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!
Sunday, January 31, 2021
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
I'm doing the CNOY walk again!
COVID. No gathering, no speeches or warm-up-dancing with hundreds of people. Walkers will walk with their families or alone.
I will take advantage of this year's walking "alone" to invite my dog Dexter (not allowed in the group walk) and Harry and Soraya, who would normally have to register or raise funds in order to join.
I will make my own chili to eat at the end. I will have yummy buns, and I'll have sweets for after, just like we usually have at the community centre.
Please donate and it's easy to do if you click on that link to go to my fundraising page. There's an easy form and you can use a credit card.
it's cold out there.
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.
Sunday, January 24, 2021
These dark days of winter, after all of Christmas has all been packed away, can be depressing. And, with COVID restrictions dragging on for Heaven knows how long (can we hope to meet for Christmas?), it’s getting pretty hard to stay positive.
I’m so grateful for Zoom and my happy Mondays!
Meeting and singing on Mondays, YRCC Zoom Choir makes me happy. We know that singing is good for you and friends are good for you, and laughter is more important these days than ever, always the best medicine.
Well, my big thing, the biggest soapbox topic for me, is how important it is for everyone to sing together and to have the opportunity to sing in community (one reason that COVID is hitting me hard, despite all my blessings). All God’s Creatures Have a Place in the Choir, all of us.
And now, there’s a very, very, cool trend in music that I absolutely love and which underscores all of my thoughts on this.
The Sea Shanty has made a comeback! Songs designed for singing in community, with something for everyone, drumming and clapping for those who prefer movement and rhythm, la-las and repetition, and stories and themes that are timeless and human are made for times like these! We can join in, learn the chorus quickly and commiserate or celebrate together.
There’s a recent story of a young man, 26, who started posting sea shanties on social media, TikTok, last year. One he posted last month, the Wellerman, went viral and people interacted with it in wonderful ways, including Andrew Lloydd Webber! He got a record deal, and is quitting his job as a letter carrier to make music his career. Here, listen to Nathan Evens from Scotland, in his now published version of this ancient song:
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Our first Zoom choir of the year was wonderful! We had some sad moments and a few tears but also lots of laughs and lots of fun singing!
We ended the evening singing with our 2012 video of the Mamma Mia Medley! It was not the best but it was fun and we discovered that we need to replace that sheet music. (We’re making lots of cool discoveries like that.)
One extra-fun thing about that particular piece was that it featured Heather Vickers and she was with us from way over there at home in British Columbia! Another cool thing was that Enid was singing in the front row so we got to see a lot of our dear friend who will live forever in our hearts and on YouTube.
We now have an obituary link So click there and you can read Enid’s obituary and you’ll see that the funeral has been put on hold until we can be together. So, maybe we’ll have a chance to sing for her after all. She had a list prepared of the songs she wanted. I don’t have it so if you do, or if you remember what she said, please let me know. I remember On Eagle’s Wings and You’ll Never Walk Alone, but I know there was more. We sang On Eagle’s Wings.
I have missed Enid in the choir and in our audience. She was impressive in her knowledge and experience and even intimidating sometimes but always kind and always fun too. I treasure my copy of her book Wind-Free with her special inscription.
We’re going to sing On Eagle’s Wings again on the 18th, with some review of parts because it was pretty hard. If you have a chance, take a look at that. The parts are recorded, and you’ll find them on the page with all the recordings when you click on Previous Seasons.
While you’re there, take a look and let me know what you’d like to sing. This season is Just For Us, so we can sing what we want and not what we need to work on to prepare for a concert. Yay!
If you haven’t tried it yet, please do try to join us. It’s never too late. Sometimes people come just for a short time at the beginning to say hello to everyone. Or, come a few minutes early to see who’s there and chat.Some of us bring a drink so we can say “cheers!”
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Happy New Year!
The York Region Community Choir survived a year without a concert.
We had to cancel our Spring 2020 Concert, and there was no question of having a Winter 2020 Concert in the middle of a pandemic either. Although we stopped rehearsing in March 2020, we decided to restart in September. The plan had been to use masks and plastic face shields and to stand at a safe distance from one another, but even that plan went out the window. Zoom was the answer. We could not give up, would not give in to the loneliness of the pandemic.
I was not excited about the Zoom plan. The problems with unreliable wifi, "network latency" and everyone having different systems meant that we couldn't sing together without a horrible cacophony. We did try, and it's crazy, and we end up laughing, but it did feel good. We did it a couple times.
We're not professionals, so we don't have recording equipment and I didn't want us to create a recording. That's not what we do; we only perform live. We decided to have a season just for ourselves- A Season Just for Us. We decided that our meetings would not be rehearsals but an opportunity to see one another and to sing together as best we could. Turned out we could do okay! It's been fun! And, more importantly, we're reading music together, we're working on pieces in our repertoire that we want to sing again, and we're working as a team, having team fun and team jokes, and even team drinks!
So, I'm looking forward to our Zoom Choir in 2021!
We sing together, we do! It's not nearly the same as meeting in person, but it's so much better than not meeting at all! Please do try to join us this year. Maybe we'll be able to meet in person in the fall, and we won't be strangers to one another and we will have a good number of people who are ready to sing our songs.
Please go to the YRCC Google Calendar. There are links here on my blog and on the YRCC Website.
The Zoom link will be there every week, and there will be attachments (you might have to look for Attachments with an extra click or two). I attach PDF scans of our sheet music there. No need for a binder. Some people like to print out the music and put it in their own binder, but I like to have the sheet music on one device and the Zoom meeting on another, so I can see the choir and the music at the same time. We don't have a concert to rehearse for, so we can sing anything that we have a concert recording of. We sing with our best selves, our concert recordings.
You see, we do have recordings of ourselves, just for us. We can't share them for legal reasons, but we sure do use them for our own learning and enjoyment!
I hope and pray that we can meet in person later in 2021 and wish for a Winter 2021 Concert. We'll see. For now, we have another season Just For Us.