Children's Chorus Handbook

Welcome to the Garland ISD Children’s Chorus

Congratulations on being accepted into the Garland ISD Children’s Chorus. We are excited to welcome you and your family into the program. You will become involved in a quality organization, continually growing in reputation and prestige. This program was established in 1974 to give musically gifted children a chance to further develop their obvious talent. As a result of this experience we hope that you will develop a great love of choral music that will last a lifetime.

As members of the Garland ISD Children’s Chorus, students learn the discipline and satisfaction of participating in an exemplary performing group. By working together, each student becomes a vital part of a singing ensemble, experiencing the joys of hard work and fine performances. With proper behavior, great attitude, and faithful attendance our goals will be accomplished.

In order to maintain high standards of excellence and to ensure that the organization of a choir of more than one hundred members runs smoothly, it is essential for each family to keep this handbook in a convenient place so that you can easily access all of the necessary and important information concerning the basic procedures, the activities, policies and regulations of the chorus.

Chorus Communications

At the beginning of each semester each singer will receive a calendar which includes all rehearsal and performance dates. Reminders and other important choir information will be administered in four ways:

  • Notes will be sent home periodically with each member at rehearsals.
  • Notices will always be posted on the Garland ISD Children's Chorus webpage.
  • Copies of all written communications will be sent to the GCC email address book.
  • FREE text messages via Charms.

The directors utilize a database called “Charms” to store contact information. This program allows us to send emails out to all chorus members and their families. This is our primary method of communication about details regarding rehearsal and performances. We are requesting one current email address for each member. This may be the email of a sibling, parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent.

An additional method of communication is offered via FREE text messaging. Families can receive messages at no charge by providing a cell phone number and the name of the company providing the service (i.e. Sprint, AT&T, Metro PCS, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.). We hope this will be a convenience to everyone!

If you have any other questions at any time, please feel free to contact any of the Children’s Chorus personnel below.

Fourth grade

NameLocationPhone numberCell numberEmail
Veronica OrozcoWalnut Glen Academy972-494-8330956-453-7537VOrozco@garlandisd.net
Eric RobertsonBeaver Technology Center972-494-8301972-977-3275ERobertson@garlandisd.net
Jennifer ClevelandLuna Elementary972-675-3040214-549-2586JSClevel@garlandisd.net

Fifth grade

NameLocationPhone numberCell numberEmail
Brenda HassGISD Fine Arts Coordinator972-487-3173214-546-9550bdhass@garlandisd.net
Lyndsey AlecusanCooper Elementary972-675-3010972-821-2060LAAlecus@garlandisd.net
Pam AbasoloCoyle Middle School972-475-3711214-264-6899PSAbsol@garlandisd.net

Goals of the Garland ISD Children’s Chorus

  • To give students a positive choral experience that will foster a life-long love of music.
  • To provide students the opportunity to develop excellent choral skills and musicianship through quality performances.
  • To demonstrate the importance of self-discipline in a choral setting.
  • To have each choir member recognize his or her abilities, experience a sense of achievement, and grow in self-esteem.
  • To encourage members to be leaders in their local school Honor Choir.

Expectations of members

Because Garland ISD Children’s Chorus members learn an enormous amount of music each year, it is essential that every minute be used wisely. We need each member to:

  • Be in regular attendance, and account in writing for all absences.
  • Use restrooms and get a drink prior to rehearsal and be in their spot ready to begin on time.
  • Stay focused and actively engaged during rehearsals and performances.
  • Follow directions the first time they are given.
  • Stay in their assigned position in choir unless given permission to move.
  • Remain in control of emotions even when angry, upset or excited.
  • Refrain from eating, drinking or chewing gum at all rehearsals and performances. (Plastic Water Bottles with Cap Are Permitted/Recommended)
  • Respect the property on the campuses where we rehearse or perform.
  • Cell phone use is prohibited during rehearsals.
  • Maintain a 70 or above in all subjects on your report card.
  • Stay informed of important information concerning Children’s Chorus events.

Failure to follow through with these expectations could result in dismissal from the performing group.

Parents: Please check each week with your child to see if a note or word sheet comes home after rehearsal AND remember to check the Children's Chorus webpage for updates in the schedule.

Useful and important information

Regular rehearsals

Schedule and location: Rehearsals begin on the second Monday of school in the evenings from 6:30 - 8:00 at Luna Elementary School.

Arrival and pick-up guidelines: Directors will strive to keep rehearsal on schedule. Please respect directors and be mindful of the safety of your child by picking up your child in a timely manner. In case of emergency, please call Brenda Hass at 214-546-9550. Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

Each student will receive 2 cards clearly displaying the student’s name that MUST be shown when they are picked up. This allows ensure each child gets home safely and with the correct person. If for any reason you misplace or need a duplicate of these cards, please contact one of the directors.

  • Fourth graders are dropped off and picked up in the circle drive at the front entrance of Luna Elementary.
  • Fifth graders are dropped off and picked up at the covered patio on the east side of the building. There is a parking lot and playground close to this entrance.

When picking up your student, you may either park, walk up and stand at the side entrance of the building to show your card or you may go through the drive (front circle drive for 4th grade, east parking lot for 5th grade). If driving up, you must present your card in your windshield. Students are instructed to wait for their name to be called by the directors before going to their parent. Please be sure to communicate with your student which method you plan to use to pick them up as it helps dismissal go faster.

Performances

Schedule: Advance notice of performances will be given to each family via a beginning- of-the-semester calendar, a posting on the fine arts website and a note home at the rehearsal preceding the performance. The performance schedule will almost always list two times associated with each performance. The first time is the “call time,” or the time that the singers need to arrive to warm-up and rehearse. The second time is the time when the performance begins. All families are encouraged to attend each performance unless otherwise noted. We will send addresses and directions for performances.
Audience Etiquette: Near the end of this handbook is a page listing some guidelines for audience behavior. Thank you for taking the time to look over this list and setting a good example for our students.

Attendance policies

Importance of regular attendance: Each member of the chorus is encouraged to strive for perfect attendance so that the chorus can perform at its peak every time. However, if you find it necessary to miss a rehearsal or performance, please give the directors advance notice if possible by phone or email. We believe GCC rehearsals should be a priority on your family calendar.

Rehearsal Prior to Performance: Students who miss the final rehearsal prior to a concert will not be allowed to perform for that event. The final rehearsal is the time used to polish our music, and it is critical to a quality performance that everyone be in attendance. Any exception must be approved by the head director and will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Illnesses and emergencies: If your child has a scratchy throat or cough, it would be good for them to attend and listen rather than stay home. They will learn a great deal from simply listening since we cover a lot of material in each rehearsal and we only see them once a week. If we are working on choreography they could still participate in this. If your child is ill and it would be in their best interest or the best interest of the other choir members for them to stay home, please keep them at home. Simply notify the directors as stated above. The same would apply for family emergencies. Please note: If you do not notify directors or develop a habit of excessive absences, you jeopardize your future participation with the chorus. Three absences within a semester are considered excessive for a performing ensemble.

Local school activities: Please let the directors know when you are involved in a school performance that will cause you to miss a Children’s Chorus rehearsal or performance. School performances and fifth grade camps will not count as absences if prior notification is given.

Uniforms

Boys Formal Concert Attire: Black dress slacks, black socks, black dress shoes, tuxedo style shirt with pleats running up and down the front with triangle point collars.

Girls Formal Concert Attire: Black, evening length dress, flesh colored panty hose, and black dress shoes with low or no heels (for comfort and balance). No jewelry, ribbons in hair or headbands are allowed. To insure the chorus’ uniform look, all hair accessories should be plain and blend with hair color.

Informal Concert Attire: Children’s Chorus t-shirt with khaki pants or skirts (no shorts or capris), belt, tennis shoes and socks.

IMPORTANT: Uniform fees are non-refundable once uniforms have been ordered. Thank you for understanding.

The directors of the Garland ISD Children’s Chorus would like to thank you for entrusting your child to our teaching. We consider ourselves fortunate to teach such talented and dedicated groups of students. We look forward to a positive, successful year together.

Audience etiquette

In addition to having performance opportunities, choir members will, sometimes, be members of the audience along with their family members. Below are important guidelines for audience etiquette.

  • Enter the auditorium quietly and only between songs; never during the performance of a selection.
  • Clap only when the conductor’s hands move down to his/her side. This gesture indicates the end of a piece. Sounds such as whistling, booing, yelling or hissing are never appropriate at a formal concert.
  • Limit talking to between songs, never during a selection.
  • Plan to remain for the entire concert. Choir members who must leave early will need to bring a parent note to the director prior to concert day. People who move about during a performance are distracting, not only to other members of the audience but also to the performers and conductor on stage.
  • Please refrain from taking any photographs during a performance. Flash photos are a distraction to the audience, conductor and performers. Photo moments may be done before or after the concert. Directors typically give time for photos at the performance.
  • One family member is strongly encouraged to attend each performance. All family members and friends are welcome to attend. However, fussy infants and small children can become distracting to all. Please be considerate of others during concert situations, and take children out of the concert area until they are able to listen quietly.
  • Cell phones can cause the audience or performers to be distracted and can ruin an artistic moment in a concert. As with a movie theatre, a formal concert is not the place to take phone calls, text messages, surf the web, or play a game. If you must take a phone call, please do so between performance selections outside the auditorium. Remember to always silence or turn off cell phones to eliminate unwanted ring tones.

How to access parent/student information in Charms

  • Log on to www.charmsoffice.com, and click “ENTER / LOG IN” in the upper right corner.
  • Locate the “PARENT/STUDENT/MEMBERS LOGIN” section of the web page.
  • Login to your student’s program account using the following School Code: garlandchildrenschorus
  • This will bring up the main “Public” page. This will allow you to look at the “public” calendar for your organization, event list, and handouts and other “publicly shared” files, as well as a few other options.
  • The first time you go here, enter your child’s ID NUMBER (provided by your Director) into the Student Area Password field. You will be directed to the Change Password screen, to set a personal password different from the ID, for future use. You may also be directed to create both a unique Username and Password for the student. There are also mechanisms to recover/reset a lost Username/Password – when you create your new password, create a “hint” as well.
  • Whenever you enter using this Username/password, another more detailed screen appears, with various button options for you to access areas in the Charms account. What appears here is partially up to the Account Administrator or Head Director.

Update personal information

You can help the director/administrator maintain his/her records. If the director has allowed it, you may help make changes to your and your child’s student information page (such as updating phone numbers / cell carriers and email addresses if they change) to help them communicate with you more effectively. You may also be able to indicate which parent volunteer/resource groups you would like to participate in, if this feature is activated.

Click Update Info to save changes.

Why use Charms

The parent page assists both you and the teacher to communicate with each other. Stay up to date on what’s going on with your student!

Charms app

You can also download the Charms App to your smartphone – search your App Store for “Charms Parent/Student Portal” (or “Charms Blue”). It’s the way to stay in touch on the go!