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Choir Handbook

Music is...

Music is a Science

It is precise, and it demands exact acoustics.  A conductor’s score is a chart, or graph,

which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody and harmony all at

once and with the most exact control of time.


Music is Mathematics

It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time, which must be done instantaneously,

and not worked out on paper.


Music is a Foreign Language

Most of the terms are in Italian, German, or French; and the notation is certainly not

English, but rather a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to

represent ideas.


Music is History

Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creation, often the country and/or

racial feeling.


Music is Physical Education

It requires extraordinary coordination of fingers, hands, arms and facial muscles, in addition to controlling the abdominal muscles and the respiratory system, all of which responds to the sound the ears hears and the mind interprets.


Music is all these things, but most of all,


Music is Art

It allows a human being to take all of these dry, technically boring (but difficult) techniques and use them to create feeling and emotion.  That is why your child should take music, not because we expect them to major in music, not because we expect them to sing all of their life, but—so they will be human, so they will recognize beauty, so they will be sensitive, so they will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good—in short, more life.


Music allows the soul to sing!

Link to CHoir Handbook

All of this information is included in our Choir Handbook pdf, which can be found here:

Choir code of conduct

Attendance Policy

Unlike other academic classes, your grade in choir is based largely upon your daily performance and participation.  It is impossible to “make up” missed classes. Unexcused absences from class rehearsals, afternoon rehearsals, and concerts will severely lower your grade.  Students with excessive absences may be asked to perform portions of their choral literature individually for a grade.  They must receive a passing grade on this assessment to perform with the choir in the concert.


Additional Rehearsals/Activities


Rehearsals are course requirements and are integral to our success.  Students will be given at least two weeks notice for all extra rehearsals, sectionals and activities.  Every effort will be made to minimize the amount of out-of-class time required.  




Concerts are the ultimate evaluation of many weeks of hard work and preparation.  They are an opportunity to demonstrate students’ achievement, skill, and growth as musicians. It is imperative that students attend every concert.  Concerts are a large portion of a student’s grade, and as stated above, an absence from a concert will lower a student’s grade dramatically. For educational and evaluation purposes, concerts may be recorded.  




Excused absences are accordance with DISD policy will not penalize a student’s grade as long as written notification is provided.  Documentation should be submitted to the school office and to Excessive absences may prevent a student from performing, at the discretion of the director.  Reasons for excused absences include: Personal Hospitalization, Family Death or Emergency, and Religious Holidays.  If an excused absence is anticipated, prior notification (7-10 days in advance) is required. If a student misses school on the day of a rehearsal, their rehearsal absence may be excused only if notification is given.  Acceptable notification must come from a parent or guardian and can be in the form of a signed note, phone call, or email. If prior notification from a parent or guardian is not received in a timely manner, the absence may not be excused.  To give notification for an absence, please contact the choir room:


In the event of a conflict with another school activity, it is the responsibility of the student to notify the sponsors of both activities.  The sponsors will then determine the student’s obligation. Multiple rehearsal absences may prevent students from performing or competing with the choir.


The following excuses will not be accepted:

  • “Had to work”—Plan ahead.  Work does not constitute an excused absence.

  • “Couldn’t find a ride”—Plan ahead.  Arrange a ride in advance.

  • “Forgot about it”—Keep up with your calendar.

  • “Just couldn’t come”—means you don’t really care.


Note: If a student is part of a school-sponsored internship, they must notify Mr. DeCutler immediately.  In the past, students have been able to participate actively in both an after-school internship and the choir, but this must be organized in advance.


Grading Policy


Daily Grade 40%


Daily Grades measure the continued effort and dedication toward our educational objectives or TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills).  Points are deducted for failure to meet TEKS objectives. Common deductions from the daily grade are caused by: talking, cell phone use, eating in class, chewing gum, not participating in class, tardiness, and being unprepared for class. 


Concert and Rehearsal Grade 40% (Tests – 25%, Six Weeks Test – 15%)


As stated above, concerts are the ultimate evaluation of students’ work and rehearsals are necessary for our success.  Students are expected to attend all rehearsals and concerts. These events are listed on the Calendar of Events. Students must arrive on time with all necessary supplies and stay for the duration of the event.  Absences follow the criteria listed above. An unexcused absence from a concert will result in a grade of ZERO and make it difficult, if not impossible, to pass the current six weeks. Students may be given the opportunity to complete an alternative assignment to replace the grade for a missed rehearsal.  Alternative assignments must be turned in on time or will not be accepted.


Assignments and Quizzes 20%


Assignments and quizzes will be given to monitor progress throughout the course.  Some of these include individual sight-singing tests, music theory tests, and written work in our choral scores.  Late work will be penalized 10 points per calendar day late.  



  1. RESPECT – Treat yourself, others, and your surroundings with care and respect.  Listen and respond appropriately. Be a positive contribution to the group.

  2. WORK HARD – Arrive on time prepared to work.  Depart only when instructed. Follow instructions immediately. 

  3. STAY FOCUSED – Do not have distractions such as cell phones, gum, candy, food, or drinks (except water in a bottle) during class.  Do not groom in class.




In a rehearsal, either in class or after school, students should strive to maintain the highest level of musicianship.  This goes beyond the basic rules listed above. Members of the choir should always contribute to the quality of the rehearsal.  They should: 


  • Encourage others and speak without negative comments or profanity.  

  • Respect the opinion of the director and accept constructive criticism positively.  

  • Learn your music and take care of your music and music folder.  

  • Ask questions when information or directions are unclear.

  • Show a desire to succeed.  




If a student fails to follow one or more classroom rules, the director assumes that they have temporarily forgotten what the rules are.  The director is more that willing to remind students what they have forgotten.  After several reminders, however, it becomes apparent to the director that a student’s “I forgot…” is actually “I don’t care…”.  


Be aware that repeated reminders will result in temporary removal from the choir room, parent conferences, disciplinary referrals, and permanent removal from the choral program at the discretion of the director.


Concert Etiquette


Parents and friends: With your help, we can set an atmosphere befitting the long hours of hard work our students have put into every concert.  It is extremely important that our audiences remain quiet and attentive so that each member of the choir can perform with the utmost concentration and skill.  Family and friends who come to support their chorister should not be distracted as they listen and enjoy the beauty of the human voice.


  • Please silence all cell phones, tablets, etc. for the entire duration of the performance.

  • If you bring young children to our concerts, please sit near an aisle so you can exit quickly and quietly if necessary.

  • Please do not talk during a song.  When a song has ended and you wish to comment, do so with a warm round of applause.

  • Do not yell at or draw attention to a choir member on stage.  Congratulate your student after the concert.




All members of the music department are expected to embody academic excellence and maintain academic eligibility throughout the entire year.  Eligibility is in accordance with UIL policies and requires a report card grade of 70 (60 for AP and pre-AP). Students will not be allowed to travel off campus for performances or competitions unless they are academically eligible.  Song tests will be administered periodically throughout the year in class and/or as homework. Failure of a song test may cause a student to be ineligible for performances or competitions.




It is traditional for choir to perform in formal, uniform attire.  Ladies will be issued a conservative, long dress and gentlemen will be issued a tuxedo and tuxedo shirt.  The choir’s appearance makes an impact on the audience. Students should keep their uniforms clean and wrinkle-free.  The ladies’ dresses and the men’s shirts may be machine-washed on the delicate cycle. Dresses should be laid flat or hung to dry.  The tuxedos may only be professionally dry-cleaned. Women should clean their dresses as needed, but at least twice a year, once during Winter break, and once before their uniform is returned.  Men must wash and iron their shirt as needed to keep it clean and nice. They must dry-clean their tuxedos as needed but at least once just before they return them.  This uniform belongs to the choir and students are expected to take proper care of it and return it in the condition it was issued.  If at the end of the year, a uniform is lost or damaged, the student must pay to replace it. Uniforms typically cost between $70-$130.


Additionally, ladies must provide BLACK, CLOSED-TOED DRESS SHOES (low heels or flats, please).  Gentlemen must provide a PLAIN, WHITE UNDERSHIRT, BLACK SOCKS, and BLACK DRESS SHOES (no athletic or tennis shoes allowed).  There should be no large or excessive jewelry and no facial jewelry of any kind. Ladies should not wear any earrings larger than a quarter, and men should not wear any earrings at all.


Arriving at a concert out of uniform will result in a significant grade reduction.  If a student is not presentable or is missing major parts of their uniform, they may not be allowed to perform.


Fundraising and T-Shirts


Our school budget only covers a portion of our annual expenses. We ask that everyone contribute at least $30 to kickstart our fundraising throughout the year. This money is used for group dinners, transportation, music, uniforms, accompanist services, Townview Music t-shirts, and much more. 

Each student will receive a Townview Music shirt that will be used as a uniform for more casual events.  This is their shirt to keep, but must be kept in good condition throughout the year.  When wearing the choir T-shirt for special events, students should also wear blue jeans unless otherwise directed.

The contribution is tax-deductible and can be made in cash, credit, debit, or through our online PayPal account. Families who choose to donate more than $30 will be assisting others who are unable to do so and will receive additional t-shirts as a "thank you" gift.


Special arrangements, such as payment plans, can be arranged if necessary.  To arrange for an online payment, schedule a payment plan, or inquire about anything else, please contact Mr. DeCutler via phone or email (972-925-6301,  


Sheet Music


Students will be issued a binder and choral sheet music throughout the year.  This music functions as a textbook for this class and should be taken care of.  Students should make notes in their music as we work in class, but as stated above, may only write lightly in pencil.  Music should be returned in the condition it was issued with all marking erased.  If students fail to promptly return music in that condition, they will be charged for its replacement.


Choir Websites


The choir website allows students to access information pertaining to the choir and contains links to our YouTube and SoundCloud channels.  Please visit the site at:  

Our YouTube channel is:

Our SoundCloud station is:

Our database is Charms Office, and it can be found at:


In Charms Office, you can find information and downloads such as the choir calendar and any financial records (including student balances and electronic receipts). On the top right corner, you will see the ENTER link.  Click Parents/Students/Members and enter “townviewhschoir” as the school code. On the next screen, enter your password. The default password is your student ID. The next screen will show links to financial records (“finances”), a copy of the handbook (“handouts”), and other features.  Not all of the links are active, but many will be activated as the year progresses.

Social Media


Through the past few years, Townview Music has launched a number of social media accounts, including Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, etc. Feel free to visit with the following @s:

Instagram: @townviewmusic

Tiktok: @townview_music

Facebook: Townview Music


Select Choirs


In the past, the Townview Choir has a select pop group called No Strings Attached.  This group is selected by audition in the fall or previous spring and rehearse after school throughout the year, with a variable schedule.  They often perform additional concerts at venues around the city.


Choir Officers


Student officers help the choir to be more organized and encourage leadership and peer mentoring.  Officers are selected by application in the fall and serve a term of one year. Officer positions include President, Vice Presidents, Secretary, Media Officers, and Section Leaders for each of the four voice parts.  Information and applications are available at


Letter Jackets


Students will be given the opportunity to earn a letter jacket through active participation in choir events.  Points will be awarded for specific events. Please see the website for a list of activities and their point values as well as pricing information for letter jackets.


Calendar and Forms


Students will be given a choir calendar and forms that must be filled out and returned.  The calendar contains a list of all the anticipated events for the coming school year. As the school year progresses, the calendar will be updated and events may be added.  The calendar is subject to revision at any time throughout the year. Students will be given ample notification of any changes to ensure their participation.  


Please return these forms as soon as possible.  The Photography and Video Release Form asks you for your permission to use photographs for publicity purposes such as our website, YouTube, and the choir video.  Please make certain you are signing on the correct line. It is important for all students to be able to participate in music and we take the safety and security of our students very seriously.  Student information will not be published online and records are kept in secure, password-protected areas. Denying permission for your student to be photographed and recorded may jeopardize their involvement in performances.  Before denying permission, please speak with me.

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