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 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.