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!

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

My Sunshine Medley- Facing the Sunrise Together

I created a Sunshine Medley just for us for this post-pandemic season, combining three up-beat feel-good songs to represent our return to singing again like a big happy sunrise after a long dark night.

We'll sing parts of Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles, Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing by Stevie Wonder, and Let the Sunshine In from Hair. 

It was exciting for me to create this arrangement, and I'm excited and nervous to share it with you.

I felt that "Don't You Worry" goes well with the "It's Alright" of Here Comes the Sun. I listened to the fun version of Stevie Wonder's song from the movie Sing (super fun animated film) a lot, singing along to the ba-ba parts and dancing too. I found it uplifting, comforting. I added it to my YouTube COVID playlist (which I just changed to Post-COVID). I wanted to include that feeling of comfort, and needed to address and express the fear that still lingers as we go out into the light. Let the Sunshine expresses that too. The sun shines, but you've got to let it in, or go out to it.  

It's often difficult to relax and open up to good things after going through bad things. 

We are bravely going to go out and we're going to sing together standing side-by-side. We will face the sunrise and feel the warmth. Maybe we should wear sunglasses, maybe we'll squint, close our eyes, but it will feel good. 

More and more, we will be comfortable with going out to choir, comfortable with singing together, and then singing to an audience. We'll do it together, we'll raise each other up, and it'll be alright.

I've added Sunshine Medley to the Recordings and Scans page on the website. Take a look. (you need to log in)

Everybody needs a change

A chance to check out the new

But you're the only one to see

The changes you take yourself through

Don't you worry 'bout a thing

Don't you worry 'bout a thing, mama

Cause I'll be standing on the side

When you check it out

Here Comes the Sun

Let the sunshine in.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

YRCC Getting Together Safely Starting Feb.28th

I just saw a post on Facebook about the newest reopening dates and details and it looks so good!

Here's the visual that attracted my attention:

Click to enlarge or go to FB Ontario Ministry of Health 

Monday, February 28th will be our first night back, and (hopefully) the first rehearsal for our first post-pandemic concert! I'm so excited! 

The indoor maximum numbers for social or public gatherings are both going to be 50! We're going to be very comfortable. We'll be signing everyone in for contact tracing and checking Vaccine Certificates, and we'll use passive screening again, where you do your own screening. We'll talk about physical distancing and masks once we're together to make sure everyone is comfortable. We went beyond what was required last time, both distancing and wearing masks. Some choirs are doing one or the other, and there are other possibilities. And, by the time we meet for a second time, restrictions will be loosened again. 

You can take a look at the more detailed schedule with restrictions on the Ontario Health website (link there and here's the link if you want to copy paste: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/public-health-measures)

Join me for Zoom Choir on Family Day Monday, February 21st.

Hopefully, it will be our last Zoom Choir. 

Let's keep safe and healthy and hope people are more cautious this time so that we can keep getting back together more and more. 

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Old Pollyanna and Musical Empathy: Renate's other blogs

My YRCC choir friends might be interested in reading things I have in my other blogs, Old Pollyanna and Musical Empathy. 

I write because I'm compelled to; it's like a public diary, blogging. I hope that someone sees something that resonates with them. Making thoughts public helps us to feel connected, not alone with our funny feelings and fuzzy thoughts. 

Here's a summary of my recent activity:

Old Pollyanna: Musings on Ageing and Optimism

Singing and Dancing are for All of Us This is my current focus (obsession). It's always been something I get on a soapbox about, people telling other people (especially children) that they can't or shouldn't sing or dance. That's so wrong! It makes me so angry!

Not Giving Up My Snow Shovel for a Snow Blower We've had quite a bit of snow and I love it! I'm known for loving snow, and something else that I like is using a manual tool, a plain old snow shovel. I don't like noisy smelly snow blowers. 

Giving Up: Sometimes the show does not go on and it's okay This was a response to Adele's sadness in having to cancel or postpone her shows in Las Vegas. We're under too much pressure to never quit, to always push through. Sometimes we just need to stop and rest and wait for things to blow over. 

Feeling the Opposite of Pollyanna Optimism doesn't mean always feeling happy. We need to name and deal with negative emotions, and know that they pass. 

Selective Memory This one is about being able to forget negative things, and making efforts to remember good things by paying attention to all your sensations in the moment. Build happy triggers.

Musical Empathy: Exploring the relationship between feelings and music

We Can all Sing- We have rhythm in our blood My current focus is on invalidating the belief that people have that they can't or shouldn't sing. They feel this because someone told them as a child or young person that they were bad singers. NONSENSE! We all have music in our essence.

We Can all Dance-We have rhythm in our blood I want to nullify the messages that people get that they shouldn't or can't dance. PREPOSTEROUS! Our very essence is musical.

Everything's Going to Be Alright One of the post-COVID choir themes is sunshine and positivity. Music can help us feel better, and support our good feelings. I hope that our feelings of relief at singing together will be so uplifting that we'll feel like flying. 

Singing Together has so Many Benefits We know this, and it's one reason that we're so sad at having to miss choir for so long during the pandemic. 

Music During the Pandemic: My Survival from A-Z This was just a fun enumeration of ways that music has been helping us/me survive the pandemic.