•  Salina Central Choir Handbook 2016-2017




    Salina Central Choir Handbook


    Welcome to the Salina Central Choral Music Dept.! Please take some time to read the information contained in the handbook. It is intended to provide a yearlong guide for students involved in the program and outlines the policies for the Choral Dept. as they fit in with Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) and school and district policies. The handbook will be posted on the Choir Page of the school website: www.usd305.com/central.

    I look forward to working with your student!



    Ryan Holmquist

    Director of Choirs

    Phone: 785-309-3574

    Email: ryan.holmquist@usd305.com



    Choral Groups at Central

    1. Celebrations – Open to all women interested in singing. Entry ensemble for freshmen.

    2. Men’s Chorus – Open to all men interested in singing. Entry ensemble for freshmen.

    3. Advanced Women’s Choir – open to women grades 10-12. Entrance by audition.

    4. Choraliers – mixed ensemble, entrance by audition for grades 10-12.

    5. Free Spirit – mixed ensemble, entrance by audition for grades 10-12. Limited to 10 males and 10 females.

          -  Free Spirit members must also be members of Choraliers. This is non-negotiable.


    Required Materials:  

    1. All students must have a pencil to keep in their folders. NO PENS!

    2. All students must have the appropriate concert attire for their ensemble (see pg. 2)

    3. Students enrolled in all classes must purchase a black, ½ inch 3-ring binder*. Free Spirit should purchase a black 1-inch binder.

    (* These are definitely available at Office Max, Wal-Mart, and cheap at the Dollar stores in town.)

    The price of greatness is responsibility. –Winston Churchill

    Rehearsal/Classroom Expectations:
    The success of a choir depends on how it rehearses. How it rehearses depends on the conduct and cooperation of the student. Rehearsals are the place to correct mistakes. The fewer the mistakes and the less individual distractions, the greater your contribution is to the choir. Be patient, attentive, careful, and cooperative in observing these rehearsal expectations. When the directors have to discipline and control rather than direct, the rehearsal and eventually the choirs are headed for failure. Good behavior, attitude and self-discipline are essential to producing a GREAT CHOIR. If you are successful, the Choir is successful.
    1.   Be ON TIME to all rehearsals (school or extra) and performances. You are to be in your place with your
          folder and all visiting stopped BY THE TIME THE BELL RINGS. The tardy policy is enforced.
    2.    Always have your MUSIC, CHOIR FOLDER, and PENCIL.
    3.   NO GUM!
    4.   Be conscious of GOOD POSTURE at all times.
    5.    Keep your EYES on the conductor during rehearsal.
    6.    LISTEN to the conductor at all times. Talking while the conductor is rehearsing or giving instructions is NEVER appropriate.                            
          Excessive talking will result in the reduction of a student’s grade.
    7.  Phones and electronics are not allowed at rehearsals or concerts. (See also Grading Policy.)

    9.   Students may use the restroom when needed, and must get a pass when they go, one at a time. If the policy is abused, it may be revoked on an individual basis.
    10.  Stay involved in the rehearsal from start to finish. Rehearsals are not for personal grooming, catching up on the latest gossip, or doing homework.
    11.  Keep the room orderly and clean. Do not bring food, candy or drinks, unless it is water, in the Choir Room.
    Take your music home to study, or put it in your assigned folder slot.  The Choir Room is not to be used as your personal locker.
    12.  Approach rehearsals as well as performances with OPTIMISM, ENTHUSIASM, DETERMINATION, AND YOUR WHOLE-HEARTED ATTENTION.
    13.  The success of the Choir is your individual responsibility. Remember our mantra!

     All concert music is provided at no expense to the student.
    Music is expensive and students are expected to take care of it. Music is to be kept in the choir folder at all times.
    If music is lost or damaged, the student will pay for the replacement of the music. Music left out of the folder or slot and not in its place in the choir room is considered "lost”.

    Free Spirit
    To be a member of Free Spirit, students must maintain concurrent enrollment in Choraliers. Free Spirit members will have extra performances, some of which will be during the school day, and others are in the evenings or on weekends. These performances are required. Free Spirit members are also required to audition for KMEA District/State Honor Choir.

    Free Spirit Rehearsals

    Rehearsals are held during ELO.  Since Free Spirit is a graded class, it must be the first priority for members during this time. Absences from rehearsal will be noted and will affect the student’s grade and their standing within the group. Members who are frequently absent will be dismissed from the group. If a student needs to make up a test, they must make every attempt to make it up before or after school, before using rehearsal time in ELO. On weeks when we have 3 ELOs, one ELO period will be set aside for homework, passing, making up tests, etc.


    Concert Attendance Policy

    Many concerts and other performances, workshops, and events take place outside the regular school day. Attendance is required at each of these events. Excused absences include illness or a family emergency. If a student misses a concert and is excused, credit will not be given for the concert, but the student will not be penalized. If a student is unexcused, a zero (0%) credit will be recorded in the gradebook.

    Concert etiquette is observed at concerts and performances. Therefore, all students are expected to stay for the duration of every concert out of respect for the performers. Students will check out with their choir president at the end of every concert. Students cannot receive the full amount of points for a concert if they leave early or are otherwise disruptive.
    If there is a conflict with a concert, let the Director know WELL IN ADVANCE. School conflicts can almost always be worked out. (i.e. Months in advance – NOT DAYS!)   If a student must be excused in the event of illness or a family emergency, a parent and/or guardian must call me at 785-309-3574.  
    If  there is no answer, leave a message on the voicemail.  If no call is received, it will be assumed the student is unexcused.


    Concert Attire

    Payment Policy: Any student who has ordered or received concert attire required for performances through the school are financially responsible for that attire, unless they have been told otherwise. Payment for attire must be received by the due date set by the instructor.

    Free Spirit and Choraliers

    Men – black tuxedo. Jacket, tie, and tux shirt will be purchased from a tux (such as Mr. Penguin). Black pants and black shoes can be purchased from either the tux store (it may be easier to purchase a whole package) or can be bought wherever you find them. Don’t forget black socks!

    Women – black dress will be purchased from a catalogue or other source. We will try to get the best deal. Shoes must be black.

    Men’s Chorus

    Students must purchase a Black, long-sleeve shirt, black slacks, black shoes, black socks. White ties are provided by the school.


    Students must wear some kind of black outfit. No white or other colors. Outfits must cover the shoulders and be at knee-length or below on the legs.

    Advanced Women

    Students will purchase the standard choir black dresses, and will wear red sashes provided by the school.


    No jewelry unless they are stud earrings. No perfume or cologne at performances. Women – No bows, headbands, etc. in your hair.
    If you are unable to purchase the required outfits for any of the groups, please see Mr. Holmquist on an individual basis.


    We participate in a number of statewide events sponsored by either the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) or the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA). School and district academic eligibility policies apply when participating. Students may be barred from participating if their grades are not at least the minimum required by the Salina Central High School academic eligibility policy.


    Students may  have the opportunity to perform a solo or in a small ensemble at Regional Solos/Small Ensembles Contest and if they qualify, at State Solos/Small Ensemble contest, KSHSAA events which take place in April. Preparation for this requires a lot of work outside of school. The director and school accompanist are available to help and guide the process of getting ready for contest, sometimes within school hours and oftentimes outside of school hours.  If it is determined that the student has not taken the adequate time to practice and/or fully prepare their solo and/or small ensemble, or does not fulfill the requirements of academic eligibility, the director may see fit not to allow the student(s) to continue lessons or perform at contest. This is to ensure that the director’s and the accompanist’s time is not wasted if the student is either not serious or ineligible.


    Private Lessons

    While singing in a choral group is an important part of being a musician, private study allows you to learn at your own pace, whether it is learning more challenging techniques and literature or working to improve basic skills. It is strongly suggested that you study with a voice teacher at the high school level, especially if you are interested in auditioning for the KMEA district and state honor choirs, taking a solo to contest, or preparing for a scholarship audition for college. See Mr. Holmquist for names of excellent local voice teachers.



    All students have the opportunity to become leaders in a non-musical capacity within the choral groups. Elections are help within the first week of school in August. If elected as an officer, you must remain eligible and not have any office referrals.

    President – Assist the director with any duties given to them. Must be a senior.

    Vice President – Assist the director and the president with any duties given to them. Must be either a junior or senior.

    Treasurer – Assist the director and the other officers in taking care of the money for the fundraiser, including collecting money, making deposits, etc. There will be only one treasurer position for the entire Choir Dept.

    Section Leaders (Choraliers only) – responsibilities as given by director. Section leaders are chosen by the director.


    Fundraising and Payment

    The Choral Department sells cookie dough each year in August and September as a fundraiser for certain departmental needs. All students enrolled in a choral music class are strongly encouraged to participate. When turning in money for anything, the money must be enclosed in an envelope with the following written on the outside: Your name, the date, Amount, What the money is for.


    Transportation/Behavior Outside School

    There are many times throughout the school year that choral groups may be traveling and performing outside of school. We will often be taking a bus, but there are times when students can drive themselves to a performance (evenings/weekends). All school/district policies are in effect during these outside events.


    Choral Dept. Awards

    The National School Choral Award is bestowed upon one graduating senior who represents outstanding achievement in choral ensembles in their high school career. The recipient is chosen by vote of the full membership of the Choraliers.

    The Director’s Choice Award for Excellence in Vocal Music is an honor bestowed upon two seniors who have been active leaders and participants in the choral program, chosen by the director and the accompanist.
    Leonard Bernstein Award for Excellence in Vocal Music – bestowed upon one senior who demonstrates outstanding performance skills.

    Most Improved Awards – Given to multiple students in every choir who have demonstrated the most improvement and growth throughout the year.

    Extra Credit

    Attend outside concerts that involve singing and/or choral music. Some approved events may include but are not limited to: elementary and middle school concerts, rock concerts, performances at the Stiefel Theatre, musicals at the Salina Community Theatre. Students must turn in a program or ticket stub to receive credit, and must be able to speak intelligently with the director about their experience.

    Extended Absence Policy
    Students who are absent for either 6 consecutive rehearsals or 2 weeks, or misses a required performance for ANY reason (including school activities) must make up that time by completing one of the following assignments:

    1. The student can watch one of the following musicals: South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, or Guys and Dolls.( Mr. Holmquist has all of these musicals on hand on DVD.) Write a reflection paper on the themes, characters, and musical style. The paper should not be a summary of the story. See Mr. Holmquist for a rubric of requirements for the paper. To receive a passing grade, the paper must be a minimum of 4 pages, typed, with 11-point font and double-spaced, with 1-inch margins.

    2. An assignment determined by, and at the discretion of, the director. Possible alternative assignments may be a project, paper, or other assignment equivalent to the first option.


    Grading Policy

    Students can earn 5 points a day, for a total of 15 points a week and are graded according to a rubric. All concerts and performances are required and are 25% of a student’s grade as they reflect the work of the nine weeks.
    Group Points: 3 of 15 weekly points (20% of the weekly grade) will be points earned or lost by the class as a whole.


    Grading Scale: A – 90-100%, B – 80-89%, C -70-79%, D - 60-69%, F - 0-59%


    Grading Rubric:







    Excellent - A

    Competent - B

    Weak - C

    Unacceptable - D-F

    Rehearsal Skills

    Learns and retains new skills and fully participates in rehearsals.

    Learns and retains some skills and participates somewhat  in rehearsals

    Learns and retains few new skills and does not put out much effort in rehearsals

    Learns and retains no new skills and is not  participating in rehearsals.


    Attends all performances, is on time, full participation, and is dressed in correct concert attire.


    Student is lacking in one of the areas required for an excellent score.

    Student is lacking in two of the areas required for an excellent score.

    Student is lacking in three or more of the areas required for an excellent score.


    Respects teacher, fellow students, accompanist, and follows school rules and policies. Has good attitude.

    No electronics



    Student is lacking in one of the areas required for an excellent score.

    1 electronics violation.

    Student is lacking in two of the areas required for an excellent score.

    2 electronics violations.

    Student is lacking in three or more of the areas required for an excellent score.

    More than 2 electronics violations.


    Student has good attendance in class and at performances

    Student is occasionally absent from class and/or  performances

    Student is sometimes absent and misses a performance

    Student is frequently absent in class or at performances

    PERFORMANCE EXAMS and Chromebook assignments

    Achieves a 90% or higher on singing exams.

    Achieves an 80-89% on singing exams.

    Achieves a 70-79% on singing exams.

    Achieves a 69% or lower on singing exams.


Last Modified on August 12, 2016