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!

Monday, December 27, 2021

Time to Feel the Hidden Holiday Feelings

 Christmas 2021 was jolly and merry in my home because we all worked together to see everyone, even if it was just FaceTime or Zoom and driveway visits. I cooked the turkey and all the trimmings for 4 instead of 12. I took the leaf out of the dining table, and it’s hidden away in the basement again. We spiked our eggnog and our hot chocolate, and laughed and sang by the fire. The tree twinkled and so did we.

Today, however, I am going to sit, breathe in and out, relax, and make room for the feelings that I’ve been tucking away over the last few days. I’m feeling sad and disappointed, and I feel cheated, so I’m pouting and slumping and cuddling my old puppy. Life is not fair. I hate COVID.

I’m going to read to escape, and maybe I’ll watch a movie later if I feel better. I’m sure I will. I don’t usually stay slumpy for long. Thank God for the pretty new snow! How can I be gloomy for long when the world is sparkly and fluffy?

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Christmas Wishes and New Year Dreams for YRCC

 Merry Christmas, friends!

It’s not turning out the way we planned in our house, but Christmas will be merry and bright and we will count our blessings. I wish you all merry and bright celebrations over the holidays.

I’m always dreaming of a white Christmas and I think I’ll get my wish this year! My new year wish is not going to happen though. I wished for no more Zoom Choir.

The new year is not looking as good as it seemed a month ago, or even a couple weeks ago. Suddenly,  we are back in pandemic restrictions. We will not be able to meet in person on January 10th, or even the 17th. We hope to be able to meet on the 24th, and that’s the current plan, but I’m not counting on it. We’ll see. Again, we have to move cautiously and have plans for Zoom meetings for a while. As soon we can meet in person again, we’ll be ready.

I dream of our big return concert “We Rise Again” in May. And, I’m planning it. Let’s do our best to stay safe and healthy and support others and encourage others to work together to squash COVID.

Lauren and I will be keeping the choir informed. Watch out for emails and my usual posts. The calendar will have Zoom links, etc again.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

YRCC December 13, 2021

I'm so happy just thinking about the fact that we can meet next Monday! 

You know, they say that planning a vacation is as good a mood lift as the actual vacation. Having happy plans is definitely a good thing. I've felt uplifted since we heard we had the rehearsal space in the church. And, I'm feeling super-positive about choir resuming in 2022.

In response to my more upbeat mood, I've added Mele Kalikimaka to the YRCC calendar on Monday, Dec. 13, and a pdf of sing-along lyrics!

Let's have fun! (safe and comfortable fun!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Holiday Concert Recommendation for YRCC

YRCC member Pat Richards is recommending a holiday concert for a good cause. It also looks like it's going to be a fantastic show. Go take a look at the website for descriptions of the performers. I've snipped a sample, see below.

LOFT 31st Annual Home for the Holidays Benefit Concert 

Click on that link to get all the details and to buy tickets either online, by phone, or by email. $40 includes access to the show and a charitable donation.

It's a virtual concert, so you don't have to worry about crowds. 

LOFT is a provider of community services in Toronto. Here's what the website says:

LOFT Community Services provides support and hope to people facing complex mental and physical health challenges, addictions, dementia, homelessness or risk of homelessness. LOFT stands for Leap of Faith Together and we’re there where there are few others, reaching out in response to unmet needs. Our goal is to help them live independently at home or with us.

Tune in on your choice of three dates to see esteemed Canadian jazz singer and host Heather Bambrick, and a glittering array of other exceptional artists as we celebrate the year that was and look forward to better days ahead.

Thursday December 9th, 2021 at 8:00 pm
Sunday December 12th, 2021 at 2:00 pm
Wednesday December 15th, 2021 at 8:00 pm 

On the date of the show, click on the unique link provided to you in your email. The concert will only be available during the scheduled times, with login starting up to 30 minutes before the start time.

 Here's a sample of the performers. Wow!

Monday, December 6, 2021

Winter Weather- We're on for tonight

Winter weather can be messy, and sometimes you want to stay indoors. Last night was surely one of those nights. I was happy to sit inside by the fire. 

Tonight, I'm going out! It's choir night, and the forecast for this evening is not too bad (IMO).

I will be there, but if you feel unsafe driving and would rather stay at home. That is fine. There is no pressure for us to rehearse and even if there was, I wouldn't want you to choose choir over safety. 

Whenever the weather forecast is bad, look here on my blog to find out whether choir has been cancelled or not. 

Cancellations will be announced on our Facebook page, on the Website and here. 

Funny! Choir Section Stereotypes



I have seen this joke in several places with some small variations, but here it is on a T-shirt! I found this on Pinterest and there was a link to the website that sells this shirt (Musician Tee) and they also have sweatshirts and mugs with musical things on them. You can click on that link under the picture.

If you're looking for musical gifts, YRCC members, you can support our friend Steven Loweth (Daphne's nephew and a former choir president). His family business is Mayfair Music and they have gift items, including pretty scarves and tote bags. Here's a link. They're music publishers, so mostly serve music schools, but I bet you could pick up some things from their website. 

Here's that joke, in case it's too small to read on the shirt image.

The Choir Director says "There was a wrong note."

Sopranos: It was the altos.

Altos: It was us.

Tenors: There was a wrong note?

Basses: What page are we on?

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

YRCC Meeting Safely: COVID rules for Choir December 2021

We are so happy and lucky to be able to meet in person, but we're still in a pandemic and have some rules to follow. 

We are all concerned about our safety and hope that we are all doing our best to see that this pandemic comes to an end soon.

Here are some things to note about choir this month, December 6 and 13, 2021:

  1. Wear your mask. Wear your mask any time you are away from your seat. You can sing with your mask on, but you don't have to. We also have plastic face shields for everyone. Give a face shield a try. 
  2. When you arrive each time, you have to check in. We are required to do contact tracing.
  3. Make sure we have your correct phone number.
  4. Bring proof of vaccination. (you just have to show it once)
  5. Chairs will be placed for physical distancing. Do not move them.
  6. Stay healthy and do not come if you are feeling ill, stay home. 
  7. You can screen yourself online before you leave home here. (The Ontario screening tool. It's so easy! Click on "Start Screening" and keep clicking.) 
  8. Or, you can screen yourself using this form, attached, a PDF version. 
  9. Generally, wash your hands often with soap and water and dry them well.
  10. Use hand sanitizer when you can't access soap and water.
  11. Avoid touching your face. 
  12. Only go out when necessary (choir is necessary).
This list and the rules can change and will be updated. 

Stay safe, everyone! I miss you and need to see you again.