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!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

YRCC Monday Night Zoom Choir Soul Medicine

Choir nights are so good for my soul!

Zoom choir is real choir for now. 

We get together and sing our music. 

We’re reading a lot of music. We’re singing everything. A lot of the music is new to some of us because we’re singing things that we haven’t done in years. But, I have also bought a couple of new pieces which we’re playing with. So, there’s new music, sight reading, for everyone. 

We continue to learn new things about music, always.

We keep our voices in shape, trying to keep our range by singing our parts (mostly, but sometimes we just sing the melody, because nobody hears us).

We talk about the meaning, the messages we’re conveying in our songs. And, this is a biggie. We have a place to talk about love and the beauty of nature and peace and all the big themes. Apparently, lots of people use community choirs as a replacement for church. It’s a thing, and I understand how that happens because we do a lot of the same things. 

We share our stories, little things and big things that happen to us, like getting a COVID shot, or a new grandchild! We celebrate and commiserate, often punctuating with a drink, a COVID benefit.

We laugh. Sometimes we roll our eyes at Blair’s puns, but sometimes his jokes or someone’s story make us all howl with laughter. Oh boy, is that good! A belly laugh is such good medicine! This week, I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard at Blair’s joke. We were talking about singing the solo instead of the oohs and ashs in We Rise Again. It’s one benefit of Zoom choir that you can sing any part you want because all the parts are there and you don’t have to carry your part. So, the sopranos, who don’t care for those parts with oohs and ashs could sing the solo. Lauren said she’d sing her part because the alto part was good and pretty easy. Blair said “tenors love the aahs. We’re the wizards of aaahs!” OMG! I laughed so hard. 

Thank God for choir! Every Monday evening I have a mini vacation, an escape from everything and a special time to connect with my travel companions.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

19-Apr-2021 YRCC Zoom choir dreams of togetherness

 We spent a little time dreaming about the time when we can meet again. 

I want us to have a choir retreat, a weekend away together to sing and drink and laugh with abandon. We do that on Mondays now but it’s just not entirely satisfying. I want to hug you too, and not have to consider Zoom fatigue or families in other rooms wondering if we’re a little nutty. Blair promised to make brownies. 


I want big sing-alongs. I want singing to inspire clapping and dancing. I want this for our friends and families and our fans. They will be so happy to have survived this thing that singing will feel so good! We agreed that some of us would dance in the aisle singing Let The Sunshine and we’d clap and move and I’d invite the audience to join us. We should have more audience participation planned into every concert from now on.

I want to sing with seniors! They will be so happy to have survived that they will need to sing. I want us to get a portable screen to project the words on so that they don’t have to worry about holding those duotangs. And, maybe invite them to sing even during some of our big songs, like we did with O Holy Night. Hallelujah. You Raise Me Up. Wonderful World! Right?

I also got a good suggestion for a new opera piece. We only have the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves and we had that small group sing the Evening Prayer. It’s time for some Mozart. We’re going to need something to work at to make us feel accomplished and brave. It will be easy after surviving this! (not like Tup-Tuppa-promise)

We laughed about wanting to have pyjama bottoms for our new concert uniform, especially after break. Because, we’re going to want to eat all the baking at the bake sale. 

Dreaming is fun. We’ll see how things really go. But, whatever being together again looks like, we will sing and we will be happy together, for sure, because even now we have found a way to sing and be happy together!