Clay-Chalkville Middle School
Dear Parents and Students,
Welcome to the Choral Department at Clay-Chalkville Middle School! We had a great year in choir last
year with two wonderful concerts, CCMS singers performing in Jefferson County Holiday Music Festival,
our choirs earning Excellent and Superior markings at State Choral Performance Assessment, increased
numbers of students participating in All State and Young Voices, and an awesome Spring Trip to Atlanta,
and I am confident that this year will be even better.
The goal of our choral program is to develop independent choral musicianship, cultivate the basics of
good singing, increase cultural and self-awareness in connection with the school culture, to connect our
choir to the wider artistic world through choral excellence, and instill in our students a love of music that
will last a lifetime. Students in the choral classroom learn discipline, concentration, performing under
pressure, personal responsibility, and working together in a group, and in the process, they come to see
that good and worthwhile things take work. These skills developed in the choral classroom translate to
qualities that lead to success in the world outside school.
Choral singing is an extremely valuable and uniquely rewarding activity, and I am so glad that you have
chosen to be a part of it. Making music requires dedication, focus, discipline, and the desire to be
excellent. It does not happen by accident. It is a commitment, and should be taken seriously. When
students realize that they are part of something bigger than themselves and become willing to put in the
time, dedication, and effort it takes to be an excellent choir, they accomplish extraordinary things and
learn to respect each other and themselves.
The attached documents are included to keep you as informed as possible about the requirements of the
choral department at CCMS. Please read the handbook carefully and sign and date the documents at the
back indicating that you understand and are willing to abide by the guidelines and procedures set forth
by the director. These are due by August 22nd along with the students’ required materials, and it will be
their first grade in choir. Please keep the information in the front of the handbook in a safe place, as it will
be useful throughout the year. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Thank you in
advance for your support, and get ready for a great year!
Meredith DeVore, Director
Why Teach Music?
I. MUSIC IS A SCIENCE. It is exact, specific, and it demands exact acoustics. A conductor’s full
score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody and harmony
all at once and with the most exact control of time.
II. MUSIC IS MATHEMATICAL. It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into
fractions which must be done instantaneously and not worked out on paper.
III. MUSIC IS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. Most of the terms are in Italian, German, or French
and the notation is a highly developed form of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The
semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.
IV. MUSIC IS HISTORY. Music reflects the environment and times of its creation, often even the
country and/or cultural feeling.
V. MUSIC IS PHYSICAL EDUCATION. Correct singing requires extraordinary control of the
diaphragmatic, back, stomach, and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and
the mind interprets.
VI. MUSIC DEVELOPS INSIGHT AND DEMANDS RESEARCH.
VII. MUSIC IS ALL THESE THINGS, BUT MOST OF ALL, MUSIC IS ART . It allows
a human being to take all of the dry, technically boring (but difficult) techniques and use them to create
A CHORAL REHEARSAL INVOLVES...
...preparing the mind and body for the upcoming task. (students enter and find their materials
immediately -class holds discussions about the day’s goals)
...working on proper choral breathing. (daily work on breath control is essential in choir)
...working on proper voice/tone production. (proper formation of vowels for a free, open sound;
singing exercises for clear, crisp, consonants)
...learning basic musicianship. (listening to and discussion of choral music , studying of music history
...learning rudiments of music and theory. (rhythm activities, study of notes, rests, symbols, terms,
...blending voices for proper choral tone. (constant listening and adjusting while rehearsing
The above incorporates the MENC Music Content Standards.
...the choral rehearsal develops a positive self-image through successful experiences in
music and a sense of pride through meaningful responsibility.
2011-2012 Tentative Calendar
August 29 and September 1: Spring Trip Meeting, 6:00 PM, Cougar Café
September 12: Uniform Money Due
October 17-28: Fall Fundraiser (cookie dough)
November 2: Music Festival Rehearsal (during school)
November 3: All State Auditions, Northport Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa (during school)
November 16: Music Festival Rehearsal, Boutwell Auditorium (during school)
November 17: Music Festival, Boutwell Auditorium, 7:30 pm (students seated at 7:00)
December 12: Winter Concert Dress Rehearsal, NPBC (during school)
December 13: Winter Concert, NPBC, 7:00 PM (students seated at 6:30)
December 20: CCMS Holiday Assembly (during school)
February 11: Young Voices Auditions, date and time TBA
February 27-29: State Choral Performance Assessment (one day during school)
March 8-10: All State Festival, Samford University
March (date TBD): Clay Chalkville Feeder Pattern Concert
March 31: Choirs for a Cause, Berry MS (6th grade only)
April (date TBD): 5th Grade Field Trip, 7th & 8th Grade
April 5: Spring Trip Parent Meeting, Cougar Café, 6:00 PM
April 12-14 : Spring Trip, TBA (7th & 8th graders)
April 29: Young Voices Parent Meeting (6 PM, choir room)
May 4-5: Young Voices Festival, Auburn University
May 14: Spring Concert Dress Rehearsal, NPBC, during school
May 15: Spring Concert, 7:00 PM, NPBC (students seated at 6:30)
o All items in bold are required and graded.
o This calendar is as accurate as possible, but please be willing to remain flexible;
you will be informed via letter and via the choir website if/when any changes
occur or when any performances are added as soon as possible!
All County Choir – Jefferson County Music Festival
The Middle School All County Choir performs at the Jefferson County Music Festival that is
held at Boutwell Auditorium every year by the JefCoEd Department of Arts Education.
Students participating in the Middle School All County Choir will be chosen by the director
based on classroom conduct and vocal skills. There is no cost to attend the festival, but students
may be required to attend occasional before or after school rehearsals to learn the music.
Students will travel to rehearsal at Boutwell two half days during school; these days are
excused as field trips. Parents must be prepared to provide transportation to Boutwell on the
evening of the Festival.
Alabama All State
Alabama All State Choir is a prestigious group made up of the best singers from all across the
state. Students may audition for Jr. High Girls Choir or Mixed Choir. Students who make All
State spend three days at Samford University rehearsing with a guest conductor. Audition is
required with an audition fee. Students who audition and are selected must attend the festival
and pay any associated fees.
ACDA Young Voices Festival
Young Voices Festival is an honor choir available to 4th-9th graders. Audition and audition fee is
required, and students who are selected travel to Auburn University in May to sing with a
guest conductor and other singers from across the state. Choirs include the Boychoir, Jr. High
Girls Choir, or Jr. High Mixed Choir. Students who audition and are selected must attend the
festival and be prepared to pay the fees associated with the trip.
7th and 8th graders will have the opportunity to travel on an overnight trip in May of this year.
Details will be given out at the parent meeting. Good behavior both in the classroom and at
performances is absolutely mandatory for you to be able to participate in the trip.
The CCMS Drama Department puts on a musical every spring, and for the musical to be as
successful as it can be, we need great singers! Auditions are in January and are open to all
grades. All types of roles are available, from speaking roles, to small solo parts, to main and
supporting characters with lines and solos. Ms. Cornelius and Mrs. DeVore look forward to
your participation this year!
Field Trip Policy
Students are expected to stay with the group and follow the itinerary laid out for them.
Students will stay in designated areas and will not venture out on their own.
If we are in a place where students are allowed to walk around on their own, students
will always use the buddy system—no one goes anywhere alone!
Students are expected to follow all school, local, state, and federal laws while on school
Students are expected to be respectful to any and all adults we meet on the trip, whether
or not they are from CCMS.
Students will always carry themselves as representatives of our school and community.
Students who violate the field study policy will not be allowed to participate in the
activity that is the purpose of the field trip; rather, they will stay with one of the
Violations of the field study policy will be referred directly to an administrator; no
Students’ grades will be based on the following:
Performance Grade (attendance, timeliness, correct attire, and behavior): 40%
Participation Grade (behavior, attitude, prepared for class): 40%
Academic Work (tests, quizzes, worksheets, binder checks): 20%
Performance Policy: It is important that students be at all performances and dress
rehearsals. Choir may be one of the only activities where each member is affected by all other
members; unnecessary absences from performances or rehearsals can cause the choir to perform
at less than its best. Performances are the culmination of months of hard work in class, and
missing the concert is like practicing with the team all year and missing the big game. All
concerts and dress rehearsals are mandatory.
Students will be graded on attendance, punctuality, readiness to perform, and attitude and
behavior at performances and concerts. Students must be in the correct uniform to participate in
the concert. If there is a conflict with a performance, it must be brought to Mrs. DeVore’s
attention immediately in writing. Excused absences for concerts will include: unavoidable prior
commitment (with documentation), extreme contagious illness (with doctor’s note), and family
emergency (with parent note). An unexcused absence from a concert will result in a zero.
Excused absences may be made up by recording the student singing the songs he/she would
have performed at the concert. It is the student’s responsibility to complete this assignment
without being reminded. This assignment will be due a week after the concert the student
Participation Grades: This is based on classroom behavior, attitude, work ethic, and
participation. Our goal is to be an excellent choir—excellence is not an accident, and it does not
come without good rehearsals. Good rehearsals do not happen without discipline, hard work,
and focus! With the success comes the fun. The following expectations are held of every student
so that we can be successful:
1. Be in your seat with all your required materials (pencil, folder, any assignments) when
the bell rings.
2. When someone else is talking, you are listening.
3. Follow all directions the first time they are given.
4. Treat everyone—others, teachers, and yourself—with respect at all times.
5. Always give your best effort—excellence is not an accident!
6. Please do not have food or drink, especially gum, in the choir room.
Procedures: Class procedures must be followed every day without exception for our
rehearsals to function effectively. All students will:
1. Enter quietly and use a whisper to communicate before class starts.
2. Proceed to get their folder from its designated spot on the shelf and move immediately
to their seats. Students must touch only their own binders.
3. Sit only in their assigned seats.
4. Immediately begin their “Quote-A-Days.” A quote will be written on the board, which
they will copy into their folder with the date and a short, two sentence response to the
quote. These will be checked randomly during the year, at least once a week.
5. Be in their seats with their materials when the bell rings so that their section leader can
take roll and check materials.
6. Hand anything that needs to be collected to their section leader.
7. Only ask questions about rehearsal during rehearsal; all other questions must be
resolved before or after rehearsal begins.
8. Sharpen pencils before class starts. Tissues and Germ-X, if needed, should be used
before class starts.
9. Remain in their seats unless given permission to move.
10. Take care of bathroom needs before rehearsal starts. Each student will have four
bathroom passes to use during a nine weeks period. This pass must be handed to Mrs.
DeVore to sign before class starts for permission to be granted to use the bathroom.
Consequences: For any infraction of a classroom expectation, a student will sign the
Participation Log. The first write-up will result in a conference with the teacher. The second
write-up will result in additional written work being assigned. The third write up will result in
a parent phone call, and the fourth write up will result in an office referral. Disrespect and
defiance will not be tolerated; parents will be contacted the first time this occurs, and any
additional incidents will result in an office referral.
Incentives: Students can also earn stars for excellence in the classroom: gold stars for
intelligent observations, silver stars for focus, green stars for correct mouth position while
singing, blue stars for excellent posture, and red stars for turning in materials on time. Stars can
be redeemed at the end of each nine weeks for a reward. For every five stars a student earns,
he/she will receive a draw from the candy jar. If the class earns a certain total of stars, the class
will receive a class-choice day during class.
Required Materials (due August 22nd for a grade)
Each choral student must have a pencil with them in class every day.
Each choral student must have a 3 ring, 1 inch binder in which to keep his/her music
and pencil. Please include looseleaf notebook paper in the rings. It is helpful to have
pockets in the folder.
It is the students’ responsibility to keep up with and take care of the music issued to
them. Failure to do so will result in lowered binder check grades.
We are always in need of classroom supplies like tissues, hand sanitizer, paper towels,
sanitizing wipes, disinfecting spray, and AirWick plug-ins. Any donation of the above is
Each student must purchase the uniforms that we use in CCMS Choir. It is important that we
look uniform and professional at all times so that we can perform at our best. We will be using
the same uniforms that have been used in the past, so only new choir students will need to
order a new uniform. (But please go home and try on your uniform to make sure it still fits!).
This year, we will have both formal uniforms (worn at concerts and festivals) and informal
uniforms (worn on field trips and more casual performances). Prices are as follows:
Girls: Black Concert Dress ($60 ordered through choral department) and close-toed
Note: Girls should be careful to wear their hair out of their faces and minimal jewelry
(no necklace, no earrings below earlobe).
Boys: Tuxedo Ensemble (white wing tip shirt, black tux pants, black bow tie and
cummerbund, $38 total, all ordered through the choral department), black dress shoes
and black socks.
Choir T Shirt ($10, ordered through the choir department) and jeans.
All items not purchased through the choral department must be acquired on your own.
The uniforms we order are standard sizes. We try very hard to make sure they fit, but
some uniforms may need alterations upon arrival, and almost all will need dresses or
Uniform money will be due on September 12th.
Please do not let uniform cost deter you from participating in choir. Contact Mrs.
DeVore if you need to work out a payment plan.
Used uniforms may be re-sold through the choral department. Details will be given to
8th graders at the end of the year.
Turning In Money
To ensure that your child’s money gets credited to their account, please always send any fees or
money in an envelope marked with the student’s name and ID number. At CCMS, all money
must be turned in to the front office in the morning between 7:45 and 8:15; no teachers can
accept money. Please remind your student of this procedure when he/she turns in money to the
The office will receipt the money and notify me when your student pays. Please make every
attempt to pay all fees on time. If you need an extension on a payment deadline, please contact
Mrs. DeVore in writing (email is fine).
CCMS Choral Department
Parent/Student Agreement Form
**Please detach and return by August 22 **
I, _________________________, have read and understand all the policies and expectations of
the choral department at CCMS. I understand what is expected of me and what it takes to be an
excellent choral student. I agree to adhere to the expectations and policies of the choral
department and understand the consequences of choosing not to do so.
I, the parent/guardian of _____________________________, have read and understand all the
policies and expectations of the choral department at CCMS. I understand what is expected of
my student and what it takes to have an excellent choir. I agree to hold my student to the
expectations of the choral department and support the choral director as best I can in pursuit of
the musical education of my student and choral excellence.
Best Phone Number(s):_______________________________________________
Child’s T Shirt Size (YXL, AS, AM, AL, AXL, A2X):_______________________
CCMS Choral Department
Parent/Guardian Volunteer Form
**Please detach and return by August 22 **
Best Phone Number(s):_______________________________________________
Please indicate what you are able to help with this year:
__ Fundraiser Collection (organizing, counting, sorting, recording; during school day)
__ Fundraiser Delivery (sorting, overseeing distribution; during school day/after school)
__ Uniforms: measuring (during school day)
__ Uniforms: sorting and distribution (during school day)
__ Hospitality committee for parent meetings (providing and serving light snacks and drinks)
__ Field Trips (riding the bus, taking roll, supervising students on trips; both during and
outside of school)
Thank you for your willingness to help…this choral department would not run without
awesome CCMS parents!!
CCMS Choral Department
Image Release Form
**Please detach and return by August 22 **
AUTHORIZATION TO RECORD AND
USE STUDENT’S IMAGE/VOICE FOR INSTRUCTIONAL AND
OTHER SCHOOL-RELATED PURPOSES
I (We) hereby give the Jefferson County Board of Education and persons acting on its
(a) To record my child’s voice and photographic or videographic
image in the classroom and in other instructional, educational, or school settings,
and to use such recordings for purposes of internal staff training and
(b) To record, reproduce, and distribute or make my child’s
photographic or videographic image available to newspapers, television and
radio stations, and to other print or electronic media organizations and outlets in
order to portray Jefferson County programs, activities, and students in an
appropriate and favorable light and for other uses as may be designed to
promote public interest in and support of Jefferson County schools; and
(c) To publish my child’s photographic or videographic image in
school publications and media (e.g., yearbook, school and school support
organization newsletters, athletic programs, school newspaper, school or school
system website) for such reasonable, customary, and generally accepted
purposes as are appropriate to the nature of the publication.
I (We) hereby release the Jefferson County Board of Education, its members, agents,
servants, employees, and insurers from any claim or liability arising out of or relating to any use
of my child’s voice or image that is authorized hereby, and waive any right or claim of right to
payment or compensation of any kind based on or relating to such uses.
Dated this _______ day of ___________________, 20____.
Name of Child: Signature(s) of Parent(s)/Guardian(s):