I am so excited for you to join the GHMS Choir family! Performing ensembles are a unique part of your education--you will have the opportunity to contribute your very best to create a beautiful experience that is greater than any one of us! Many musicians describe their choir as a “second family”--it is a place where we learn about ourselves, each other, and the world in which we live. Music allows us the opportunity to communicate powerfully across culture and time.
To perform at the highest levels, singers exemplify the highest character and integrity--you have the privilege to learn about times and places far from our own lives--and some not so far!--as we integrate literature, art, history and even writing into the rehearsal. History becomes more real as you learn about a time and history and see how musicians responded. And then there's the music! Music is a fabulous vehicle for a rich and deep program that has many performing opportunities. If you let it, music can change you, and you will have a hard time imagining a world without it!
Studying and participating in musical activities has long been recognized as a valuable way to enhance our thinking, learning, and living. You will have a rich and valuable experience this year if you approach things with enthusiasm and strive to do your best. You will gain greater understanding about music and about yourself.
I want to do everything I can to help you become the best musician and vocalist you can be! I also want to be the best choir director I can be. As your teacher, I am committed to:
...helping you grow as a musician through singing and learning about music from a broad spectrum of cultures and time periods.
...“going deep” with the music we study, and using it to learn about, discuss, and grapple with issues and ideas that are going on in the world around us.
...working with you to build a positive, dynamic, and artistically excellent choir.
These are real goals for me, and I want you to help me accomplish them (just like I want to help you accomplish your goals!) Don’t be afraid to ask me how I’m doing these things, or ask me if I’ve thought about them lately--reminders help!
Our rehearsals will focus on musicianship and learning through singing. The following handbook is given out so we--students, parents, and teachers--can share basic understandings and expectations throughout the year.
Choir Motto "We are united in mind, spirit, and voice, and wholly dedicated in purpose." Let this be the driving force behind each moment of preparation and performance, and to know that, by coming together to make music each day, we are building skills for life. Though we are all completely unique individuals, we unify behind and in the music we perform to create the richest musical experience for all.
Technology Your phone must be away, unless you have been given permission by Miss Donaldson to use it for a specific purpose. If your technology is out, you will be asked to put it away. If you fail to follow these directions and/or it becomes a pattern of behavior, Mr. Fleig or Mr. Rogers will take your phone to the main office for the remainder of the day.
Grading Grades are earned based on demonstration of mastery of choral skills including rehearsal skills, musicianship skills both in context and execution, and in public demonstration of mastery (concerts). Glen Hills students’ grades are formed by two kinds of assessment--formative assessment, which provides feedback (20%) and summative assessment (80%), which is an assessment of the mastery of the learning target.
Examples of summative assessments: Concerts, small group performances, prepared written reflections and analysis, mid-term/end-term sight-reading assessments, music check, once-a-week rehearsal check.
Examples of formative assessments: Lessons, impromptu reflections or analysis, sight-reading weekly practice, rehearsal critiques, technique checks.
Rehearsal Expectations The following are important rehearsal expectations designed to enable every student to have an artistic experience of the highest level and to prepare them for the rigorous expectations of musical experiences at the high school level and beyond:
Always come prepared with your music and a pencil with an eraser. Do not share music and folders. Mark your music as instructed.
Be ready for rehearsal with your folder and in your seat when the bell rings.
No gum, food, soda, or candy is allowed during rehearsal or in the room.
When another section is rehearsing, follow along quietly, in case you are called on to join in or critique the performance. It also allows us to get the most out of every rehearsal.
During rehearsal, remain quiet when we stop to polish--it isn’t a time to start socializing or talk about what just happened--something important is about to happen. This is known as podium etiquette!
Be supportive of your fellow choir members at all times! This means inside and outside of rehearsal. Participate in class discussions.
Turn in all forms, materials, assignments, etc. by the requested deadlines.
Give your best. No one is remembered for doing the minimum! Sing and do your best at all times--it is a mark of integrity and maturity to do this even when it isn’t your favorite.
Attendance Policy Because you are a member of a performing group, attendance at all rehearsals and performances is required for these classes. Concerts and performances are published well in advance for this reason. Make sure you have an up-to-date calendar, as changes out of our control can and do happen.
Good attendance is imperative for this class! Rehearsal time is precious--good attendance, promptness, and cooperation are crucial! This class is like P.E. or a science lab--it’s hard to duplicate the experience by yourself, so good attendance matters!
Unexcused absences from concerts can seriously hurt your grades. Illnesses and family emergencies are legitimate, and are best handled by having your parent/guardian contact Miss Donaldson before the event occurs.
Excused absences may be made up by coming to sing the whole concert for Miss Donaldson and another member of the music department, so we can give you the grade you earned based on your performance (as your peers earned at the concert.)
Concert Calendar/Expectations Concerts are like major unit tests, and must be taken seriously! It is a time where you will be graded on all aspects of your performance--your technique, your ability to follow the conductor, your skill and understanding as an audience member! This is your chance to show the best of everything you’ve learned!
All concerts are in the Glen Hills Commons. Please note which concerts apply to your child(ren.)
Tuesday, December 12: Grades 6-8 Choir/Orchestra Concert, 7:00 p.m. (Singers report to the choir room at 6:40.)
Thursday, December 21: Grades 6-8 Winter Music Festival, 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 23: Grades 4-5 Choir/Orchestra “Informance,” 8:15 a.m.
Tuesday, May 8: Grades 4-5 Choir/Orchestra Concert, 7:00 p.m.(Singers report to the choir room at 6:40.)
Tuesday, May 22: Grades 6-8 Choir/Orchestra Concert, 7:00 p.m.(Singers report to the choir room at 6:40.)
Voice Lessons Our school is fortunate to have the opportunity for small group lessons during the school day! During lessons, we will work on singing technique and music study in a small group, so you will have the opportunity for individualized help in a way we can’t experience during a large group rehearsal. You will also have time to complete quarterly assessments during this time. These are a great asset to your music education!
Grade 6-8 students will be assigned a lesson time during the month of September. You must complete and participate in 5 lessons per quarter to receive full points for your rehearsal grade. This allows you to plan accordingly--so if you have a major test or a project due, you don’t necessarily have to come to your lesson that week. PLAN ACCORDINGLY!
Grade 6-8 students will be assigned lesson time. It will be given to you as a signed pass with your name on it. This paper should go in your binder, and you must show it to your classroom teacher to leave at your assigned time.
Grade 5 students will start lessons during second quarter. We will talk more about it then!
Private voice lessons: Unlike with band and orchestra instruments, the voice is an instrument that is changing in your body at an amazing rate during the middle school years. For most students, following healthy vocal practices like the ones we establish in choir is sufficient. However, if you and your family decide to pursue voice lessons, it is very important to work with a teacher who will be sensitive to the changing voice and help you develop in a healthy and appropriate age for your age. Click here for a list of local teachers you can call if you wish!
Choir Performance Attire The goal of performance attire is “Look at us, not look at me.” For choir concerts and performances, all singers will wear their GHMS Music polo shirt, black pants or black skirt, black tights/socks, and black shoes. NO JEANS OR TENNIS SHOES!