Choir Handbook

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					Pace High
                                 Code of Conduct

Choir is a team effort. Therefore, each student must adhere to the rules and expectations
of the class. When a student misses a rehearsal, the choir as a whole suffers. Missed
rehearsals result in missed information that is crucial to the progress of the ensemble.
The choir is only as strong as its weakest link.

Each student is responsible for the following materials:

       -AT LEAST one pencil to have in rehearsals at ALL times.

       -Women: Black, closed-toed dress shoes and Black hose for performances.

       -Men: Black DRESS shoes and Black socks for performances.

Each student is responsible for an assigned folder and set of music. Should a student lose
their folder, they will be responsible for replacing the folder, as well as the music. The
average piece of music costs $1.50/copy-some more, some less. Folders can cost
upwards of $15. It adds up quick. DON’T LOSE YOUR MUSIC.

REHEARSALS ARE MANDATORY- This includes extra rehearsals outside of class
time. If you are healthy enough to be at school, you are healthy enough to be at
rehearsal. If you are absent from rehearsal but not from school, I will assume you are
skipping (see the grading policy for consequences of skipping). The only acceptable
excuses for missed rehearsals are a death in the immediate family or severe illness (a
doctor’s note required).

PERFORMANCES ARE MANDATORY- This includes extra-curricular performances
such as UIL competitions or other off campus performances. The only acceptable
excuses for missed performances are a death in the immediate family or severe illness (a
doctor’s note required). See the grading policy for consequences of missed

All students are required to participate in UIL Concert & Sight Reading competitions.
Absence from this event will be treated the same as an absence from a performance.

All students are responsible for being ready to rehearse when the bell rings. Students
must be in their assigned seats with a pencil, music and any other materials for the day.
If a student is not ready to rehearse they will be considered tardy until they are ready (see
the grading policy for consequences of being tardy)
Each student is allowed (and encouraged) to have with them a water bottle WITH A
RESEALABLE LID. Singing is an athletic activity which requires proper hydration for

I understand that extenuating circumstances do arise from time to time. If this is the case,
please come talk to me one-on-one and I will work with you to resolve any issues.

All students and parents must also become familiar with the Pace High School student
Handbook. Signature of this handbook will serve as proof you have read both the Choral
Department Handbook AND the Pace High School Handbook.

                     Homework, Assessments and Grading Policy

Grades will consist of homework assignments, assessments (both written and
performance) and daily grades.

Homework will be given in the form of assigned music to learn outside of rehearsal.
Homework will be checked in the form of “singing tests” in which the student will sing
the assigned section (either by him/herself or with a small group) in front of the director
as well as the entire class. Homework assignments are worth 4 points and will be graded
according to what the specific assignment was. Homework will only be assigned in the
event the director feels the choir is not putting forth maximum effort in rehearsal.

Daily grades are based on attendance of and participation in ALL rehearsals. All daily
grades are worth 50 points (1 point for every minute of class). For every minute the
student is not participating or attending rehearsal they will lose one point (or two
percentage points). Therefore, if a student misses an entire rehearsal (skipping or
unexcused absence) they will receive a zero (0) percent for that daily grade.

All grades will be calculated as percentages and not as points. Therefore all grades are
equally important. For example, even though homework is only worth 4 points, it will be
calculated as a percentage. This is the same for daily grades. For instance, a 0/4=0% just
the same as 0/50=0%. At the end of every 6 weeks these percentages will be averaged
together to determine the students grade.

As per the district grading policy, students will have the opportunity to re-test any time
they have failed an assessment. In the case of a written assessment the student will take a
similar written assessment within one (1) week of the original test date, at a time
designated by the director. In the case of a performance assessment, (concert,
competition, and extra rehearsals) the only way for a student to fail is lack of
participation or inadequate participation in the performance. If a student fails a
performance assessment the student will be given the opportunity to “re-test” by
completing an appropriate assignment to be chosen by the director. These assignments
might include but are not limited to: research papers on a relevant topic, relevant written
assessment, written review of the performance, etc. Failure of a performance assessment
(after the re-test) will result in the lowering of the grade by one letter. (i.e. A-B, B-C, C-
D, D-F).

The school has a very strict “no pass, no play” policy concerning co/extra-curricular
activities such as choir. Parents and students need to be familiar with this policy. If a
student is forced to miss a performance or competition due to failing, this will be treated
the same as any other absence (i.e. result in a failed assessment).

                               Sacred and Religious Music

At certain times during the school year, the director may choose to program music of a
sacred nature. This music will be chosen based solely on its usefulness as a teaching tool.
Students may be asked to understand and consider this music for its place in history and
how it affected history, but will never be taught or asked to believe a certain religious
belief. This is especially true during the Christmas Holidays where sacred music is
especially appropriate; however, we will strive to perform music from all religious and
national backgrounds.

                                    Parent Involvement

Parents are strongly encouraged to stay involved not only in what their student is doing in
choir, but what they’re doing in all subjects/activities. I maintain an open door policy
with parents and welcome the opportunity to discuss their student’s activities. I am
available before school hours, after school hours and during lunch hours by appointment.

Parents are strongly encouraged to take part in activities such as fund raising and
chaperoning. This will allow you the parent to be directly involved in the success of the
students. Parent involvement is an integral part of successful fundraising and is vital for
trips away from campus. Dates for these events will be determined at a later date and you
will receive ample notice concerning these.

                                    Calendar of Events

As soon as dates have been set for all performances and extra rehearsals, they will be
given to the student. These dates are to be put in both the student and parent’s calendar
as soon as they are received.

There will be at least 4 performances per year: A fall Concert, A Christmas/Holiday
Concert, UIL concert and sight-reading competition and a spring concert. Other
performances may be scheduled for various events throughout the year.
                                    Audition Process

Students will have the opportunity to audition for any of the auditioned choirs if they
wish to do so. These auditions will take place at the beginning and end of each semester.
Admittance into these auditioned ensembles will be based on, but not limited to: sight
reading ability, character, grades, work ethic, vocal quality and need of the ensemble.

All ensembles at Pace High School will rehearse and perform at an extremely high level;
therefore there is no shame in being in any of the ensembles, rather it is an honor and
privilege to be a part of the program at all.

The ensembles currently offered at Pace High School are:

       -   The Viking Chorale (highly auditioned)
       -   The Viking Concert Choir (semi-auditioned)
       -   The Viking Women’s Choir
       -   The Viking Men’s Choir

                                       Bella Voce

Bella Voce is an extra-curricular ensemble that will fulfill many different roles and
perform many different styles of music which would not be appropriate for the larger
ensembles. Bella Voce is highly auditioned and requires a great deal of commitment
from the student. All rehearsals for this ensemble will be after school hours. Auditions
for this ensemble will be offered at the same time as other auditions. This ensemble will
be chosen on similar but different criteria as the other auditioned ensembles. If you have
more questions about this ensemble or are interested in auditioning, please speak with the

                                Extra Practice and Help

Any time a student wishes to work on improving as a musician outside of class time, I
welcome and encourage them to do so. This may include but is not limited to: working to
improve sight reading, vocal technique, music theory, overall musicianship, help with
solo and ensemble repertoire, help with in class repertoire.
                                       Social Media

There might be times during the year when social media (Facebook, Twitter, Text
Messaging) is the most efficient means of communicating with the ensemble. This will
never be done as an invasion of anyone’s privacy. Social media might also be used as a
means to promote an event such as a concert, auditions, audition results, achievements,
etc. If you as a parent are uncomfortable with this, I respect that and ask that you talk to
me so that we can resolve the issue.

                                     Section Leaders

At the beginning of each semester each ensemble will vote on section leaders. The
section leaders will be responsible for sectional rehearsals in my absence, taking
attendance within the section and any other leadership or assistance roles which may


At the end of each year an awards banquet will be held and several awards will be handed
out for various student accomplishments. These awards will include Best Male and
Female choir member and Most Improved Male and Female choir member. The director
may add awards throughout the year. These awards will be voted on by the students and
the director.
I am truly blessed and excited about the opportunity to lead this program and build it into
one of the premiere programs not only in the district or the valley, but in the entire state
and nation.

I honestly believe that making music with friends is one of the most important things a
student can do. Research shows that those students involved in music programs score
higher on standardized tests and generally maintain higher grade levels as well. Singing
with an ensemble teaches creativity, hard work, group dynamics and critical thinking
among other skills.

This program will be a team. This team is made up of all those involved including the
students, the students’ families, the director, the janitorial staff, the administrative staff,
etc. I trust we will all work hard to make this team the best it can possibly be.

Please feel free to contact me at any times with questions, concerns, comments or simply
to talk about the progress of the program. I look forward to working with you all in the
future. Go Vikings!


Will Armour
Director of Choirs
James Pace High School
Phone: 956.698.1007
        Pace Choral Department
   Student Handbook and Code of Conduct
I, __________________________________________, the parent or
legal guardian of ______________________________________, have
read the Pace Choral Department Student Handbook and Code of
Conduct as well as the Pace High School Student Handbook and Code
of Conduct with my student. By signing this agreement, I do agree to
abide by the rules and requirements of the Pace Choral Department and
Pace High School.

Student Signature_______________________________________
Student cell:___________________________________________
Student Email:_________________________________________

Parent Signature________________________________________
Parent Phone #_________________________________________
Parent Email:__________________________________________


  This form must be signed and returned to Mr. Armour before Friday
 September 2, 2011; if this form is not returned by this date, the student
           will receive a 50% daily grade until it is returned.

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