Port Washington High School Choral Department Newsletter           

    PWHS CHOIRS are committed to ARTISTRY thru dedication, knowledge and expression



    Welcome parents and students to the Port Washington Vocal Music Program. By being part of this department you have now become part of a much larger family of students, parents alumni and friends who have an appreciation for the value music has in all our lives.  Thank you in advance for being a part of the music we are making this year. Before we get any farther in the school year, I wanted to touch base with all of you and inform choir members and their families of their responsibilities for the 2012-2013 school year.

    This handbook contains very important information to your success as a choir student.  Please review the below information with your parent(s)/guardian(s) and then sign and return the last page back to the Choir Department.



    Music Education

    The benefits of a well-rounded education for all students cannot be overemphasized. One very important area of this complete education is the study of music. The aesthetic joys of making music cannot be duplicated in any other art form; it is a communication unto itself. It also has been found that the study of music strengthens the mind’s learning potential. Students who are part of a music program tend to achieve at higher levels in all areas of school. Simply put: music makes better students, and music makes students better.

    Ongoing research continues to offer dramatic statistics concerning young people who participate in their school music programs. In the 1997 publication, Profiles of SAT and Achievement Test Takers (from The College Board), it was discovered that, “Students with course work experience in music performance scored 89 points higher on the SAT tests than students with no course work in the arts.” This kind of information positively marks the future of our young musicians.

    In addition to the educational benefits, music education also teaches important life skills. Music teaches discipline. Music develops self-confidence. Music gives students a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Singing in a choir teaches students the importance of working with others and helps them develop the social skills necessary to be part of a performing organization. It instills values, responsibility, purpose, direction, and devotion to duty, the spirit of cooperation and sensitivity to the beauty in our world. Not all choir students become great musicians, but all will certainly become more mature, cooperative, self-disciplined, hardworking members of their communities with an appreciation of the arts.



    My pledge to you

    I pledge to continue to continue the rich tradition of excellence that is a credit to our Vocal Music Department, School, District, city, state and most importantly to you and alumni.  I will do everything I can to make you grow musically and give you as rich of a musical experience as possible.  It is this expectation of commitment that I expect out of each member of this department.  For it is this commitment that makes our department as strong as the effort we each put into it.



    Mixed Chorus:

    In this course, major emphasis is on vocal development and music comprehension and the study of a variety of choral repertoire.  Students perform at concerts and local festivals.  Students are encouraged to participate in Solo and Ensemble, the high school musical, men’s choir or women’s vocal jazz. This class is open to students in all grades and all freshman are placed into this choir.


    Treble Choir:

    This course places a continued emphasis on vocal development, music comprehension and the continued study of a variety of vocal music.  But because this is a more advanced course a higher level of understanding of the above concepts must be demonstrated to the instructor in order to be selected for this choir.  Students perform at concerts and local festivals and are invited to participate in the bi-annual music department tour.  Students are encouraged to participate in Solo and Ensemble, the high school musical, women’s vocal jazz and all other extracurricular ensembles. This class is open to women grades 10-12 by audition.  In special circumstances freshman girls may audition with the recommendation of their prior vocal director.


    Concert Choir:

    This course is our premier choral ensemble.  The course places a major emphasis on vocal development, music comprehension and the continued study of a wide variety of musical styles.  Students perform at concerts and local festivals on and off campus, assemblies and are invited to participate in the bi-annual music department tour. This is an auditioned ensemble open to students grade 10-12 with students expected to demonstrate their understanding of the above concepts at an advanced level.    Students perform at concerts and local festivals.  Students are encouraged to participate in Solo and Ensemble, the high school musical, men’s choir or women’s vocal jazz.


    Madrigal Ensemble / Limited Edition

    This choir is our most select choir within the PWHS Choral Department.  This course consists of 14-16 students who demonstrate the highest levels of musicianship, leadership and character.  Members must maintain active membership in another curricular choir.  This groups performs at many local state and national events.  Members perform a wide range of A Cappella music and are expected to maintain the highest level of dedication.  


    Men’s Choir / Women’s Vocal Jazz

    These extracurricular ensembles are open to all choir students and begin in late October.  Proper classroom behavior is essential. Women’s Choir meets on Tuesdays at 6:45am and Men’s Choir meets on Thursdays at 6;45am


     In addition to the policies established by the Port Washington School District, the following rules are added.

    Rehearsal Expectations

    In order for you to get the most out of this class participation is required on a daily basis.  If there is a valid reason you are unable to participate please bring a note from a parent, doctor or administrator prior to that days rehearsal. In addition you are expected to…

    ·         Be respectful of and show respect to every person in the room and their belongings. Remember how you rehearse is how you will perform.

    ·         Be in the classroom and making your way towards your seat or in it with all materials needed for that day by the 5-minute bell.

    ·         No food, drink or gum is allowed during rehearsals… water is allowed. 



    Concert attendance is mandatory. Singing is a performing art.  Performances are the culmination of many hours of rehearsals and preparation. The absence of even one member adversely affects the moral of the group and their performance.  Please let me impress upon you the importance of everyone being present at all scheduled performances. Excused absences include serious illness and immediate family emergencies. Work, school or non-school sanctioned sports and activities are not considered excused absences. Family vacations will be excused if advanced notice was given to the director four weeks prior to the concert. Since it is impossible to reproduce the experience of a live performance, make up work will be given for excused absences but will involve the time involvement and effort those students who attended the concert put forth. Each student will be given a schedule with concert schedules and required performances.  Since this is given to all students prior to commencement the previous year students are expected to be on time and present at all required activities for the entire performance.



    Veterans Day                  TBD (Nov. 9 or 11) School Day                       CONCERT CHOIR ONLY

    HS. Choir Holiday           Dec.20             7pm   (6:15 warm up)       ALL CHOIRS

    HS Choral Festival           March 21         7pm   (6:15 warm up)       ALL CHOIRS

    All That Jazz                    March 26         7pm   (6:15 warm up)  WOMEN’s VJ, LIMITED EDITION

    Pop’s Concert  Choir       May 23            7pm   (6:15 warm up)       ALL CHOIRS

    Graduation                       June 9              2pm   (1:00 warm up)       CONCERT CHOIR ONLY



    Grading Policy

    Our grades for the Port Washington Vocal Music Department are determined from an average of daily rehearsal, written tests, individual lessons and performance points


    Quarterly Grade Calculation


    Daily Rehearsal                        30%

    ·         Teacher evaluated


    Written Tests                            10%

    ·         Written assignments


    Individual Lessons                    20%

    ·         Student preparation

    ·         Student participation


    Performance                             40%

    ·         Concerts

    ·         Performance evaluations


    Extra Credit                              +5%

    ·         Attendance/ participation at approved choral concerts and completion of concert critique


    Daily Rehearsal Rubric

    45pts. - Has a positive attitude and is respectful to teacher and classmates; no unexcused absences; never has gum, food, or improper beverages in rehearsal; Regularly uses healthy singing posture; consistently notates in score (pencil); very attentive in rehearsal; practices consistently outside of class displaying great preparedness in rehearsal; actively involved in rehearsal process and participates in class discussion; keeps pace with rehearsal.

    35pts. - Has a positive attitude and is respectful to teacher and classmates; no unexcused absences; never has gum, food, or improper beverages in rehearsal; Usually uses healthy singing posture; notates in score (pencil); is usually very attentive in rehearsal; usually practices outside of class displaying preparedness in rehearsal; involved in rehearsal process and usually participates in class discussion; usually keeps pace with rehearsal.

    25pts. - Has a positive attitude and is respectful to teacher and classmates; no unexcused absences; never has gum, food, or improper beverages in rehearsal; Occasionally uses healthy singing posture; is attentive in rehearsal; practices sometimes outside of class displaying minimal preparedness in rehearsal; occasionally participates in class discussion; socializing is somewhat distracting to choir members in rehearsal.

    15pts. - Seldom uses healthy singing posture; socializing is distracting to choir members in rehearsal; absolute minimum participation in all aspects of rehearsal; has unexcused absences; unprepared in rehearsal; is frequently lost in rehearsal.

    5pts. - Never attempts healthy singing posture; socializing is a major distraction to choir in rehearsal; level of class participation is far below minimal; has unexcused absences; is totally unprepared in rehearsal; is frequently lost in rehearsal.


    Performance Dress Code/General Information

    Concert Dress:

    Each performing group will have choral robes this year.  Underneath your robe you are expected to wear the following.


    Men: black shoes & socks, black dress pants, and a solid white (not off white) collard shirt


    Women: Black shoes, black dress or black pants with black nylons and a white blouse

    (if you do not have thee items please purchase them immediately or talk to me)


    Transportation to and from concerts is your own responsibility, unless the location is out of town.


    Classroom Materials / Equipment

    Classroom materials: include a choir folder, music and pencil. You may take folders home but remember to bring these materials every day to rehearsal.   All students will be issued a specific choir folder, music and robe within the first 9 weeks. The school concert folder and robe are property of the school and must be returned in the same condition as it was issued. If a student moves or drops the class, they are expected to turn in the SAME music, concert folder and robe or they will pay for the lost or damaged items. Those items will only be accepted from the student they were issued to. Lost, misplaced, or damaged items WILL be replaced at the student's expense. Choir folders cost approximately $15 each. Original copies of music costs anywhere from $1.50 to $3.50 per copy.


    Equipment in the choral department can be very expensive and costly.  Students should ask permission to use any equipment within the department.  This includes pianos.



    TO THE




    Dear PWHS Parents, Friend and alumni of the PWHS Music Program

    Have you ever thought you would like to support the programs of the PWHS Music Department but were not sure how and where your talents/contributions could best be utilized


    If yes, you may be interested in the information below.  Indeed, there are several ways to help support the PWHS Music Department with your time talents and funds.  Some of these include:


    Donate time

    The Port Washington High School Music Boosters serves the music program in many different ways.  One of their functions is to help coordinate volunteers for the various musical projects.  If you would like to help usher, decorate, sew or any number of things that may be helpful.  Please fill out the reverse side and return it to the Port Washington High School Music Department


    Donate products and services

    Each year PWHS Music Boosters sponsors a raffle to fundraise for the programs that we offer.  We are always looking for donations of items or services that can be a part of this raffle.  These items would help bring in funds to serve the music program in enrichment activities such as assisting in travel expenses, music festival attendance, purchase of awards, scholarships etc.


    Donate funds

    The PWHS Music boosters collects donations each year to provide enrichment experiences for the students as well as scholarships to assist in sending music students to summer clinics, honors camps as well as scholarships towards careers in music.


    Additionally there have been families who have made financial contributions to the music department to provide for specific needs.  All donations are welcomed and appreciated.


    Thank you for supporting the Port Washington High School Music Department!  If you wish to Best wishes to you all






    Dennis Gephart                                                                          Alan Dust

    Port Washington Vocal Director                                               Port Washington Instrumental Director

    Dennis.gephart@pwssd.k12.wi.us                                             Alan.dust@pwssd.k12.wi.us

    (262)268-5627                                                                            (262)268-5629









    Dear PWHS Music Department Parents

    Each school year, the Port Washington High School band and choir students conduct two

    major fundraising projects.  They are designed to provide individual funds for special events and to help send our band or choir on a major trip each year.   


    We will also use money raised to bring in musical groups for workshops and performances, subsidize scholarships, summer music camps, medals for Solo and to have starter funds for next year’s activities.

    Many of our families find themselves faced with multiple fundraising projects, especially at this time of year.  To supplement the student fundraising projects, rather than doing another fundraiser with the Music Boosters, the group has found that many parents prefer to simply make a donation.  Based on this premise, we are asking each family of a band or choir student to make a $25 donation as part of our photo fundraiser project.


    One of our past alumni parents (Diana Neumeyer) has kindly agreed to take pictures of all the Port Washington High School performing groups.  In return for your generous donation, the Music Boosters will supply you with a 5x7 picture of your child in each of the groups in which the student performs (excluding Solo & Ensemble and musical).  


    Please forward your check (payable to PWHS Music Boosters) to Mr. Gephart or Mr. Dust by October 31st, along with the attached form listing all the groups your child is participating in.  Photos will be distributed at the end of the year.  Participation in this fundraiser is the ONLY way to obtain these photos! 




    Thanks for your help – we look forward to working with all of you.  And remember – you are a member of the Music Boosters too!  We’d love to have you join us at our meetings in the choir room the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m.



    Linda Guokas

    Music Boosters President