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!

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