CHS CHOIR Handbook

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CHS CHOIR Handbook Powered By Docstoc
     George Washington Carver
High School Choral Music Department

The Choral Music Program at Carver High School offers a unique educational
experience in which you may gain not only musical skills and a lifelong appreciation of
music, but also discipline, self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment by working
with others toward THE COMMON GOAL OF EXCELLENCE. As a member of the
Carver High School Choir, you are expected to be a credit to your choir, your school,
and your community. Because we are committed to EXCELLENCE, we must have a
common high standard. The purpose of this handbook is to define that standard.
Beginning Choir, Concert Choir and Choral Ensemble are competitive ensembles
requiring travel and participation during the school year.


It is our belief that talented students can be successful once identified. Therefore, the
Choral Music Program at George Washington Carver High School is designed to
provide and offer students a comprehensive choral music education.
Purpose of the Handbook
Welcome to the new George Washington Carver High School. This year is already
filled with excitement and a sense of renewal and commitment as move into our new
state of the art facility. We are excited to greet our new and returning students. As
Choral Director, the administration and I are looking forward to a rewarding year as we
rebuild this historic program. We want this year to be filled with musical success.

This handbook will serve as a guide for all choral students and parents. If you do not
find the answer you are searching for in this material, please feel free to contact our
Director of Choirs, Henry Terry, via email: or by phone at
(334) 269-3636 ext. 13033.

CHS Choral Mission Statement

The mission for the George Washington Carver High School Choral Music Program is
to promote and facilitate musical excellence in our class settings, rehearsals and
performances. We will establish a safe and encouraging learning environment, instill
good musicianship, and improve musical literacy. We will be developing the
relationship between fine art and the everyday; our students will leave the program
with a sense of purpose, knowledge, and an infectious passion for music that will be

Choir Council

                         Henry Terry, Director of Choirs
                                   , President
                                , Vice President
                                   , Secretary
                                   , Treasurer
                               Members at-large
    Be on time to all rehearsals and public performances and be prepared to give
     your best.
    Be a responsible member. Bring your music to rehearsal along with pencil. Keep
     your music in order, and know your music.
    Maintain respect for the Choir Room, the instruments and the equipment. This
     includes your music and folder.
    Keep the room clean and orderly.
    The New Yamaha Grand Piano, Recording Equipment and Sound System are
     not toys.
    Do not use any of the equipment unless you have received permission from the
    Take pride in your personal appearance.
    Remember, your actions and your attitudes are a direct reflection on you, your
     family training, your choir, and your school.

The success of a choir depends on how it rehearses. How it rehearses depends on the
conduct and cooperation of the student. Rehearsals are the place to correct mistakes.
The fewer the mistakes and the less individual distractions, the greater your
contribution is to the choir. Be patient, attentive, careful, and cooperative in observing
these rehearsal expectations. When the director has to discipline and control rather than
direct, the rehearsal and eventually the choirs are headed for failure. Good behavior,
attitude and self-discipline are essential to producing a GREAT CHOIR. If you are
successful, the Choir is successful.

    Be ON TIME to all rehearsals (school or extra) and performances. You are to be
     in your place with your Music and all visiting stopped BY THE TIME THE BELL
     RINGS or THE REHEARSAL IS TO BEGIN. ****CHS tardy policy is enforced.

    Always have your MUSIC, CHOIR FOLDER, and PENCIL.

    Please, no gum!

    Be conscious of GOOD POSTURE at all times.

    Keep your EYES on the conductor during rehearsal.
    LISTEN to the conductor at all times. Talking while the conductor is rehearsing
     or giving instructions is NEVER appropriate.

    The use of cell phones is not allowed at rehearsals or concerts. (School policy

    Take a MATURE ATTITUDE toward correction. Don't be a "know it all".

    Rehearsals are not over until the director dismisses the choir. Don't begin to put
     your music away until instructed to do so.

    Stay involved in the rehearsal from start to finish. Rehearsals are not for personal
     grooming, catching up on the latest gossip, or doing homework.

    If you have a part-time job, make arrangements with your employer for
     rehearsals and performances as scheduled on your monthly calendar.

    Keep the room orderly and clean. Do not bring food, candy or drinks in the
     Choir Room unless given permission by the director. If you are not taking your
     music home, make sure you return it to the correct shelf. The Choir Room is not
     to be used as your personal locker.

    Approach rehearsals as well as performances with OPTIMISM, ENTHUSIASM,

    The success of the Choir is your individual responsibility.

    Before asking a question-- ALWAYS refer to your handbook.

Students are expected to participate fully in rehearsals, sectionals and performances.
Students will give peers, teachers and guest clinicians their utmost respect. Students
demonstrating excellent conduct in rehearsals and performances will be eligible for
advancement in the program.

The instructor will perform all required duties with positivity and promptness. He will
approach all situations and students with equality and will make himself available to
parents and students if extra help is needed. Students participating in groups that meet
outside the school day are expected to adhere to all choir and school policies.
Due to increased use and increased use of text messaging, cell phones will be
confiscated if seen/heard. On the first confiscation, you may receive your phone at the
end of the day. On subsequent confiscations, the phone will be turned over to the
administration. If you must use the phone, you may ask permission to use the choral
office telephone.

Sometimes in the course of rehearsal, only one section will be singing. The members of
the sections not singing at the time should be carefully following the musical part that
is being rehearsed so that the total knowledge of the score is achieved.
Every member of the choir is expected to listen closely for each instruction given by
the director, so that the follow-through of the instruction can be done correctly by every
member of the group the first time.

Please exhibit common courtesy toward others at all times. Treat others as you would
want them to treat you. Students are often expected to exhibit their best behavior and
rehearsal skills at all times but especially when a guests are in the classroom. This
includes substitutes, student teachers, guest directors, Carver staff, and visiting

Curricular Ensembles
Choral Music IV – Concert Choir - This class is a select choir composed of mixed voices
representing Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. This class meets five times per week
emphasizing proper vocal technique, choral technique, and music reading. Emphasis is
given to age appropriate musicianship/aesthetic response including rehearsal and
concert etiquette, and responsibilities associated with membership in a performing
organization. Choral literature of various forms and genres will be performed.
Students’ success and enjoyment should reflect through their participation efforts of the
discipline of learning and the pride of accomplishment. Students will acquire
knowledge and skills in the use of the basic music vocabulary including terms, signs
and symbols of music reading. Acceptable choral discipline is required. Select members
of this choir participate on the District and State levels of adjudication through the
Alabama Music Education Association. The choir performs extensively during the
school year.

Mixed Vocal I – Beginning High School Choir - Entry-level chorus. Students will build
healthy choral and vocal techniques to enable them to begin the choral process with
skill. Students will learn to form proper vowel shapes, rhythmic considerations, blend,
music literacy and sight-reading and the foundations for healthy vocal technique.
Students will be afforded performance opportunities based on Class progress.
Carver Singers - This is a small chamber group of students who have the ability to sing
independently in a group as well as sing solos upon demand. This very elite group of
singers will perform a variety of choral literature during the school year.

Performance Etiquette Expectations
During a performance, a choir is evaluated as much on its professional behavior and
appearance as it is on the performance it offers.

Pre-Concert Instructions

    Wear designated performance attire. You must inspect all the pieces of your
     uniform the day before the performance to make sure they are clean and wrinkle

    Avoid flashy jewelry, abnormal piercing, and extreme hair styles/colors or
     anything that could become a distraction to fellow singers or our audience.

    Arrive at the designated call time for that performance. Enter the building
     quickly and quietly.

    Take care of personal business prior to lining up with the choir.

    Listen carefully to all pre-performance instructions.

    Always be in the appropriate designated place at the appointed time prior to

    Prior to a concert, turn off any cell phones, pagers or wristwatches that make

During a Concert:
    Maintain a proper singing posture with a quiet body. (Do not stand with hands
     in pockets or clasped together in the front of back of your body.)

    Always keep eyes on the conductor. Do not look around or to the audience.

    Never sing directly behind a singer in front of you. Everyone should be visible
     from the audience.
    Do not talk or whisper to your fellow performers during a performance.
     Remain focused throughout your time on stage.
    Avoid all scratching, bringing hands up to the hair, adjusting glasses or hair, etc.

    Never do anything that would instigate unnecessary attention to you or that
     would distract other performers. Remember you are a part of an ensemble and
     want the audience’s attention on the music.

    Exercise discipline in walking on and off the risers. This sets the mood for the
     performance. Walk on and stand with dignity and pride. The director will
     indicate when to walk off stage. The first person off the risers should be alert for
     this direction. Keep in mind the performance is not over until the last person is
     off of the risers.

    If you are ever incapacitated on the risers for any reason, do not wait until it is
     too late. Sit down quietly in place. If you need assistance from those on either
     side, let someone know immediately.

    Quiet must be maintained back stage before the concert begins and between
     performing groups. If you are seated in the audience while another group is
     performing, you should set an example as an outstanding audience member.

Always remember that whether you are wearing formal attire, choir t-shirt, singing
on stage, or simply walking to your car after the concert, YOU ARE REPRESENTING

Daily Participation/Attendance
Attendance is crucial for every choir member! Due to the nature of the course, when a
student is absent from school, he/she misses rehearsal and explanations that cannot be
made up. In addition, the entire choir suffers because that student was not in school to
learn his/her part along with the rest of the choir. If a student's absence is excused,
he/she may make up the participation points by doing extra credit. This privilege is not
extended for any unexcused absences or truancies. It is the student’s responsibility to
talk to Mr. Terry following an absence to determine if make-up work is to be given.
Excused class absences and Makeup Work:

Since choir is primarily a performance/rehearsal course, makeup work for excused
absences will consist of supplemental activities including computer drills, web
activities, and worksheets.

Students must see Mr. Terry for these assignments outside of class time.
(Before school, after school, during lunch or 4th period)

NOTE: Makeup work may require time spent in the choir room – take-home work may
not always be possible. Excused absences for class are tracked and determined
according to the CHS attendance office.

NOTE: Any regular assignments given during all absences must be made up. It is the
student’s responsibility to check with Mr. Terry for any regular course assignments you
have missed during any absences.

On excused absences, students must see Mr. Terry for makeup assignments. (Outside of
class time) If no makeup work is completed for excused absences, the participation
score will be marked as a zero. Students have one week to complete make-up work after
returning from their absences. All make-up work must be turned in on the required
date given by the choral director.

Unexcused class absences will cause all class participation points to be deducted
without possibility for makeup. Unexcused absences for class are tracked and
determined according to the CHS attendance office.

*Excessive excused or unexcused absences will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
This is a performance class and if a student is absent for a majority of class times, credit
cannot be earned.

Vocal Problems:
Students who are unable to sing 100% in a rehearsal should write a short note for Mr.
Terry and place it on the podium at the front of the room within the first two minutes of
class. A persisting lack of vocal participation will require a parental and/or doctor’s
note and may require an outside assignment. Students who are not singing are expected
to participate by writing rehearsal notes to the choir about each piece including how to

Extra Rehearsals
Many times the difference between a superior and a poor musical performance is
determined by the amount of rehearsal time spent in preparation. Extra rehearsals
allow for many things: individual and small group work, help from visiting clinicians,
and more time for that "extra polishing." They are vital for any good performing
organizations. Please consult your schedules for rehearsals that will take place outside
of class time.

ALL EXTRA REHEARSALS ARE REQUIRED and they will not be scheduled unless
absolutely necessary. You will always be notified of an extra rehearsal well enough in
advance in order to make arrangements to attend. If students are late or have to leave
early, they must have a written note from their parent or guardian. Excuses will be
accepted for missing extra rehearsals only if notification is received prior to the
rehearsal. The director will determine whether an absence is excused or unexcused.

Performance Attendance
This is a performing organization. We work constantly to be prepared to perform.
When performing, students receive a deeper appreciation of music and a greater feeling
of unity from the organization and the people with whom they are involved. Every
member of the choir plays a vital role in the success of the entire organization.
There is no other way for the director to duplicate a performance for the student who is
absent. There is no other means to make-up the unique thrill of performing, feeling the
reaction from the audience, or the excitement of knowing the hard work in preparation
for the performance was worthwhile.

For these reasons, the following policies regarding performance attendance apply:

    All performances on the schedule at the beginning of the semester, as well as
     those with at least three weeks’ notice, are required performances. Should you
     have a conflict that cannot be resolved, notify Mr. Terry at least one week ahead
     of time verbally and in writing or via email. The further ahead problems are
     discovered, the easier they are to deal with. In an emergency situation, parents
     should call the choral department office at 269-3636 ext. 13033, and leave a
     message explaining the situation as soon as possible.

    Excused absences include personal illness, death in the family, or an emergency
     over which the student has no control. Work is not an excused absence for a
     performance that was scheduled at least three weeks in advance. If an absence is
     excused, it is the student’s responsibility to get a make-up assignment from Mr.
     Terry. If an absence is unexcused, the student will not be given the privilege of
     making up the points lost due to the absence. It is a good idea to give a copy of
     the performance schedule to employers. Mr. Terry is willing to write a note to
     an employer if necessary.
Grades for each performance will be based on the following:
    Proper Dress
    Following Instructions
    Proper Concert Etiquette
    Singing to the best of one’s ability
    Staying for entire concert

How Parents Can Help:
    Show an interest in the music study of your child.
    Keep a record of the student's various music activities
    Notify Mr. Terry if your child is to be absent or tardy at rehearsals or
    Teach your child to be punctual at rehearsals and performances.
    See to it that your child keeps up with classroom studies and makes up missed
    Discuss with the director anything that will help him to understand your child.

    Become a Choir Booster and help with choral activities. We strongly urge parents
    to get involved with this very fine organization that provides many services and
    monetary support to every singer in the choral department.

    Attend concerts and other events involving your child. Show your support!!!
Student’s Name_______________________________________________

Students and Parents -- read, sign and return

This handbook was written for all Choir members and their families. After reading the
handbook, please fill in this page, and return it to Mr. Terry by Thursday. Sept. 2, 2010.

              This signature sheet counts as a grade.

I, (student name)___________________________, have read and understand the George
Washington Carver High School Choir Handbook. I feel as though I can make a positive
contribution to the Choir program at Carver and that I will follow all rules and
procedures outlined herein.
__________________________________        ___________________________________
Signature of Choir Student               Signature of Choir Parent/Guardian


STUDENT HOME PHONE__________________________________________

STUDENT CELL PHONE____________________________________________

SHIRT SIZE ______________________________________________________

STUDENT E-MAIL__________________________________________________

PARENT 1 E-MAIL__________________________________________________

PARENT 2 E-MAIL__________________________________________________
Permission for Web Coverage:
Carver High School Choir wants to make better use of our web site. Throughout the
year there may be occasions where we would like to include photographs on our web
site to communicate the type and quality of programs of our department. In addition to
large group photos of the choirs, we may wish to take photographs of students in a
manner that would be individually identifiable to a specific student. Please consider
giving consent. We are proud of our students! (Please note: we will only use first names
and last initials to identify students)

I, _______________________________________parent or legal guardian of


Give________ Do not______ give permission to the George Washington Carver High
School Choir to allow my child to be specifically photographed for use on the choral
department web site in a way that would reasonably portray programs or events at the
Montgomery County Public schools. I further release the Board of Education of
Montgomery County. Alabama, and of any of its employees or agents, from any
compensation or damages. I do further certify that I am of full legal capacity to execute
the above authorization and release.

Date: ______________________ Parent/Legal Guardian: _________________________
This permission form in no way replaces the Media Coverage form from Montgomery
County Public Schools.
George Washington Carver High School
Montgomery, Alabama
Choral Music Department
2011 – 2012

Hand Book
School MOTTO:
Forward Ever Backward Never
Once a Wolverine, always a Wolverine

If Music be the food of love, Sing on!

Choral Administration:
Gary Hall, Principal
Henry Terry, Director

Friends of Music Organization:
Each student is responsible for obtaining a uniform based on the choral group with
which he or she sings. The affects the grade earned by the student for the course.
Uniforms vary from traditional formal attire to relaxed casual dress attire. You are
required to purchase the wardrobe from your personal financial resources or from
school-sponsored fundraisers.     Each student will need to have the standard
performance uniform: This uniform is selected by the choral director.

Estimated costs for Concert Choir uniforms are as follows:

    Custom designed gown (young ladies)               Approximately $85.00
    Black Peak Lapel Tuxedo (young men)               Approximately TBA

Additionally, students will have to purchase the Choral Polo Shirt. The cost for this
shirt will be announced.

The Carver choirs perform major concerts each year; all of which are required. We also
perform in many other venues during the year including the Montgomery Museum of
Fine Art, in local churches and in other community sites. Additionally, dedicated
students have an opportunity to audition for Alabama All State Chorus, be selected for
District VI Honors Chorus. All choristers sing for campus functions throughout the
year and several out-of-town performances as planned during the year. The
culminating performance for the year includes the annual spring tour. This tour costs
each student approximately $500.00. Fundraising Activities are planned well in
advance throughout the year to help defray parents’ out-of-pocket expenses for the
spring tour. While this tour is not mandatory, it is necessary as it fosters many
components of the students’ experiences in choral music for the year.

Permission slips will constitute as official notice to parents concerning off-campus
performances. Parents are required to sign the permission slips.
Any money earned from school-sponsored fundraisers cannot be refunded to students.
Any items bought with these funds become property of George Washington Carver
High School. Funds earned by students from the previous school year may not be used
during the current school year. Money placed into the Choral Music Department’s
Account will be used to purchase items and services need to give students a successful
choral music experience.

Parental Involvement
Committed parents who are involved for the good of the whole are vital to our choral
success. Parents may be asked to coordinate special events, help with fundraisers, and
attend concerts and the like. All parents are strongly urged to become active in the
Friend of the Arts Organization. This organization is the official booster group for the
choir. By having your child enrolled in the choral music program, you automatically
become a member this organization. Music is a discipline. Striving for excellence in
choral singing will nurture as your child grows in character, confidence and

Grading Procedures
Choir is participation-based. Therefore, class attendance is of the highest priority. In
addition, participation in all performances is a major portion of the grading process.
Students will be graded in the areas of music theory, individual singing, performance
and participation. Performances are scheduled based on the choral group with which
the students actively participate. (Grading Categories: Major =60%: performance,
major test, reports, projects - Minor =40%: quizzes, daily work)

                                      GRADING SCALE

                                 A=      90 - 100

                                 B=      80 - 89

                                 C=      70 - 79

                                 D=      60 - 69

                                 F=       0 - 59

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