Download Handbook Word Document




Jason Etten, Director




Our Motto

Every singer has a spirit and special skills they bring to the room.  Each person is vital to the success of the entire choir.  In choir everyone has the opportunity and the responsibility to make great music! 


Our Goal

To develop intelligent young musicians who take pride and ownership in the music they make every day and in performances.



. Every day every individual is expected to do their best and work as a team with other choir members to make amazing music!

. Respect, support, strengthen and encourage everyone in the room

. Be in your assigned seat with your folder when the bell rings

. Leave all food, beverages, bags and purses in the front entrance to the room or along the side wall closest to the door - water bottles are great!

. Ask before you get up in class to use the pencil sharpener, drinking fountain, wastebasket, bathroom, etc.




Every singer has the ability to earn an "A" in choir.
The most important thing you need to do is have
consistent, 110% participation!


Attendance/Class Participation: 40%

            Choir is a participation class!  Your participation grade is based on being on time and participating positively.  Your participation grade lowers if you are disruptive in class or are not working to your potential.  Your grade also suffers when you are tardy or absent frequently because you are missing group work time.  You will not receive credit for unexcused absences.  A choir improves when everyone is on time and in attendance so the ensemble can grow together.  


School Tardy Policy:

First tardy: warning

Second tardy: may result in a call or letter home

Third tardy (and all subsequent tardies): referral to the administration for Saturday School 

Please work to be on time so we can avoid all of this!

Voice Testing: 10%

                For each concert we have trio or quartet voice testing where you are responsible for knowing your music.  This grade will also be determined by daily observations during warm-ups, sight reading and regular class singing.  You are evaluated on your knowledge of the music and your ability to execute the elements of quality performance: Tone Quality, Pitch accuracy, Rhythm, Articulation and Expression/musicianship through the use of good breathing, body alignment, tone and placement.


Concerts/Special Rehearsals: 25%

            Concert attendance is mandatory!  Concerts are the final exam in music - when we show ourselves, our families and our school what we have learned.  If you have an excused reason for missing the concert, you will be given a make-up opportunity such as writing a report.  You are responsible for bringing in a note from home explaining any excused absence and then obtaining and completing a make-up assignment.  Make-up work is due 2 weeks from the day of the concert.  If you have an unexcused reason for missing the concert you will not be able to make up the points.


            Excused reasons include:

                        Serious Illness

                        Death in family/family emergencies

                        Religious holidays/conflicts

                        Prior notification in writing to the director 2 weeks before the concert for extremely unique circumstances

            Unexcused reasons include:

Sore throat, work, big date, babysitting, picking dad/mom up at the airport, family vacations, and shopping


Special note:  Students must be in school the entire day on the day of performances.  Missing even one hour for sleeping in or an illness makes you ineligible.  If you miss for an excused reason such as a school field trip you may participate in the concert.


Theory/Written Work: 15%

            To become more intelligent musicians we must spend time learning more about music theory, the history of music, ways to be more expressive musically, critical listening skills and our instrument (our body).  All choirs will have work throughout the year that focuses on these areas of learning.

Outside-of-Class Participation: 10%*

            Each semester you need to earn 30 Outside Points and turn in the appropriate written forms to document your work.  Following is a list of ways to earn points (some of these will also count toward a choir letter):

Outside Points Guide:


Voice lessons: 30                 Concert attendance + report: 10

Outside choir: 30                Recital/solo performance: 5-30

Select ensembles: 30          Solo/Ens performance: 15 per event

Honors choirs: 20               Participation in musical: 20-30

Student aide: 5-30              Accompanist (per piece): 10

Written report: 5-30          All-State Choir: 30 (once per year)

Home Practice: 1 pt/documented hour

Instrumental lessons/group outside of school: 15


* Freshmen (1st Semester Outside Points)*

            Freshmen will have two (2) required small group voice lessons first semester instead of Outside Points.  Two times during the semester you will sign up with 4-5 people to have a half hour lesson.  Lessons happen before and after school.  Your first lesson must be completed by the end of October and your second before our holiday break in December.


Choir Council


            Each choir will have a choir council made up of two co-chairs as elected by the choir and the director.  The co-chairs help with attendance, collecting money, concert details and are generally hard-working, special people.  When more help is needed for an event or concert, the council will be in charge of recruiting and leading other choir members.  The council will be elected in early September.


Concert Dress


(If you don't have these things, BUY THEM NOW!!!)


MEN: Black dress shoes, socks and pants; a dress shirt and tie for some events

WOMEN: Black dress shoes (low or no heels); shorts, skirts (school appropriate in length) or black pants, a dress shirt/blouse for some events

Treble Choir: New!  Black dresses!  Black dress shoes with low or no heels.



Fundraising is necessary to pay for music, trips, guest clinicians, musicians or groups, busing to special events, folders, cleaning robes and all sorts of other items we need to make the choral program work.  For all fundraisers the choir program keeps 50% of the profits and individual student accounts receive 50% of the profits.  Student accounts may be used to pay for tours, choir shirts or other expenses students may have for choir during the year.  This money cannot be given out in cash or used for purposes outside the choir program.  You are not required to do any fundraisers.  All fundraising helps improve your choir experience!  Thanks!


Happenings Books

On September 4 we kick off our Happenings Book fundraiser.  People can purchase Happenings Books for $30.  The Happenings Book contains fantastic deals and should be a great, easy seller for you!  The sale ends October 3.  All books not sold must be returned by that date or students will be charged $30.


New! Fruit and Candy Fund raiser

On November 6 we kick off the Fruit and Candy sale.  This is a joint fund raiser with the band program.  This fundraiser is nice because it provides you with an opportunity to buy food or housewarming gifts for the holiday season.  The orders are due Monday, November 17.  Delivery is set for Tuesday, December 9.



We are always happy to accept direct donations to the choir program if family and friends are not interested in buying something.



Concert Choir Tour


Every year the Concert Choir takes a tour.  This is a very special and unique year with the tour going to Germany and Austria.  Students and families have already committed to this tour and should look for announcements in class and over email as the year progresses.  Please especially look for important calendar dates (on the back of the calendar in this packet) and extra fund raising opportunities that are being organized to help defray the cost of the tour. 




As part of our new yearly tradition, the Irondale Choirs will make CDs again with Legacy Productions.  This is a great opportunity for our singers to do a professional recording session and have a CD as a musical memory of their year!  Last year's CD was very good and well received by choir members and families.  Look for details later in the year.



Voice Lessons


Voice lessons are a great way for students to make quick improvements in their singing skills, develop as a musician and develop confidence.  I would encourage any student who wants to make big improvements to consider taking voice lessons.  One frequent concern is cost.  Voice lessons can be written off on your taxes as an educational expense!  I am including a list of some of the voice studios and private teachers in the area.


Private Voice Studios-Teachers

Name                                   Phone #

Son-Sheim Music School                 763-784-2920
Northwestern College-Academy of Music  651-631-5108
Metroplitan Music Conservatory         651-636-4835
Melody Johnson                         651-695-1252
Marian Hoffman                         651-484-3940
Geneva Eschweiler                      763-574-9024
Jean Remus                             651-208-7408
Robin Heggen                           651-227-6358
Mariellen Grossinger                   763-785-9609



Extra Opportunities in Choir


Guyz Group (grades 9-12 MEN)

This is a fun (sometimes crazy) group singing music written for men.  We rehearse once per week before school with additional rehearsals near performances.  Guyz Group performs for school concerts, local churches and community organizations. 


Triple Trio (grades 11-12 Concert Choir Women)

This is a highly select ensemble singing music written for women. All members must be in 11th or 12th grade and in Concert Choir.  We rehearse once per week before school with additional rehearsals near performances.  Triple Trio performs for school concerts, local churches and community organizations.


State Solo and Ensemble Contest (grades 9-12)

This is an opportunity for you to push yourself as a solo or ensemble singer.  Contest this year is Tuesday, April 21 in Maple Grove.  At contest you perform for a judge who rates you in 8 categories including tone quality, rhythm and technique.  If you need help finding a piece I am available to help you.  You should have a piece selected by mid February so there is adequate time to prepare.  You prepare your piece mainly on your own time.  Contest is not required but it is a superb opportunity that I highly encourage you to take!  All students taking private voice lessons should plan to perform at contest.


All Conference Choir (Concert Choir)

          All-Conference selection is a high honor.  Select singers from each school in the conference come together for two days of singing under the direction of a top regional conductor.  This year's festival is at Fridley High School.  There is an all-day rehearsal on Friday, January 30 and an afternoon rehearsal and final performance on Monday, February 2.  This opportunity requires outside individual practice time.


St. John's Men's and Women's Honors Choir (Concert Choir)

                This all-day select honors choir happens Saturday, October 25.  Both choirs are excellent opportunities to perform with other great singers under the direction of regionally known choir directors.  This opportunity requires outside individual practice time.


9th and 10th Grade Mixed Honors Choir (VC, TC, CC)

            This is an opportunity for those who want to perform high quality music with some of the best 9th and 10th grade singers in the state.  You will perform on Thursday, February 12 as part of the Music Educator's Mid-Winter Clinic.  You must audition with me and then it is decided whether we will make an audition CD to send in to the state.  Sending in the CD is not a guarantee of making the choir.  This opportunity requires outside individual practice time.


All State Choir (grades 11-12)

                This is an opportunity to sing some of the best music in the world with top musicians from around the state.  State auditions are held in March.  Auditions require preparation of a solo, tonal memory and sight reading.



Irondale Choir Letter Awards

The Irondale Choir award system is designed to reward students for continued participation and quality of work.  Letter awards are based on a point system that gives numerical credit for participation in curricular and co-curricular events.  It is possible for all students to letter in choir.


First Letter (150 points)

Student receives an Irondale "I."  The "Choir" patch is purchased separately by the student.

Second Letter (350 points)

Student adds a letter "bar"

Third Letter (550 points)

Student adds a letter "bar"

Fourth Letter (750 points)

Students adds a letter "bar"


Group/EventSemester ISemester IITotal
Varsity Choir(1st year) 20 20 40
Varsity Choir (2nd-4th year) 25 25 50
Treble Choir (1st year) 25 25 50
Treble Choir (2nd and 3rd year)     30 30 60
Concert Choir (1st year) 30 30 60
Concert Choir (2nd & 3rd year) 40 40 80
Triple Trio/The Guyz 20 20 40
Miscellaneous Choirs 20 20 40
Musical 20 lead 15 chorus
S&E (per event) 15 15
MMEA All State Audition 10 10
MMEA All State Group 20 20 40
Honors Choirs 20 20
Private Voice Lessons 20 20 40
Piano/Keyboard Lessons 15 15 30
Lessons on other Instruments 10 10 20
Choir Officer 15 15 30
Choir or solo accompanist 5 per piece
Teaching Lessons (TBD on an individual basis)
Volunteer Service Hours (music, set-up, etc.) (TBD on an individual basis)
Practice Hours .5 per hour up to 50 hrs per semester
Miscellaneous Performances (TBD on an individual basis)

Point totals will be added up at the end of each semester. Letters will be awarded at the final concert of the year.

Irondale Choir Calendar 2008-2009
September 4: Happenings Book kick off!
September 15: Open House - 6:45 pm - CC
September 8-19: Select ensemble and Honors Choirs auditions (CC , TC and VC)
September 8: Drama Department info - 2:15 - Auditorium
Speptember 10: Fall Musical Auditions - Little Shop of Horror - 2:15 - Auditorium
October 13: Fall Concert - 7:30 pm (CC ,TC and VC - EW and HV 8th grade Choirs)
October 25: St. John's Men's and Women's Honors Choir-day (SG)
October 28: All-Conference Choir Festival - 8 am - 5 pm- (CC) - Benilde St. Margaret
November 6-8: Fall Musical
November 6: Fruit Fundraiser kick-off **NEW**
November 8: Europe Tour Pancake Breakfast - Moe's - 9-11 am
November 14: Concert Choir retreat 2-6 pm
November 17: Fruit Fundraiser orders due
November 20: Home Free A Cappella men's group - clinic and performance - Irondale (All)
November 21: Triple Trio/Guyz Group Fall Retreat 11am-3 pm (half day of school)
December 9: Fruit Fundraiser delivery
December 12: Seniors to Seniors Concert-11:00 am (CC, CO, CB)
December 15: Holiday Concert - 7:30 pm (CC, TC, and VC)
January 16: Outside Points Due (CC, TC)
January 30 and February 2: All-Conference Choir - (SG) - Fridley
February ??: Women's Choir Festival - 8 am - 5 pm - (TC) - St. Francis
March ?: All-State Choir Auditions (SG) (Date/Site TBD)
March 10: Spring Concert - 7:30 pm (CC, TC and VC)
March 13-20: Germany and Austria Tour! (CC) (See back for rehearsals)
March 25: CD recording sessions - Irondale Auditorium (CC, TC, VC, Guyz, Triple Trio)
April 17: Region Large Group Contest - 8 am - 2 pm (CC, TC and VC) - Anoka
April 21: Region Solo and Ensemble Contest - 3-9 pm - Maple Grove
May 20: Scholastic Recogniton Program - 5:30pm (CC)
May 21: Pops Concert - 8:00 pm (CC, TC and VC)
May 27: Outside Points due
June 9: Graduation - 7:00 pm (CC)
Key: CC=Concert Choir TC=Treble Choir VC=Varsity Choir SG=Select Group

Special Germany/Austria Choir Tour Rehearsals and Meetings
January 22: Europe Tour Choir rehearsal - 10:30-1:00 (half day)
January 31: Europe Tour Choir rehearsal - 6-8 pm
February 6: Europe Tour Choir rehearsal - 2-4 pm
**February 28: Europe Tour Choir rehearsal and required parent meeting- 6-8 pm**
March 5: Europe Tour Choir rehearsal - 8-noon (day off)
March 12: Final Europe Tour Choir rehearsal - 2-5 p.m.
****Please put these dates on your family calendars now - participation is required! ****
Any date or time changes will be made well in advance - please watch for updates.
The number of rehearsals will depend on the progress of the ensemble in the early rehearsals. We may add or remove rehearsals or change the length.
There will be opportunities for additional tour fund raising this fall and winter. Please watch for more information soon.






Parent-Student Agreement


Please return this form, signed, by Monday, September 8

I, ____________________________, understand all of the dates, expectations, guidelines, grading, and opportunities listed in the handbook.  I also recognize the fact that I am capable of Great Singing!

Signed (student): _______________________________    Date: __________


I, ____________________________, understand all of the dates, expectations, guidelines, grading and opportunities listed in the handbook.  I also recognize that my student is capable of great things and will support her/him in their pursuit of quality musical experiences!

Signed (parent/guardian): _____________________________     Date: __________


*Parent email address(es): _____________________________  ____________________________

I look forward to seeing you on September 15 for Open House!


Volunteer Opportunities:

During the year we need many volunteers.  Parents are a valuable resource in helping make a project or activity work.  If you are interested in helping, please fill out this form.  If you're not sure if you can help, check any area you think you may be able to help with and I will contact you later - you can turn me down then if you want to - no pressure!  Thank You!


Please check any area which you feel you would like to help with:

____ Chaperoning (day trips/festivals, concerts)

____ Technical Assistance for Concerts (recording, sound or light system)

____ Piano Accompaniment  (rehearsals, solo/ensemble contest, other)

____ Concert Program Typing/Graphics

____  Robe care (checking in and out, sewing/repairs)

____ Treble Choir dress care (checking in and out, sewing/repairs)

____ Other: _______________________________________

All Parents working directly with students in their volunteer role (i.e. chaperones or accompanists) need to go through a background check.  There is a simple form to fill out and then the district runs the background check at no charge to you.  This is an important step in ensuring that all students are safe.           


Download Forms


Download the Parent-Student Agreement Form here

Download the Family Information and Volunteer Form here

Copyright 2007 © Irondale High School Choir  All rights reserved    |    Site created by Ted Jacobson Consulting