Walton Choral Department Student Handbook

WALTON CHORAL ENSEMBLES

445 singers comprise the six chorus classes that meet during the school day. Additionally, A Cappella and Camerata Singers employ an alternate lunch schedule to allow the formation of Men’s Ensemble and Varsity Women’s Ensemble, which also rehearse during the school day. Our Tour Choir rehearses during WEB’s.  Walton High School has a tradition of excellence in the arts. Participation in the choral program provides each student with music development, individual and group accomplishment, and an appreciation for the value of music in our lives. All Choral groups are evaluated in music reading and performance at the Georgia Music Educators Association Large Group Performance Evaluations in the Spring.

Placement in the various ensembles is by audition. The directors have total authority to make all audition placement decisions. At any time a student’s performance level (musical or rehearsal skills) does not meet the group level, the student may be given an alternative assignment until the student’s schedule changes or the problem is resolved.

Student Leadership

Being an officer is an honor as well as a responsibility. Overall Chorus Officers are selected in the spring. A chorus officer is a service position requiring additional time commitment and responsibilities. Officers are expected to be role models for other students, and should be willing to help motivate other students to participate in chorus activities including concerts, extra rehearsals, choral performance trips and fundraising. Officers are expected to take the initiative to help the chorus run smoothly. Only the president and vice-president of each choir may award and deduct letter points.

Chorus President: Student assistant to the director represents the chorus in school functions, head of student officers, supervises committees for special projects, assists and oversees other officers as needed, helps with publicity of chorus events, organizes set-up and take-down at concerts, keeps up group morale and unity.

Chorus Vice-President: In charge of recruitment. Correspondent for chorus, writing thank-you notes to parents and other correspondence as needed, organizes chorus room and materials, organizes freshman orientation and assists the director and president as needed.

Chorus Secretary: Takes notes at meetings and distributes action plan to all officers, oversees all lettering and awards, assists the director and president as needed.

Chorus Librarian: Maintains the music library and all music in folders. Is responsible for distribution, collection, stamping and organizing.

Class President: (One or two for each choir) Assistant to the director during class.

Lollipop Chair: Attends all football games and oversees the Lollipop fundraiser

Grades

Grades are earned on the following scale:

50 %    Demonstration of Choral Skills through Daily Rehearsal

10%     Written Quizzes or Tests (Music Preparation)

30%      Demonstration of Choral Skills through Concert Performance

10%      Final Exam (written and vocal)

*Any student earning an “N” in conduct or a final grade below an “A,” may be ineligible to continue in chorus the next semester.

Conduct/ Participation

The following are those core values that guide us in all that we do:

1)     Excellence

2)     Teamwork

3)     Individual Responsibility and Growth

Chorus members are expected to show respect for the director, officers, fellow chorus members, and parents that volunteer with the chorus activities.

All singers are to participate fully every day in class. There is never a reason to do any other schoolwork or reading while in rehearsal. If illness occurs during the school day and there is a concert either during or after school, a student must be in classes four periods to be eligible to participate. For extended illnesses that hinder class work, be sure to bring a parental note of explanation to excuse you. Even if you are physically unable to sing, you are expected to have your music open and otherwise listening and participating when possible.

A letter point system has been designed to recognize students for extra program participation. The system is described later in this handbook. It is important to note that it includes the deduction of points when student conduct is inconsistent with the objectives of the Choral program. Letter-Point deductions will be taken for inappropriate behavior including disrespect, misbehavior, and chewing gum.

Concert Participation

Electing to participate in a performance group includes consistent attendance in both class rehearsal and the concert event. Chorus students must understand and assume the full responsibility of these requirements. An absence of any one person affects the entire group’s performance. Concert performance dates are given well in advance of the event. If a concert event arises without at least two weeks notice, schedule conflicts will be taken into consideration.

Excused absences are generally given for personal illness with a doctor’s note.  An excused absence means the student will be allowed to make up the grade through an essay or vocal skills evaluation. Jobs, babysitting, or other events are not excused absences. A school-related event occurring at the same time as a chorus event needs to be discussed at first notice of a conflict. This notification does not guarantee an excused absence, but every effort will be made to work with the student. If another school related event conflicts with a choral event, priority will be given to the one scheduled first. Consistent attendance at concerts is a major consideration for placement in advanced choirs.

Although this policy may seem demanding, it is not intended to penalize but rather to support a standard for an organization that seeks to be of the highest possible caliber. Those who hold excellence as a goal for themselves and this organization will understand and value these standards.

Music

All singers will be issued music for each concert. A pencil should be kept in the folder to be used during rehearsals. Markings made in the music must be in pencil. Students should have the folder, music, and pencil in class each day. Lost or stolen music is each student’s responsibility.

Care of the Rehearsal Room and Theater

NO FOOD OR DRINKS are permitted in the chorus room or theater.

NO CHEWING GUM in the chorus room or in the theater during rehearsals or concerts. Please pick up litter from around your area and straighten you chair before leaving. It is everyone’s responsibility to care for our facility.

PIANOS: Students may not use the main rehearsal piano or practice room without permission. Only choral students are allowed in our suite. Students who use the instruments or practice room must do so with respect and maturity.

PLACE book bags, purses, etc, against the walls when you enter the room. DO NOT bring anything to the riser area except your chorus music, folder, and pencil.

Please let a trusted person hold your valuables during concerts. 

Tardiness

Students are expected to be on time for class and all choral events. Five points will be deducted from the chorus letter point total each time a student is tardy. Detention time will be assigned for chronic tardiness per the school policy. Students should immediately get their music when they enter class and move to their seat before the bell rings. Anyone having to be told to sit down will be counted tardy. Students arriving late to concerts will lose a minimum of five letter points.

Choral Performance Tours

Students in grades ten through twelve who are in good standing are eligible to participate in our choral performance tours.  The purpose of a chorus performance tour is a musical, educational and cultural experience. Students participating in any tour must abide by school rules at all times. Students who are suspended from school prior to the tour are no longer considered “in good standing” and are not allowed to participate.  The tour costs and any refunds for such incidents are between the student and the travel company.  Furthermore, any student with less than a satisfactory conduct grade is not eligible to participate.  Attire on trips must comply with county rules. Chaperones will be on all overnight trips. The chaperones are given many responsibilities. Chaperones will be expected to act as role models while on the tour and must also abide by all Cobb County rules. Choral performance tours are not a required part of the curriculum.

Uniforms

Singers in all choirs wear uniforms. Uniforms are inspected by the student officers at all chorus events that require concert attire. Uniforms should be clean and neatly pressed for each performance. Uniforms will be worn at all concerts unless otherwise announced. Inappropriate dress will result in a minimum deduction of 10 letter points.

Uniforms are as follows:

Men: Black tuxedos, white wing-tip shirt, black socks, and black shoes, and marine blue bowtie (must be ordered through Walton Chorus Boosters at a cost of $4.50.) Gentlemen may purchase their tuxes, shirt, socks and shoes at the vendor of their choice, but King Tux comes to our school to fit our young men.

Women: Concert dress, concert black shoes, pearls. Chorus dresses and shoes will be fitted during the first weeks of school during class. Each woman is responsible for having her dress hemmed to hang one inch above the floor while wearing the concert dress shoes.

Chorus T-Shirts: Each student shall have a chorus t-shirt to be worn on concert days, spirit days and for less formal concert settings. The chorus t-shirts are $10 but are included in Booster Club membership donations.

Chorus Letters

Participation in any quality organization requires commitment, sacrifice, responsibility, and hard work. Students who exemplify such qualities are the heart of the Walton Choral Department.   All chorus members may qualify by using a merit point system.

Letter Point Requirements

To qualify for a letter award, a choral student must:

–         Sing in all concerts, extra rehearsals, and the Georgia Music Educators Association Performance Evaluation.

–         Exhibit exemplary behavior and attitude.

–         Earn 100 letter points – 45 of these points must be earned through fundraising.

Point System

Choral Performance Trip                                                 50 points

Performing at the Braves Game                                        15 points

Performing at the Hawks Game                                         15 points

Performing National Anthem for Walton Sporting or Community Event    15 points

Governor’s Honors Program                                             25 points

All-State Chorus                                                           50 points

Taking BPE,  Health, or another required course in Summer, On-Line or Zero period in order to stay in chorus all four years                                                               50 points

Fundraising                                                             15 points each*

Parent attending Annual Parents’ Meeting                     10 points

(*Students must earn 45 points through fundraising participation)

– Parents joined Booster Club

– Sold Fashion Show tickets

– Performed in the fashion show

– Parents donated items to Silent Auction

– Modeled or worked tech in fashion show – 25 points

– Sold lollipops at football games

Independent Concert Attendance                                     25 points

(Credit given for attendance at high school, college or professional choral concerts only. A one page concert critique must be submitted along with the concert program within three days of the concert. Church cantatas, musicals, or show choir concerts do not satisfy this requirement.)

Service points                                                                  5 points per 2 hours

Parent attends annual meeting:                                           10 points

Chorus Officer                                                                20 points per semester

Private Lessons (piano or voice)                                        2 points per hour

POINT DEDUCTIONS:

Class tardy                                                                      5 points

Concert tardy                                                                    5 point minimum

Inappropriate behavior                                                      5 point minimum

Improper concert attire                                                    10 points

Folder not put away                                                        5 points

All requests for points must be turned in to the Chorus Secretaries by December 16th for fall points and May 1st for Spring points.   Lettering points earned in the fall will not be accepted after December 16th and all points are due May 1st.

A letter from private teacher, director of other choral ensemble, or director of summer camp will serve as documentation for points in those categories. The Director will sign for service points, choral trip, All-State and GHP, and the Booster Treasurer will provide documentation for fundraising points. Student chorus officers are at liberty to award or deduct points from letters. Such action must have director approval and notification must be given to the student. Students earning choral letters must demonstrate exemplary attitudes and behavior. The director has final authority in awarding choral letters.

All-State Chorus

Selection for All-State Chorus is one of the highest individual achievements for a choral student. In order to audition, the student must be an enrolled choral student in good standing.

The first Region Audition requires a student to sing a prepared/memorized classical art song (aria), scales, and sight reading. Dr. Williams, Ms. Taylor and advanced students are available during WEB’s to work with All-state students.

Students who pass the Region Audition are “accepted” into All-State chorus pending the successful completion of the final State Audition in January. Accepted students will be assigned to the All-State Choir and will order their music and practice CD. There is another fee for the music, practice CD and audition fee. Students who pass this final State Audition have the honor of participating in the All State Chorus event.

Parents must transport and chaperone students. Walton Chorus is not responsible for acquiring lodging or food for students attending All-State Chorus.

Walton Choral Booster Club, Inc.

Opportunities to support the Walton Choral program include attending the concerts, chaperoning trips away from school, dance instruction, helping with uniform fitting, assisting with concert arrangements, fundraising, serving on various committees, serving on the Booster board, and financial under-girding. A wide range of talents are needed; everyone has something to offer. The Booster Club provides a structured avenue for parent volunteers and distribution of finances for choral program expenses that are not funded by the Cobb County School System. These funds are prioritized by the Director.

The Booster Club is guided by a Board consisting of the elected Booster Club Officers, Committee Chairs, and the Director. The parents and guardians of active choral students are automatically members of the Choral Booster Club. You are encouraged to get involved. General meetings are held periodically, usually in conjunction with concerts. The Board meets regularly on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in the Chorus Room. Any Choral Booster Club member is welcome to attend.

The primary source of funds to support the Choral Program is through Booster contributions and the Fashion Show/Silent Auction.

Walton Choral Booster Club, Inc. is a non-profit organization. All financial donations will be acknowledged.

If a Booster member has any questions, comments or would like to volunteer for any Booster related activity, please contact one of the officers.

Fundraising

Fundraising is a necessary activity in order to provide materials and help offset some student expenses.  Parent support and financial assistance keep our Walton Chorus at a national level of excellence. Only 11% of our choral budget comes from local, county or state funds. The Booster Club sponsors fundraisers during the year to make up the difference. This money pays for items such as choir music, equipment, bus transportation, food, and accompanists.