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, February 2, 2023

YRCC Rehearsal Review January 31st

The small group singing Together Wherever We Go met early. They have learned the song and the next step is to make it visually adorable. 

We warmed up our instruments and made sure we were allowing lots of air to come out of our mouths with exercises to open our throats and stretch the upper and lower limits of our range of sounds (not necessarily 'singing' sounds). We did a few vocal exercises too, with short syllables and long vowels resonating in our sinuses. 

1. Blue Skies: "nothing but blue skies from now own" fits our theme perfectly. We have snaps and jazz hands and two short 'scat' solos. The sopranos start with snaps (two bars before Donna comes in) and alto tenor and bass start with melody. The bar before the sopranos start, they stop snapping, 13 (its not easy to snap and sing; too much pressure). The bar before the solos start, everyone snaps, top of page 5, and turns the page so you don't look at the music until page 6. Everyone stops snapping when we start singing again, 53. Easy-peasy. At the end, everyone does jazz hands with their right hands, on the last word "on". Watch how we snap so that you do it the same as everyone else. 

2. I Can See Clearly Now: Nothing but blue, blue skies! We looked at the ending, from the coda 43, coming in at 45, to the end. A good ending is so important! Be sure to observe rests. Look at the top of page 10 and maybe mark those two beats at the end of bar 48 so that you're not holding "way" too long. 

3. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring: We are singing the English words and we say "Jay-zoo". We sight-read through the first verse. It's pretty, but difficult. Your homework is to look at your part and see where your notes don't match the words as they are written. Altos and Baritones especially have some really cool parts. Look at the slur lines connecting notes to see where the words move and where they start and stop. For example, look at the words Love and Most, here below from page 3. Sopranos have 3 syllables on love and two on most. Altos have one syllable on love and 4 on most! Baritones have 2 syllables on love and one on most, and the location of the word most is deceiving. If I were singing baritone, I would cross out most and write it over the note on beat 3, where I need to sing it. Also, for the second verse, 'sic' from music falls on beat 3 so I would write that in too, maybe like this: zik. Be sure to make any markings in pencil. If you ever leave the choir, someone else will get your music, and they might sing a different part. Or, the director might ask you to do things differently from year-to-year. 

4. Viva!: Encourage everyone to live life well, especially those dearest to your heart (piu caro in vostro cor). We did the whole next section, from 19 to 32, starting with all the altos and sopranos on that optional solo section. It's so pretty with all of you singing! The most difficult part there is the baritone line in the first system of page 8. If you have a chance to listen to that part, please do. 

5. On Eagle's Wings: We sang the whole thing and noticed that some sopranos forgot to mark that they're not singing at 43, but only come in at "make you to shine" and make it soft and angelic, please. This section is all about the altos: look at their sun. The ending needs work so that we get it tighter. Make sure you are observing those rests on beats 2. 

We talked about small group and solo suggestions. I already have more than enough suggestions so that I won't be able to include all of them; however, if you have a great idea, I'm still all ears, open to suggestions, until next week. I have to decide at least who is going to rehearse next. Do we want an early group on Valentine's Day evening? Maybe that's not a good idea? We need to make some decisions next Tuesday. 

Here's the One Voice trio we were talking about. This version is not the original, but I like it a lot. It fits our theme beautifully: singing together, helping each other to make it through, surrendering to the mystery, singing with love and a will to trust. All of us=one voice. I just saw a video with a choir singing it, and I think we might want to do this next year. Oh, my goodness, it's everything, this song. Tab has agreed to join Melinda and Lauren on this. Thank you! 

Next week, Tuesday, February 7th

6:45 Together Wherever We Go 

  • Hallelujah
  • Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
  • Top of the World
  • Viva
  • Walking on Sunshine

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