Choir Handbook



(Rainbow music swirl)

Welcome to a brand new school year!

    This is going to be a great year!  There is a lot of change at Calapooia and I’m excited to embark on this new adventure with you!  This summer my family and I took a five week trip across the country in an RV!  We saw a lot of amazing sites and learned so much about our beautiful country!  I am so excited to be back in our comfortable temperatures and ready to begin my 17th year teaching and seeing all of my amazing kids again!

    Each individual choir member is an important part of the whole.  I like the analogy of a puzzle: each piece of a puzzle has to be present and with the right part of the picture on it to make the puzzle complete!  Each choir member is a piece of our puzzle.  We all have to be ready, give our best and work together to complete the task set before us!  Our task is creating music and moving our audience as we perform it!

    This handbook contains everything you need to know about the year.  Please read everything.  The last two pages list important dates and include an agreement to follow all expectations.  Please read this thoroughly!.  I will try to send home monthly newsletters this year, on paper and via e-mail, as well as keep my website updated (it is linked to the Calapooia homepage.)  

    Please don't hesitate to contact me about anything!  I am looking forward to fantastic year!  I can't wait to get this year rollin’!


Margo DeYoung



As a member of any singing ensemble you will further develop your musicianship and total understanding of music in such a way that you can continue to enjoy, learn and perform music as an independent musician. Your CMS Choral experience will not only prepare you to perform in middle school but will prepare you so that you can enjoy music throughout your life as a performer, creator or consumer of music.

RULES OF CONDUCT:                                                               

Whenever and wherever the choir appears in public, we are representatives of the entire music program at Calapooia Middle School, the school itself, and all citizens and alumni who are in any way associated with this great school. Whether in performance attire or not, at a performance or a practice, on the road or at home, in an official capacity or in a social setting, members of the Calapooia Middle School Choral Program music conduct themselves in a mature, responsible, courteous, respectful and professional manner.

Anything done by a single member of the choir reflects on the entire choral organization, its leaders, and the school and community. Just as we strive for excellence in our music, we also do so in our behavior and the manner in which we conduct ourselves.

CONCERT DRESS/ATTIRE:                                                             

Because we are a team, each member must wear appropriate team uniform. If you are unable to wear the required concert dress, please contact Mrs. DeYoung in advance, so she may help you obtain the appropriate clothing. We do not want any child to look like s/he does not belong.

white shirt - plain, no writing of any kind

long dark pants - Black is preferred

black socks

black dress shoes (no sneakers)

hair should be pulled away from the face

**ACApooia will be discussing ordering outfits!

**T-Shirts will be available for ordering!

This year the new t-shirt are optional.  They will cost $10.  I would like to have casual performance days where student wear t-shirts and jeans (for tours and assemblies), so I hope if you don’t have a shirt you will buy one.  If you already have one, it is optional!

CHORAL GRADING POLICY:                                                 

As a teacher in the Performing Arts, I am always looking for ways to assist students; to encourage and inspire them to be the best they can be.  I firmly believe that I am teaching students life skills as well as musical skills, since music is such an incredibly powerful tool.  Music inspires, molds, and helps create wonderful, responsible and passionate human beings.

It is important that every choir student understand that Choir is a performance and participation class and that the major exams ARE the concerts. There are approximately SIX required evening concerts (depending on the ensemble.)  All the weeks we spend preparing are leading up to these golden opportunities to show off your skills in front of peers and family. They are required and graded.

Based on the new grading calculations for this year:

  • 80% of overall grade  (Standards)

    • Singing & Performing (Voice/Singing assessments in class and in concerts)

    • Reading & Notating (Reading and writing music assessments in class)

    • Analysis (Written work showing understanding of how music is written)

    • Evaluating (Written work on listening/analyzing performances)

  • 20% of overall grade  (Effort)

    • Daily rehearsal techniques

    • Turning in papers

    • Weekly Welcome Work

    • Classroom behavior/attitude


All CMS choir students are invited to participate in this festival.  The district XI (Linn, Benton, and Lincoln County Schools) Solo/Ensemble Festival is an opportunity for students to perform solos, duets, trios, quartets, quintets and small ensembles for comments and ratings.  This festival is held at North Albany Middle School.  Students learn independent performance skills and gain valuable tips on how to improve their performance.  Students receive feedback in areas in which they excel.  The festival takes place in April. Mrs. DeYoung will rehearse and accompany students, but the preparation work lies largely on the student outside of school.  Please watch for details in February/March.

CONCERT ATTENDANCE POLICY:                                                

The most educationally fulfilling aspect of enrollment in a performing ensemble is participation in the various performances throughout the year. As a result, the music department enforces the following policy with regards to performance attendance:

  1. In accordance with school/district policy, students must be in attendance during the day of a performance in order to be eligible to perform that evening.  Illness, oversleeping and truancy may exclude a student from performing in concert. Examples of acceptable excuses for missing school the day of a concert include dental/doctor appointments, funerals, and college visitations.

  2. Students who are absent from a performance, and un-excused by the director, will receive a 1 for the effort, citizenship and singing (performance) portion of their grade for the marking period in which the performance occurred.

  3. Excused absences that are unavoidable, legitimate conflicts, will be considered by the director no later than two weeks prior to the performance.  All excuses must be written and signed by a parent/guardian. Excused absences will require a **make-up assignment and can receive full credit.

  4. Excuses for unforeseen emergencies will be considered at any time. It is the responsibility of each student and his/her parent/guardian to be aware of the performance schedule and provide excuses that are necessary in a timely fashion. Absences for emergencies will also require a make-up assignment.

  5. Students who have an unexcused absence may also complete a make-up assignment to improve their grade from a 1 to a 2.  (Make-Up Assignment is available in class or on my website.)



This honor group is made up of students from throughout Oregon.  To be involved you must be recommended by your director and complete a short vocal audition.  Only 1 or 2 students from each participating school will be considered based on director recommendations and voice needs.  It is a wonderful opportunity to work with a world-renown conductor.  I will recommend students from my classes for this honor group but there are no guarantee a particular student will be accepted.  (It will cost you $100-$200 to attend this festival if you are accepted.)  This festival takes place in February, in Portland.  I will be contact families of those I would like to nominate in the first few weeks of school.  Please watch for more details.


A total music experience for CMS Choir members may include both religious and secular music. From a global perspective, music offers a wealth of literature that reflects and supports a diversity of cultures, traditions, and peoples, as well as, compositional styles of all eras. To achieve any educational objective, the quality of repertoire is of paramount importance.

It is accepted that the school choral program or its employees shall promote no religious belief or non-belief, and none shall be disparaged. Instead, the school choir encourages all students and staff members to appreciate and respect each other’s religious views. The choir shall utilize any opportunity to foster understanding and mutual respect among students and parents, whether it involves race, culture, ethnicity, economic background, or religious belief. In that spirit of respect, students may be excused from participating in practices that are contrary to their religious beliefs.

While public school teaching objectives and criteria for repertoire selection shall not support religious indoctrination, the selection of quality music will invariably include music with a religious text within its broad scope. The study of music without religious text, architecture minus the cathedral, or painting without religious themes is incomplete, from an academic point of view. Therefore, to exclude religious music from the public school curriculum would hamper a student, as well as a teacher, opportunities in gleaning artistic understanding and aesthetic expression.

I see it as my responsibility to follow the following guidelines:

  • Select repertoire based on musical and educational value. Repertoire may include the performance of religious music, and the teaching of such repertoire will neither promote nor inhibit religious views.

  • Explain historical, cultural, and musical context of selections being performed, as appropriate.

  • Foster a climate in which each child can learn and appreciate a variety of cultures and heritages.

  • Observe all policies, mission statement, and student goals of the Greater Albany Public School District.

  • Show a diversity of repertoire throughout the school year that includes a variety of styles and historical periods of music.