Concert Choir

Spencer High School

Concert Choir Handbook 2020-2021



                                                                                                                                                                Fall 2020                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year!


Welcome back, singers! I am especially thrilled to welcome you back for another school year and am excited about what we will accomplish during this year, even WITH all the unknowns ahead of us. One thing for certain is that we will continue to make music, keep learning and stay safe while doing so. Within this handbook you will find everything you need to know about this year’s choral music department. 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!  Some items will look a bit different this year than they have in years past, but I have no doubts that we will still be able to make some great music and memories together. 


Students will have access to a google form that is to be filled out by both the student and their guardian once this handbook has been read by both. This is a graded assignment for students. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.



Mrs. Saydi Olson




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. 



Choir Safety Precautions

Due to COVID-19, the choir department will be taking the following precautions when we are face to face in school:

  • Singers will wear masks properly (covering nose and mouth) at ALL times during rehearsals

  •  Singers will be placed 6 feet apart in their sections while rehearsing in the LTCA

  • No shared music/materials

  • Organized entrance and exit procedures


2020-2021 Required Choir Performance Schedule

** Fall Music                                                  based on readiness                                                                                   

** Holiday/Winter Concert                            January                                                                        

Cabaret Dress Rehearsal                              Friday, February 5                                          1:00 pm

Cabaret Performance                                   Sunday, February 7                                        1:00 pm

Choral Festival                                              Thursday, April 8 @ Stratford                          evening

Spring Awards Concert                                 Monday, May 17                                             7:00/8:00pm

Graduation                                                    Saturday, May 22                                             2:00 pm


** these performances will not be ‘traditional.’ We will record what is being worked on in class to share with our parents and community throughout the 1st Semester. We will see how things are when we get to the other concert dates and adapt as needed.


**Additional Concert Choir Dates (see Mrs. Olson for more info!)

District Solo/Ensemble                                  Friday, March 26                            all day @ HOME

State Solo/Ensemble                                    Saturday, May @ UWSP                                all day

** subject to change depending on WSMA




60% of your grade is “summative assessments” This includes performances, quizzes, lessons, projects and written tests. Concerts are out of 100 points. 

40% of your grade is “formative assessments” This includes daily participation points and assignments


Daily participation points: At each rehearsal, no matter what the platform is, 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 or on Zoom and ready to sing at the start of class

  • Engage in warm-ups

  • Active participation in sightsinging

  • Be fully engaged in rehearsal of new and review music

  • Engage in activities that enhance individual and group interactions



  • Come to class with required materials (digital music on screen, and positive attitude)

  • Be logged in ON TIME on Zoom, in a quiet place and ready to sing at the start of class

  • Be in a seat or place that allows for correct choir posture (not lying on the couch, etc.)

  • Camera in ON for the duration of the rehearsal

  • Mics are muted unless Mrs. Olson unmutes you or tells to you unmute yourself

  • Active participation in sightsinging

  • Be fully engaged in rehearsal of new and review music

  • Engage in activities that enhance individual and group interactions



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:  If you are absent from class for a non-music related trip or absence, you WILL NOT receive your daily points for missing rehearsal. You must be in class and actively participating to earn these points.


Illness is considered an UNEXCUSED absence unless a signed note is brought/email sent 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)

  • Not singing with a tall mouth (-3 pts)

  • Not participating with good singing posture (-3 pts)

  • Not having Zoom camera on

  • In accordance with school policy, the use of any unauthorized electronic devices is prohibited. (- 25 pts)


You may MAKE-UP daily points by: 

  • Signing up and attending an additional voice lesson with Mrs. Olson (+5 pts)

  • Doing a sight singing/music theory assignment. (+5 pts)


Mrs. Olson expects that you will:

  • Give your best effort at each rehearsal regardless if we are in person or virtual

  • Treat everyone, including yourself, with respect

  • Be present and prompt 

  • Follow rehearsal etiquette

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

  • Follow safety precautions

  • Follow the school’s cell phone policy both in school AND at home


Voice lessons: ALL students required are to attend voice lessons during the 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 Mrs. Olson your study halls/open times. 

Sight-reading quizzes: One of the areas central to the choral curriculum is to be able to sight-read music without having rehearsed it. Students will be assessed according to their efforts, accuracy of the pitches, corresponding solfege syllables (do, re, mi, etc.), intonation, and rhythmic accuracy.  These tests will be given individually during a scheduled voice lesson or assigned on SmartMusic. Students will be notified ahead of time when there will be a quiz. 

Written/virtual assignments: Material includes choral techniques, ear training, music theory, musical terms, music history, group/self-reflections and vocal fundamentals posted on Canvas.


Performances: Performances may look at bit different, especially at the start of the school year. Please see the calendar 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. *Concert uniforms to be assigned at later date

  •  EXcused absence for a performance:  If there is a conflict for a legitimate reason (determined by Mrs. Olson) with a performance, to get it cleared, Mrs. Olson must be notified 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/send an email the next day they are in school from a parent/guardian describing the reason for the absence.  Absence from illness or excused absences require a make-up to earn partial credit for missing the performance. Make up for concerts may include, but are not limited to: singing concert music from memory, music theory assignments, and written assignments.  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. Ms. Olson WILL NOT approach you about the make-up assignment.  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.

  • Students MUST BE in rehearsal the day of the performance.