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, March 1, 2023

YRCC 2023 Rehearsal Review February 28th

 Oh what a night! It was fun and it was productive. 

Part of our warm-up was singing to an accompaniment soundtrack of Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head by Burt Bacharach who recently passed away (Feb.8, at 94). He also wrote What the World Needs Now, which is in our archives. It's amazing how many of us knew most of the words. Well, not so amazing. Music does that. It stays in our memories wonderfully, even when other memories fade. Music is magical. Part of our warm-up included stretches that we felt more than usual because of having had to shovel snow. 

Bill met with Donna at 6:30 to practise his solo piece. It's so beautiful! You're going to love it. 

1. Top of the World: It's very, very good! We talked again about what the basses could do. I think we ended up deciding that it was easiest if they sang what was written, or an octave down from what's written, and not the melody/soprano part an octave down (except for the entry/solo section which is all melody an octave down, with no harmony). More harmony is good. Something that made me very happy is that it was our first song of the night, and everyone watched me at the end and held the note about three extra bars! I love when I can play with an ending. Thank you for playing with me so nicely!

2. Viva!:  I have a note on my copy of Top of the World that says "not so stiff; loosen up". Viva should have the same energy as Top of the World, uptempo, cut time, very positive but with the opposite note: "tighten up." We worked on tightening up the timing. It's very important to observe the rests, always, and to keep the notes for their written length, always. Mozart's music gets a lot of energy from precise timing, from contrasts between short notes and quick parts and longer notes and grander sections. Our pronuciation needs a little tightening up too. Some folks were saying pwee instead of pyoo for più, "più caro" So, I was yelling out pyoo, pew, Pepe le Pew, church pews, pyoo-pyoo like a cartoon gun. It rhymes with you, cue, and the fancy way that we sometimes say new (or Tuesday) to sound like there's a y in there: not noo shoes, but nyoo shoes. If you catch yourself or someone near you pronouncing a word differently from those around you, let me know. Precision is a Mozart key word. 

3. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring: We learned the last section. Tenor and bass divide her to wonderful effect, especially that last note. We did it! And, it sounded great and felt great. Next time, we'll do the second verse. I want us to end on the words: "in the love of joys unknown" (plus a hmm). Can hardly wait. I love this. 

4. Happy Together: Our theme song! Our concert will be called Happy (singing)Together! I am so happy- for real, so happy- that we're singing together again. Not singing together during the pandemic was super hard on me, even with the Zoom choir nights that we had. They were so much better than not singing at all, but real live choir is the very best thing in the world to me. We all know this song pretty well and the arrangement isn't too "special". We had sopranos on Part 1 and everyone else on Part 2. We might put a couple of Tenors on Part 1. In the last section, the ba-ba section, there's also a Descant part for the first Sopranos. We didn't get there yet. We sang from page 7, stopping at bar 55. The eighth notes in the ba-ba section go "ba-da-bop ba" This helps you to observe that little rest and it tightens up that rhythm. When you sing bop, it's short. You close your mouth for a fraction of a second. Very cool. 

5. Walking on Sunshine: We did it pretty slow, and very few people got lost this time. Maybe you've been practising? When it's up to speed, it's going to actually be easier. You'll loosen up and watch me, and we'll be great. I love the energy of this one. Donna's accompaniment is some good rock-n-roll! It makes me want to dance. During that section with the overlapping repeats where each section has their own part, watch me. It's my job to do the counting, to show you when to come in and when to stop, so just come in when I tell you and stop when I tell you. If I add an extra repeat or get your section in  early, at least we'll be together. Donna is awesome at fixing things that I mess up, so have faith and have fun. I'll try my best not to mess up, though. We reviewed the tenor part on the chorus because we need to hear that harmony. It's tempting to sing melody, I know. We also reviewed coming in at the coda. 1-2-1-2 and don't it feel good. 

6. Hallelujah: We had a few extra minutes so we sang this as a bonus. So good!

Next week: Tuesday, March 7th

6:30 Mad about Mozart Small Group! Sign up on the website. There's an Event set up. There's a link to the sheet music there and on the website in the recordings list. 

  • Happy Together
  • Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
  • This Little Light of Mine
  • Walking on Sunshine
  • We Rise Again

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