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