Concert Choir


Spencer High School

Concert Choir Handbook 2017-2018







         Saydi Stewart, Director of Choral Activities



                                                                                                                                                Fall 2017                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year!


I am thrilled to welcome you into the Spencer High School Vocal Music Department. As a 2012 graduate of Spencer High School, I am very familiar with the high standards and welcoming environment that is present in the community, Spencer Public Schools, and in the music department. I am very much looking forward to my first year with you and making music together!


Within this handbook you will find everything you need to know about this year’s choral music department as well as a description of events that will be occurring during the year. This handbook reminds all students of their commitment they are making to program, as well as responsibilities they have to keep the Spencer choral tradition going!  It is required that every student and his or her parents or guardians thoroughly read this handbook in its entirety and return the signed form acknowledging that it was read. This is the first graded assignment for the school year. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.



Ms. Saydi Stewart


Choir Mission Statement

The mission statement of Spencer Choirs is to educate all students emotionally, intellectually and socially through the learning and performance of diverse, high-quality choral literature, while developing vital musicianship skills.


Ensemble descriptions

Concert Choir is a non-auditioned choir open to all students in grades 9-12. This ensemble performs at various concerts throughout the school year, while further building each individual’s musicianship skills. This class meets daily.

Oriana Madrigal is an auditioned SATB extra-curricular group for students in grades 9-12.  Madrigal singers perform repertoire for small group from the Renaissance era to present. This group rehearses approximately every other Monday evening throughout the summer, and every Monday evening during the school year until the Madrigal Dinner in December. All rehearsals must be attended in order to be in this group. This year’s group has already been selected and is preparing for the Madrigal dinner this coming December.



2017-2018 Required Choir Performance Schedule

Fall Concert                                    Monday, October 16,                        7:30 pm

Holiday Choral Concert                    Monday, December 18                      7:30 pm

Cabaret Dress Rehearsal                  Friday, February 2                            1:00 pm

Cabaret Performance                       Sunday, February 4                          1:00 pm

Choral Festival                                Thursday, April 19 @ Stratford          evening

Spring Awards Concert                     Monday, May 14                               7:00/8:00pm

Graduation                                      Saturday, May 19                              2:00 pm


Additional Concert Choir Dates (see Ms. Stewart for more info!)

Marawood All Conference                 Tuesday, November 7 @ Abbotsford       All day

Madrigal Dinner                                Sat. Dec. 2 & Sun. Dec. 3                     7:00 pm/1:00 pm

Dorian Vocal Festival                        January 13-15                                       Luther College, Decorah, IA

WSMA Honors Choir Auditions            February TBD                                        sign-up

District Solo/Ensemble                     Friday, March 23                                   All day @ Spencer

State Solo/Ensemble                        Saturday, May 5 @ UWSP                       All day


Music Event Descriptions

*required events


*Fall Concert: Our first concert of the 2017-2018 school year features Junior High Choir and Band, High School Choir and Band, Handbells, and Oriana Madrigal. This is a required/graded performance.


Marawood All Conference Music Festival: This music festival is open to students in grades 9-12.  Other singers in our conference get together for the day preparing for a concert that same evening with a guest conductor. See Ms. Stewart for details.


Madrigal Dinner: This year is a Madrigal year!  The first weekend of December we will be hosting the bi-annual madrigal dinner with music, food, laughter and food to enjoy.  Tickets go on sale November 1st.


*Holiday Choral and Handbell Concert: This concert features holiday works from Junior High Choir, Concert Choir, Handbell Ensemble, and Oriana Madrigal. This is a required/graded performance.


Dorian Vocal Festival: This three-day event is held at Luther College in Decorah, IA.  This great choral festival brings students from all over the U.S. together to work with the head choral directors at Luther College. It is open students in grades 9-12 by application and evaluation by the instructor. Limited number of admitted students. Nominations must be submitted in October. See Ms. Stewart for more info.


*Cabaret: A long-standing tradition at Spencer High School. Come for a soup luncheon, and enjoy entertainment by all high school music groups! This is a required/graded performance.


WSMA Honor Choir Auditions: Students in grades 9-11 are eligible to audition for WSMA Honor choirs.  If admitted, student will either be placed in the Treble or Mixed Choir. The student then attends a 4-day camp at UW-Green Bay in June learning their music with other ensemble members and performs in Madison the following October for State Music Convention.  Auditions are held in February of 2018.  See Ms. Stewart if for more information.


District Solo & Ensemble Festival: This event is open to all students in grades 7-12 interested in singing a solo, duet, or small group approved by the instructor.  Each student or group sings their selection and is given feedback and a rating by the adjudicator.  Sponsored by the Wisconsin School Music Association. Hosted in Spencer this year!


State Solo & Ensemble Festival: This event is for all students that have been selected to move on to the state level with their solo or ensemble after the district solo & ensemble. Students are again given feedback and a rating by an adjudicator.  Sponsored by the Wisconsin State Music Association. Hosted in Stratford this year.


*State Large Group Contest: Held in the spring, this event gives our choirs an opportunity to prepare repertoire and get feedback and a rating by adjudicators, while listening to other area choirs. Both Junior High Choir and Concert Choir perform at this event. This is a required, graded performance. Hosted by The Wisconsin School Music Association.


*High School Spring Awards Concert: Our final concert of the year for Concert Choir. Awards will be handed out for students’ accomplishments throughout the year prior to the concert.  Seniors will also be recognized during the awards ceremony at the HS concert.  This is a required/graded performance.


*Graduation: Concert Choir and graduating choir seniors will perform at the graduation ceremony held on Saturday,



“Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.”

 Sarah Dessen





55% of your grade is “summative assessments” This includes performances, quizzes, sight singing quizzes, voice lessons and written tests. Concerts are out of 100 points.


45% of your grade is “formative assessments” This includes daily participation points, classroom assignments and periodic material checks.


It should be noted that choir is not and should not be considered an “easy A” course. There will be assessments during which I expect to see growth during the semester. Without active participation, proof of growth and development of skills, a student should not expect to receive an ‘A”.



Daily participation points: Each class day students are automatically awarded 5 points at the start of class if they are present. To maintain the 5 points, student must:

· Come to class with required materials (folder, pencil and positive attitude)

· Be on time, in your seat, and ready to sing at the start of class

· Engage in warm-ups

· Participate in sightsinging

· Be fully engaged in rehearsal of new and review music

· Engage in activities that enhance individual and group interactions


Each time one of the above items is not completed, points are taken away from the given 5 points. You cannot go into ‘negative’ points. Once your 5 points for the day are gone, they’re gone.


 · You LOSE points for:

            Tardiness: -3 points UNEXcused tardy - no pass is with you when you arrive.

·      To be an EXcused tardy, you must present an excused tardy pass when you arrive

UNEXcused Absence: Absences can be EXcused if there is some form of written documentation to Ms. Stewart no later than 24 hours before class. If nothing is received, this is considered an UNEXcused you will get 0/5 points for the day. 

Illness is considered and UNEXCUSED absence unless a signed note is brought from a parent/guardian the next day the student attends school.


Lack of participation due to:

·      Talking when you should be singing (-3 pts)

·      Not sightsinging (-3 pts)

·      Not paying attention (-3 pts)

·      Anything that makes it difficult for others to participate (-3 pts)

·      Unauthorized (by Ms. Stewart) use of cell phone/electronic devices   (- 25 pts)


·  You may MAKE-UP daily points by:

            · Signing up and attending an additional voice lesson with Ms. Stewart (+5)

            ·  A 30 minute (or more) lesson with Lynette (+5 pts)


Ms. Stewart expects that you will:

·   Give your best effort at each rehearsal

·   Treat everyone, including yourself, with respect

·   Be present and prompt with your folder and pencil

·   Keep all electronic devices put away while in rehearsal

·   See her if there is an issue that needs to be addressed

·   Have formal concert attire (see descriptions on page 8 & 9)


Voice lessons: ALL students required are to attend a 15 minutes voice lessons each quarter as part of their grade. This requirement is subject to change quarter to quarter. Lessons are scheduled at the start of the quarter by giving Ms. Stewart your study halls/open times. You will be assigned to an “A, B, C or D, etc... week” and will alternate throughout the quarter. Literature to be sung in these lessons will be music currently being worked on in rehearsals, contest literature or audition materials. If you take lessons for Lynette, these would count as  your lessons for the quarter.


Sight-reading exams: One of the areas central to the choral curriculum is to be able to sight-read music without having rehearsed it.  Periodically, students will be tested on material they have never sung or seen before.  Students will be assessed according to the accuracy of the pitches and corresponding solfege syllables (do, re, mi, etc.), intonation, and rhythmic accuracy. These tests will be given individually during a scheduled voice lesson.


Written tests/quizzes: Tests and quizzes are based on material that is covered during daily rehearsals.  Material includes choral techniques, ear training, music theory, musical terms, music history and vocal fundamentals.


Performances: Performances through the school year are REQUIRED events of all students. Please see calendar above for REQUIRED performances. Because choir is a performance-based class, it is nearly impossible to make up the experience of a performance.  Performance grades include: being on time to the performance (at call time), staying for the duration of the concert, proper off- stage behavior (being quiet and respectful), wearing proper attire with choir uniform, and putting it away correctly.


  • EXcused absence for a performance:  If you have a conflict for a legitimate reason (determined by Ms. Stewart) with a performance, to get it cleared, you music notify Ms. Stewart AT LEAST 3 WEEKS ahead of time. Students that miss a performance last minute because of illness or emergency are required to bring a note the next time they are in school from a parent/guardian describing the reason for the absence.  Absence from illness or excused absences require a concert-make up involving signing concert music from memory during a lesson, as well as a reflection on what was learned from each choral pieces rehearsed. Grades will be given based on the individual's’ performance and work/effort.  It is the student’s responsibility to request the assignment and schedule a make-up lesson. You have 7 DAYS after the concert date to complete the make-up.


  • UNEXcused Absence: Sports, baby-sitting, extra-curricular activities, work, homework, or no ride to get to the concert are not valid excuses for missing a concert.  Unexcused absences cannot be made up, resulting in a significant grade reduction.

Concert attire


Every student will be given a school-owned choir uniform for the school year.  Students will be held accountable for any significant damage or lost uniform. All uniforms will be stored in the choir room.


Women: black concert dress, normal colored legs and black closed-toe dress shoes (no open toe or open back, no straps, wedges, buckles or large bows, and with no more than 2 ” heel). See examples below.  

                                    Image result for closed toe black dress flat                                           Image result for closed toe black dress heels


Men: full tuxedo, black socks (no ankle socks), polished black dress shoes


         ·      No distracting jewelry (two small pearl or stud “diamonds” are okay)

         ·      No necklaces

         ·      No lip/tongue/nose rings

         ·      Any shoe other than what is listed above

         ·      No hair accessories/headbands (hair-colored bobby pins are OK)

         ·      No hair color that is not a natural on humans

         ·      Please keep hair off of your face


If Ms. Stewart feels that your jewelry or additional accessories are too distracting, she reserves the right to ask you to remove them. If you are questioning what is acceptable, PLEASE ASK!