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!

Friday, February 28, 2020

YRCC Rehearsal Review 24-FEB-2020

6:30 small group: Night of Stars
They're done. Awesome. Keep singing and we'll rehearse this again in April.

Warm-up: We danced again. This time we started with some stretches, neck, shoulders, etc and then danced for fun to my daughter Victoria's song Charisma. Look for it on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, wherever you stream music. Search for Charisma by Vix. Stream, download, and buy it!
To Vix, "Congratulations on your Charisma!"

Thank you to Lynne and the bakers who treated us to coffee (and tea and juice) and sweets for a special social breaktime. It's good to make time for everyone to have a chance to get to know each other, to meet someone from the other side of the room, and to chat about choir and other things too.
We have to be quiet so much and focus on learning that we need some time to let loose once in a while.

Start talking up our concert! Written in the Stars: Saturday, May 2nd at 3:00pm 
Book your family and friends, and get them excited to buy tickets from you. 

1. Top of the World: With the work that was started last week, we conquered this one quickly!
Fun and easy. We're going to have Sopranos and Altos do the first verse, Tenors and Basses the second. Everyone comes in at 28.

2. City of Stars: I'm loving all the tenors and basses doing the beginning of this. So good! I've still got this song stuck in my head 4 days later. Remember to be loud and clear at 29 with the words "it's love" and stress/accent the word love on beat one of bar 31. Tenors and Basses, bottom of page 7 -
Think I wan-it to sta-ay- slow and soft and kind of lazy-easy. Sopranos and Altos, at 57, same thing.

3.Somewhere Out There: Cathy sang the little solo at the beginning. So nice to have a solo here, and everyone comes in soft. The beginning is quiet and cute.

4. Till There Was You: we're pretty good from 15 on. Next we tackle the beginning.

5. Love is an Open Door. Good! Robyn and Blair are getting pretty good with their tricky duet, despite Blair's bad attitude ("I thought she said we're doing something fun!" I heard that, Blair!).

Next Week: Monday, March 2nd 
The beginning of March marks the end of our dance warm-ups, so we'll get back to some more serious stuff.
7:00 Carol and Debbie have time to rehearse their duet with Peter.
  • Rewrite the Stars
  • Your Song
  • Till There Was You
  • Love is an Open Door
  • Top of the World

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

YRCC Review 17-FEB-2020 Family Day Monday

We had a great turn-out for a holiday Monday!
We had some fun warming up with some dance music to get us feeling syncopation and claps on beats 2 and 4, and we even sang along for some vocal warming up.
The first song I played was just a warm-up to the idea of dancing. It was called Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels by Todrick Hall. I recommend it for dancing around the house for exercise and self love. We did dance together to Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind & Fire. We moved our arms to beats 2 and 4 and even did some John Travolta disco pointing. We danced and sang along to Shake, Rattle and Roll by Bill Haley & His Comets, paying some attention to our hips and bellies while twisting.
I think February should be a month dedicated to dancing with friends and family.

1. When I'm 64 Excellent but remember the pause before Mine forevermore in bar 50
2. City of Stars Amazing! We just started and we already sound so good! We had all the tenors and basses singing at the solo part and I think I prefer it that way. We spent some time on the section at 29. I want that to be good and strong, loud and clear. "It's Love"
3. Love is an Open Door Fun!!! Robyn and Bill had a couple shots at the duet part in the middle. So cute! We reviewed bar12-14, But with you...  and the last door for the Sopranos and Altos.
4. You Raise Me Up Coming closer to where I want it. Cathy and Joanne each had a shot at the solo and they were pretty good. I want the solo to be strong and dramatic and then the choir comes in soft for the second verse and second chorus, but then is loud right away at the bottom of page 5 and all the way to the end. Don't get quiet and short at the middle of page 4. Stay loud and hold the word up in You raise me UP to more than I can be. 
5. Top of the World New! We sight-read and it was already pretty good. Peter was awesome! We went over parts a bit already, but it's really quite easy. We're going to enjoy this one so much!

Next week: Monday, February 24th.
6:30 Night of Stars small group.
  • Somewhere Out There
  • Till There Was You
  • Top of the World
  • Love is an Open Door
It's not too early to book your family and friends for our concert. Saturday, May 2nd at 3:00. Maybe plan to go out for dinner after, or host a pizza night at your house! Mark your calendars.

Reminder: I'm doing the fundraising walk, Coldest Night of the Year on Saturday. There's still time to donate through my page if you missed it last week.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Coldest Night of the Year Fundraising Walk

It's cold out there!

The Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) is on Saturday, February 22, 2020. 

Please consider donating to my fundraising page or to my daughter Soraya's fundraising page
Just follow the links and you'll find it's very easy to donate online. 

CNOY is a family-friendly national walk-a-thon that helps you raise funds for charities that serve hungry, homeless and hurting people in your town, and in 136 communities across Canada.
The Coldest Night of the Year is a moment when tens of thousands of Canadians step outside the warmth and comfort of home and shine a light of welcome and inclusion.

Together, we're collecting donations that fund critical services at a local charity partner who serves and supports vulnerable families and individuals in our CNOY community.

In Newmarket, our funds go to Inn From the Cold. 

Services offered by Inn From the Cold:
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. 

 We walk through the cold and dark on February 22, 2020 to declare our concern for people who have no home, and take shelter in nooks and crannies.

 We walk for those whose days are a battle to house and feed their families, and whose nights are filled with fear and frustration.

 We walk for those driven from home by violence and abuse. And we walk for people overwhelmed by isolation, guilt and despair.

 We walk humbly, realizing that anyone can lose their footing and then lose everything else.

Each step we take brings someone closer to safety, health and home, as together, we raise funds for organizations whose commitment and work transforms peoples’ lives.

YRCC Rehearsal Review 10-Feb-2020

Our wonderful president, Lauren, brought us sweet treats for Valentine's Day and a special chocolate rose for me! Thank you so much, Lauren! Happy Valentine's Day to you, Lauren! Your choir loves you!

A special Happy Valentine's Day to Catalina and Peter! We love you! We are so grateful for your kind and generous sharing of your talent and time with us!!!

Happy Valentine's Day to each one of you, YRCC choristers! You are loved and appreciated in our choir family!

6:30 Small Group Night of Stars sounded beautiful by the end of their first rehearsal together!
Wow! I'm impressed. This group will meet again on Feb. 24th.

Warm-ups included stretches and yawns to relax us and to open our bodies and especially our airways to prepare us for lots of singing.

1. Your Song: In honour of Elton John's Oscar win on Sunday night, we had to sing our Elton John song. It's very, very good. But, the same tricky spots seem to slip us up every time. Review this if you have some time, but we'll sing it again a few times before May.

2. Moon River: We reviewed the last page some more and then sang the whole thing, and it's really good! We are doing so well on this difficult piece!

3. Till There Was You: Ditto. Doing so much better than I expected on this difficult piece! We did 59 to the end!  And, we sang from 15 to the end and it was good. OMG! Now we just have to learn the doo-doos at the beginning.

4. Seasons of Love: This is always good, but it wasn't great either. Jane took a shot at the solo, and she was very good, and it was nice to hear the lower octave. Think about singing a solo. I'm in the mood for changes, so it's your chance. We can always count on the original soloists, but a change is fun for the audience and an opportunity for you.

5. City of Stars: I didn't expect this to be difficult and it really isn't. We have learned the whole piece. It's not too hard and not too long but it's pretty sweet.

6. You Raise Me Up: Here's another opportunity for a new soloist. A few people have tried this one, and tonight Roxanne and Jack sang this beautiful solo. Remember that the choir comes in only on the second verse, and softly, holding back on the chorus, but then goes loud right away at the bottom of page 5, the second ending.

Next Week: Monday, February 17th Family Day Monday
We are meeting on Family Day, but do not feel bad if you miss this to be with your family! You'll catch up; no worries.

No small groups Family Day Monday. Everyone starts at 7:30. Hopefully many of you can have dinner with family and come after. Singing is the best dessert ;-)

  • When I'm 64
  • Love is an Open Door
  • City of Stars
  • You Raise Me Up
  • Tricky parts of any song that the group would like to work on 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

YRCC Rehearsal Review 03-FEB-2020

Thank you for singing Happy Birthday to me! Tomorrow's my birthday and I'll have you all in my heart.
We had a dance warm-up, exploring clapping on 1&3 and singing on the off-beat (syncopation) as we listened to Grammy Award-winning song Bad Guy by Billie Eilish.

6:30 Come Rain or Come Shine was amazing. So good, so fast! Keep singing on your own and we'll meet again in April.

1. When I'm 64 YAY! It's so good! We reviewed the ahs. No worries, just sing a bit softer when you've got ah or oh, and other people have words, as usual. Bottom of page 7, bar 50, mark the first beat, circle it or something, because you want to come in off the beat there, after beat 1, on mine forevermore.

2. Till There Was You You guys are amazing! We're doing much better than I expected with this song. We reviewed 15 to 39 and learned up to 59! Well done!
Here's some inspiration, and a preview of what's to come in the next section. It gets big!

3. City of Stars From the Academy Award winning movie La La Land. This is a moody/romantic song, and it features a tenor solo at the beginning (and possibly the end). We started to learn it in the middle, at bar 35. Not many people were familiar with this song, so I'll give you a couple videos to watch: the recording of our arrangement and the soundtrack version.

4. Moon River This one is also coming along swimmingly! We did page 11, the end. Watch out for the timing- not just the 3/4 to 4/4 but also the slowing down at the end.

5. Seasons of Love Robyn sang the solo for us. I think she can sing anything. In lots of things, Robyn is willing to go for it. Think you might be willing to sing a solo? Let me know. We've got this one. I love this song.

Next week:
6:30 Night of Stars begins. This is a SA small group and I want it to be maybe 6 or max.8 ladies only.
You will have to blend together as one voice in your part.
Sign up on the Events page.
See video below
  • City of Stars
  • Moon River 
  • Till There Was You
  • Seasons of Love