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, July 28, 2021

YRCC Singing together live! Fairy Lake Park August 9, 2021

 We want to see you! YRCC choristers, please come and sing together at the Fairy Lake Park Amphitheatre on Monday, August 9th, 2021.

We will sing for fun- not a rehearsal, just singing through some of our well-known and beloved pieces, like Hallelujah and You Raise Me Up with recorded accompaniments. I will send the sheet music PDFs, and you can have them on a tablet or iPad or print them out, whatever you prefer. They will also be on the Calendar, as we did for our Zoom seasons. 

The plan is to sing for about an hour, from 7:00 to 8:00. We have booked the space with the Town of Newmarket. 

Here is a picture of the amphitheatre:

It's located just past the pavilion:

Enter the park from Water Street, and park in Lot #3 if you want to be closest. You will need to walk down a bit of a hill on the grass. Dress comfortably. There is a washroom near the pavilion. 

You will probably want to wear a mask when you use the washroom or when you can't be 2 metres away from others, but we'll be outside and in a spacious place, so we should be comfortable to take our masks off to sing. We also have face shields, which we can bring along if that appeals to you. We hope that everyone will find a way to feel comfortable for this first in-person choir gathering.

Update: The town asked for a COVID plan. So, there will be some instructions coming for you. We will need to do screening and wear face coverings.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Post Pandemic Reset: Are we ready, YRCC?

We are now in Stage 3 of Ontario's Roadmap to Reopen, the last stage of the gradual lifting of the restrictions imposed by Public Health. This stage is expected to last 21 days. After that, I expect everything will be open, but I'm sure there will continue to be some restrictions. Won't there? Can we really go back to the way we were? Do we want to?

The reopening webpage says that we can now gather socially indoors and outdoors, 25 indoors and 100 outdoors, and events can be up to 50% capacity indoors and 75% outdoors! That's amazing. 

This past Saturday night, I went to hear a band playing live at a restaurant, outdoors under a tent. It was fantastic! People mostly kept their distance, and when walking about we all wore masks. We danced! There was a space in front of the band for dancing and not many people danced, but I just had to! It felt special and wonderful. I also forgot to put my mask on to speak to our server and didn't notice until after. People were not wearing masks at tables but the wait staff did. It was somehow not strange. I thought I'd be more nervous about it. I wasn't. I plan to go out more frequently now that I'm not working and I really badly want to hear more live music. Please make some suggestions.  

I really, really want to get together for a summer rehearsal with as many choir folk as we can. I want to sing with you and I'm trying to figure out how to make it happen. 

There's nothing specific about singing in a choir in the guidelines. There was a lot of fuss about droplets and singing or talking loudly at the beginning of the pandemic. I guess we'll see. I think we might want to wear masks and/or face shields so that we can sit/stand closer together, but maybe we just need to space ourselves further apart. In any case, we won't be doing Zoom! Yay! 

We'll have a plan for how best to get together for rehearsals in the fall. We'll have to follow whatever rules our rehearsal space and concert venue have. Something I'm planning for our concert is to have a shorter concert with no intermission, at least for December. That way we don't have to worry about the bake sale or about people gathering with no social distancing possible. I'm looking into getting a projector and screen to take to seniors' homes so we don't have to hand out the sing-along duotangs. There will be some changes at choir at first, and maybe some of the changes will stick. We can and should be open to doing things differently.

Change is difficult, but it's something we are always dealing with in life. I know there will be some positive new things happening for us in the future, the near future and the distant future. We are lucky to be such in such a good, supportive group of people in the YRCC.

I'm currently going through the big change of being retired. It's not really retirement, but I'm not working at my job anymore and I don't want to go back to that lifestyle. You can read about it here, in my blog post on my other blog, Old Pollyanna. And, this change in my life has me thinking about getting older and entering retirement age, becoming a senior myself. If you're interested, you can read my recent post on Slow Ageing. Many people in the choir are retired or living with a retired partner. I'd love to  hear about the how you managed the transition. You all seem so positive and youthful. I think maybe part of that is because I always see you at choir, which is a special thing, but I know that you are people who can teach me about being positive and strong and happy. 

Monday, July 5, 2021

YRCC Choir Work Continues

 Today is my first Monday without a plan for a choir night. Sigh. It’s always hard the first Monday. 

I am using my time to work on plans for a winter concert and seniors’ tour and the rehearsals for those. I’m choosing the music that I think we can relearn/dust off easily and enjoyably, and possibly without an accompanist. I’m looking into our sing-along things so that we have plenty of things we can sing with our audiences. I believe that they will want to sing again almost as much as we do. 

I’m looking into getting a portable projector and screen so that we don’t have to worry about handing out sing-along lyrics to our seniors, and we might try that out in the summer when we meet to sing outdoors so that we don’t have to have binders until the COVID situation is safer and more comfortable.

And, I’ve been working on some updates to the website. I’m organizing the lists of recordings and scans into alphabetical order to remove duplicates and to see what we’re missing. That’s taking more time than I expected. Whenever I move an entry, the link breaks. So, if you’ve gone looking for music on the website and received an error notice, that’s why. I’ll have that fixed up soon. 

The other thing I’m working on is the new Time Capsule page on the website. There was one entry there, an old recording from 1999. Now, I’m adding some things from my own records, posters and programs from past years. I’ve been wanting to have a page of memories forever, and now I finally have some time to work on it. I’m not really happy with the way it looks now, so I’ve got lots of work to do. 

There are a few more things I need to work on this summer to prepare for Spring 2022. Spring 2022, I’m hoping, will be our big return, our “We Rise Again” “Here Comes the Sun” moment. I can’t imagine that we’ll be there this year. We’ve been talking about it in our Zoom meetings and I really want our Spring 2022 season to be fun and bright and meaningful.