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 21, 2017

Support the Newmarket Community: Coldest Night of the Year

CNOY stands for Coldest Night of the Year. 

CNOY is a walk, a fundraising walk which supports programs for homeless people. My daughters and I will participate in the walk this year on February 25th. We are joining a team from our church, Trinity United Church in Newmarket. Walking at night in February gives participants a small taste of what it might be like to live in the streets in the winter. It's meant to be uncomfortable, but we will be walking in teams and will have snacks and a warm home to go to afterwards. We will be reminded of how lucky we are.

To find out more about the Coldest Night of the Year, click here. 

Please sponsor me on my walk! You can donate online here. Just enter my name in the Search box: Renate Naghavi. 

In Newmarket, Inn from the Cold is the recipient of the funds raised. Inn from the Cold started as a shelter for the coldest winter nights only, but has grown to a multi-service centre for people who find themselves homeless or at risk.

You can find out about Newmarket Inn from the Cold here. 

Briefly, here's what they do:

Services offered by Inn From the Cold

Inn From the Cold is a service hub for the homeless and at risk of being homeless. We offer our guests a range of helpful services year round that are designed to assist with finding housing, employment, mental health support and other necessities such as hot meals, warm clothing, laundry, internet and bathing facilities.Our goal is to not only provide the basic necessities of food and shelter but also to help our guests upgrade their skills in order to be able to enter or reintegrate into the workforce and to obtain financial stability.

YRCC Rehearsal Review 20-FEB-2017

Monday, February 20th, 2017: Family Day!

6:30 Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire- Wow! What a beautiful song!

1. Hallelujah: Always a treat to sing this! Having different soloists was fun!
2. Hockey Song Great Wayne Gretzky!
3.We Rise Again: Section C is the hardest part and we did it! It was awesome! I got goosebumps. We also sang the first verse oohs and aahs and they were really cool.
4. Where the Coho Flash Silver: We sang through the whole song so that we could record Joy playing the accompaniment on our keyboard, but it was really hard! There are tempo changes and fermatas and we had some technical difficulties (forgetting that there's a speaker on/off switch on the keyboard). Also, there's the a cappella part which is awkward. I don't think we can sing that without Joy. But, now we'll be able to rehearse it with accompaniment without Joy when necessary up to the a cappella part. We reviewed everything up to the a cappella part as well.
5. Four Strong Winds: We also recorded the accompaniment for this. The same challenges apply here, so we just did it at one tempo, so we could have something, and Joy played something during the a cappella part. We cannot hope to sing this without Joy, but we'll be able to rehearse without Joy when necessary. We reviewed the parts up to the a cappella part here too.
6. Ca-na-da: We recorded this, too. It is a much easier song, and fun, too.

Next week: February 27th ( Joy will be absent, but we have recordings and Anne-Marie! )

6:30 St. Elmo's Fire Group

  • All the Little Rivers (just a sing-thorough)
  • Four Strong Winds (Section F-we'll skip the tricky middle part for now)
  • Song for the Mira (section 2- the oohs)
  • They All Call it Canada (just a sing-through)
  • Where the Coho Flash Silver (bar 27, review up to a cappella)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal 13-FEB-2017

Monday, February 13th, 2017 at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Aurora. Thanks, again, for providing us a home when we're bumped out of our room at the Administrative Centre!

St. Elmo's Fire small group started at 6:30

1. Unity: We learned the whole difficult part on page 2! This beautiful piece holds a special place in our hearts because it was created by a friend of our friend Rob for Canada's 125th birthday. The arrangement was prepared by a friend of Blair's and by me just for us. In case you didn't catch the words of the second verse, which were somehow missed, here they are:

Through respect and dignity
Will come peace and unity
No race, religion, skin nor creed
For you are you. And I am me
Together we're we.

2. Where the Coho Flash Silver: We learned A (the soloist will be Blair or Todd, with the other as back-up) and B (the soloist will be Daphne or Ellen, with the other as back-up). We reviewed C, D, and E and now we're almost done! We looked at the ending, too. We still need review, and there are little bits that we seemed to have missed, but it's awesome.

3.We Rise Again: We sang section F first, where S2ATB have melody and S1 has a descant, and looked at the key change too. There is a small difference in the tenor section which we will ignore. Tenors can sing with Bass throughout that section. We will look at section C next week. It's where there are 4 parts and it's cool.

Monday, February 20th: Family Day -regular rehearsal in our room 

6:30 Small Group St. Elmo's Fire

  1. Four Strong Winds- once through to record
  2. Hallelujah- a treat for missing time with our families :-)
  3. Hockey Song- a family day treat
  4. We Rise Again- section C
  5. Where the Coho Flash Silver- once through to record, plus bits we missed

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal Review 06-FEB-2017

Monday, February 6th, 2017

6:30 V'la l'bon vent was excellent! We've got it moving now, and we'll have an awesome surprise too!

Warm-ups today included trying out harmonies for Happy Birthday! Now, you'll be able to impress your friends and family when you sing Happy Birthday. It was my birthday on the 5th, so I enjoyed being sung to in such a wonderful way! Thank you!

1. Unity is a song written for Canada's 125th birthday by a friend of Rob's, Kathleen Deters, at the same time as Rob wrote and produced a play, Sentimental Journey. They performed the song together with Rob's cast and crew on several occasions in 1992. We are honoured to be chosen to honour her memory by learning and sharing her music. Unity is a sweet and catchy song that you'll be singing all day long.

2. O Canada is going to be great! We tried singing the first verse with the with piano accompaniment, then the pines and maples verse a cappella, then the French with piano and an extra chorus of English as an ending, It was excellent, but I'm still considering different variations.

3. Four Strong Winds: I had goosebumps several times! It was beautiful! We learned C and then went back to the beginning and learned A and B. Take note: the tenors have the melody at A and B, so sopranos and altos don't! Cool!

4. Song for the Mira: More goosebumps! At one point I had goosebumps not only up and down my arms, but across my body, a big frisson! I love this piece! We learned half of section 5 and reviewed the Can you imagine part. It's hard, but so satisfying!

5. We Rise Again: I am looking for a soloist for this. I'd like to hear a few possibilities. We sang through, and a bunch of people sang the solo part to see if they felt comfortable doing it. It's not easy, but the parts are recorded and you can review your part on line. We've forgotten it, but it won't take us long to pick it up again. Please review your parts, everyone, to make it easier.

Next week: Monday, February 13th 

We will not be in our usual room again, having been bumped. We're rehearsing at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Aurora, on Mosley. 

6:30 Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire Small Group

  • Four Strong Winds (D, and E?)
  • Unity 
  • We Rise Again (section F on page 9, then C on page 5)
  • Where the Coho Flash Silver (Try solos- A: Blair/ Todd and B: Daphne/Ellen and continue with C, D,E)

Listen to all kinds of music. Share it.

So, researchers have said that people who listen to more than one genre of music tend to be smarter, more creative, open minded, and honest. 

Is it because of those traits that people are drawn to different kinds of music, or does music inspire people to be better? I think it's both. Maybe it's good, smart people who introduce their children to all kinds of music as part of their education, or up-bringing, who start the cycle? I believe we need to include much more music in children's education, all kinds. I know music inspires me in a million ways. 

Just more than one genre is all it takes? Only one more genre than pop, or rock, or classical can do that? Cool! If you only like rock, then all you have to do is add one other genre? If you only like classical, then you only need one other type of music to make you smarter and more creative? Imagine if you added two or three? I like almost every kind of music I hear, and listen to all kinds. All of the buttons on my car radio are used, and I'd like more. I'd like to hear more world music, and more folk on the radio, but there's so much more, and readily available, than what's on the car radio!

I like that the new "radio", internet sites, YouTube, the Spotify and Apple Music-type things, offer playlists of all kinds: genres, moods, artists, eras, etc. It's amazing what you can listen to while you write on your blog! If you haven't tried it, do a Google search for relaxing music playlist, or study playlist, or Harry Belafonte playlist!

I'm so grateful for all the music in my life! I aspire to being smart and creative, open-minded and honest, and I hope that I inspire that in my children. I know they are both very musical and open-minded consumers of all kinds of music. I sang and danced and made music with them from the moment of conception. My mother and father probably did the same for me. 

I also had wonderful teachers, excellent music teachers, and musical teachers in my very early years. We all had band and orchestra in Junior High School when I was young. Many of us continued to choose music in high school I have an appreciation for jazz because of Mr. Miner. Maybe I'm crazy for John Williams because of my band experiences with him and Mr. Beatty and Mr. Eason and more recently, Madame Leblanc. (It's not the movies. I haven't seen most of them.) Kids I went to school with learned to play violin, viola, and cello and bass, and played music from Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, in grade 8! It was normal. It was awesome. My kids had an excellent music program at their school, but it was exceptional.

Music is magical. Explore the world of music and take your kids there, too!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal Review 30-JAN-2017

Monday, January 30th, 2017

6:30 V'la l'bon vent Bilingual Small Group. Fun! We added spoons and a few repetitions of the chorus so we modified the arrangement from a slowish and soft song to a joyous jig!

Warm-ups were just to get our bodies ready to sing and our spirits ready to sing together. The vocal warm-up was our first song.

1. Ca-na-da from Canada's Centennial is so sweet, we'll sing it twice and we'll invite the audience to sing along the second time. Sopranos are on top (one little, two little,...) and Altos, Tenors, and Basses are all on the bottom singing the main melody.

2. Coho Flash Silver is still stuck in my head! What a sticky melody! We did the difficult part, the a cappella section at E and then the ending. You should have enough of a feel for the song to practise on your own with the recordings at home for a while, as we move on to other songs.

3. Song for the Mira: We just reviewed the Can you imagine part we learned last week, and that was hard enough.

4. Song for Canada: we learned the ending ahs. Mark on your music where you sing. We move around a bit.

5. All the Little Rivers: we just sang it through to remember what we've learned. I think this song is also ready for some individual rehearsal at home. We've learned the trickiest bits together. If you're not sure how to use the recordings at home, ask someone on the executive or the person you sit next to. The resources are there for you. Take advantage.

Next week, Monday, February 6th:

6:30 V'la l'bon vent  Bilingual Small Group meets again. We might be able to finish. We were just not sure of the tempo and dynamics, but the parts were very good already.

  • Four Strong Winds (starting at C)
  • O Canada (French words)
  • Song for the Mira (5)
  • Unity (new)
  • We Rise Again (run-through with potential soloists)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal Review 23-JAN-17

Warm-ups were different moves done as we sang Frere Jacques in a 4-part round. It was not easy.

1. All the Little Rivers is so cool! We worked on the a cappella part and it was excellent! It reminds me in parts of Pocahontas :-) I love Pocahontas too. We worked on the dynamics of the rest of the song. Make sure you pay attention to where to those ps and fs and mfs! Also, save your ff for the parts that are marked ff. This is a very challenging song, so use the recordings to help you if you're feeling uncertain.

2. Hockey Song! We learned sections B and C and sang to the end. It's not as easy as it sounds, so listen to your part recorded for you and posted on the website. It will help!

3. Song for the Mira. We learned the 4-part section before 5 "Can you imagine". It's my favourite part of the song. (aside from the words "stars on the river face sparkle and spin". Sometimes a group of words makes me especially happy. The "snow was falling snow on snow, snow on snow"of Bleak Midwinter is my all-time favourite. Maybe I just like the alliteration of sibilants.) The timing here is pretty tricky, and we all have to be together. If you missed this rehearsal or just want to review what we learned, go to the website and download the recording of your part. Sing along, watching your music and listening. For a challenge, listen to another part and sing your part with it!

4.Ca-na-da. If you remember this from the Centennial, you're lucky. I don't quite remember how it goes, and a bunch of us are even younger than I am, but we'll learn it. We have to learn a bit of French for this song, too! Wow! We're becoming so bilingual! We talked a bit about changing the words, since it refers to the centennial year and the population at the time. I think we should sing it as is. It's history. And, we can make fun of the word sesquicentennial instead of singing it. My plan at the moment is for the Altos, Tenors, and Basses to sing the main melody and the Sopranos can sing the special bits on top.

Next week, Monday, January 30th:

Bilingual small group V'la l'bon vent starts at 6:30.

  • All the Little Rivers (B and C)
  • Ca-na-da
  • Coho Flash Silver (E)
  • Song for the Mira (5)
  • Song for Canada (ending)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal Review 15-Jan-2017

We were at St. Andrew's in Aurora because we were bumped out of our room in the Admin Centre.
Thank you to Lauren and Enid for arranging that!

We started with a moving and singing warm-up with ha-ha, ho-ho, and hee-hee, since it was supposed to be the saddest day of the year. How can you be sad at choir!? We're so lucky to have happy Monday nights every week!

1. Hallelujah was better when we put our music away and watched so that we were all together. Watch. Not just at the endings. When you know the song so well that you could sing it without the music, you should be watching almost the whole time.

2. They All Call it Canada. We reviewed pages 10 and 11, all-new with the descant part over top of the tenor/bass melody. Even the tenors and basses found it challenging, but it's really cool and we're getting it!

3. Song For Canada. We sang the French verse a few times to get used to the pronunciation and how the syllables go with the melody. If you want, you can hear me sing it on the website, but you can find it on YouTube sung by lots of different choirs, including the YRCC.

4. The Hockey Song! Yay! It's so much fun! We have to review it, as there are some bits that are tricky. We started with the Great! Wayne! Gretzky! part. It was heavenly! Hey, thanks, Rob, our "announcer", for bringing the whistle! It was Great!

5. Where the Coho Flash Silver: New song! We're all in the same boat, on this one (har-har), since nobody knows this, except for Karen and Daphne who learned it during a choir camp this past summer. (Yes, overnight camp for grown-ups where you sing!) We started learning it at C, where we all sing. OMG! It's going to be awesome.

Next week (23 Jan):

All the Little Rivers (focus on a cappella)
Hockey Song (B and C)
Song for the Mira (Section 5 page 9-10)
Where the Coho Flash Silver (E)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

YRCC Rehearsal Review 9-Jan-2017

First rehearsal of 2017!

1. O Canada. It sounded beautiful! Especially a cappella! We reviewed the alto, tenor and bass parts, and they're really cool, especially when you can hear how they blend with the soprano part. We will have to perform one verse a cappella. I think it will be the "pines and maples" verse, which I love. We need a verse that the audience can sing, so that will be the first verse, I guess, except, maybe we'll repeat it at the end? We will sing a French verse. I'm not sure how it's going to be, but we will have a big O Canada this year.

2. They All Call it Canada! What a big, patriotic song! It will be even bigger this year. We will sing the soprano and alto descant part on pages 10 and 11 over the tenor/bass melody. We started learning it, and it's quite hard. We'll have to make a recording of this part for the sopranos and altos, but don't worry, we'll review it often.

3. All the Little Rivers. So pretty! We'll need to review this, as it's also quite difficult. You can watch us sing this on YouTube, so we've done it before and we can do it again. Just, maybe take some time to review the recording of your part.

4. Four Strong Winds. New Song!!! So, nobody is ahead on this one. We're all starting together on this. We just sang through to see what to look forward to. We didn't really look at parts, but just sang the melody. It's so pretty! Just so you know, the Tenors and Basses get the melody at the beginning! That means sopranos don't. There is a doo-doo part later on and it's a cappella! And, it doesn't have a big ending. The piano part is really sweet. Joy has recorded the accompaniment and the 3 parts so you can practise at home. Thank you, Joy!

5. Song For the Mira. will be different this time. We will not have 6 solos, because it was messy and distracting and the song suffered. So, we will have 2 solos, one male and one female. Todd and Lauren sang it tonight, but I haven't decided who will get those solos. There will be a back-up for each to choose as well. We need to have a flute, so if Robin doesn't come back, then we'll ask Rebekah back again.

6. Song For Canada will be different this time too. We will not have a solo. I haven't quite decided how it will go, but I want a group on the first verse, probably the sopranos, and then everyone on the French verse and everyone on the last verse. The descant will be done by the flute. I want everyone to hear the beautiful words of the last verse. We will work on enunciating them and using dynamics to create drama and variety in the song.

Next week:

  • All the Little Rivers (a cappella part)
  • Hallelujah
  • Hockey Song 
  • Song For Canada (French part)
  • They All Call it Canada (page 10-11 again)
  • Where the Coho Flash Silver (intro)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

YRCC Celebrates Canada: This year, we sing more O Canada.

We need to spice up our O Canada for our special Canada theme.

I'm thinking about having us sing a whole verse in French, or maybe some of us?

Ô Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

And, we need to sing this verse:

O Canada! Where pines and maples grow.
Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow. (all the little rivers)
How dear to us thy broad domain,
From East to Western sea.
Thou land of hope for all who toil!
Thou True North, strong and free!

What about this verse?

O Canada! Beneath thy shining skies
May stalwart sons, and gentle maidens rise,
To keep thee steadfast through the years
From East to Western sea.
Our own beloved native land!
Our True North, strong and free!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Small Group and Solo songs for YRCC spring 2017

Soloists and Small groups, we need some pop songs, famous melodies, some fun stuff.

Please see me soon with your ideas!

Canadians have created some excellent songs.

I'd like to do a sing-along of a Canadian Pop song, too. What do you think?
What song do you think everyone will enjoy singing?

Here are some ideas, some songs I found online, some melodies to get you thinking:

Wondering Where the Lions Are or Lovers in a Dangerous Time by Bruce Cockburn?

If I Had a Million Dollars by the Barenaked Ladies?

Summer of 69   or Everything I do I do it for you Bryan Adams

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald or anything by Gordon Lightfoot

Snowbird Anne Murray

Put Your Head on My Shoulder Paul Anka

No Time The Guess Who

Big Yellow Taxi Joni Michell

Here for a Good Time Trooper

Life is a Highway Tom Cochrane

Spinning Wheel Blood Sweat and Tears ( ooh. need some brass)

That don't impress me much Shania Twain

My Own Way to Rock - Burton Cummings

Well? What would you like to sing?

BTW: here's where I found these titles:

York Region wishes us all a Happy 2017

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

YRCC end of season. Did you hand in your binder?

If you still haven't handed in your binder. Please do it as soon as possible!

If you don't know where Lyn lives, look her up in the Members-only section of the website.

Lyn is emptying the binders of their winter music and filing that all away now.

Don't make it difficult for her! She shouldn't have to go back into those files in January because of you. Get your binder to Lyn right away! Now.

Everyone will have new music in their binders on January 9th. Our theme is Celebrating Canada, because 2017 is the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

I will post the song selections soon. Look up some of the titles in the "Previous Seasons" section of the Resources page before they show up on the main page if you want to look ahead. Sing along with They All Call it Canada and Song for Canada as well as The Hockey Song! I can't wait!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 14-Nov-2016

6:30 Jeremiah Joy to the World. I forgot to bring the tambourine and other percussion instruments I wanted to add to African Noel, and it made a huge difference. Somehow everything went sideways. We will regroup and will fix this song.

1. Hallelujah was excellent. We remember it. New folks followed very well and can listen to the "tricky bits" of their parts on the website. The accompaniment will be there as well.

2. Joy to the World is super. Almost all of you have memorized it! We will be standing with our binders closed to sing this, first in the centre aisle of the church and then on stage. We will open our binders for the second song.

3. African Noel Will be the first song of the second half. We will enter from the back, walking with closed binders, then open them all together to start African Noel. Remember that there are 8 bars of drums and piano before we start.

4. Various Themes on Fa-la-la is so cool! I've been wanting to do this for years. I love all those classical melodies! The transitions still need some ironing out. Listen to one of the many YouTube performances of this song for help, and sing along with Joy's recordings! Please do a little work on this at home if you're having trouble.

5. Winter Song! We got it! We got to the end together. I know there are still individuals who are feeling a bit lost here (second sopranos in particular). Again, it will help to watch those videos I sent you and sing along with Joy's recordings. We discovered that people were not watching for cut-offs so they were holding some notes too long, and others not long enough. Pay attention to the notes and rests.

6. We Wish You a Merry Madrigal. Be sure to be very powerful on the last page! This is our wish for the audience members, a direct message from us to them. Express it passionately. The second repetition of each chorus and verse should be soft and cute, not slower and not mushy. Crisp and cute and soft, almost like you're being sneaky to repeat it.

Go Tell it on the Mountain small group presented their piece to me and it's so cool! Groove and move to give it that extra oomph, friends!

Next Monday, 21 November

6:30 Jeremiah Joy (adding Joy back in and remembering the tambourine and maybe more percussion)
7:00 Please don't sing another fa-la-la

Run, Run, Rudolph at break time 8:30

  • Canon of Joy (dynamics)
  • Do You Hear What I Hear (dynamics)
  • Hallelujah (fun)
  • Magic of Winter ( timing)
  • Various Themes (transitions)
  • Winter Song (dynamics)
Todd at 9:30

Sunday, November 13, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 7-NOV-2016

Yikes! I was sick on Monday, and although I didn't get hit with a big flu as expected, but only a short couple of days of discomfort, I still wasn't able to get a rehearsal review done. My week was messed up. Sorry.

I do believe you all did well without me. That's what I was told. I know that when I'm not there, you're in good hands. Anne-Marie and Lauren together with Joy must have been an excellent team.

This week, tomorrow, we will sing:

  • African Noel
  • Joy to the World
  • Various Themes 
  • Winter Song
  • Hallelujah (Yes, we need to do this to remember Leonard Cohen.)

We will substitute Hallelujah for We Wish You a Merry Christmas as an encore. I know that a number of people in our audience like to hear it as an encore, and it will be on people's minds this time especially. So, we will not disappoint them.

Jeremiah Joy to the World will meet at 6:30. I have already emailed the group.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 31-Oct-2016 Halloween Monday

Another holiday Monday, but we were mostly at choir :-)

6:30-7 Please Don't Sing small group
7-7:30 Noel Nouvelet with Rebekah

Warm-ups included scary sounds (sirens oo-ee) and minor arpeggios.

1. Joy to the World - a cappella. We started with Joy but easily mastered our parts a cappella. Don't forget to memorize this!
2. Various Themes on Fa-la-la: Fun! We did Beethoven's 5th and the Blue Danube, reviewed William Tell and started 1812 and the ending! We learned so much!
3. Do You Hear What I Hear?: Yes, I do! I hear beautiful sounds. We discovered that a lot of sopranos and altos were singing the melody at C, where they don't have the melody. Little lamb and ringing are the same note, a third above the melody. There are plenty of challenging bits, so we will need more opportunities to perfect it.
4. O Holy Night: Melinda sang the solo, and rocked it. This is a challenging piece, but at least you only have to learn one part. Melinda is bi-sectional on this one. She sings with the sopranos when she sings the solo, and with the tenors when Mary-Ellen sings the solo. Kudos to her. It's important for us to be strong on the one verse where everyone is singing together, the Truly he taught us part. Get yourself into a 1-2 groove from the beginning. The timing is tied to beats 1 and 2 (or 1 and 4 if you count the 6/8 time in 6, but I conduct in 2). This is especially important in the chorus part. 1-2.
5. Magic of Winter: For some reason, we were a bit messy on this. It'll work out. Listen to the recordings to see how you can improve. Listen to the performance too. It's awesome.

Next week: Monday, November 7th: Tickets, posters, poinsettias!

You can buy tickets for friends and family. You can take posters to post in common areas you might have at work or in clubs, anywhere you can think of. Roxanne takes care of tickets and posters. You can order poinsettias to take home after the concert, or to give as gifts after the concert. During the concert, they'll decorate the church. They're huge and impressive, and a great fundraiser for us. Jane coordinates this.

6:30 Noel Nouvelet with Rebekah
7:00 Run, Run, Rudolph

  • Why We Sing
  • Merry Madrigal
  • Do You Hear
  • Winter Song
  • Various Themes

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 24-OCT-2016

Monday, October 24th, 2016
6:30 Small Group Please Don't Sing Another Fa-la-la

Warm-ups included breathing exercises

1. Carol of the Bells: excellent!
2. Winter Song: We hadn't looked at the top of page 9. That whole section is a bit different. It says "With more drive" and we're louder, but there is a swelling of emotion at the top of page 9 which is achieved with volume and with the higher notes. It's really cool. We spent quite a bit of time on page 12, trying to get all of us to the end together, and we nearly did it. Joy has re-recorded the accompaniment to include the ending, (although the accompaniment stops in bar 74 and we're acappella at bar 76) and has re-recorded the second soprano part, so that should help.
3. Do You Hear What I Hear:We learned the ending. It's very dramatic! Be sure to watch on the last line. I added a fermata, so we all hold the last note of "light" and stop before Bring us light. Watch for each note on bring us light.
4. Various Themes on Fa-la-la: We learned the William Tell part and reviewed from the beginning up to there.

Next week Halloween Monday, October 31st. 
If you have to be away because of children or grandchildren trick-or-treating, I understand. We will go on and you will be able to catch up. Remember, there are recordings on our website to help you if you need to catch up, or if you just feel like you need a little extra help.

6:30 Please Don't Sing
7:00 Noel Nouvelet

  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • Joy to the World
  • Magic of Winter
  • O Holy Night
  • Various Themes

Various Themes on Fa-la-la recordings on the YRCC website

Our Joy has done an amazing job of recording our accompaniment and parts of Various Themes on Fa-la-la for the website. Sign in and go to the quick link box on the right to music recordings. The name of the piece is the accompaniment alone, and the parts are there beside it. Click on your part and sing along!

Please listen to Joy's recordings and follow along with your part there. I realize that it's sometimes hard to distinguish your part from the piano part, but if you follow along with your music, you should be able to pick it out. We are looking at how to fix that, and hopefully future recordings will be clearer.

For more help and inspiration, go to YouTube and search Various Themes on Fa-la-la. Wow! There are lots of fun performances of it, and there are some recordings of parts, too. Beware, the recordings of parts are not our version. The soprano part starts out the same, but gets different. The other parts are very different from the start. Too bad, it would have been nice to have those to use. But, I do like our version better. It has 4 part harmony, for one thing. Shall I have us gallop like horses, and waltz?  What do you think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 17-OCT-2016

Monday, October 17th, 2016

6:30 Noel Nouvelet with Rebecca on flute (Rebecca now has the music and we will meet again on November 7th to rehearse with Rebecca again.
7:00 Please Don't Sing Another Fa-la-la  started learning parts

Warm-up: Swans Sweetly Singing going up
1. Joy to the World: Acappella 3-part version by me :-) It was quick and easy! This will be our opening song, and I hope we can sing it without music. Please start working on memorizing the words and your part right away so that by December 4th, it's easy.

2. Various Themes on Fa-la-la! It's going to be so much fun! What a great opportunity to learn to sing some very famous melodies! Remember to watch the la-la-las! They're short and choppy. We sang through the whole song, sight-reading, and started learning parts at the beginning and got to the top of page 5! What we learned will take us far, because that theme is repeated several times.

3. Winter Song: Pages 10-12, in particular page 12. Second Sopranos, you will need to work on this. Your parts are important. Please review how the music goes, where you come in and how the repeat works. If you don't understand, please ask.

4. We didn't get a chance to look at the ending of Do You Hear What I Hear, so please take a look at the last page if you have some time before next Monday.

Next week: Monday, October 24

Please Don't Sing Another Fa-la-la Small Group parts at 6:30 (7:00 with Joy)

  • Carol of the Bells
  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • Various Themes on Fa-la-la
  • Winter Song
  • O Holy Night?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 10-OCT-2016 Thanksgiving Monday

I am thankful that such a good group showed up on Thanksgiving Monday!

We had a rough start, as those of us who were there early for the small group at 7:00 were locked out in the cold with the security guard who locked himself out. But, we huddled together in a couple of cars until we got in shortly after 7:30 and had a little bit of a Noel Nouvelet rehearsal before our regular rehearsal which was very productive!

1. Magic of Winter was awesome! It's always extra pretty with a small group. And, I got to sing the tenor part with Stanley, which was a joy.

2. Carol of the Bells was great, too! It's so much fun to sing!

3. Winter Song: Wow! We worked hard! We did the oohs! We started at page 10 where there's a "treble group" on top. That's the Second Sopranos. They sing the melody while everyone else sings oohs. Nailed it. Then we went on to page 12! Page 12 is challenging. The Second Sopranos divide into 3 groups, and each group sings something entirely different and starts at different times, while the rest of the choir sings their "is love alive" bit over and over with a couple of differences. It took us some time and work, but we got it. Now, we have to teach it to the rest of the choir! But, once that's done, we'll have learned the whole song.

4. African Noel: Marianna, Janet, and I added some percussion. We will give the drums 4 extra bars at the beginning, and they will get the last "word", too. It's going to be cool!

5. We Wish You a Merry Madrigal: I got to sing again! It was great! You guys are so lucky to be able to sing every week. What a wonderful feeling!

Next week, Monday, October 17th

6:30 Noel Nouvelet
7:00 Please Don't Sing Another Fa-la-la

  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • Joy To the World
  • Various Themes on Fa-la-la
  • Winter Song

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal 03-OCT-2016

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

small groups
6:30 Jeremiah Joy: keep working on clapping and singing
7:00 Noel Nouvelet: blend with your section, watch dynamics-so pretty!

warm-ups included movement again, not easy

1. Carol of the Bells: Melodie sang the solo at the beginning- pretty. Mary-Ellen will be Melodie's back-up. Awesome piece. First row altos showed that they didn't need any help. Remember that everyone sings the second time around. Tenors and Basses have to remember to come in with confidence on the second ending, and to wait for their special moment at the end. All ding dongs should have an accent at the beginning, like a bell.

2. Do You Hear What I Hear: Awesome! We learned the hardest bits: E, H, and D. And, most of the beginning too. Good work, everyone! Watch out for when you do and don't have melody. Melody must be heard above other parts.

3. Winter Song: We started at bar 23. Watch out for the notes that come in on the and of beat 1, just after beat one. We circled those words, like snow, that come late. At the beginning, everything is on the beat, straight-up and cute on the bum-bums (and piano-soft) but then the song starts and it's cool,

4. O Holy Night: Melinda sang the solo part. Amazing range! Well done. Melinda will be Mary-Ellen's back-up. Gorgeous piece! Great job by Joy, too!

Feeling a little lost? Help is a few clicks away! Log on to the website and go to the recordings. Find your part and you'll hear it played alone with the accompaniment. Follow along with your music. Don't feel shy to ask me, or even your neighbour for help during rehearsal. I bet if you have a question, there are others wondering the same thing. Speak up.

We had coffee and treats at breaktime, and it was really hard deciding what to eat. Everything looked fantastic. I had a cookie, a tart, and some cake- too much, but so delicious! Our coffee breaks are a good time to make connections with people in your section so that you can help each other, especially for times when you need to miss a rehearsal Cross over to the other sections too. You'll discover that many of us share other interests and talents besides singing.

Next week is Thanksgiving but we are meeting as usual! If you have holiday plans, don't worry. We'll have a smaller rehearsal, but often we get more done with a smaller group, and then those people will be leaders next time. The cool thing about a choir is that we are always learning from each other and helping each other.

7:00 Noel Nouvelet small group is meeting.

  • Magic of Winter
  • Carol of the Bells
  • We Wish You a Merry Madrigal
  • African Noel (drummers: Marianna, Janet can bring drums if you're coming)
  • Winter Song

Thursday, September 29, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal Review 26SEP2016

Monday, September 26th, 2016 YRCC Rehearsal

6:30 Jeremiah Joy with clapping and shaker

Warm-ups incorporated ideas from our Saturday choir event with body movement.

1. O Holy Night: Mary Ellen sang the solo. It was beautiful. Joy was amazing on the accompaniment! What a fantastic arrangement we have! New folks, please sign in on the website and download the recordings to help you learn your part if you're having trouble following your neighbours. There's a lot going on.

2. We Wish You a Merry Madrigal: We learned the 3/4 part in the middle, so now we have learned the whole song! It's fun and not too difficult. The parts should be on the website soon. They were recorded a few years ago. Remember to be loud on the first repetition of the sections and soft on the second each time.

3. Carol of the Bells: We learned the last 2 pages, so now we have the whole song. Remember that the ending is the second ending where the Tenors and Basses have the melody. We will need to be sure to build from pianissimo to fortissimo and back down again, and then back up again!

4. Do You Hear What I Hear: This is another really big, awesome arrangement of a favourite Christmas song. Again, Joy was spectacular! There is a lot to learn here for all parts. The recordings were also done years ago and should be on the website soon. You will want to take advantage of the recordings to help you learn your part.

5. Winter Song: New, new song! This one is new to everyone. We  only sang it through to see how it goes. This will take some learning and Joy is making recordings to help. There are special bits for Second Sopranos!

Next Week: 3 OCT 2016

6:30 Jeremiah Joy
7:00 Noel Nouvelet

  • O Holy Night
  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • Winter Song 
  • Carol of the Bells
Looking ahead: We are meeting on Thanksgiving Monday! Please try to come, but if you have to have a Thanksgiving dinner on Monday night, don't panic. You'll catch up. But the more people there, the better. 

Online Resources for Singers

When I'm looking for ideas for warm-ups, I go to YouTube and find all kinds of cool things.

Bill recently sent me the following links. If you go to any one of these, you'll have fun warming up and stretching your voice. Once you're there, you'll find a ton of other videos to watch.

Remember that it takes regular practice to keep your voice strong and healthy. You should be warming up and singing several times a week, not only once a week on Mondays.

Have fun!





Thursday, September 22, 2016

YRCC Rehearsal Review 19-SEP-2016

We welcomed several people from the waiting list who were checking us out.
We hope to see them all back next week!

Small Group at 6:30:
Jeremiah Joy to the World- listen to the recording a few times to get in the groove ;-)

Warm-ups: breathing, relaxing, opening up the throat

1. Canon of Joy: excellent! Remember to raise your eyebrows and bounce a bit on the joys, but to be smooth and sweet with the aahs, not taking big breaths at the same time-staggered breathing on the first couple of pages

2. We Wish You a Merry Madrigal: We learned the parts all the way to the 3/4 time section. Remember that the second fa-la-las are quiet but still bright and bouncy.

3. Carol of the Bells: New format. Last time we had lots of solos. This time we'll just be sure to do the gradual crescendo from pp to ff together, mostly. Everyone starts at bar 21. Solo at 9. Front row sopranos and altos start at 13, tenors at 17. We got to bar 33 and stopped there.

4. Why We Sing: Back to soloists: Trix and Stanley/ Peggy and Rob will do the beginning on Saturday.

5. African Noel: I've asked Marianna, Janet and the Kevins to accompany us on drums and percussion. Marianna started working on her Djembe. Fun!

Next week:

6:30 Small Group: Jeremiah Joy to the World

  • Carol of the Bells- starting at 33
  • Do You Hear What I Hear - intro
  • O Holy Night- awesomeness awaits
  • We Wish You a Merry Madrigal- 3/4 section
  • Winter Song- intro

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Noel Nouvelet: Video to help you learn it!

NOEL NOUVELET is a pretty 2-part piece for women only (SA) in French!
Sign up for the "Event" on the website. We start rehearsing on October 3rd.
Don't worry!
There's help!
This video!
Follow along with the music as you listen to the song being performed.

YRCC Rehearsal Review 12-SEP-2016

12-SEP-2016 Welcome Back!!! Registration Day.

Warm-ups included a new Swans Sweetly Singing round.

1. Canon of Joy: We welcomed our new accompanist, Joy, with a very lovely performance of Canon of Joy. We will be performing this at the Saturday 24th Choral Event. Don't drone. Remember to smile and raise your eyebrows when you're singing "joy". We'll try to get this prettier.

2. Why We Sing: We tried a new format with first row Sopranos and Altos and Tenors and Basses instead of the solos at the beginning. I liked it, but might prefer the solos. We'll try again next week. We'll also try it a bit faster. We are also performing this at the Choral Event.

3. Magic of Winter: Always pretty, a seniors residence favourite.

4. New Piece: African Noel: we sight-read and it was pretty good! I had planned to learn the first two pages, but we got all the way through!!! This will be extra-fun with percussion. I've asked some people to play drums and other percussion instruments with this. I heard a version with percussion and liked it, but like the choir part better with this version.

5. We Wish You a Merry Madrigal: new to many, this piece was done not too long ago, but we seem to have forgotten it. It'll come back. This is one of 3 fa-la-la pieces we have this season. Another one is a small group piece called Please Don't Sing Another Fa-la-la!

Our theme is still the Joy of Singing, and to extend it into the holiday season, we've called our winter concert YRCC Singing Joy to the World. We'll sing Joy to the World and a small group will sing the other Joy to the World (Jeremiah was a bullfrog...joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea,..). We'll also enjoy singing lots of familiar melodies from Christmas music and everywhere, songs that people sing along to, even when they only know the fa-la-las.

Log in on the website, and sign up for all the events: small groups, September 24th, and now Seniors' home performances!

Next week: 19-Sep-2016 Registration will continue. 
$75 cheque to York Region Community Choir or cash, please. $50 for half year.

Small Group 6:30: Jeremiah Joy To The World

  • Canon of Joy
  • Why We Sing
  • We Wish You a Merry Madrigal
  • African Noel
  • Carol of the Bells

Monday, September 12, 2016

Joy to the World YRCC version of Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog

A small group will do a fun Joy to the World inspired by the song in the "video" here.


I had to figure out how to make the song available to you. And, my solution was to create a video with the song in it. There's just a picture with the song played on it. Ignore the picture.
The beginning of the song is strange. There are some children speaking in French. Just wait. The song starts after a few seconds.

Our version will not be quite as exciting as this but we'll see. When my Teen Choir did it, we sang in unison, and together, without the gospel-choir stuff in the background. We did clap. It was fun and our audience enjoyed it.

Sign up for this small group right away. We start on September 19th.
Log in on the website and sign up for this Event.
The YRCC is Singing Joy to the World is our concert title. :-)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Monday, September 12th YRCC return!

Tomorrow, Labour Day Monday, is the last choirless Monday of 2016 until December 26!

Go online now and pre-register for the 2016-2017 season which starts next Monday!

Here's a link so you don't have to think.

The more pre-registration is done, the more singing we can do on our first Monday.

Registration on September 12 will simply be check in, pay, get your binder, and sing!

You can bring $75 cash or a cheque made out to York Region Community Choir.

Friday, August 5, 2016

YRCC 2016/2017 Choir Leadership Team

the Executive of the York Region Community Choir 
for the 2016/2017 Choir Year:

The Executive works together with the Director and Accompanist, and the Reading Committee, to choose music, decide when and where we sing, and make sure people are there to sing and to hear us sing, and take care of our equipment, finances, website and music library.The Executive is elected and the Reading Committee, Conductor and Accompanist are appointed. The Executive is now officially the Board of Directors since we incorporated, but we can still use the name executive, I think. 

Our President is Lauren Solar (laurensolar@gmail.com). This is Lauren's fourth year as President. Lauren is responsible for everything happening. 

Our Vice-President is Jane Griffiths (jane.griffiths@rogers.com). Jane's role is to help Lauren and anyone else on the executive when they need a hand. She's a fundraising superhero.  

Roxanne McCormick (roxannemccormick@rogers.com) is our Public Relations ChairIf you need to contact us regarding advertising, or to book us for a concert, or just need some information, contact Roxanne. The PR role is to keep us connected to the community. Roxanne rocks posters and programs.

Daphne Young (youngdc@rogers.com) is our Secretary/Treasurer. If you want to write us a cheque, make it out to York Region Community Choir, and Daphne will put it in our account. We accept cash too. Daphne will keep our paperwork in order, creating and maintaining records like the minutes of our meetings and accounting stuff. Michele Horton supports Daphne and will continue to represent us when we share condolences and congratulations. 

Trix Verge (trix.verge@gmail.com) is our Webmaster and former Music Librarian. She had our music collection in her basement for years and her organizational skills and patient dedication served us well in our greatest period of growth. Trix is the one to go to for help using the website, and she makes sure that it's functioning properly. Trix has magical computer skills, and could probably herd cats.

Lyn Gadd (maralynr@rogers.com) recently took over the Music Librarian role. She has several filing cabinets full of music in her basement now, along with tables and a printer, and she makes sure we all have music to sing every Monday, and has extra binders made up for guests, or people who are checking us out. If you have a binder of music that belongs to us and want to know how to get it back to us, contact Lyn! 

Carol Ford and Debbie Hood are the Registrars. They make sure the membership list is up-to-date and coordinate registration in September. They will be calling you if you're on the waiting list. Debbie had our coffee (and tea) equipment and supplies in her basement for many years, and together with Carol took care of our refreshment needs, but Sophie is going to have a turn in that position this year.

Teija Cumming, Anne Marie Vandekemp and Enid Maize are the Reading Committee. They help choose new music and order it from the publishers, shopping in person and on line. They are chosen for their ability to read music and knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses. 

Renate Naghavi (That's me.) is the Conductor/Musical Director of the YRCC. The Conductor chooses a theme and selects music for each season, with the help of the Executive and the Reading Committee, and with input from the Accompanist. The Conductor teaches the music with the help of the Accompanist, and leads the choir in performances. 

Anne Marie Vandekemp has been the Assistant Director, officially and unofficially for at least a decade. Since she is one of the original members of the choir, Anne Marie is consulted on everything from music to venues and managing member politics. Anne Marie leads the small group rehearsals. 

Joy Zhang is our Accompanist. She is a talented pianist who helps Renate teach the music and accompanies the choir in rehearsal and in performances.