2017-2018 CSMS Choir Handbook
Welcome to the 2017-2018 Clint Small Choir Program!
I am very happy to be working with your child this year, and I hope that being a member of the award-winning Clint Small Choir program will be a productive and positive experience of learning and music-making.
This handbook will serve as a reference for you through the year and contains information concerning the policies and regulations of the CSMS Choir program. Please take some time to read this handbook so that you will be informed, prepared, and able to participate fully.
Because I know there can be a LOT of paperwork to complete at the beginning of the school year for all classes, I have listed the important steps associated getting your student ready for choir this year.
Actual paper items to turn in:
- Handbook Agreement Form: Please sign this after reading the handbook with your child. Then, keep the Handbook and Calendar for reference throughout the school year.
- Field Trip Permission Form: Please sign/return. We will bring this on field trips, competitions, etc.
- Fair Share Activity Fee: Please submit the $35 fair share fee by check with your student’s name in the memo line. If you must pay in cash, please place in a sealed envelope with your child’s name, grade, choir period, and Mrs. Holzner’s name printed on it. You can also pay online at schoolcashonline.com.
Items to complete online:
- Visit our choir website: www.clintsmallmiddleschoolchoir.weebly.com and read out choir handbook section
- Sign up for a volunteer position/s at a choir event. I ask that each parent signs up for at least one job, but please feel free to sign up for more! Volunteering is a great way to know more people in the CSMS community, and listening to our choir is a bonus, too! The online volunteer form is linked to our choir website home page, listed above
- Sign up to receive concert, event, and rehearsal reminders on Remind.com:
text @ga3a9f to the number 81010
Please complete the online portion AND return all paper forms by Friday, September 1, 2017.
Thank you for being a part of the Clint Small Choir Program. I am looking forward to a wonderful year!
Emily Holzner, Choir Director
Each student enrolled in CSMS Choir will learn how to become a better singer and musician, but also how to become an active, contributing member of an organization, demonstrating pride, and responsibility. Each CSMS Choir student will also learn how to be a team player, how to display leadership skills, how to exhibit confidence, and how to express creativity. We strive to offer a nurturing environment to students that is both comfortable and encouraging, where every student can reach their musical potential and feels a sense of belonging.
- 1 Composition Notebook (no spirals, please!)
- 1 Box of Tissues
- 3 Pencils
- Choir T-Shirt (see uniform section for more information)
Our choir website is a valuable communication tool. Please check it in order to remain informed about choir news, upcoming events, and announcements. Additional copies of parent letters and permission forms will also be available online. The address is: http://clintsmallmiddleschoolchoir.weebly.com
Fundraising and Fair Share
This year the Small Choir will have one fundraiser in the 2nd semester. The proceeds from this fundraiser will go toward paying for students’ trip costs, music, equipment, and other operational costs of the choral program.
Fundraising helps to pay for many choir expenses, however since the choir only receives a percentage of fundraising profits, additional funds are required to cover annual operating costs. Therefore the choir asks for a “fair share” activity fee of $35.00 per student. This activity fee pays for the student’s choir shirt, choir social food costs, and music. For families experiencing financial difficulties, students may still participate fully in choir even if a family is unable to pay the fair share at this time. Please contact Mrs. Holzner if you have any questions or concerns regarding the fair share activity fee.
7th and 8th Grade Girls will need to purchase the black Melisma style choral dress from the school. Information about ordering will be given in the next few weeks. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, some dresses will be available to rent. Girls will provide their own closed toe black dress shoes with little or no heel, and black opaque tights. No additional jewelry should be worn with the dress uniform. Hair should be worn tied back and/or away from the face.
7th and 8th Grade Boys need to purchase a black shirt and black slack. Information about ordering will be given in the next few weeks. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, please contact the director. Boys will provide their own black socks, and black dress shoes. No additional jewelry should be worn with the dress uniform.
6th Grade Formal Uniform: Students will need to wear dress black bottoms (pants or skirt), dress white top (shirt or blouse), and dress black shoes. If skirts are worn, please make sure they are worn with black tights and closed toe dress shoes. Hair should be worn tied back and/or away from the face.
Informal Uniform: Choir shirts and jeans. All CSMS Choir students are required to purchase a choir shirt. The shirt is worn throughout the year for daytime performances, on trips, etc. The cost of the shirt is included in the “fair share” payment. If a family is unable to pay the fair share activity fee, then the student must bring $8 by Friday, September 1st in order to cover the cost of the shirt. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, please speak with the director.
Procedures & Guidelines
Students who fail to comply with these procedures & guidelines below may lose participation points & will receive behavioral consequences for continual infractions of these procedures & guidelines:
1. Be on time! Students will be considered tardy if they do not spit their gum out & if they are not in their seat with their choir folder, music, journal, & a pencil when the bell rings. Pencils are to be sharpened before the bell, & students are to remain in their seats after the bell rings unless granted permission to be up.
2. Pay attention! Students are only permitted to talk when working in groups, when asking a question, or when the class is finished for the day. All private conversations should be kept to a minimum & should not disrupt class/rehearsal.
3. Follow directions! Students are expected to follow directions the first time without argument. Refusal to follow directions or to participate in class activities will be considered insubordination.
4. Keep personal items put away! Makeup, toys, markers, food, gum, candy, drinks, purses, books, homework, & ALL electronic devices are to be put away during class time. These items will be confiscated if necessary.
5. Respect others & their property! Stealing or taking anyone else’s things without permission is not tolerated in the choir room. Only students with permission are allowed near Mrs. Holzner’s office, to use the phone, to play the piano, to write on the whiteboard, or to operate the video, computer, & sound equipment.
6. Be polite & positive! Students are expected to interact with the teacher & other students in the same manner they would want to be treated. This means that lying, teasing, foul language, “sassiness,” & rude or obscene comments or gestures are inappropriate. Students should also wait until the end of class to talk to Mrs. Holzner about personal issues. Differences of opinion between Mrs. Holzner & students should never result in student “temper tantrums” or outbursts in class. Mrs. Holzner will consider student opinions respectfully as long as students have made a polite attempt to address her one on one.
7. Walk in the choir room, & keep your hands to yourself! Running, hitting, & “horse playing” in the choir room is unacceptable, unsafe, and won’t be tolerated.
8. Students must have a bathroom pass or choir cash to go to the restroom, to get water, to use the teacher’s phone, or to go to their locker. Passes will be provided by Mrs. Holzner once each semester & should be used by students wisely. Students are expected not to disrupt class for permission to use them. While feminine emergencies are understandable, students should not expect to use this as a continual excuse to leave class. Emergency situations will be considered on an individual basis.
Everyday Rehearsal Expectations
- Walking, voices at a quiet level
- Place belongings on shelves
- Backpacks away from risers
- Get music folder, a pencil, and journal
- Sit on assigned riser place quietly, in seat by bell
- Wait for teacher to dismiss you
- Return music folder and journal neatly
- Retrieve belongings
- Exit calmly with voices at a quiet level
- “Gimme Five”
- Eyes on teacher/ “Track” teacher
- Eyes on director or music
- Follow directions
- Raise hand to speak or get up
- Practice good posture, breathing, and singing technique
- Best effort always
Students will be given five bathroom passes per semester. They may use their passes or turn each pass in at the end of the six weeks for Choir Cash.
Disciplinary Action Plan
Please note that any consequences may be implemented immediately if the offense is more serious or has occurred frequently.
- Level 1: verbal warning
- Level 2: student / teacher conference & sit out with a refocus sheet (go to the next step if the student does not complete a refocus sheet)
- Level 3: parent phone call / email
- Level 4: parent phone call / email & lunch detention (go to the next step if the student does not show up)
- Level 5: parent phone call / email & office referral (student will not go on the next choir trip at this point)
Daily Grades (20%)
group sight singing / rhythm exercises
sight singing speed drills
quizzes over notes, dynamics, letter names,
sharps / flats, & key signatures
rhythm writing exercises
music history listening exercises
after-school extra rehearsals
total self-evaluation / reflection points
Performance/Major Grades (50%)
- prepared / on time
- attentiveness / behavior
- on-stage professionalism / presentation
- accurate singing technique
- singing tests
- ear training drill tests
- video-recorded tests
- Solo & Ensemble Contest
- Region Choir Contest (select classes)
It is vital that all choir members be in attendance for rehearsals and performances. Choir concerts are required, and are considered to be a co-curricular activity (not extra-curricular), and they are a way to demonstrate a student’s comprehension of the state-mandated, performance-related TEKS for choir.
Please review the choir calendar carefully and record all dates on your own calendar. Major illness, surgery, family emergencies, and religious holidays are examples of an excused absence. Most other reasons for a choir concert absence will be considered unexcused. Examples of unexcused absences include family events or trips, sporting events, other school or non-school related performances, not planning ahead to have transportation, & other potential activities that could interfere with a student’s ability to perform with the choir. Students are expected to communicate any known potential issues with Mrs. Holzner (& any other teacher or coach) several weeks in advance, but at least two weeks.
An unexcused absence from a scheduled rehearsal or performance will result in a failing grade for that performance. Students may make up a missed choir concert grade by singing the required choir concert music in front of their class alone if they have an excused absence. Missed choir concert grades that are not made up will result in a failing grade regardless of the reason.
Throughout the year, students have the opportunity to take part in many events, trips, and performances. Some of these require students to be passing their other academic classes. In particular, only 7th and 8th grade students that are passing their classes may participate in Region Choir auditions, clinic, and concert, as well as the UIL Sight-Reading and Concert Contest in the spring semester. If a student is not eligible to attend UIL Competition, or has an unexcused absence for this event, he or she will also be ineligible to attend the Spring Trip.
Students in choir will sometimes encounter music with religious texts. AISD policy states “public school performances may include religious music, themes, or references if they enrich the curriculum.” We will learn from many different kinds of texts, including sacred, secular, foreign languages, and poetry.
Choir officers will be selected in each choir class. Each choir officer will be responsible for assisting with specific duties each day & to provide positive leadership for their class on a regular basis. Choir officers will also assist substitutes if needed. Choir officers are expected to assist Mrs. Holzner at choir concerts & special events, in addition to demonstrating excellent character in choir and throughout the school.