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 24, 2021

Singing and YRCC Zoom choir help beat the blues

 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:

Another thought on the popularity of sea shanties: maybe it’s that we’re doing that kids’ dream of pirate life where we don’t have to shower and look good, don’t have to brush our hair or our teeth every day. We’re not at sea, but we’re living the pirate life. Hahaha. Arrrgggh!

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