Here's this week's newsletter. Key points and new information are in bold type.
A link to each post will be sent through the choir Twitter and Facebook accounts, to whatever parent emails I have on file, and to the students through Google Classroom.
The beginning section will always be about curricular choir and the following information will pertain to the extracurricular activities, so you only need to read what applies to your student. The most updated and comprehensive calendar is always on bataviamusic.org.
- Assignments: Students in all choirs can be working on the MusicTheory.net due Tuesday and the Sight Reading Factory due next Thursday. Any past due assignments from Semester 2 only are fair game as well. We had GLE's due last week, so if your student's grade took a plunge, see if they completed their GLE 5a & 5b!
- Difficulty level progress in SRF (Updated 2/19): Our average difficulty level keeps climbing! The average level for all 125 students moved from 1.26 in the first week up to 3.02 on the most recent assignment. Very few students are at level 1 (though, I'm happy they are if it is the appropriate challenge for them!), and many students are regularly working at level 4 or even 5. SRF has 6 possible levels, so there's plenty of room to grow, even for our most advanced singers. Here are some breakdowns: All 9th graders are averaging 2.56, Varsity is 2.48, Treble is 3.50, and Chamber is 4.55.
- Our focus for this concert cycle will be on vowel shape and tone quality. We are also paying special attention to some non-English languages (Italian, German, Japanese, and French), and each group has a song in compound meter (Each "big beat" is broken up into 3 smaller notes rather than 2: 6/8, 9/8 and 12/8 time are examples). While we always want to get the notes right, we'll be paying special attention to our blend and healthy tone production. Wish us luck!
Our Batavia Music Festival is next week! This year, we are having combined concerts all next week. All concerts start at 7 pm and call time for choir students is 6:30 pm:
- Concert 1: Both Chorales (Freshmen & Alpha), plus the Concert Orchestra and Symphonic Band
- Concert 2: Treble Choir and Varsity Choir, plus the Sinfonietta, Symphony, Concert Band and Wind Ensemlble
- Concert 3: Chamber Singers, plus the Wind Symphony and BHS Philharmonic
Help Needed! We are still in need of ushers for next week's concerts. Please sign up here!
Over the course of this year, one of the things that I heard about most was the disappointment over last year's curricular choir audition process. Of course, many people won't be happy with the results of an audition. It is clear though that many students didn't feel like the last year's audition process gave a clear picture of who they are or what they could do. With that in mind, here are some changes to the process:
- I will be the one making decisions. Since I'm the one who has worked with your student all year, I'll be the one making decisions about what is best for each student and for the overall program.
- We will not have a one-on-one "Audition". All of the factors under consideration will be things that the students can prepare at home, or have been working on over time.
- I have discussed this with students individually and in class. I didn't want this to be a surprise to anyone, and I wanted the students to have as much of a say as possible. Several of the factors listed below are based on student suggestions.
- Here are the factors I'll be considering:
- Screencastify videos: After next week's concerts, we will record several "takes" of music that we performed. The recordings will be made in class, with everyone singing together. The idea is that since students sing together in class daily, the assessment should be done similarly. Students will then take home the recordings they made, assess themselves using this rubric, and submit the one video they feel is their best. This will allow me to assess not only their pitch and rhythm accuracy, but also their tone quality, consonant energy, and attention to expressive elements.
- SightReadingFactory: Not only will I pay attention to how they have scored on their SRF assignments, I'll also take into consideration the difficulty levels they've chosen for themselves. Are they challenging themselves to improve? Or are they just trying to get by without really trying to get better? Obviously a perfect score on very easy lines won't be as attractive as an attempt at lines with an appropriately challenging difficulty level.
- The overall voicing and structure of the groups: Not only do I have to find the best fit educationally for all of my students, I also have to create a course structure where we have the right voice parts covered so we can perform music of appropriate difficulty and educational content. I need to make five viable choirs; that means I need to determine the number of kids in each class and each voice part accordingly.
- Rehearsal technique: I reserve the right to consider a student's rehearsal technique. This will be a secondary consideration because of the qualitative nature. Essentially this will help serve as a tie-breaker between two equally capable kids.
- I will be happy to discuss any student's audition after the list is posted, but I won't discuss how any other student did. I'd be happy to review any student's video or SRF materials with them to help them see what helped or hurt them. I will not tell them about how any other student did, however. Many excellent students will get beat by others and not move to the advanced choirs. All students can trust that their videos and scores will remain confidential.
- I'd be happy to take any questions about the process, especially before the audition process begins. I will start reviewing videos during the week of 2/29. I am open to listening to suggestions until that time. Please contact me with questions.
- I expect to release next year's lists before Spring Break in conjunction with the Band and Orchestra lists.
- Here is info for Northridge on 2/20. I will update these pages as new info comes out, so please don't just print the page. I'll send out an email update to the show choir parents whenever there is an update to the pages. Here are other documents we've sent home with the kids. Here's costume info, and here's more general info.
- Several parents have emailed or called, asking how they can help. We will need at least two, or ideally four, parent volunteers for each competition. We ask that they ride the bus with us both ways, monitor the homeroom, and on rare occasions, deal with ill children. They will, if they ask, be able to watch the show from out in the audience and then meet back up with us after, and they will get free admission to the competition as our chaperone. We still need help for March 5 (Glenwood HS, Chatham, IL). Sign up here, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like clarification.
- Please get those participation fees in. Note that the $135 building fee is assessed through Powerschool. None of that money goes toward the Showchoir itself; it goes to pay for the facility, lights, heat, etc. The $300 fee is how we pay for the music, choreography, costuming, etc. All transportation fees and registration fees are paid by BHS. To pay this, please enclose a check to Batavia High School in a labeled envelope. Have your student drop it into the black lock-box in the choir room. The fee was due by the start of rehearsals on November 9. Any show choir student who has not paid the fee by the first competition will not be allowed to compete. For information about the BPS101 fee waiver policy, please see this page.
- Tuesday, February 23: BHS Music Festival Concert 1 (Chorale & Alpha)
- Wednesday, February 24: BHS Music Festival Concert 2 (Treble & Varsity)
- Thursday, February 25: BHS Music Festival Concert 3 (Chamber)
- Tuesday, May 3: Spring Choir Concert (Please note this change)
- Tuesday, May 17: Music Senior Awards night (Please note this change)
- Other Important Dates:
- Wednesday, March 2: Showtime!
- Feb 29-3/11: Choir placement decisions