VOCAL MUSIC HANDBOOK: (2019-2020)
To perform well, a choir needs complete cooperation from everyone during rehearsals. An outstanding choir is one whose members adhere to the following:
- Arrive early and be ready to begin rehearsal on time. Attendance as all rehearsals (in or out of the school day) is expected. You should bring a doctor note for illnesses if they affect your ability to rehearse or perform.
- Enter and leave the room quickly and quietly. Do not scream or shout at the top of your lungs.
- Stay in your designated area – Do not come up and ask the director a question in the middle of a song, ask to go to the bathroom or ask for extra copies of the music.
- Go to the bathroom and get a drink before coming to choir.
- Make sure you have all the proper materials at the beginning of class i.e…..your folder, music and a pencil.
- Leave running, yelling, horseplay, food and beverages (except for water) and gum at home. Do not have coffee, caffeine or energy drinks before a concert or rehearsal.
- Leave your electronic devices in your pocket, purse or backpack. You may not use any electronic devices of any sort during rehearsals or rehearsal breaks.
- Listen carefully at all times to whoever is directing rehearsal.
- Do not talk during rehearsals. Please raise your hand when the music stops if you have a question.
- Do not yell at anyone if they make a mistake…...including the director…..we are all human. It happens.
- Do not try to be distracting or try to be funny during rehearsal. Did I mention no talking out of turn?
- Treat each other with respect, courtesy and kindness. Don’t gossip! You are a choir family.
- Be a good team player and do not try and out-sing your neighbors.
- Maintain good singing alignment. If you must sit during rehearsal, sit tall so you can still get a good low breath and hold your music high, not in your lap.
- Have a positive attitude and try to do your best every day.
- Be considerate to keep the practice rooms & choir room clean.
- If for any reason you cannot attend a performance, you must notify the director asap and submit required documentation. You will be required to complete a make-up assignment.
- Check the choir website on a regular basis for information. If it does not answer a question that you may have, ask.
- If you have “issues” that you need to discuss with the director, then make an appointment to see him after rehearsal. Do not try to discuss personal matters during class time.
- Performances with a choir are a privilege, not a right! If you cannot demonstrate good behavior in class, then why would I trust you to exhibit good behavior on stage? I have rarely pulled a student from a concert. (rarely, not never)
- Cologne, perfume or scented lotions are not permitted in rehearsal areas OR during performances. Some students are very sensitive to strong fragrances and may cause allergic reactions.
Choir is a group experience. Everyone needs to cooperate. There are consequences for poor decision making skills. I will not allow the actions of one person to adversely affect the entire organization.
If you remain positive in your approach to choral singing, we will have spectacular performances! However, if you choose be consistently negative or exercise poor judgement that contributes to a negative choral experience then you will not be allowed to perform as part of this ensemble.
ATTIRE ~ ATTITUDE ~ ATTENTION ~ ACHIEVEMENT
Be a straight “A” student! Perhaps I am somewhat “old school” but I believe that how we present ourselves outwardly has a direct and lasting impact on the development of our inner self. Different circumstances and life events dictate “appropriate dress”. We would not wear a dress or suit to a gym work out or wear a swim suit to a business interview. I know other students in the school may get by with less than appropriate school attire, however, as student performers and leaders, I have greater expectations of you and expect you to set higher standards for yourself. Be the trend-setter and be the person others wish to model. Also, certain school days will require you to wear appropriate performance attire. (Chorus T-shirt/jeans, dressing UP for juries, etc.) Dress code extends to off campus activities when you are representing the school and choral program.
*Parents, please help me avoid embarrassing situations and inconveniences by ensuring your student is dressed appropriately before they leave home for school, field trips or performances.
The purpose of grades are to communicate student achievement and identify areas for improvement to students, parents, and teachers. Grading policies will follow those set forth by WCPSS, Wakefield High School Leadership, and the Wakefield High School Performing Arts Department are not designed to be punitive. However, grades are a student’s demonstration of content mastery not necessarily effort.
In a performance based class, you must be able to demonstrate how your knowledge of music is applied. For example, knowing HOW to mark your score during rehearsal is NOT the same thing as DOING it on a daily basis. Study in the arts includes the development of technical skill, exploration of creativity, appreciation for the aesthetic experience, and demonstration of appropriate artistic work habits. Please note the longer you are enrolled, the higher the expectation. (I do not hold Beginning students to the same standard I do for Advanced singers. To ensure consistent, appropriate, comprehensive, and reasonable reflection of student achievement in the arts, grading practices will incorporate the following components:
- Content Mastery (technical skills, content/aesthetic knowledge, critique ability, creativity)
- Demonstration of Artistic Work Habits (collaboration, commitment, respect, responsibility)
Rehearsal Skills / Class Work 40%
Sight Singing / Ear Training 20%
Performances / Projects 10%
1st / 3rd Quarter 40%
2nd / 4th Quarter 40%
Final Exam 20%
--Jury, Portfolio, Written (see below)
All Performance Based Grading will be based on the following 4 point rubric.
4 –Student has a complete understanding and mastery of skill = A (95 +/-)
3 –Student has a functional understanding and has demonstrated excellence of skill = B (85 +/-)
2 - Student has a basic understanding and has demonstrated adequate proficiency of skill = C (75 +/-)
1 - Student has a limited understanding and has not successfully demonstrated skill = D (65 +/-)
0 –Student has an inadequate understanding and cannot adequately demonstrate this skill = F (50 +/-)
Or No attempt was made by the student to demonstrate the skill = Zero ( 0 )
*Final Exam / Art Song / Portfolio This year the written portion of the Final Exam continues to be pro-rated, however the percentages will now be as follows:
As a non-Honors student, your first semester you will only be required to get 65% of the questions correct to score a 100. Each subsequent semester that percentage is increased by 5% points. Honors students percentage points begin at 75% and increase each subsequent semester.
Semester 1 - 65%=100, 2 - 70%=100, 3(or H-S1) - 75%=100, 4(or H-S2) - 80%=100, 5(or H-S3) - 85%=100, 6(or H-S4) - 90% = 100, 7(or H-S5) - 95% = 100
This year all students may be able to EXEMPT the WRITTEN portion of the final exam per Wakefield HS attendance / grading policy. However, you may NOT EXEMPT the Portfolio requirement or the Voice Jury, unless you have participated in Honors Recital (which is mandatory for Advanced level.) These grades ARE semester grades, not quarterly grades, therefore, they will still be weighted and show on your report card as “Final Exam” even though they do not take place during the final exam period. The voice jury/portfolio grade will be averaged with the final exam grade for students who are required or wish to take the written final exam. You will be notified of your final course grade PRIOR to learning of your exemption status. Every class at HHS is an academic class that carries graduation credit with it. Chorus is no exception. There WILL be written work in chorus. Students are to hand in all of your assignments, on time and complete! ALL work should be retained as part of your graded portfolio.
LATE WORK (Wakefield School Policy)
Late Work due to an excused absence will follow the WCPSS make up work policy: Assignments assigned prior to an absence will be due upon return; this includes tests scheduled for the day of the return.
If the make-up work has not been assigned in advance, for absences of 1 to 3 days, the student will have a minimum of 1 day for each absence to complete missed assignments. For absences exceeding 3 days, the student will have a minimum of 2 days for each absence to complete assignments. Students will receive full credit for all make-up work following an excused or unexcused absence as long as the work is completed within the time limit according to teacher expectations and for unexcused absences as long as remediation has been attended to complete the assignment. Special consideration should be given in the case of extended absences due to injury or chronic illness.
Academic Courses (Beginning / Intermediate)
All students receiving academic credit for a course have the opportunity to recover grades through completing alternative assignments to demonstrate mastery, turning in missing work, and/or completing retests. Students will earn a minimum of 70% of the grade they would have received if turned in on time. Work that is submitted on time and meets the minimal completion requirements will receive a score no less than 50%. Teachers do not have to accept late work after one week prior to the beginning of the exam period for the grading term (Midterms – 1st and 3rd Quarter / Finals – 2nd and 4th Quarter).
Honors Courses - (Proficient / Advanced)
All students receiving honors credit for a course have the opportunity to recover grades through completing alternative assignments to demonstrate mastery, turning in missing work, and/or completing retests. Students will earn a minimum of 60% of the grade they would have received if turned in on time. Work that is submitted on time and meets the minimal completion requirements will receive a score no less than 50%. Late work is due by the end of the unit or the day of the unit assessment and does not need to be accepted by the teacher after this time. (For Vocal Music that means that all work must be submitted no later than the day of the semester concert. Fall 2019 is Dec. 13 / Spring 2020 is May 12th)
MAKE UP WORK
Make-up work for missed assignments will follow WCPSS policy. Un-excused absences from class is considered skipping. Missed rehearsals cannot technically be “made up’, what we did in rehearsal that day cannot be recreated. For excused absences during the school day, students will receive a NO GRADE, therefore will not negatively impact their grade. For unexcused absences you will be required to “repay” the time missed for rehearsal during smart lunch in the chorus room OR during remediation period. You must document your time with Mr. Mullinax before any credit will be awarded. If you do not make up the time within one week of your unexcused absence, you will receive “zero” for your daily grade for the date you missed rehearsal. After-school rehearsals are considered “homework” and are mandatory. You may NOT make up unexcused rehearsal time for rehearsals outside of the school day and will receive a zero for that rehearsal.
Performances also cannot be “made up”, however, an alternative assignment will provided for ANY missed performance that justifies the weight of that grade. (a research paper between 7-8 double spaced pages.) There are NO exceptions to this requirement and NO distinctions are made between an Excused or Unexcused absence. Please do not ask to be excused from make-up assignments for “special circumstances”. Everyone’s reason for missing a performance is important and unique to their personal situation. It is unfair to require the assignment for one student and not another.
ABSENCES AND EXCUSES
Chorus is considered a co-curricular activity (not to be confused with extra-curricular).
Activities for the year are programmed on the assumption that you will attend classes, extra rehearsals, performances and events. In all cases you should consult the director as soon as you anticipate a conflict. Inevitably, conflicts will arise that conflict between choral commitments and those of other official school organizations (sports, SGA, etc.). In general, performances should take precedence over other meetings, practices or group activities. If a performance is scheduled at a time when you are to be participating in a sporting event (game) you need to inform the director as soon as you know of the conflict so the director and your coach can come to an agreement as to best handle the conflict. Your regular school work should be done on your own time and does not excuse you from a performance. We try to schedule our concerts around important school-wide testing dates. Budget your time wisely in order to meet all of your obligations when possible. It is YOUR responsibility to inform all directors and coaches of conflicts well in advance. (not the day of.. )
As a general rule of thumb the following conflict resolution matrix might assist you in prioritizing your activities or events.
1- Conflicts with other rehearsals, practices, or club meetings should be arranged as 50/50. (Half there / half here)
2- Chorus Performances take precedence over other rehearsals, practice and games.
3- Other performance activities or games take precedence over chorus rehearsal.
4- Conference or State Championships take precedence over a performance.
Please ask your student regularly for any calendar updates and plan to support your student through participation in fundraising events and attendance at major concerts. Important information is posted regularly on the Chorus Calendar located on our web page. Check these often to be informed of announcements and performance obligations and call times. You are responsible to provide transportation for your student to and from local performances. Parents, please plan in advance! You should have more than adequate advanced notice to arrange transportation for your student in the event you cannot attend a concert. If for some reason, you are not available to attend your students’ performance, please arrange to have them picked up no later than 30 minutes after the conclusion of the performance.
1. Students are expected to participate in all performances. You will have a number of evening and/or weekend commitments. Check the rehearsal and concert schedule carefully and plan accordingly.
2. “ON TIME IS LATE” - Warm-ups are scheduled to start at the designated call time. (usually 60 to 90 minutes before a performance.) Be in the warm-up area well in advance of your call. Always report in full concert attire unless you've been instructed otherwise. Please do not be late for your call time. Your Performance Project grade will be lowered by one point for every minute you are late for a performance call.
Parents; our time before a performance is always very limited. If any issue arises that you feel that a conversation with me is warranted, please email me or call to schedule a time we can discuss it either well before or after a concert date. NO parent conferences are scheduled on a performance date.
3. You are in public view and a representative of Wakefield High School whenever you are in uniform. The administrative team has made it very clear that performers, athletes and honors students are held to the highest of standards at Wakefield High School and MUST SET A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR OTHERS. Consequences for poor behavior are never fun, but obviously necessary and may result in a student being removed from the program. Please conduct yourself accordingly and not become swept up in an emotional moment that later you may regret. If severe inappropriate behavior is exhibited on a field trip, administration and the parent will be called immediately to make arrangements to pick up your student.
4. If the director feels that a student is not adequately prepared OR has exhibited behaviors in rehearsal which are inappropriate, potentially causing embarrassment to yourself, your family, your school or your classmates; the director may pull the student from the concert and require the student to complete an appropriate alternative assignment for that portion of their grade.
TEN or more absences from rehearsal (class) may prevent students from participation performance activities – This includes assignment to ALC or ISS.
5. Leave valuables at home or with parents. You cannot take ANYTHING with you on stage.
ALL STUDENTS WILL BE REQUIRED TO PURCHASE PERFORMANCE ATTIRE.
Women - Black Concert "Oratorio" Dress (Southeastern Performance Apparel )
Men - Black Tuxedo, black dress shirt, black tie, black suspenders (Hillsborough Formal Wear Outlet)
Students may not perform with the group without approved performance attire!
*** Cost is covered under financial obligations.
WOMEN - YOU must wear your hair back and up away from the face and off the shoulders. When robes are worn, ladies should not wear jeans under their gown. Black closed toed shoes are required with all concert attire. All other dress restrictions also apply. (ie, blk head band, no jewelry, blk close toed shoes, etc.)
MEN - You must also provide DRESS black socks and dress black shoes. NO black sneakers! When robes are worn, men MUST wear black dress pants and black dress shoes. Wear a WHITE t-shirt under your shirt.
Students who identify as transgender, gender neutral, or non-binary often feel uncomfortable in traditional concert attire and may wear an alternative uniform. However, any exceptions to performance attire must be approved in advance.
Please feel confident in initiating this conversation with the director.
HERE ARE A FEW REMINDERS REGARDING CONCERT APPEARANCE AND ATTIRE:
1. NO jewelry, heavy perfume or cologne are permitted on the stage! Some people may be allergic to your fragrance.
2. Leave your valuables at home for concerts.
3. The uniform should be clean, complete and wrinkle free for every performance. If you lose an item you will be responsible for the full replacement amount. Failure to show up “performance ready” will result in a reduction in your Artistic Work Habits grade.
4. It is the responsibility of the singer to make sure that the full uniform is ready by the time of the first performance.
TEXTBOOKS, MUSIC AND FOLDERS
1. Each person is assigned a folder with music in addition to at least one text book. You are responsible for the care of it and your music. As with your text, you will be charged for its replacement cost if lost or misplaced. PUT YOUR FOLDER AWAY AT THE END OF EACH REHEARSAL! Fines will be accessed if you leave your music or textbook somewhere other than its storage slot. If found by any faculty member, a $1.00 per occurrence “restocking fee” will be added to your school account. *NEW* - Music / Folders may NOT be taken home unless you have checked it out through the choral librarian OR Mr. Mullinax. This is to protect music from being lost and to ensure that shared music is available
2. Never use a pen or highlighter to mark music. Have a pencil out every day and USE IT! If you do not have a pencil, then I have plenty of them that you can borrow. (please return them) Again, any music damaged or defaced in ink will become your personal property and you will be responsible for its replacement.
3. Some texts will be issued to students individually. Of course YOU will be responsible for any cost for damage or loss. Other texts used for student learning are issued as “class sets”. Students should NOT remove these from the room unless they are checked out with the choral director for home use. Since these are “community property”, we all are responsible for their care. Fines will apply for their misuse or destruction.
USE OF SCHOOL EQUIPMENT
Please understand that use of school owned equipment is a privilege, not a right. If a student defaces, abuses, or destroys equipment, he or she may be held legally responsible for its replacement or its cost and will not be allowed to use the equipment again. I cannot stress enough how important this is to the well-being of the department and to morale of our student population. We all enjoy a more than adequate facility at Wakefield High School, as well as “nice-to-haves”, that other schools do not have. If they are damaged, lost, or stolen there is no guarantee that we will be able to replace them in the near future. If you are using it, then YOU have just as much responsibility for its care as you teacher does. If you see another student destroying or defacing school property, you have a responsibility to let someone know. Otherwise, do not gripe if you have to use items that someone else broke, left dirty, or destroyed. As members of ANY community, YOU have a responsibility to maintain that community.
NC HONORS CHORUS AND NC ALL – STATE
Students may be selected to participate in out of school activities. Auditions for Honors Chorus are held in September and are highly competitive. Students generally spend a lot of time over the summer preparing for this audition. NC Honors Chorus (November 2017) and All-State Choruses (May 2018) provide an enriching educational experience but are highly competitive. If you are selected and ACCEPT a slot for one of these ensembles, this becomes your priority and you are expected to fulfill your commitment. Failure to do so, will put in jeopardy your ability to participate in other special events. Being chosen for these ensembles is a great honor. Many students would love to have this opportunity. Therefore, if you do not feel you can commit to this much work or time, then you should graciously decline the invitation. Registration Fees MUST be paid before audition or performance dates. There are NO refunds for registration fees.
RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC MUSIC
The study of choral music and the study of cultures are undeniably connected. Song has always been one of the most personal expressions of the human spirit, and our lives would be much less full if we had no exposure to the cultures of people whose backgrounds may be different from our own. We will be performing works with religious themes and/or ethnic origins at many times during the year. These works will be chosen for musical, historical and cultural values, and not to advocate the "correctness" of any religious or ethnic group. In addition, during certain times of the year, it is appropriate to present music that is related to a holiday or celebration. These activities promote cultural awareness among our students and offer timely entertainment to our audiences. This practice is in keeping with WCPSS policy, and students are expected and encouraged to act in a cooperative and enthusiastic manner. If you feel that you cannot participate in a song or a concert because of religious reasons, please schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns with the director during regular office hours, before or after school, or during the teacher planning period. However, overall, I am very pleased with our students’ tolerance and acceptance of our cultural, ethnical and religious differences. We live in a global society and our ability to celebrate our diversity through singing is a tremendous gift and opportunity for personal growth!
The Lab Fee is $40 per semester and is DUE by the 10th day of class. If you need to purchase your chorus outfit, you will also need to pay an additional $60. This covers your brand new chorus outfit (yours to keep).
The Lab fee covers a ONE YEAR subscription to Sight Reading Factory for every student, accompanist fees, additional music cost, registration fees for auditions, contests and festivals, local transportation fees, subscriptions, technical equipment, equipment repair, replacement, costume cleaning / repair, as well as any video / audio recording cost and a chorus t-shirt for new students. The funds allocated to the choral department can only be used for “classroom instructional material”.
FEES and FINES-
Students that are pre-registered, and have outstanding fines from previous semesters, will be advised to withdraw from the course and enroll in one of their alternative course selections they made at time of pre-registration. This is to assist you and parents from piling up debt that will have to paid before you graduate and to maintain a readily available cash flow for necessary equipment repairs and supply purchases. ***Please make LAB fee payments with debit or credit card via the Wake County Online Payment system if possible. When payment is made I receive electronic verification from the system informing me of your payment. Please print / save your electronic receipts for your records! There is a fee to use this service, however, parents have found this system to be very convenient, reliable and well worth the extra class time for instruction. For your convenience, there is a link on the chorus website to access the online payment system. If you must make your payment with a personal check, cashier’s check or money order… Pay to: Wakefield High School.
I will accept Lab Fee payments during Lunch or after school in the Fall or before school or Pride Time in the Spring.
ALL CASH payments are entered into Destiny as a Fine. CASH payment must be made in the media center.
(Please copy and print from here to the end of this document. Sign and Return to Mr. Mullinax no later than 5 days from the beginning of semester)
WAKEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL CHORAL MUSIC DEPARTMENT PARTICIPATION AND COURSE EXPECTATION AGREEMENT
All parents and students must fill out and sign the Participation and Course Expectation Agreement. I have found that this helps eliminate future confusion with regard to expectations of me as a teacher, as well as my expectation of student performers. My desire is that EVERY student has a wonderful choral experience. These regulations and procedures help ensure that we operate as a “team” and that everyone understands the rights and responsibilities of membership.
If this contract is not returned within the first 5 days of class, I will assume that the student desires to drop the course and I will refer him/her to student services for a schedule change. If you think you cannot abide by any part this document, then you should contact your school counselor immediately to request a schedule change to an alternative elective course. Please feel free to contact me anytime regarding your students’ general experience in chorus, their class performance, grades, or behavior concerns. firstname.lastname@example.org
I have read the Wakefield High School Chorus Handbook. I desire to be a part of this choral community, I agree to follow all guidelines as stated in the handbook, and I understand that some evening performances and after school rehearsals and activities are necessary. I understand all grading policies concerning rehearsal, performance, financial obligations, written work and expectations to receive honors credit. I also understand the reasons for disciplined behavior in the rehearsal and in performance and agree to abide by these expectations daily.
(Student signature) (Date)
(School email address)
I have reviewed this information with my student and have discussed their desire to be a positive contribution to the choral department. I have discussed the course expectations for participation inside and outside the classroom with my teenager. I support my students desire to become a more educated and skilled musician that will inspire their creativity, support their academic success, as well as teach them social skills and character development.
(Parent/guardian signature) (Date)
________________ ________________ _______________
(Home phone) (Mom’s work #) (Dad’s work #)
Primary parent e-mail address: ______________________________________________________
Secondary parent e-mail address:____________________________________________________
(Parents – Please answer yes or no to the following statements)
_____________ I AM AVAILABLE TO ASSIST WITH FUNDRASIERS, SPECIAL EVENTS AND CONCERTS OR ACT AS A CHAPERONE FOR FIELD TRIPS OR OTHER OFF-CAMPUS ACTIVITIES.
______________PLEASE SHARE MY CONTACT INFORMATION WITH HHS CHORAL BOOSTERS, SO I CAN BE INFORMED ABOUT SCHEDULED MEETINGS.