Walton Choral Department Student Handbook
2019-20 Welcome from your Directors
We are honored to be your teachers. We are passionate about the power of choral singing in helping students create beauty; explore timeless text; and connect with themselves, classmates and the world. More than ever, our young people need learning through chorus to understand the value of acquiring skills through daily habits of excellence and especially to experience the unique, incredible joy of singing together.
Our success is due to our incredible students and also, their generous and supportive parents. We could not maintain our high standards without our Booster Board Officers and members. Please know how much you are appreciated and acknowledged.
Our student leaders are also an integral part of our program. They are role models but also create the annual t-shirt and help design the spring concert each year.
We feel that Walton Chorus is more than a class. We are a family. Welcome!
Looking forward to our best year ever!
Dr. Jana Williams and Mrs. Maggie Allyn
A Message from your 2019-20 Booster Board
On behalf of the entire Booster Board, I want to welcome you to Walton Chorus. We are confident that your student’s year will be filled with amazing music, learning and friendships.
As a board, we will help our chorus directors, Dr. Williams and Mrs. Allyn, with the resources they need to successfully lead your students. Our collective fundraising efforts will provide music, accompanists, recognitions, and classroom improvements, as well as cover the costs for special events.
Our annual general operating budget for our award-winning chorus program exceeds $100K, yet we receive less than ten percent of these costs through funding from Cobb County. Therefore, we will need each and every one of you to contribute your time, talents and resources to help ensure a successful year for the 460 students who participate in our eight choruses.
While a portion of these funds will be generated through participation fees, much of the money needed to operate the chorus program will come from fundraising efforts throughout the year. Not only are these activities vital to the success of our program, they help to keep the membership fees low.
Your students will have opportunities to contribute their time and talents as well. Each year students can letter in chorus, and those points are earned through participation, volunteering at events, and fundraising.
We look forward to working with you and your students throughout the year, and we are excited about sharing another year of amazing music together!
Chorus Booster Board
Walton High School has a tradition of excellence. 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.
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.
The following are those core values that guide us in all that we do:
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. Please 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.
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.
Our policy supports 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.
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.
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.
More About 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, Mrs. Allyn and advanced students are available during WEB 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.
End of Year Banquet
At the close of each year, Walton Chorus comes together to celebrate successes, recognize those who have lettered and present scholarships and other honors. The event takes place in late April/early May, and students from all grade levels are encouraged to attend. Dinner, music and dancing are included in the price of the ticket. Parents are invited to join in the festivities as well. Look for more details in the spring.
Walton Choral Booster Club, Inc.
Opportunities to support the Walton Choral program include attending the concerts, chaperoning trips away from school, helping with uniform fitting, assisting with concert arrangements, fundraising, serving on various committees, and serving on the Booster Board. The parents and guardians of active choral students are automatically members of the Choral Booster Club. You are encouraged to get involved. 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 Board meets regularly on the second Tuesday of the month at 4:30 p.m. in the Chorus Room. Any Choral Booster Club member is welcome to attend.
Walton Choral Booster Club, Inc. is a non-profit organization. The primary source of funds to support the Choral Program is through Booster contributions and the Fashion Show/Silent Auction. All financial donations will be acknowledged.
Walton Chorus uses an online program called CHARMS to keep track of students, lettering points, contact information, calendar of events, volunteers and much more. You will be asked to create and log on to your CHARMS account at the beginning of the year. To access CHARMS:
School code: WaltonHSChoir
Where it says: “Student Area Password” enter your student’s ID number (lunch number). This will bring up the main parent page, which allows access to the public calendar, event list, handouts and other files.
Four hundred sixty 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 from 1:15 pm – 2 pm.
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.
Raider Singers: Freshman women who have performed in a chorus previously and freshmen men
Bel Canto: Sophomore women
Camerata Singers: Junior and Senior women, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior men
Varsity Women’s Chorus: women in Camerata and A Cappella
Men’s Ensemble: all men (Freshman men, Camerata Singers, and A Cappella)
Select Women’s Ensemble: Sophomore, Junior, and Senior women by auditions only (which take place in April)
A Cappella: Sophomore, Junior, and Senior men and women by auditions only (which take place in April)
Concerts and Choral Evaluations
The concerts are generally held at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church (JFBC) at 955 Johnson Ferry Rd., Marietta, GA 30068. Students wear chorus t-shirts to school on concert days.
There are usually three concerts a year and they are listed on the website calendar. Everyone also sings at the Homecoming pep rally.
The concerts are free, but there is no reserved seating unless you have made a donation to the Booster Club of $250 or more. Moreover, seating is limited at all concerts. Students arrive at the assigned time for their chorus to rehearse before the concert. Rehearsal is closed door, meaning no audience. Doors open for audience seating 15 minutes before the concert.
Each choir participates in the Georgia Music Educators Association Choral Evaluations. Every student is required to be part of this challenging event in which choirs are adjudicated on choral performance and music reading. The GMEA Choral Evaluations are our equivalent of end of course tests.
Fine Arts Diploma Seal and Tri-M
Walton was accepted to award the State of Georgia’s new fine arts diploma seal beginning with the class of 2017. This seal recognizes graduating seniors who have been involved with fine arts excellence and show dedication to the arts. Requirements include being enrolled for credit all four years, participating in fine arts related extra-curricular activities, obtaining 20 hours of community service related to the arts, and completing a capstone presentation explaining your experiences in the fine arts programs at Walton.
Tri-M is the National Music Honor Society organization that recognizes seniors who have been involved with chorus, band or orchestra for all four years of high school with a pink cord to be worn at graduation. Students must be of high character and complete community service, performances and program service each semester of their senior year.
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 to Letter by using a merit point system.
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.
Walton Chorus Student Leadership
Student Leadership is a cornerstone of our program. 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-presidents may award and deduct letter points.
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.
Vice-Presidents: In charge of recruitment. Correspondents 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, oversees all lettering and awards
Librarian: Maintains the music library and all music in folders. Is responsible for distribution, collection, stamping, and organizing.
Class President: Assistant to the director during class.
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 an annual chorus t-shirt to be worn on concert days, spirit days and for less formal concert settings. The cost of the t-shirt is included in the participation fees.