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, January 28, 2020

YRCC Rehearsal Review 27-JAN-2020

We had another wonderful evening together!
It was sweetened with sweets from Stanley to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Thank you, and Happy New Year, Stanley!

The Come Rain or Come Shine small group is progressing well and I will join them next week.

We marched and clapped to warm up and sang Happy Birthday to Kit as a vocal warm-up :-)
We talked a bit about the Grammys and I promised a link to the Moon River arrangement that won a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement, Instrumental Or A Cappella. Ours is so easy compared to this! Here it is. Enjoy! (be patient. the melody starts at 1:27 and he starts singing words at 3:47)

1. Rewrite the Stars: We worked on the timing of "say what we get to be/ tell us what we can be" and it worked out well. Lauren and Blair sang the solos and did well, but we all discovered that Todd and Nicole make a difficult part sound easy. We always manage better on the second try of this song. Be sure to make notes in pencil on your music to remind yourself of the tricky bits, so that you can get it right the first time.

2. Love is an Open Door: We worked on the "door"s, getting the alto and tenor/bass parts big and strong. We learned pages 7 and 8 and were ready to sing the whole thing, faking the duet part in the middle. (We'll ask Blair and Robyn to try it next time, and they'll need back-ups) It's too short! This song is so cute and fun, but then it's over way too quickly. I wish there were a few more verses.

3. Till There Was You: This is going to be the song we work on all season. It's a challenging jazz arrangement with cool harmonies and a fair bit of drama. We started at bar 15 and got to bar 39. So far, so good! I love this song! I explained that this expresses a part of our theme very nicely. And, this is how I will tie in singing: When we're in love, the world looks different, more beautiful; and when we're in a choir, making music and immersed in big themes of love and beauty and peace and hope, the world is more beautiful and we see peace and love and hope.

4. You Raise Me Up: We sang it with Jack on the solo of the whole first verse. Somehow, this song seems to be over quickly too when we do it this way. It does give it a new feeling and I like it.

Next week: Monday, February 3rd

6:30 Come Rain or Come Shine with Renate

  • Seasons of Love
  • Till There Was You
  • Moon River
  • When I'm 64
  • City of Stars

Saturday, January 25, 2020

YRCC Come Rain or Come Shine small group

Come Rain or Come Shine small group members can click on this link to get to a recording of our arrangement of your song!

You can also find it by going to the Alfred Music website www.alfred.com and searching for it. But, Blair has done it for you and he sent me the link.
Thank you, Blair!

Here's a video that I found:

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

YRCC Rehearsal Review 20-Jan-2020

Thank you to Anne-Marie for standing in for me last week, on January 13th!
I was in bed with the horrible cold that's been going around since the beginning of December. I'm still feeling a bit under the weather and the cough is dragging on. But, I had so much fun Monday night!
It was "Blue Monday", the third Monday of January, considered by some to be the most depressing day of the year. It's dark and cold and the glow of Christmas has worn off and the bills for Christmas have arrived, and by now you've broken all of your New Year's Resolutions. It's hard to be depressed when you're singing Love is an Open Door.

Last week you sang, When I'm 64, Moon River, Your Song, and Love is an Open Door.
This week:

6:30 Come Rain or Come Shine small group is progressing well

We warmed up with stretches to open up our bodies and we drew attention to our cores to remind us to draw our breaths from deep within our bodies and not just from our throats.

1. You Raise Me Up: We sang it with a soloist on the first verse (Blair) and it was good. This way, we don't have to hold back for 2 verses, only one, because the first is softer and simpler. A few people have expressed interest in singing this solo. It can be anyone from any section. Let me know if you want to be considered.

2. Moon River: We started at the section just before the time change. We got through the key change and all the way to the top of page 11. Don't worry; we'll review these parts again. It's coming along beautifully, but this is one to work on, for sure.

3. Love is an Open Door: Almost done! Well, we're going to cheat a bit. We'll have a duet in the middle, where the timing is especially difficult- bard 27 to 34. This way, only 4 of us have to learn that part. (2 women and 2 men so we have back-ups. Robyn, Trix, and Blair have agreed so far). We spent a fair amount of time on bars 13 and 14, and the "door"s. The altos and tenor/basses move on "door", and those notes have to be strong and dramatic. With the altos, I was suggesting they channel an enthusiastic 8-year-old. For the tenors and basses, I suggested James Bond. But we had a big laugh when Todd wondered what kind of James Bond movies I've watched and I said "Disney James Bond?" So, okay, it's not 007, but there's got to be drama in those notes, please and thanks ;-)

4. Rewrite the Stars: We pretty much just sang through twice as a treat with Todd and Nicole as soloists. The second time you fixed most of what was shaky the first time. We still all have issues with "say what we get to be/ tell us what we can be" rhythm (hint: they're supposed to be the same). Something to look at. Let's try a couple of new soloists next time (although I could listen to Nicole and Todd sing all night long).

Next week:
6:30 Come Rain or Come Shine

  • Rewrite the Stars (say what we get to be/ tell us what we can be)
  • Till there Was You
  • City of Stars
  • Love is an Open Door (7&8)

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

YRCC Rehearsal Review 06-Jan-2020 First Monday of the Year!

Happy New Year!

We're back!
It was awesome to see and hear you all!
We had a very brief warm-up and then did a whole lot of singing.
The concert title will be Written in the Stars and the theme is love.
The Stars theme will change a little for the 2020-2021 season, but Stars is my thing right now.

1. Rewrite the Stars is still pretty good. It won't take much to polish this up for performance. There are 2 solos here, alto and tenor. Todd and Nicole did an excellent job last time, but maybe you'd like a shot at it. Let me know. We all sang those solos for fun and it was fun...

2. Seasons of Love is also close to ready. There's a soprano/alto solo in the middle, maybe another short one for a tenor. Joanne, Nicole, Trix, we have choices, but maybe you think you'd like to try it. Let me know.

3. Your Song is really good still and won't take much work to get ready either. Good thing, because we'll need time for Moon River and our new pieces.

4. Moon River We did recently sing this, but it's such a cool arrangement that we'll need to spend a whole bunch of time remembering how to do it again. No worries. It'll come back, and we have recordings!

5. When I'm 64 We sang this ages ago, but it's a fun and simple enough arrangement that we can learn/ re-learn it quite easily. And so much fun!

6. Somewhere Out There: easy-peasy. I think we'll start with a solo. And, maybe have a tenor solo or tenor/bass duet in the middle. Let me know if that sounds like something you'd like to do. Melodie and Anne-Marie have done the solo at the beginning, and Cathy has expressed an interest.

7. You Raise Me Up Yes, we sang seven songs!!! You Raise Me Up is always a treat. We do it so well! I want to have a solo on the first verse again. Stanley has done it in the past, Bill maybe too. It doesn't have to be a tenor. What do you think?

Next week: Monday, January 13th

First Small Group at 6:30 Come Rain or Come Shine (please sign up on the events page)

  • Moon River
  • When I'm 64
  • Your Song
  • Love is an Open Door