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    Ballston Spa Choral Program



    Mr. Eric Nelsen, Choral Director

    210 Ballston Avenue,

    Ballston Spa, NY 12020



    Our Mission


    It is the mission of the Ballston Spa Choral Program to foster an environment of acceptance, musical growth and musical understanding for all of its students.



    Course Description

    Students in the Ballston Spa Choral Program will study, sing and perform various choral literature from different time periods and cultures. Through this literature they will develop their singing technique, musicianship, understanding of music theory and how music relates to history and culture. Students will also learn to work together and collaborate through rehearsals, performances and leadership positions.


    Learning Objectives

    Students will:

    • Further develop their music reading skills

    • Develop their sight singing skills

    • Learn to appreciate music

    • Collaborate with their ensemble members

    • Strengthen their own vocal technique

    • Become more skilled at listening


    Rehearsal Expectations

    Members of the choral program will rehearse three times in a four day cycle depending on the chorus that you are in: Chorus 6, Chorus 7, Concert Chorus (8/9), and Choir (10-12)

    In every rehearsal, students are expected to:

    • Full and active participation in all warm-ups and rehearsal activities

    • Please have your materials in front of you at every rehearsal.  YOUR MUSIC AND A PENCIL ARE REQUIRED!

    • Please exhibit respectful behavior at all times - our fast rehearsal pace will require you to be on task and it is your job to accept responsibility for your actions.  Socializing and cell phone use during rehearsal are the most disruptive elements keeping any group from achieving its potential.

    • Please be physically engaged when singing so that the body is not fighting against itself to produce the best tone.  Good posture is crucial when sitting or standing.

    • No gum, candy, food or drinks other than plain water.  This is a safety issue!

    • Be productive!  If another section is working - DO NOT BE IDLE.  Follow along and observe what is said about dynamics, pronunciation, phrasing, etc…  It might very well apply to your section as well.  Audiate your part along with them or silently chant difficult rhythms.  Keep the focus on the music and the constant improvement of your skills.

    • Please remember at all times that you are PART OF A TEAM and that we are all working towards a common goal of being the best choir we can be.


    Vocal Health

    How to take care of your voice:

    • Drink plenty of water

    • Get enough rest

    • Do not yell or strain your voice


    It is important to be in good vocal health so you can participate every day.

    Classroom Expectations

    Following Ballston Spa School rules, students are expected to:

    • Arrive on time and be prepared with all materials

    • Observe all instructions outlined by teacher

    • Complete all assignments on time

    • Be in assigned seat and be ready to sing

    • Pay attention to all classroom announcements

    • Follow directions the first time they are given

    • Keep all music areas and practice rooms clean

    • Seek help from the teacher either before or after class


    Students are not permitted to:

    • Interrupt class with disruptive behaviors

    • Talk out of turn

    • Chew gum during class

    • Wear hats in the classroom or use headphones

    • Use profanity, disrespectful gestures and actions, or have a negative attitude

    • Write with pen in their music



    Grading and Attendance

    Grades will be based on the following criteria:

    • Proper rehearsal techniques (participation)

    • Note/marking checks

    • Performance in Concerts


    Failure to perform in a concert may result in an automatic failing grade.*

    As with any team (and YES - WE ARE A TEAM) attendance at concerts (just like playoff games) is required.  The team cannot perform its best without all of its players present.  Please mark the concerts on a calendar now and invite all of your family, friends and teachers to come and support you.  In the event of an EMERGENCY, please notify me as soon as possible with a written/signed excuse.  Once the excuse has been handed to me, there will be an opportunity to complete a make-up assignment.

    *Certain circumstances are permitted

    Grading Break Down

    1st Marking Period –

    Class Participation/Behavior


    Concert Preparation (readiness)


    Sight Singing/Singing Evaluation






    2nd Marking Period –

    Class Participation/Behavior


    Concert Participation


    Sight Singing/Singing Evaluation






    3rd Marking Period –

    Class Participation/Behavior


    Concert Preparation (readiness)


    Sight Singing/Singing Evaluation





    4th Marking Period –

    Class Participation/Behavior


    Concert Participation


    Sight Singing/Singing Evaluation





    All students are required to have:

    • Their assigned choral folder

    • A sharpened pencil

    • All music with rehearsal markings

    • A positive attitude for learning!


    Concert Attire

    All students are required to perform in a choir uniform during concerts.

    For Women:

    • White blouse or polo shirt, black bottom (knee length or longer skirt or pants)

    • Black shoes (no sneakers)

    • No jewelry, except for small earrings

    For Men:

    • White dress shirt or white polo, black tie, black dress slacks

    • Black dress shoes; should be dressy enough to be worn with dress pants

    • Black socks

    * For students that need assistance obtaining concert attire please speak to Mr. Nelsen as soon as possible.

    Grading Rubrics

    Rehearsal Grades -


    Factor:                                                                     Characteristics:


    ?Student attends each rehearsal

    ?Student is on time to each rehearsal


    ?Student sings assigned part when asked

    ?Student actively engages in rehearsal

    ?Student remains attentive during rehearsal time

    Note/Markings Check

    ?Students have all rehearsal markings in their music


    ?Students have all materials for rehearsal


    ?Students complete all tests in class

    ?Students complete quarterly homework assignment

    Voice Evaluation –

    Factor:                                                                       Characteristic:



    Pitch Accuracy

    ?Student will sing correct pitches of their assigned vocal part

    Rhythm Accuracy

    ?Students will sing the correct rhythm of their assigned vocal part


    ?Students will sing assigned part without going sharp or flat


    ?Student will demonstrate use of proper vowels while singing


    ?Student will demonstrate proper use consonants while singing

    Tone Quality

    ?Student will demonstrate understanding of producing a beautiful singing tone

    Breath Support

    ?Student will demonstrate proper breath support techniques


    ?Student will demonstrate musical ability in their singing (i.e. loud, soft, etc)

    Sight Reading


    Pitch Accuracy

    ?Student will sing correct pitches of sight reading

    Rhythm Accuracy

    ?Students will sing correct rhythms of sight reading


    ?Students will demonstrate their understanding of dynamic markings and reflect that in their singing

    Concert Requirements

    As stated in the grading section, all concerts and performances are required for all students. Grades will be based upon the attendance of all concerts and dress rehearsals.

    In the event of an emergency, in which a student cannot attend a concert or performance, a make-up assignment will be created. The due date of this assignment will be determined by the teacher and will count as the same number of points as the attendance of a concert.


    Attending a concert is a very important part of the choral experience. Why work so hard to not be able to perform the beautiful music you have created?



    To keep the choral program strong we need numbers! In order to do this, each member of the chorus should be an advocate for the choir. Invite friends to come to rehearsals to see if they want to be a part of the group. Just remember: whenever anyone asks, or you know if your friends are good singers, invite them to join chorus!  Even if they feel they are not the best singer - everyone can learn!


    Throughout the quarter we will have quizzes/tests and written assignments based on the techniques and materials that we learn during chorus rehearsals. There will also be quarterly singing evaluations where you will be asked to sing your part from the repertoire that we are performing. There will also be a sight singing portion of the singing evaluation. Students are allowed to sing in groups of no more than four for their singing evaluation and sight singing. Students that miss the day of the voice evaluation will be required to make up their evaluation at a later date determined by the teacher. This is a large part of your grade so it is important that you complete your evaluation each quarter.


    Performance Calendar

    Winter Concerts -

    Tuesday, December 6th at 7:30pm - HS Concert Part 1 (Jazz Band/Choir)

    Thursday, December 8th at 7:30pm - HS Concert Part 2 (Symphonic Orchestra/Wind Ensemble)

    Monday, December 12th at 7:00pm - MS Concert 7th Grade

    Tuesday, December 13th at 7:30pm - HS/MS Concert 8th/9th Grade

    Monday, December 19th at 7:00pm - MS Concert 6th Grade


    Spring Concerts -


    Saturday, March 11th at 7:30pm - HS Pops Concert

    Tuesday, May 9th at 7:30pm - HS Concert Part 1 (Symphonic Orchestra/Wind Ensemble)

    Monday, May 15th at 7:00pm - MS Concert 7th Grade

    Tuesday, May 16th at 7:30pm - HS/MS Concert 8th/9th Grade

    Thursday, May 18th at 7:30pm - HS Concert Part 2 (Jazz Band/Choir)

    Tuesday, June 6th at 7:00pm - MS Concert 6th Grade


    *More performances may be added, but you will hear about them well in advance. Stay tuned!




    Student Information Sheet


    Student Name:________________________________________________________________


    Parent(s) Name(s):____________________________________________________________


    Choral Ensemble:___________________________ Student Cell:_______________________


    Home Phone:______________________________ Parent Cell:_________________________



    City:____________________________________ Zip:________________________________


    Student e-mail:_______________________________________________________________


    Parent e-mail:________________________________________________________________




    Previous music experience?: yes  no   If  yes, what?:____________________________


    Please fill out and return this sheet to Mr. Nelsen by the assigned due date. This form is to keep records of everyone in the choir and how to contact important people. If any information changes during the school year please fill out a new form and submit it to Mr. Nelsen.

    Accountability Statement:

    I have read and understand all aspects of this handbook. I understand that I need to purchase certain items for success in the choral program. Should problems arise I will not hesitate to contact Mr. Nelsen. I agree to all rules and expectations outlined in this handbook and I look forward to having a great and memorable school year. Signing also gives permission for the student to perform in all concerts, rehearsals, and performances, ultimately to be a part of the Ballston Spa Choral Program.



    Student Signature                                                 


    Parent Signature