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NDHS Choir Handbook 2014-2015

Hard copies were given to students on the first day of school.

September 15, 2014


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North Daviess Jr.-Sr. High School Choral Department

 2014-2015 Student Handbook

1. Purpose.

                The purpose of this handbook is to make students and parents aware of the requirements and expectations involved with being a member of the NDHS Choral Department.  Please take a few minutes to read these pages and feel free to contact Mrs. Dedina if you have any questions.  When you are finished, detach and sign the form at the end and return it to Mrs. Dedina.  This will be considered the student’s first homework assignment of the year, and it is worth ten points toward his or her grade.



2.  Course Description.

                Choral Music Performance classes provide musical instruction and performance experiences for all students who elect to take the courses. Choral classes currently available include a) Junior High Chorus; b) High School Choir; and c) North Daviess Singers (audition only ensemble with extra-curricular rehearsals).

                Students in Chorus can expect fewer homework assignments than in most of their other classes, but they are required to perform in all concerts and organizational contests. Participation is a key element in Chorus. Other topics to be covered will include (but are not limited to): a) reading and understanding written music (notes, rhythms, tempi, dynamics, etc.); b) performance techniques (breathing, phrasing, pronunciation, etc.); c) basic music history and theory; d) appreciation for music from various styles, time periods, and cultures; e) proper concert etiquette for both performers and audience members. Participation in Chorus will also help develop skills in the areas of teamwork, personal organization, responsibility, goal setting, and positive self-expression. All of these topics relate to national and state academic standards as well as Common Core standards.

                Students are also encouraged to become involved in solos, smaller ensembles, and any other musical activities such as church choirs, band, community theater groups, private lessons, etc.



3. Grading Policy

                The North Daviess School Corporation requires that each student receive a letter grade every nine weeks for each class in which he or she is enrolled.  Grading is based on specific criteria and not the director’s opinion of the student.  For Choral Music classes, a point system is used to determine each student’s letter grade.  Every assignment is worth a specific number of points.  The total number of points earned by the student is divided by the total number of points possible.  This produces a percentage which is then applied to the school-wide grading scale, which is listed in the NDHS student handbook.



Actual Points

                The student earns a point or points for each correct answer given.  This method is used for such traditionally scored activities as:

* Bi-weekly vocabulary quizzes (High School Choir)

* Written tests and work sheets over pitches, rhythms, scales, chords, etc.

* Matching, multiple choice, or other types of objective questions (written and/or verbal)



                A rubric is a type of “checklist” which can be used for scoring certain types of graded activities in skills can be demonstrated in multiple ways.  Some activities which may be graded using rubrics are:

* Performance skills (such as concert performances, singing tests, posture quizzes, etc.)

* Student projects, presentations, and speeches

* Written assignments such as reflection papers, listening journal entries, and reports

* Student-produced musical compositions



(grading info continued on next page)



Pass/Fail Points

                In some cases, students must simply participate to earn credit.  In these instances, a student will either receive a perfect score (for fulfilling the requirement) or a score of “zero” (for failing to fulfill the requirement).  Up to two “musicianship points” will be given to students daily for successfully following all class rules.  Pass/fail points will be given for activities including (but not limited to) the following:

* Performance attendance/participation for JH Chorus (see handbook regarding “excused absences”)

* Materials quizzes (bring all needed materials to class each day)

* Participation in class activities


♫ Students may participate in at least one Project-Based Learning unit during the school year.  Specific information regarding guidelines and grades  for such projects will be distributed as needed.


Make-Up Work/Late Assignment Policy

                Any student who has an excused absence from class (approved field trip or other absences that are excused by the principal’s office) is expected to make up all missed work according to the guidelines in the North Daviess Student Handbook.  Students will be given full credit IF AND ONLY IF absences are excused and assignments are completed within the time frame stated in the ND Student Handbook.  Please note that it is the responsibility of the STUDENT to find out about and complete missed assignments. 

Any student who fails to turn in an assignment on the day it is due may choose to turn it in one school day late, with the understanding that the assignment will only be counted for “half credit.”  This means that the assignment will be graded as usual, but 50% will be deducted from the score. While this would earn a letter grade of "F,” it is still much better for one's overall grade than zero points would be!  Assignments that are more than one school day late will not be accepted for credit, and the student will earn a score of zero points (0%) for the assignment.



                Students may earn a limited amount of extra credit by researching and writing extra reports, attending outside concerts, or completing special projects of their own design. Extra credit opportunities are intended to supplement (NOT replace) the required class work. All extra credit ideas should be discussed with the director before work is begun so that the student can be given guidance. 

                Because of the large amount of extra time and effort required of students who are involved in the school musical, North Daviess Singers, and ISSMA Solo and Ensemble Contest, an appropriate amount of extra credit will be given to students who participate in these activities.


4. Performances.

                Participation in all required performances is a must for each Chorus student!  During a typical school year, students may expect the following: a) 4-5 concerts or festivals; b) 1-2 contests; c) a brief performance at graduation commencement; and d) the possibility of 1-2 extra rehearsals (before or after school). Concerts were planned around the athletic calendar that was available prior to the school year.


                Reasons for excused absence from a performance are listed below and require parental confirmation (either in writing or in person).

                A) Serious family emergency (death, serious illness, etc.)

                B) Serious personal illness or injury which makes it impossible for the student to perform.

                C) Unavoidable conflict with pre-arranged ACADEMIC (class-related) activity such as Science     Fair, Ag Class Judging, etc.

                D) Other emergency situations to be discussed with the Director IN ADVANCE (when possible)

*REMEMBER: A lack of proper planning on your part does not constitute an “emergency.”

                Mrs. Dedina promises to do her best to make students and parents aware of performances well in advance.  In return, she asks for equal consideration from students and parents.  This means thinking ahead when planning family trips, etc. and making sure students who work ask for time off in advance.  Students should also remind coaches, club sponsors, bosses, etc. of events which the Chorus has planned to help avoid unnecessary schedule conflicts.                      

See next page for more….

                Whether or not an absence will be excused is the decision of the director and will be based on the criteria listed on page 2.  Students who have an EXCUSED absence from a performance may be given the opportunity to write a report or complete an alternate assignment in order to make up the points he/she lost by missing the performance.  This assignment is to be completed within five school days of the missed performance and will be graded based on content and mechanics.  If the student does not complete a make-up assignment, he/she will receive NO POINTS for the missed performance, whether the absence was excused or not.

                Students with an UNEXCUSED absence will not be given this make-up opportunity.


5. Classroom/Rehearsal Rules (additional class norms may be established by students and teacher).

                One unique aspect of Chorus class is that our success depends on a team effort.  Proper class behavior will insure that we will have fun while we rehearse and learn.  Improper behavior wastes time, causes unneeded stress for the teacher AND the students, and keeps the group from reaching its goals.  Below are some simple rules that will help the class to run as smoothly as possible.

                A) Students will be in the classroom and ready to begin on time.  The student will be counted tardy if he/she is not in his/her assigned seat when attendance is taken.  According to school policy, four or more tardies per semester will result in an automatic disciplinary referral.

                B) Students will show that they are prepared for class by having their folders, music, PENCILS, and any other appropriate class materials with them in their assigned seats when the class begins.

                C) Each student will participate in all class activities to the best of his/her ability.  Students should plan to sing EVERY DAY for the ENTIRE class period.

                D) No eating, drinking, or CHEWING GUM in the classroom (this includes candy).

                E) Talking out of turn is our biggest time-waster.  Each student is expected to exhibit self-control to eliminate this obstacle to our success.  If a student proves that he/she is unable to control his/her own actions, the director may institute a specific behavior plan for that student.

                F) No working on other subjects during the warm-up or rehearsal (even if you have a sore throat!).  This includes tech use, reading, talking, or any other activity that has nothing to do with the task at hand. 

                G) Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself.  At no point should any object be airborne.

                H) Students will not operate, move, or touch any equipment, instruments, or music files without the Director’s permission (this includes computer and electronic equipment as well as musical instruments).

                I) Students will not be in the Chorus office, Band office, storage/practice rooms, or costume closet without the Director’s permission.

FFF #1 Rule:  At all times, students will show respect and consideration for their classmates, their teacher(s) and the property of the school and of others.  *Trust-Respect-Responsibility*



6.  Concert Attire.

                All High School Choir members will be assigned a robe to wear for most performances.  While the Choir provides these robes for the students’ use, it is the responsibility of each STUDENT to make certain that his/her robe and neck stole are clean, wrinkle-free, and in good repair at all times.  Each student is also responsible for carefully storing and returning his/her robe and stole to their proper places after each performance.  Students are to wear black, closed-toe dress shoes with their robes.  Gentlemen are to wear black dress pants with black socks, and ladies are to wear a neutral color of nylons with skirts, dresses, or shorts under their robes (ladies may also follow the gentlemen’s guidelines, if they prefer).

                Junior High Chorus members will purchase and wear their official NDJH Chorus black polo shirts.  Financial help is available to students, and we will be using the same shirts each year, so “hand-me-downs” from previous Chorus members are an option as long as they are in good shape.  More information will be sent home with students in written form.  Students are to wear khaki-colored (tan) dress pants or skirts (knee-length or longer) and black dress shoes with their polos. Socks should also be black.  Shirts should be tucked in, and all performance clothes should be free of stains, rips, tears, etc.

North Daviess Singers members purchase their own outfits, and will wear them in their entirety for each performance unless told otherwise in advance.  Financial help is available and will be discussed in rehearsals.

7.  Music and Folders.

                * Students will be assigned to share folders in pairs.

                * Each pair of students is jointly and equally responsible for their folder and all music and other resources which are assigned to that folder.

                * Each student is expected to have his/her complete folder throughout each and every class period.  Folders are not to be traded, combined, or shared with others who are not assigned to that specific folder.  Students who fail to have their folder or any piece of music that belongs in the folder during class

are demonstrating that they are not prepared for class and will lose points from their classroom grade for each occurrence. 

                * Students may be directed to make notations in pencil on their music from time to time.  Except for these directions, students will not write on or otherwise deface folders or music.  Students will reimburse the Chorus Department for music and folders that are lost or defaced according to the following rates:  a) current cover price for originals of sheet music; b) 25 cents per each copied page; and c) $8.00 for each folder.

                * Students are encouraged to take their folders home for extra practice, but they must sign the folder out on the appropriate form and remember to bring the folder back for the next rehearsal.  Do not take individual pieces out of the folder.




8.  ISSMA Solo and Ensemble Contest.

                 Participation in this contest is optional.  Because it provides a number of good experiences, however, it is strongly encouraged (especially for students in grades 9-12).  Extra credit will be given based on the type of event(s) in which a student participates and the judges’ score(s) he/she earns.

                Extra help from the Director will be available before and after school by appointment.  It is the student’s responsibility to make appointments to rehearse with the director based on how much help the student feels he/she needs.  At least one appointment should be made, even if the student is receiving help from another music teacher.  Because participation in this contest is optional and extra credit will be awarded, students should understand that the vast majority of preparation and rehearsal will take place OUTSIDE OF THE REGULAR CLASS PERIOD ON THEIR OWN TIME.

                Students are also responsible for finding their own accompanists and rehearsing with them at least twice before the day of the contest!  Although students need to pay their own contest fees, those who earn the right to compete a State ISSMA Contest may have a portion of their state fees paid by the Chorus Department.



9.  School Musical.

                  * Participation in the school musical is open to all students on a voluntary basis.

                  * “On -stage” (acting and singing) parts will be determined by audition and are usually open only to students in grades 9-12.  Some roles may be offered to mature 7th and 8th graders based on casting needs.

                  * Backstage crew and various committee positions are open to volunteers in grades 9-12 and mature, responsible 7th and 8th graders (no audition required).

                  * Once a student has made the commitment to participate in the musical, she/he will be expected to thoroughly execute all the responsibilities of her/his part or position.  This includes being present and involved at all applicable rehearsals as well as taking the extra personal time required to learn and memorize one’s script, songs, or job assignments.

                  * Again, the musical is an extra-curricular, extra-credit activity, and students should not expect to do much of the preparation for the musical during class time.  The added time demands and responsibilities of the musical are also not to be used as an excuse for unfinished homework or general grumpiness, either!

                  *Contrary to popular belief, it IS possible for students who are involved in athletics and cheerleading to also participate in the musical.  Every effort is made to compromise with coaches and sponsors so that students may have learning experiences in both the arts and sports.  Students (and coaches) are asked to remember, however, that compromise is a two way street and students should do their best to anticipate scheduling conflicts in advance to avoid problems.

10.  North Daviess Singers.

                  This is an audition-only, extra curricular group open only to students who meet at least one of the following requirements, which were created and adopted by the members of the ND Singers:

                  A) First year NDS members must be enrolled in Choir class for the entire year (both semesters).

                  B) Second, third, and fourth year members must be enrolled in at least one semester of Choir class each year.

                  C) Second, third, and fourth year members who are unable to enroll in Choir class due to Vocational studies or other unavoidable class conflicts will have their membership voted on by the members of the North Daviess Singers.  A two-thirds majority is needed to pass the student’s membership.

                  The ND Singers have developed a reputation for being an exceptional musical group, and students should consider it an honor to be a part of this ensemble.  In order to maintain our high standards, it is important that we have good attendance at all rehearsals and performances.  To help with this goal, the members of the ND Singers have established an attendance policy which can be found in Appendix II:  North Daviess Singers Attendance Policies.  Ask Mrs. Dedina for a copy of this appendix if you are a member of the ND Singers or if you would like to see the guidelines.



11.  High School Choir Council and Letter Awards.

                  The North Daviess High School Choir Council consists of seven officers who are elected annually by the High School Choir and North Daviess Singers (one vote per student).  The offices are as follows:  President, Vice President, Secretary, Senior Class Rep., Junior Class Rep., Sophomore Class Rep., and Freshman Class Rep.  All officers must be current members of the High School Choir or ND Singers (see Choir Council Charter for details and duties of officers).  The President must be in either the 11th or 12th grade.  All Class Reps. must be a member of the class they are representing, and will be elected by members of that class only.  The Choir Council will meet on an “as-needed” basis to make necessary decisions and to develop and implement plans.  All decisions of the Choir Council must be approved by the Director.

                  A letter award system was developed by the Choir Council during the 1999-2000 school year.  This system is detailed on the next page of this handbook (“Appendix I:  NDHS Choir Letter-Award System”).  High School Choir students should familiarize themselves with the system and be sure to turn in all requests for additional performance points in a timely fashion.  






12.  Contact Information.               

                  Parents and students can leave voice mail messages for Mrs. Dedina at 636-8000 ext. 3110 and they can e-mail her at adedina@ndaviess.k12.in.us.  Occasional informative e-mails will be sent to all parents who provide a legible, valid e-mail address on the form on page 6. Some class-related information can also be found in the appropriate locations at www.mybigcampus.com, and Facebook users are encouraged to “like” the North Daviess Choirs page.



13.  North Daviess Music Boosters.

                  All ND Choir parents, grandparents, and other interested community members are encouraged to participate in the ND Music Boosters Organization; our students need and deserve your support!  EVERY parent/guardian of an ND Junior or Senior High School musician is a Music Booster; it is up to each one to decide how involved he or she is willing to be.  For more information on the Boosters, see their Facebook page or contact Mrs. Dedina.  We welcome everyone’s help!




Appendix I:  N.D.H.S. Choir Letter-Award System

  1. A student must accumulate 100 points to earn a letter.
  2. Points can be accumulated over the course of more than one school year (they “roll over” for all the years that you are in High School Choir).


  1. After earning his or her first letter, a student will be awarded a “bar” pin for every additional 100 points he or she earns.


  1. Points will be awarded for successful and thorough completion of activities according to the following schedule:
  1. Concerts (holiday concert, spring concert, etc.)…………….10 points
  2. Choral Festival………………………………………………….10 points
  3. ISSMA Organizational Contest………………………………..15 points
  4. Performance at graduation……………………………………..5 points
  5. Full-year member of ND Singers………………………………15 points
  6. Cast, chorus or crew of musical……………………………….15 points
  7. Cast or crew of school play…………………………………….10 points
  8. District & State solos and ensembles………………………5 points (each)
  9. Participation in bi-annual Chorus trips……………………...5 points
  10. “Extra” performances…………………………voted on by Choir Council*


  1. Students who participate in school choir-related “extra” performances (i.e. national anthem athletic events, volunteer performances, etc.*) shall submit a written request for points to the Choir Council.  The request will be on the proper form (available in the Choir Room) and will explain the details of the performance including date, location, and title(s) of piece(s) performed.  The Choir Council may then award points as it deems suitable.


  1. Letters and other awards will be given only at the end of each school year (usually at the spring awards banquet).


  1. Students who successfully and thoroughly participate in North Daviess Singers and/or the school musical will earn a pin or patch for their first year of participation regardless of whether or not they have earned a letter.


  1. Graduating seniors who have completed four full years (8 semesters) of High School Choir will be awarded a senior blanket, regardless of whether or not they have earned a letter.


  1. Any changes to the lettering system must be voted on and passed by a majority of the Choir Council at an official Choir Council meeting.  The Choir Director reserves the power of veto over any such changes.


  1. The ND Music Boosters Organization may choose to award basic letter jackets (or vouchers to purchase them) to choir students based on the director’s recommendation.  The director will recommend students who meet ALL of the following requirements: (a) student must have completed four semesters of High School Choir; (b) student must have earned at least 100 letter points in High School Choir; (c) student must currently be in the 11th or 12th grade; (d) student must currently be a member of the High School Choir.  Only one jacket/voucher will be awarded per student, and the Boosters may choose to discontinue the program at any time.  Due to the high cost of jackets, students who have already purchased their own are requested to be conservative in their use of the vouchers.


This lettering system was put into effect on Thursday, September 30, 1999 by the Choir Council.


* In May of 2000, the Choir Council voted to award extra performance points to church-related solos and ensembles (i.e. singing at a church service or gathering), but placed a limit of ten points per year per student for church-related performances.



JJJ After reading the Chorus Student Handbook, please sign the form below, and return this entire page only to Mrs. Dedina by AUGUST 12th (worth 10 points…don’t blow it). Keep the rest of the handbook in a safe place for future reference. JJJ


STUDENT: I have read the Chorus Student Handbook and I understand what will be expected of me as a member of the group.  I agree to fulfill my responsibilities to the best of my ability.



__________________________________                                             _______________

              Student’s signature                                                                                      date


PARENT:  I have read the Chorus Student Handbook and I understand what is expected of my child.  I agree to support her/him in the fulfillment of her/his responsibilities.



__________________________________                                             _______________

                Parent’s signature                                                                                      date


Parent(s’) name(s) (please print): _________________________________________________


Name(s) of student(s) in Choir: __________________________________________________


Home phone number(s): _______________________  Work phone number:______________


Parent(s’) e-mail address(es): ____________________________________________________


Please check () the ways in which you’d be willing to help us have a successful year:

_____ Serve as an officer or chairperson for the ND Music Boosters

_____ Serve on an action team that develops fundraiser ideas

_____ Serve on an action team that makes phone calls to other Booster parents

_____ Work as an usher/door monitor at concerts to help minimize the distractions to our                           performing students


_____ Assist at the Music Awards Banquet in the spring

_____ Organize or assist with the Booster-sponsored Cougar Discount Card program

_____ Help raise money by working at concessions stands, dinners, talent show, etc.

_____ Work with the Communications Officer to produce a Booster newsletter.

____ Chaperone field trips        

Other (please tell us what your ideas and talents are!):    



Our student-musicians here at North Daviess have a number of wonderful goals, and they could use every parent’s help in achieving them. Every parent/guardian of every ND Choir member IS a Music Booster; it is up to each of them to decide the level of participation that is right for him/her.  We hope you consider giving your children as much support as possible during their time as an ND musician.  Thanks for your help in making the study of music a positive experience for our community’s young people!  Stay current by making sure we have your e-mail address and by liking our Facebook page!


Appendix II:  North Daviess Singers Attendance Policies

                  The North Daviess Singers are an audition-only, extra curricular group open only to students who meet at least one of the following requirements, which were created and adopted by the members of the ND Singers:

                  A) First year NDS members must be enrolled in Choir class for the entire year (both semesters).

                  B) Second, third, and fourth year members must be enrolled in at least one semester of Choir class each year.

                  C) Second, third, and fourth year members who are unable to enroll in Choir class due to Vocational studies or other unavoidable conflicts will have their membership voted on by the members of the North Daviess Singers.  A two-thirds majority is needed to pass the student’s membership.

                  Quite a bit of extra time and effort are required to be a part of the ND Singers. We will have evening or before-school rehearsals two or three times per week.  We may perform 5-10 times per year, sometimes during the school day (field trip), sometimes on the students’ own time, and often in conjunction with the Chorus Department concerts.  ND Singers will perform at solo & ensemble contest.

                  The ND Singers have developed a reputation for being an exceptional musical group, and students should consider it an honor to be a part of this ensemble.  In order to maintain our high standards, it is important that we have good attendance at all rehearsals and performances.  To help with this goal, the members of the ND Singers have established the attendance policy outlined below.

                  * Students are expected to actively participate in all ND Singers rehearsals.  The following rehearsal attendance policy has been accepted and approved by the members of the ND Singers:

                  A) Absences from rehearsals must be cleared with the director IN ADVANCE in order to be excused (except in cases of obvious emergency). 

                  B) A student who arrives at rehearsal more than 15 minutes after the rehearsal was scheduled to begin will be counted absent (he/she should still attend so that he/she can benefit from the rehearsal).

                  C)  A student who arrives at a rehearsal more than 5 minutes after the rehearsal was scheduled to begin will be counted as tardy (unexcused).  Three such “tardies” will count as one unexcused absence.             

                  D) Whether or not an absence is excused is the decision of the director.  Failure to give a reason for an absence in advance will cause it to be considered unexcused (except in cases of obvious emergency).  In general, if a student is able to attend school that morning, they should be at rehearsal.

                  E)  If a student wishes to have an “emergency” absence excused after the fact, he/she must his/her parent contact Mrs. Dedina either by e-mail, phone or in person no later than one week after the absence occurred.  Failure to do so will result in the absence being recorded as “unexcused.”

                  F)  Students who have two unexcused absences from rehearsals will have their parents notified.  Additional unexcused absences may result in the student’s dismissal from ND Singers.  The issue will be put to a vote among the ND Singers ensemble.

                  G) The rules for attending ND Singers performances are the same as those outlined in Section 4 (“Performances”) of the Choir Handbook.

                  * Students with one unexcused absence from a performance will have their parents notified.  Additional absences will result in the student’s dismissal from ND Singers.  A student will be elected by the ensemble to serve as Attendance Secretary; he/she will help with the attendance issues mentioned above.

                  * Students with an excessive number of excused rehearsal absences may be asked not to perform on a specific concert or song.  This will only occur if the Director or student feels that the student’s lack of rehearsal time has left her/him unprepared for the performance and would prevent them from being an asset to the group.  This does happen occasionally and should not be considered a punishment.  The student is still a part of the ensemble and can participate again as soon as they are able to attend rehearsals.

                  * ND Singers will lose a letter point for each unexcused absence he or she has during a given year.  Note that this proposal was passed by a majority of members on 8/17/07.


  • Members of the ND Singers and their parents must sign and return the attached form before the first rehearsal to be considered a member of the ensemble.


North Daviess Singers

Membership Contract


            You must sign and return this form to Mrs. Dedina by the first ND Singers rehearsal to be considered a member of the ensemble.



            I have read and understand the requirements for members of the North Daviess as outlined in “Appendix II” of the North Daviess Jr.-Sr. High School Choral Department Student Handbook.  I realize that it is an honor to be a member of the group and I agree to fulfill all the expectations of the ensemble.



_________________________                                        ______________

            Student’s Signature                                                                   Date





Parent or Guardian:

            I have read and understand the requirements for members of the North Daviess as outlined in “Appendix II” of the North Daviess Jr.-Sr. High School Choral Department Student Handbook on the back of this page*.  I realize that it is an honor for my child to be selected as a member of the group. I agree to help him/her to fulfill all the expectations of the ensemble, including attendance at rehearsals.



_________________________                                        ______________

            Parent’s Signature                                                                     Date





*If you would like a copy of the requirements to keep for your records, please notify Mrs. Dedina (or save the appropriate file to your computer from the Choir’s MyBigCampus or Facebook page).