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!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

YRCC Zoom Choir-8MAR2021-We Sing Because

 This past Monday, we talked about how much we enjoy and need our choir nights. I really need to keep up the Monday night ritual for myself and everyone who knows me. It’s a well known fact that I don’t work late on Mondays, that dinner cannot be late on Mondays, that Mondays are special for me, reserved for Choir. A sacred time. 

It’s much more than singing.

Teija sent a link to a video to Lauren and me and I’m sharing the video here. 

This beautiful video shows a young choir singing a piece called “Sing You Home”. The Holy Heart Chamber Choir stands outdoors, physically distanced, and sings “I’ll sing for you because I need to. Right now this is all I know.” It’s a touching piece about grief and so appropriate right now!  The whole time there is a sign language interpreter signing and the whole choir signs a verse. Powerful.

Then, there are times throughout when choristers hold up signs all starting with the words “I sing because”. There is one that says “I sing because I love being part of something beautiful.” Yes! Me too! When we sing together creating a beautiful work of art and when we meet together to laugh and commiserate and drink wine, it’s also beautiful and I love it. Choir is a home I need to return to.

 I highly recommend this. I have cried each time I’ve watched it (maybe 5 times now) and it’s mostly tears of wonder and love. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

YRCC- Zooming on Monday, March 1st: Possible post-COVID theme

 We had so much fun this past Monday!

First of all, it was a rotten day outside, windy and snowy, and the 400 was closed for a long stretch north of us because of a big pileup. Terrible and rotten. A few of us remarked with glee that we would have had to cancel the night's rehearsal if we weren't meeting on Zoom. We met and had a wonderful time, some of us with wine or other beverages which we wouldn't normally have at choir aiding our merriment. 

A few people were there who hadn't been there in a while. Notably, Teija, who is a public health nurse, came to sing with us. So, so good to see her there and singing and laughing! We're all hoping that it's Teija who gives us the jab when it's time for our vaccinations, I bet. 

Some of the current and past teachers shared some stories with us, commiserated, laughed, and shared some good advice. It was wonderful to see how our little community was working its magic, connecting us and raising us up to shine together. We sang You Raise Me Up as our last song of the night, and it really meant so much more.

Melinda shared a fun YouTube video with us about "the jab", a Hallelujah which we could sing along with and laugh at too. I'll share it here:

One of the songs we sang again this past Monday was Seasons of Love. We talked about how it would be appropriate when things open up to look back on this year and measure it in love, and measure it in all the little things and big things, good and bad, which we experienced.

In daylights,
In sunsets,
In midnights,
In cups of coffee,
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in a life?

 Melinda must spend a fair bit of time watching YouTube videos because she had another perfect one for us. We didn't watch any of it together, but talked about how we might want to do something with Seasons of Love, taking the arrangement and fixing it up a bit. I promised to share the video here. 

I just watched it and it makes me want to sing along and dance!!! You must see this!

I want to do that with an audience, that "Let the Sunshine" vamp, I want to sing it again and again with 200 people. And, I think we can. I've also found this sheet music for Age of Aquarius/ Let the Sunshine!

We named a bunch of other songs we love on the theme of sunshine. Our old favourite Blue Skies fits into this theme perfectly. Can you name some sunshine music? Of course you can! 
I can see clearly now, this is going to be our theme.