Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Chattahoochee High School
2007 - 2008


Rhonda J. Fossum & Jennie Blevins
Directors of Vocal Music
Judy Avison & Christina Schorr - Vocal Music Chairs
Tim Duncan – Principal
5230 Taylor Road /Johns Creek, Georgia ~ 30022

Dear Parents & Students, August 8, 2007

Greetings, and welcome to the Chattahoochee High School Vocal Music Program. My name is Rhonda Fossum, and I am the senior director of CHS Vocal & Choral Music. This year I am excited to introduce Ms. Jennie Blevins, as an additional teacher for our ensembles. The Vocal Music Department hosts 7 performing ensembles with 260+ students currently enrolled. This handbook should serve as a resource for planning and help to answer questions about the program.

After graduating from the University of Northern Colorado, I taught high school choral music in Colorado for 11 years and loved it. When my family moved to Georgia from Colorado 14 years ago, I began teaching vocal jazz at Georgia State University and coaching swimming for 2 yrs. before joining the CHS staff. I am excited to begin my 12th year with COUGAR VOICES.

Jennie Blevins grew up in Dalton, GA and attended Southeast Whitfield HS. This spring she graduated from Reinhardt College where she played Varsity Volleyball while earning her Music Ed. Degree. We are happy to welcome her to CHS in the afternoons after teaching mornings at Ocee Elementary. Jennie will be an assistant coach for the 9th grade volleyball team. She is very excited about her new job!

This handbook provides: course offerings (both in and out of the daily schedule), grading policies, and expectations about conduct in and out of class. It includes a master calendar of scheduled vocal music concerts and events for the year. If you have any questions, you may contact me at: or
ALL students and guardians are encouraged to review the handbook, before they sign the contract on the last page. This contract states that they have read and understand department policies. In addition, they will accept and support the teacher for the consequences that are applied if their son or daughter does not comply.

I look forward to meeting you at the COUGAR VOICES Kick-Off Potluck on September 6th at 7:30pm in the high school cafeteria. This casual, potluck dinner meeting allows you to find-out all about the vocal music program, and to ask questions about our plans for the year. Make sure to ask your son or daughter for the flyer that invites you to the kick-off. I look forward to meeting you soonJ.


Rhonda J. Fossum

COUGAR 'VOICES' 2007-2008

Beginning Mixed CHORUS
grades 9-12
This course is offered to students who enjoy singing and would like to further their skills as a musician. No previous experience is required for participation in this class. This class will learn to play a little piano, learn to sight read music and perform in a class recital or concert near the end of the semester.

Intermediate Women’s CHORUS
grades 9-12
This course is offered to students who have a wide variety of voice ranges and previous choral experience. Students are put into the class by audition, or teacher recommendation. This ensemble performs a wide variety of music from the classics to musical theatre. In this class we study music literature, music theory, voice performance technique, ensemble singing and sight singing. The ensemble will perform in at least two large concerts per semester.

Advanced Women’s CHORALE
grades 10-12
This course is offered to students who are serious musicians with a desire to perform advanced women’s literature. Students are placed in the class by vocal audition and skill assessment in the previous spring semester. The ensemble performs incredible music for women in all styles. This class studies music literature, history, music theory, voice performance, and ensemble singing while continuing to study sight singing. The class will perform in at least two large concerts per semester.

Men’s Chorus
grades 9-12
This course is offered to students who like to sing and study intermediate to advanced men’s literature. Students are placed in the class by vocal audition and skill assessment in the previous spring semester or by recommendation from a previous teacher. The ensemble performs music in all styles. The class studies music literature, history, music theory, voice performance, and ensemble singing while continuing to study sight singing. The class will perform in at least two large concerts per semester.

Advanced Mixed Chorus / grades 10, 11&12
This course was created to provide serious upperclassmen the opportunity to challenge themselves musically and intellectually. Each student must have high school choral experience, advanced music reading skills & a successful audition from the previous year. They will study a variety of choral music that will include folk songs, classics and spirituals. This group was selected to perform at the Georgia Music Educators Conference in 1995 and at the NATIONAL YOUTH CHORUS @ Carnegie Hall (NY) in 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2007. Each member of the ensemble agrees to prepare and audition for the Georgia All-State Chorus each fall semester. If chosen, they follow through with the 2nd audition & ultimately to the performance in Savannah in February as a proud representative of COUGAR VOICES.

grades 10, 11 & 12
This Zero Hour course is offered to upper classmen who have auditioned for placement in the previous spring. They study Vocal Jazz styles and music and perform throughout the metro community on a frequent basis as ambassadors of CHS. The mixed ensemble was selected to perform for the prestigious INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF JAZZ EDUCATORS CONFERENCE in 1996 and they earned the title of Grand Champion at the Smoky Mountain Music Festival in 1998. In 2001, 2002 & 2004, both Jazz DIVAZ (a women’s ensemble) and VOICES (the mixed ensemble) earned the title of Grand Champion at the SMMF festival. A separate commitment form is signed by all families and participants, in order to participate.

*Each class is a performing ensemble.
They will have at least 2 scheduled concerts per semester.
Members of the classes are required to participate
in each performance and the dress rehearsals
that makes them possible, for a grade.


DAILY PARTICIPATION (25%-note the 5% change)
Students will be expected to be in their seats with music folders and pencils ready
(and on task) from bell to bell. (They may earn 0-3pts per day).

The number of musical, sight-singing or written quiz grades will be averaged per
term to comprise 10% of the overall grade.

The number of singing (solo or quartet) and written tests, mid-term and final, will be
averaged earning a possible 20% in this category.

PERFORMANCES (40% total per semester ~ 20 each)
The number of performances per grading period will be graded and averaged for a
total of 40 points possible. If a student misses a required concert performance for any
reason other then severe illness- (required doctor’s note) or a death in the family, they will not earn the points required for their grade. If students without an excused absence would like to go through remediation to earn 80% of the points, they may type a 10 page, 'A' quality, term paper on a composer they have been performing.

*Students who have a death in the family will be graded on class
participation and test scores, pre-concert. Students who miss
for illness (with a doctors note), choose a piece of music from
the concert, research its origin & write an essay for their grade.

See Enrichment / Lettering Points for details (Each student may earn a total of 10
points by attending arts events throughout the semester).

* An unexcused Absence from a Required Performance may result in the student becoming ineligible for a music letter or awards. At the time of the absence, the students status in the ensemble will be considered by the instructor. *A rehearsal scheduled outside of class time will be done with one week notice. If a student misses the final rehearsal or warm-up for the performance, they will not be allowed to perform with the ensemble.

Vocal Music Calendar 2007-2008

September 6th Kick-Off Dinner/COUGAR VOICES 7:30pm

September 11th CHS registration deadline for All-State Chorus

September 14th Prescreening for Prospective All-State Students
4-8pm in the music Suite (scheduled times)
(*All students interested in Chamber Singers must Audition)
October 3rd Fall Fundraiser Kick-off Cheesecake Sales

October 13th All-State Auditions TBA

October 17th Dress Rehearsal ~ FC 3:45-5+pm

October 18th Fall Choral Concert W-6:30pm C-7:30pm

October 19th All Vocal Music Registration & Fees Due

November TBA Musical Auditions TBA

December 13th Dress Rehearsal Concert 3:45-5+pm

December 14th Holiday Concert W-6:30pm C-7:30pm

January 19th Final Audition for All-State NorthSprings HS

February 19th Pre-Festival Concert W-6:30 C-7:30pm

Feb. 21st-23rd GMEA All-State Chorus Savannah, GA

March 3rd - 5th GMEA Festival TBA

March 13th -15th MUSICAL 7pm

April 18th -19th Smoky Mountain Music Festival TBA
May 4th CHSMA Banquet 5pm

May 8th & 9th Jazz Concert (VOICES & DIVAZ) 7:30pm

May 15th Dress Rehearsal 3:45-5+pm

May 16th Spring Showtime 7:30pm

May 23rd Senior Vocal Music Show 7:30pm
Underlined dates are required for a grade - Mark your calendars!


Each student will need to purchase a 1-2"three ring binder and several pencils for the class. They will be assigned a sight-singing text and sheet music to study for each performance and musical learning. They may store their folder at school or take it home and bring it back for rehearsal each day. In order to earn 3 points per day for participation and contribute to the rehearsal, each student must take responsibility for their music folder and have it for study in rehearsals. Students will also be required to use a pencil to mark the music with comments from the director and section leaders, in order to earn participation pts. Music text books and sheet music must be turned in by the end of each semester, or be replaced at the expense of the student.

The singing or speaking voice is a wonderful instrument that we carry around without much thought at times. It is a delicate instrument that needs careful care in order to work well when we want to sing or speak. As a vocal musician, it becomes our responsibility to use our voice carefully; going to the doctor when we are sick, drinking lots of water, and protecting our voice by holding back when we have the urge to scream about something exciting (i.e. athletic games or concerts). If you are unable to sing during a rehearsal, you will need to listen to the rehearsal and follow along in the music in order to keep up with the ensemble while you are healing. If you come to school tired or ill, you will be expected to participate with the class in all activities (please stay home when you have a fever L).

Each member of the CHS Vocal Music Program, 'COUGAR VOICES', has chosen to participate. As representatives of CHS, our team standards and individual behavior must be on the highest level. As a member of a Vocal Music performing ensemble, you accept that challenge to represent CHS and our fine arts department with pride. All school policies will be followed in class, in performances and on field trips. The consequences for infractions of policies will be followed according to those stated in the policy handbook and carried out by the CHS administrative staff.

Attendance in music class and at performances is required for individual and group success. In a participation class like chorus, you are a part of an ensemble, a team and a section (i.e., Sopranos, Tenors, and Altos & Basses). Each day you are gone from a rehearsal, you are behind and unable to make up the class work or rehearsal time. Those around you are counting on your voice and feel the void. Upon returning from an absence, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to ask your music partner to find out what was missed and to work on it, so that you may catch up without holding the rest of class back. Excessive absences in a performance ensemble may prevent you from performing with the ensemble at a concert and jeopardize your status in class. Students who have excessive absences will be solo tested on their music to earn a grade and possibly be permitted to perform with the ensemble if they are able to pass with a score of %98.

STUDENTS who are ON TIME to class and ready to rehearse earn participation points for the day and show respect for the class and teacher. Students who are TARDY more than twice to a class (per semester), will follow the new school policy: serving a public detention for the 3rd tardy, 2 public detentions for the 4th, and Saturday school for the 5th. You may find more information about attendance and tardy policies in the CHS handbook.

*Attendance in school for at least 4 periods is required before your son or daughter may participate in an extra-curricular activity. This includes music, sports, drama and concerts. Students who do not earn their grade by performing with the ensemble class they have committed to, will be assigned a 10 page research paper (teacher chosen topic) and bibliography. This assignment will be due by end of the week following the concert – for 80% credit. Any papers turned in after that date will not be accepted.
Commitment Contract

Parent / Guardian__________________________________________
(Print names of either parents or guardians)

(Print the name of student/s enrolled in the program)

I have read the Vocal Music Handbook and I fully commit to participate in the classroom and extra-curricular activities that are involved in the program. I choose to be a part of this music program, and will follow the guidelines given.

If I have questions concerning policies in the handbook, I will discuss them with the director right away. If I do not choose to follow the policies & guidelines given, I may be removed from the performance class & placed in another elective or the main office for NO credit.


Parents______________________ / __________________________

Student ______________________

CHS General Consent Form For

Name of Student____________________Age______Graduation Year_______

Address _________________________________________________________
Street City State Zip Code

Home Phone_________________ Student Email ______________________

Student Home Phone__________________ & Cell______________________

Parents/ Guardians Names__________________ / _____________________
Work Phone_________________ / ______________________
Home Phone________________ / _______________________
Cell Phone _________________ / _______________________

Person to contact in an EMERGENCY if guardians cannot be reached:


Medical Conditions, Allergies, etc . . . ________________________________


I give permission for ____________________________ to ride on a bus or van provided for transportation to music activities or events both during and outside of school hours. I release the director and chaperones from liability in the event of an accident.

I give permission to the director/chaperon to seek EMERGENCY medical treatment for _______________________, in the event that a guardian or parent cannot be reached.

I certify that our child is covered by: (please check)

_________ School Insurance or _________ Personal Insurance

Policy Number_____________ and Carrier Name_________________

____________________ _____________________ ______
(Parent signature) (Student signature) (Date)

Vocal Music Registration Form
2007 – 2008

Student Name__________________Grade______Graduation Year_________

Participation in: (please check areas of involvement)

Jazz VOICES_______ or DIVAS_______/ Fees $50.00 + outfits TBA

Chamber Singers_______ / Fees $150.00

Advanced Women's CHORALE_______ / Fees $150.00

Men’s Chorus ______ / Fees $150.00

Intermediate Women’s Chorus ______ / Fees $150.00

Beginning Mixed Chorus______ / $50.00 per semester

Parent / Guardian Full Names__________________/ __________________

(Make all checks payable to CHS)

BREAKDOWN of costs for the CHS Vocal Music Program
(Where does the money go – read on the back)
Program Fees for Vocal Music $110.00
CHSMA Annual Family Dues $20.00
Rental fees for Uniforms $20.00
(Chamber, Women’s Chorale, Inter. Mixed ONLY)

I am including a check in the amount of _________________ to cover the listed expenses. If I am unable to cover the costs of the program in their entirety, I will enclose __________, at this time, and my son or daughter will begin fundraising ASAP for the remaining amount. All fees will be turned in by Oct. 19th, 2007.

Parent Signature_____________________________Date________________


I, _________________, understand that in order to run a rewarding Music program for my child, my volunteer spirit is greatly needed. I agree to volunteer time or effort to the program wherever possible:

____Work Concession Stand 3 Times(Football, Soccer or Lacrosse)
(Sign-up for specific football games at the Kick-off)

_____Administrative Assistant / Music Librarian

____Fund-Raising Coordinator / Treasurer

_____Men's Uniform disbursement & up-keep (assistant)

_____Women's Uniform disbursement & up-keep (each ensemble)

_____Awards and Music Banquet Committee

_____Data Base / Vocal Music Program

_____House Manager for the Musical Drama

______Ushers for Choral Concerts

______Costume Assistance / Musical

_____Set building & Painting / Musical

_____Bus Chaperon for local field trips

_____Public Relations and Publicity

I have read the attached parent information letter, and I understand the responsibilities involved having my child enrolled in the 2007-2008 CHS Vocal Music Program, and the volunteer time needed.

Student Name______________________________Vocal Music Class__________

Parent / Guardian Name (Print Please)___________________________________

Parent Signature_____________________Phone_____________Email__________

Important Information for CHS Vocal Music Parents

The Chattahoochee High School Music Association (CHSMA) is the greatest organization you may want to join at CHS. Choral Music Teachers, Rhonda Fossum & Jennie Blevins, Vocal Music Chairs, Judy Avison & Christina Schorr and Music Parents Association Chair, Wayne Garber, have planned a year full of exciting musical experiences and performances for your child!

The goal of the Music Association and the staff of the Music Department are to insure that all students at CHS will have the highest level of musical learning experience we can provide. Achieving this goal requires high levels of parent volunteer work and funding. Music programs in Fulton County are not fully supported through tax dollars. The Choral music program gets $1,000 a year (not enough to buy music for one concert) to run the program for almost 300 students. Most of the money that makes our program possible comes from the fees paid by student’s families and the generous support of the Music Parents Association.

Basic Program Costs $110.00 (Beg. Mixed Chorus $50.00 per sem.)
This includes the cost of sheet music, guest clinicians, and transportation by school bus to performances, Festival registration fees, Accompanist fees, special equipment purchases (sound reinforcement & lighting), Concert Technician fees, piano tuning and repair. The costs have been reviewed by the CHSMA Board and are tightly controlled.

Uniform Rental Costs $20.00
Approximately every 4 years, uniforms may be replaced for the ensembles that use them. A rental fee in the amount of $20.00 helps to make the purchase, repair and cleaning of uniforms possible. Each member of CHAMBER SINGERS, Advanced Women’s CHORALE, Intermediate Mixed Chorus and Men’s Honor Chorus will be assigned a performance outfit and given a list of items that may need to purchase. They will take the performance attire home and clean it after each use, wearing it clean, pressed and ready at each concert. Alterations (sewn) may be made on any of the uniforms, as long as fabric is not cut or removed and the dress or tux shows no signs of abuse or damage. If the uniform is lost, or damaged (safety pinning or taping of dresses, damages them beyond repair) – the full cost of the uniform will be required before grades are released.

Chattahoochee High School Music Association $20.00
The Music Association membership covers the administrative costs of the program, including mailings, newsletter, telephone, office supplies, banking and checking charges, student scholarships for lessons or camps, as well as large purchases for each program (instruments, electronics, etc...). Music supplies, technical assistance, uniforms and travel expenses will be covered by the contributions of the participants through program fees.

Scholarships for summer music camps, voice lessons and college for talented & promising musicians are at the heart of the Music Association. Most of the Music Association budget is planned for the scholarship program. Funds are allocated to the various groups based on their parental staffing of the concession stands during home Football, Soccer & Lacrosse games. Families / students who join the association by Oct. 1st, & volunteer are eligible to apply for the scholarship program.
*If, for any reason, you are unable to pay for the costs involved, we will provide fund raising opportunities for your son or daughter to earn the amount needed by October 19th, 2007.