir has to be careful to watch. Beginnings and ends are always the time to watch the most, but in a medley its even more important.

Why We Sing is such a joy to sing! This is my main message in every concert. "A sound of love, a sound so strong! It's amazing what is given when we share a song."

Put a Little Love in Your Hear is our theme song, and I was hoping to use it as the finale. I'm having second thoughts though. It's not a strong piece, and we're not certain about our timing. If you have some time, spend some time on this song. I've asked the Kevins to look at it to see if they can add some strumming to fill it out. I'll keep thinking about how to improve it.

And, of course, we worked on Bring Him Home. It's hard, but it's amazing how well it has come together! It's so impressive, and such a strong piece of music! It think we'll have some tears.

Somewhere Out There comes right after Bring Him Home in the concert and is the last song before intermission. It's perfect. Remember to start wistfully, softly, and then at the middle of page 5, the mood changes and it's loud and positive. The tenors and basses lead the repeat with confidence. We end big, with an extra "come true".

Next week, Easter Monday Rehearsal:
Stanley and Mona start at 7:00

  • Bring Him Home
  • Put a Little Love
  • Higher and Higher
  • Rewrite the Stars
  • B&B top of page 29
Buy tickets! Last chance for advance prices. Cheques are good. Make them out to York Region Community Choir. 

Monday, April 29th: Run-through Rehearsal at Trinity Anglican Church

Binders are in order on April 29th to save time. I'll publish the order now. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

YRCC rehearsal 08-APR-2019

Roxanne and Who put the Bomp met early- Bomps, remember to accent the beginning of each note in the oohs at the beginning, especially the bass beat fours.

We had some good news: our accompanist has been found! Catalina is coming back and she’ll be assisted by Peter. Both are former YRCC accompanists and I’m very much looking forward to working with them again. You might remember Catalina from when we sang at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts in it’s first year. And, Peter was a high school student like Joy when he played for us. You’ll meet them soon and we can share stories from the past and hear about what they’ve been up to in the meantime. I’m so happy :-)

We did the briefest of warm-ups and basically sounded like an orchestra warming up with all kinds of noises.

1. We sang I Will Always Be With You and Robin had her flute and it was so pretty!

2. Somewhere Out There was so good! It’s ready and I’m so proud of you for learning it so quickly! We worked on dynamics and I’m happy with the ones written except the ending where we’re loud. The tenors are joining the basses on the half notes at the end, so the altos are dividing and the sopranos are dividing too, and at the end there might be 8 parts and that’s cool. You do what you think is best and it will be great, a real clear and satisfying ending. Tenors and basses, at 25, at the segno, remember to sing softly and wistfully the first time, but with sweet confidence the second time. Listen to each other so that you’re perfectly together.

3. Seasons of Love is so good! And, we have the loud alternate ending here too where you want to do just what feels right for a good clear ending.

4 Bring Him Home is coming together beautifully. We spent time on page 4 to the end. Next week we go back to page 3. It sounded pretty good even on page 3. I’ve got it stuck in my head still since Monday and now it’s Thursday! Dynamics are important in this piece too. Sopranos should hold back on page 3 where we need to hear the Alto and Tenor part.

5. Blues Skies is always great. Trix and Jack were the soloists and rocked.

Next Week:
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Bring Him Home
  • Why We Sing
  • Higher and Higher
  • Put a Little Love
Don't forget to bring your ticket money. You can pay by cheque to York Region Community Choir.
Reserve your $15 tickets and pay for them next week or Easter Monday. After that the price goes up to $20 at the door. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Bring Him Home for YRCC rehearsal

LINK to video

That link is to a video on Dropbox. Elizabeth, Liz, second soprano Liz, sent me this a while ago and I still haven't found a good way to share it. Hopefully this works.

We will be working on Bring Him Home for the next three weeks, so it would be good if you could do some work on it at home. Watching this video is a good way to get feel for how it comes together, however, it's not the same as ours. I have not found a video of a choir singing our version. Not to worry. We'll get it.

See if you have some time to work with the recordings.

Also, our version is available on Musicnotes. I can listen to mine with all the parts or focus on one part. I know Blair has found that useful too.

Best thing is to come to choir and work hard while you're there, and most of you are doing just that, so I'm not worried.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

YRCC Spring 2019 Poster

YRCC Rehearsal 25MAR2019

6:30 Stanley and Mona
7:00 Randomnotes

Warm-ups were brief because we talked about ticket sales.
$15 is the advance price; $20 at the door.
Advance price is only available when paid in advance. Simpler.
Poster is ready. It's groovy! Here it is:

1. B&B: We finished Beauty and the Beast! It's so good! A couple of notes you might want to add to-pencil in to- your music: pg 21 Melody and Stanley sing a duet (I signaled everyone in and most of you came in. It was good, but let's do the optional duet), pg 23 'prefer' sounds like prafer with a short first syllable and weak vowel, pg 30 'wreak' sounds like reek, pg 33 altos sing with tenors and basses bars 381-385 (to add to the melody), pg 37 'neither' sound like knee, pg 38 altos do not sing "learning you were wrong" and the rest sing a little softer there, so that "certain as the sun" is notably stronger. 

2. Somewhere Out There: Also finished!!! Fantastic! We are changing the ending to be a big one instead of a quiet one. So, we crescendo instead of decrescendo and we're adding the words "come true" starting on beat 3 of the 3rd from last bar. I'm thinking of having the sopranos, or some of the sopranos, sing the bass line up an octave. First sopranos go up to a G (yay!).

3. Higher and Higher: Fun! We just need to get the tenors and basses together and try to feel the groove. Sopranos and Altos are like back-up singers, doo-wop. It should sound easy, so try not to stress over it. We stumbled a bit on the ending, but once we had it, it sounded cool. We'll try it again. 
Listen to this, tenor and bass especially. It's not exactly like ours, (especially the women-they sound like mice) but it should inspire you. 

Monday, April 1st

6:30 Tenor and Bass Sectional  

Buy Tickets!
  • Bring Him Home
  • Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves
  • Higher and Higher
  • Rewrite the Stars
  • Somewhere Out There

Okay, here is a totally different Higher and Higher. Maybe we could slow ours down?
Check out how way back in the background the soprano and alto part goes here. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 18Mar2019

I wasn't there! Sorry about that.
It's not often that I call on Anne-Marie to sub in for me, but when she does, I know it will be good.
I hear that you almost learned the whole Somewhere Out There and finished Beauty and the Beast! Wow! That's awesome. I can't wait to hear it. I've got a special ending for Somewhere Out There, so it's perfect that you didn't quite get there. All I Have to Do is Dream and I Will Always Be With You were also excellent, I hear.
Thank you, Anne-Marie!

Tomorrow Stanley and Mona are rehearsing their duet with Joy at 6:30, and then the quartet is coming in at 7:00.

Tomorrow, Monday, March 25th, we will work on:

  • Bring Him Home
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Somewhere Out There
  • Higher and Higher
Our concert has a title!
Just Love: it's all we need

YRCC Spring Concert 04MAY2019 Just Love: it's all we need

This year's Spring Concert is called Just Love: it's all we need.

Love is all we need to feel good about ourselves and to feel good about others. We need just love in our families, in our communities and in the world.

Music provides inspiration to make the world a better place with love, just love.

The YRCC will sing, with love in our hearts, about love.

And, our message will be that love can change a person, a family, a community, and ultimately the world.

We continue to sing a message of peace through song. Our feeling, our belief, is that singing together moves people towards peace and brings us closer to Peace on Earth.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 11-Mar-2019

no small group met for this March Break Monday

Our physical warm-up consisted of moving the sopranos and altos to opposite sides of the room.
I'm trying various things to try not to strain my hurt shoulder. People were quite willing to "go back home". Thanks, everyone! Let's try this for the rest of the season, and we'll see how I heal.

Warm-ups included vocal fry and lip trill exercises.
1. Blue Skies was excellent. Trix and Jack sang the solos. Jack had some help from his friends.
2. Rewrite The Stars was excellent. We worked on the timing of lots of +3+4+ phrases. Beware of "it's up to you" and "it's not up to you". The words can trip you up, and you need to be really short on the to. Think t'you, with the briefest vowel there, definitely not a too or two, and not even a ta.
3. Bring Him Home is coming along. We went straight to page 4 and it was cool and not nearly as hard as page 3. Yay! Sopranos, altos, and tenors all have an echo while the basses have the melody. So, guess what? You all have to be very quiet while the basses have to be very strong.
4. B&B: the Mob Song: We learned the first section, pages 29 and 30 and sight-read the rest. I love this one! It's so dramatic!
5. Somewhere Out There: We ran out of time, but a bunch of us stayed to start singing this. We got to the part where you have to go back to the sign/segno and then gave up. But, it was fun. This is such a pretty song!

Next week: Monday, March 18th
6:30 Quartet (Randomnotes): Top of the World

  • B&B Mob Song (and intro to B&B)
  • Somewhere Out There
  • I Will Always Be With You

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 04-MAR-2019

Small Group Lean on Me met at 7:00, cleaning up timing. Sounding Great!
Melinda, Stanley and Mona had time with Joy to work on their offerings.

Warm-ups included Lean on Me with straws and sirens too, after getting our bodies-our musical instruments- ready to serve us.

1. Bring Him Home: We spent the whole first hour on page 3 and still didn't finish! OMG!
We're getting there, but it is taking some work, some very careful counting and working to stay together with your group and not get pulled into a different timing. Luckily, this is a slow-moving piece.
2. Seasons of Love: I think this will be one of many seasons of Love for the choir. I can see us exploring different angles on the theme. The story of Rent and La Boheme which inspired it are both stories of love and friendship in difficult times. It seems we're in a season of Love Being Tested somehow. I'm trying really hard to think of a title for our concert. If you have ideas, send them by email or message or text. Let me know what you think. Joanne sang the solo and it was lovely :-)
3. Rewrite the Stars:We tried 2 different soloists for the Zendaya solo. Both were excellent. Nicole and Emily sang beautifully. It's more of an alto solo, so lower than Nicole likes, and it also has a couple of higher notes that challenge an alto like Emily. Next time, we'll work on some of the timing that we're a bit sloppy on, in particular when a phrase ends on the + of 4. Lots of +3+4+ where we sometimes want to land on beat 1 of the next bar, and then it throws off the next bar. Take a look and see if you can't work on that on your own.
4. B&B Gaston: We ended the evening with Beauty and the Beast. We reviewed Gaston, but also tried the solos on Something There. Melodie and Joanne sang and both their voices suit the part splendidly. Blair is a very impressive Frenchman and also quite a charming Beast.

Next week is March Break, so we will give Joy a break and have no early rehearsal. 7:30 for everyone!

If you're going away, have fun! If you have time you can work on anything you're finding challenging. March Break Monday, March 11th we sing:

  • Bring Him Home
  • Beauty & the Beast
  • Blue Skies
  • Rewrite the Stars
  • Intro to Somewhere Out There

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 25-FEB-2019

Lean on Me met early. Such a great song! Watch out for the 16th notes on the + of 4. Observe your rests, and stay together. Soft and easy-groovy at the beginning.

Warm-ups included some stomping and some wiggling and some singing through straws.

1. True Colors is excellent. The snaps look great, and sound great too! Remember that it's going to be just choreography for some of us who can't really snap. The audience's attention has to be on the song and the sound of the snaps and not distracted by sloppy or rebellious snappers. We reviewed some of the tricky bits. Watch out for the 16th notes on the + of 4.
2. Verdi: We went over parts at G and H, and really got extra loud and extra quiet. On the next section, let's not sing pianissimo, but mp at least. I like that part stronger. We paid extra attention to the rests after the word renew in the last section. Make sure you observe those rests!
3. Beauty and the Beast: Gaston We sang from the beginning through to the end of Gaston! We had to go back and learn the section I forgot in Belle: bars 151-181. Then we learned all of Gaston. I should have left some time to do more of Bring Him Home :-(
4. Bring Him Home:We are building page 3 up from the end. We started with "and I am old and will be gone", then looked at "fly on and on". We didn't even get to the tenor and alto "fly on and on"! Yikes. If you have time, this is the song to look at. Listen to the recording of your part. Get the words and the notes, and we'll have to get the timing together when we're together.

Next week, Monday, March 4th:
Stanley and Mona 6:30
Melinda 6:45
Lean on Me 7:00

  • Bring Him Home: pg 3
  • Seasons of Love
  • Rewrite the Stars 
  • Blue Skies
  • B&B Gaston

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 18-FEB-2019

Family Day Monday!
We had a lovely rehearsal with not too many people missing. The tenors and basses had nearly perfect attendance (applause).

1. We warmed up with All I Have to Do is Dream. We discovered a few spots that needed review: For the tenors/basses the oohs on page 5, ending with the oohs under "way" and the timing of the Oh at the pick-up to E. 1+2+3+4+1  . Count 123 "oh-Oh I" For the sopranos and altos, we reviewed the oohs at C.
2. Put a Little Love in Your Heart: We reviewed the whole song for each part. Tenors and altos both found that they have to pay attention to the bottom of page 5 and 8 where you move in a different way from the rest. It's pretty repetitive, so you have to be careful when it's not the same, that's all. The big note at the top of page 3 and 5 is only a bit more than 2 beats. Watch for the cut-off and count 3,4 in silence.
3. Rewrite the Stars: we reviewed bars 57-73 and sang through to 100. Everyone should look at page 14 "changin' the world to be ours", especially alto and tenor/bass. Also, pay attention to the words, they change from verse to verse. For example, "it's up to you" becomes "it's not up to you".
4. Bring Him Home: I have OMG written at the top of page 3. We learned that my suspicion was correct. It's really hard. Sopranos are lucky that they have the melody, but even that is hard with all the other stuff going on. Basses have some melody until the middle of the page where they move with the sopranos but then have a whole bunch of stuff of their own at the bottom of the page "on and on and I am old". Tenors and altos have a completely different part with echos and a crazy "how soo-oon they fla-ay". This deserves some work with the recordings. (page 4 is also challenging)
5. Beauty & the Beast: We just looked at the next section which is 2 solos. Think about whether you might like to sing one of them :-). We sang all the way from the beginning to the end of this section and took a little look at Gaston, which is next.

Next week:
6:50 Lean on Me with me :-) Anne-Marie assures me that you don't need to come at 6:30.

  • B&B Gaston
  • Bring Him Home page 3 again
  • Verdi
  • Seasons of Love
  • True Colors

Thank you to my choir friends who supported Soraya and me with our fundraising walk, the Coldest Night of the Year! You warmed my heart and I will walk with love with my head held high.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Benefits of singing in a choir studied in San Francisco

Community choirs reduce loneliness and increase interest in life for older adults

Click on that to read the article from the University of California, San Francisco on Medical Press.

    Here's what the study says:
"Overall, the researchers found that older adults who sang in a choir for six months experienced significant improvements in loneliness and interest in life. However, no substantial group differences occurred in the cognitive or physical outcomes or for health care costs."

I think 6 months is too short, and I'm sure that cognitive and physical changes would occur over time as well. What do you think?

YRCC Rehearsal 11-FEB-2019

Lean on Me met at 6:30 and it's pretty much ready!
I'll be joining them on Feb. 25th to catch up.
We had a wonderful social breaktime with decaf coffee and delicious sweets. Thank you to the bakers!

Warm-ups were quick. We stomped away our Mondays and clapped and marched very successfully.

1. Why We Sing served as a vocal warm-up and a lovely transition to being choristers. We are all singing the beginning. And, this time we tried doing it the way we had the solos in the past. The sopranos and altos sing the first parts (Kit and Peggy's) and the tenors and basses sing the second parts (Stanley and Blair's).

2. Beauty & the Beast: Belle. We started the second song at the end (183 to the end) and then did the beginning. We'll learn the middle next time, but we sight-read through it nicely. We sang from the very beginning of the medley through to the end of the second song! At 89, everyone does the bonjours. At 93, only the altos sing, then they divide at 101. The tenors and basses join them as written. Tenors and basses continue at 115. Everyone sings (SATB) "What a puzzle to the rest of us is Belle." We all sing at 131 (we just sight-read from here to 183). If you missed today's rehearsal, you will want to look at "it's a pity and a sin..." It's very cool and quite a challenge.

3. Bring Him Home: We made a good start. We learned our parts for the first two pages. We also looked ahead to the next couple of pages. They're challenging! There are lots of cool echo parts. Take a look if you have some time over the next week or so. If you missed today's rehearsal, spend a little time with the second ending. It's very cool. Sopranos won the lottery on this one. They have the melody. So, sopranos, the only thing here is to sing sweetly, hold those notes clearly without vibrato please and softly. That's not easy. Altos, tenors and basses have work to do getting your notes and the timing, but it's so worth it! Such a beautiful piece of music! The recordings on the website are a bit mixed up. Hopefully, we'll get that straightened out soon.

4. Rewrite the Stars: We spent time on bars 73-84 where the mood changes and the possibility of rewriting the stars for the star-crossed lovers becomes real. "All I want is to fly with you. All I want is to fall with you. So just give me all of you." Sounds like Valentine's Day. For now, we'll just skip those grace notes, the little jumps before some of the notes. We will make sure where we're aiming first before we slide in. If you're rehearsing at home, just play the main note and learn that for now. That's what we did to start. BTW, the grace note has no assigned value. It's not a quarter or an eighth or a sixteenth. It's very quick. Another thing to take note of, and it's something that happens often with us, is that we are landing on beat one of the next bar instead of the and of 4 for fly, fall, and all. (2+3+4+1+2+3+4+) We're singing (2+3+4+1+2+3+4+1) This timing happens all through the song, so we need to see if we can try to get it, or if we just give in and decide that our version will be somewhat different from what's written. We need to make sure our beat 4 is short. Let's try.

Next week is Family Day. No early group. And, if you have the opportunity to spend the evening with family on family day, do it. You can catch up. No worries.
Those of us who can meet will keep learning and it will be helpful for everyone. Just having even one person who knows her part well helps the whole section. It's nice when it's a small group, too.

Monday, February 18th:

  • B&B
  • Bring Him Home
  • Put a Little Love in Your Heart
  • Rewrite the Stars
The following week, on February 23rd, Soraya and I are participating in the Coldest Night of the Year walk again.
Victoria will be missed. She's in Ottawa studying.
If you'd like to support us, here are the links to our fundraising pages. It's very easy to pay online. Over $20, you provide your address so they can send you a tax receipt. 

Please donate on Soraya's Page, as she needs more help reaching her fundraising goal.

We walk on a cold evening, thinking about what it might be like to live on the streets in the winter. Any winter night a person has to spend outdoors alone would be the coldest night of the year.
Here's what the funds raised do:
Newmarket's Inn From the Cold. Here's what their website says: Inn From the Cold provides emergency shelter and support services for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. IFTC offers a range of helpful services year round that are designed to assist with finding housing, employment, volunteer opportunities, mental health and addiction support and other necessities such as hot meals, clothing, laundry, internet, voicemail, showers and personal care items. A continuum of services from basic needs to securing housing assists our clients on their journey to wellness and self-sufficiency.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 04-FEB-2019

The eve of my birthday and Chinese New Year was destined to be a success!
6:30 Lean On Me had an excellent start
7:10 Who Put the Bomp showed me how they knew their stuff

Warm-ups with stretches and straws were sweet.
1. Blue Skies with snaps: snazzy! Take note: the snaps are sopranos only for the first page, with no snaps in the last bar. Everybody snaps from bar 37 to 51 inclusive (during the scat solos). Jazz hands on the last word, on. We reviewed the ATB harmonies.
2. True Colors with snaps: cool! Snaps where it says claps, until the end on the word beautiful. We reviewed timing at the tops of pages 3 and 5.
3. Beauty and the Beast: We are caught up. We finished the first song!
4. Rewrite the Stars: We learned bars 19-35 and sight-read the rest. It's going to be fantastic! Many people don't know this song. So, your homework is to see if you can watch The Greatest Showman, or at least watch this scene in a YouTube video.
5. Bring Him Home: We just looked at this and sight-read through. It's going to be really beautiful, but if you have time, look at pages 3 and 4.
6. Verdi: So satisfying to sing this! We will work on dynamics on this. It's from an opera, so it really needs to be dramatic.

Next week: 

6:30 Lean on Me

  • Beauty & the Beast
  • Bring Him Home
  • Rewrite the Stars
  • Why We Sing

Monday, January 28, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal Cancelled 28-Jan-2019

So much snow!
And, I have a cold too.
Sorry, we've decided to cancel.
Be safe!
Stay at home and sing with recordings on the website ;-)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 21-JAN-2019

This week, we had more wintry weather to deal with, but most of us were able to travel without too much drama.

The small group Who put the Bomp is doing really well. One more rehearsal for now, and then keep it up on your own.
The next small group is Lean on Me. Sign up on the website.

We have room for another small group and I haven't heard from many solos and duets. It's a big easy theme but you can focus on star-crossed lovers, or on love/peace, or for contrast, on the pain of love, heartbreak, the blues?

Warm-ups: we skipped straws today, but did some raspberries/lip trills instead. That turns out to me more difficult, so we'll go back to straws :-) Get one that is not too thick and not too thin. Thicker is easier, and we should be trying to work our ways to thinner straws.

1. Seasons of Love: I think we got it! It was really good. We reviewed page 6, especially the "let's celebrate..." part.

2. Put a Little Love in Your Heart: Fun! We spent time on bar 62 to the end. We are not quite getting the rhythm, but are ending up on beats instead of just off. It might be best to move to the beat. We'll see. As we said, we're still cool, even when we're not groovy. 

3. Beauty and the Beast: Wow! We started the first song, Be Our Guest, and sight-read through the whole thing to see what's ahead. There's lots. But, it will be so worth it! The music is amazing and the songs are sweet and funny and scary and beautiful.

4. Higher and Higher: Tenors and Basses are the ones with the most work. You finally have the melody of a song, but the timing is really hard and the whole rest of the choir is against you. Sopranos and Altos have a fairly easy back-up vocal part.

5. I Will Always Be With You: Beautiful! Such a treat to sing this song!

Next week:
6:30 Who Put the Bomp

  • Verdi G&H
  • Beauty and the Beast- Be Our Guest
  • Blue Skies with snaps
  • Rewrite the Stars intro
  • True Colors with snaps

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

YRCC Rehearsal 14-JAN-2019

Everyone, or nearly everyone was back!
It was great to see and hear you all, even when you were all chatting, or maybe especially then. So happy to see you so happy!

The first small group, Who Put the Bomp met at 6:30.
They got through the whole song!!! But, a few people were missing so be sure to be there next week!

We warmed up with stretches and breathing and straws.
1. True Colors: we learned the ending with snaps where it says claps, starting at 49. It was awesome!
2. Blue Skies: also has snapping, but we had had enough snapping for one night, so we just sang through. Trix sang the first solo and Janet sang the second. Fun!
3. Seasons of Love: we went straight to the tricky bits, pg 3, bar starting at the pickup to bar 21 and pg 7, starting at the pickup to bar 49. Then, we sang the whole thing. It went really well! Joanne sang the solo and it was great! Remember to harmonize on the last note (the added Seasons of Love)
4. Put a Little Love in Your Heart: Our theme song. It was good! We started learning at bar 13 and stopped at 36, but were able to sight-read through to the end.
5. Higher and Higher: This one is also not difficult, except that the Tenors and Basses have some tricky timing and it's very different from what the altos and sopranos are singing. Tenors and Basses please review this piece and try listening to recordings, ours and any others you can find. I love the build up to the ending!
6. Verdi: Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves is awesome. Harder for Joy than for any of us, and many of us have learned this very thoroughly, so you'll have someone to follow.
7. All I Have to Do is Dream: This was just a bonus, as we had 5 minutes to spare. Such a sweet treat! This song is pretty and pretty easy.

Joy has been busy making recordings, and Trix will get them up on the website as soon as she can so that you can start rehearsing at home if you have the time, and if you're missing things at rehearsal.

Next week:
Small group at 6:30 Who Put the Bomp

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Verdi
  • Higher and Higher
  • Put a Little Love
  • Seasons of Love

Thursday, January 10, 2019

YRCC 07JAN2019

We rehearsed despite the threat of freezing rain, and it did come shortly before 9:00. So, we went home. It was fine, if a bit scary.

If you missed it, don't worry. Have a look at the songs we sang on the website. The music is scanned and posted for use online and when we have recordings, they're there too.
You need to log in, go to Members Only Content and then Recordings and Music Scans. Or, after logging in, you can go to the quick link "Music Recordings".
We warmed up with straws, doing sirens, hills and Lean On Me.
We sang:
Why We Sing (everybody on solos)
I Will Always Be With You
All I Have to do is Dream
Blue Skies (without snaps)
Seasons of Love
True Colors

Next week:
Who Put the Bomp small group starts at 6:30

We will sing:

  • Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves (can we call this the Verdi for short?)
  • Higher and Higher
  • Seasons of Love
  • Put a Little Love in Your Heart
  • Blue Skies

Monday, January 7, 2019

Weather update Monday, January 7th

We are meeting; we will sing!

The weather forecast looks bad, but the weather hasn't been too bad all day. So, we're going to hope that the freezing rain doesn't happen.

Don't feel bad if you can't face the possibility of horrible driving conditions.
Stay home and be safe if you're too worried.

You will have opportunities to catch up. I'll post what we sing, and you can look on the website for some of the music, and the rest you'll get next week.

I look forward to seeing some of you later.

Have a wonderful week if I don't see you.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

YRCC 2019 spring season starts Monday, January 7th!

We've got a big season planned. Lots of great music to learn. I've posted the list here in the right menu. The website should be updated soon. Joy is working on recordings.
The small groups are starting up right away on January 14th and I've got the Events entered on the website, but you can't sign up yet to make it fair. I'll open them up after rehearsal on Monday. Have a look!
Can't wait to start singing on Monday!