Member Handbook

Our Mission

The Terre Haute Children’s Choir is committed to:

  • Providing musical enrichment resource to the children of the Wabash Valley and surrounding areas.

  • Providing proper voice training to interested children.

  • Demonstrating that children can sing quality literature at a high level of excellence.

  • Providing cultural enhancement to the Wabash Valley and surrounding areas.

  • Working with, enhancing, and building upon the musical experiences received by children from schools and churches.

  • Performing quality literature and furthering the choral art for the enjoyment of the singers and the contribution to the public musical life.

History

 

Mrs. Jane Conner, Retired Professor of Music Education at Indiana State University, founded the Terre Haute Symphony Children’s Choir in 1993. The ensemble joined the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra for a concert performance of Puccini’s opera La Boheme in the spring of 1993. Twenty-six singers, all the stage could accommodate, were accepted following open auditions. That single performance proved such an enormous success that the choir held auditions the following fall for a return appearance at the symphony’s Annual Holiday Pops Concert.

 

In May of 1996, Donald Dekker, Len Quinlan, and Emily Junkens submitted Articles of Incorporation to the State of Indiana. A Certificate of Incorporation was issued by the state on June 7, 1996, establishing the organization as a 501C(3) corporation. The choir was renamed The Terre Haute Children’s Choir.

 

Mrs. Conner retired as director of the Terre Haute Children’s Choir in May 2002. The Board of Directors appointed Dr. Todd Sullivan, as Mrs. Conner’s successor. Dr. Sullivan led the groups for the next year and a half. The THCC appointed Anita Gambill as Artistic Director from 2006-2010. Dan Tryon assumed Artistic Director responsibilities, fall 2010-2014. Anita Gambill resumed her role as Artistic Director in fall, 2014.

 

Organization

 

The Terre Haute Children’s Choir is a not-for-profit corporation. The Board of Directors exists to oversee the business of the corporation. We aim for the highest level of artistic excellence in choral performance, as we contribute to the cultural life of the community. We hope that this experience will form a firm foundation for a life-long love of music for both the singers and their families.

 

Board Members:

Michael Boswell, Paul Bro, John McIntyre, Petra Nyendick, Jenny Power, Tiffani Schmidt and Jim Slutz.

                                               

Staff:

Artistic Director: Anita Gambill                              

Assistant Artistic Director: Gayle McCullough

Choir Administrator:  Crystal Myers

 

Our Choirs

 

We use a traditional children’s choir model in the structure of our program. One look at any well-established children’s choir program and you will find numerous “choirs-within-a-choir”. We currently have three smaller groups within the larger Terre Haute Children’s Choir to better serve the needs of the students involved. As with any skill, good musicianship takes time and effort to learn. Our directors are skilled and experienced teachers who love working with children.  By spending time each week in separate choirs, the directors are able to give more individualized instruction according to the needs of their students.

 

 

Sing-Up!:  Ages 7 and up. This is a preparatory choir experience geared toward the child who is still learning to listen and match the pitch, develop their vocal range, and sing with a pure tone.

 

Lyric Choir:  Ages 9 and up. Singers learn basic vocal production, singing in-tune, how to follow along in their music, and how to blend with other singers to achieve a beautiful unison sound.

 

Treble Choir:  Ages 9 and up. Singers build on vocal technique and blending. They learn to harmonize through the use of two and three part music. Greater sight-singing skills are utilized.

 

Each choir will prepare several pieces to be performed at the final concert to showcase what they have learned. Each choir is to be appreciated equally; no one choir is more important than another. Students will be re-evaluated each year by the directors to determine if they are ready to move to another choir. As we grow, we will continue to expand our number of small choirs.

 

Membership and Attendance

 

Please Note: If Vigo County Schools or the ISU campus are closed or dismissed early due to bad weather, our rehearsal will be canceled.

 

Membership is open to children ages 7 through high school (unchanged voices) by private audition. Placement is based on ability of child to match pitch and sing in tune, produce a clear tone, and learn music quickly (tonal and rhythmic memory). Rehearsals are every Wednesday, 4:30-6:00 p.m., in the Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts, room 150.

 

The THCC will meet from September through May, with appropriate breaks for holidays. Consistent and punctual attendance is absolutely crucial to the success of each child and the overall success of the THCC. We expect all rehearsals to be a priority in each singer’s life. Students who are consistently late or miss more than 3 rehearsals in a semester may be removed from the choir. No more than three unexcused absences per semester will be allowed. 

 

Excused Absences Include:  illness, family emergency, or a mandatory school activity. Some absences, such as car trouble or sudden illness cannot be predicted. Our Dress Rehearsals and Performances are mandatory. Remember, choral music is a  “team sport”.  The other singers are greatly affected by those who are missing from the choir. Missing a performance may lead to removal from the choir. This will be at the discretion of the Artistic Director. It is your responsibility to call the Choir Administrator and leave a message as soon as possible at (812) 237-2528 or (812) 240-5328.

 

Dress rehearsals for the winter and spring concert are always held at the concert site. Notes will be sent home informing parents of the location, time, and date of performances and dress rehearsals. Please check the information sent home as to whether or not singers are to wear their uniform to a dress rehearsal.

 

Performances are held in venues throughout Terre Haute (i.e. churches, schools, conference centers, restaurants, nursing homes). We emphasize to the children that they should be on their best behavior whenever we are at a concert site. Singers should always wear their concert uniform or casual uniform to a performance.

 

Each semester there will be a final performance in which the choirs will perform all the music they have learned. These are special events! Please invite friends and extended family. There may also be several community performances each semester. This happens when the THCC is invited to participate in another event by a sponsoring group. We will always do our best to accommodate the schedule set up by the sponsoring group.

 

We want to respect the building and the ISU School of Music by cleaning up after ourselves and not bringing food or drinks (other than water bottles) into the rehearsal rooms. There should be no children running in the hallways or making excessive noise as ISU students, and staff, are working nearby.

 

Guidelines for Singers and Parents

 

Every rehearsal is important as new material is taught each week. When first arriving, singers should sign in with the Choir Administrator. Music folders will be provided. Please bring your music and pencil to each rehearsal. 

 

THCC members are expected to practice good choral discipline:

 

  • Attend every rehearsal (see attendance policy).

  • Be in your seat by 4:30 p.m.

  • Bring your music and a pencil to every rehearsal.

  • Listen carefully and follow instructions.

  • Blend your voice with those around you.

  • Keep your eyes on the director from the beginning to the end of the song.

  • Mark your music (pencil only) when the director gives instructions to breathe in a certain point, carry over a phrase, circle dynamic markings, etc.

  • When practicing a song, stand or sit tall.

  • Have a positive attitude.

  • Be kind to all THCC singers.

 

Students in the THCC are expected to work hard and pay attention in rehearsals. Our singers are very well-behaved. Occasionally, a child will be disruptive to the rehearsal. If this occurs, the following actions will be taken:

  1. Verbal warning.

  2. Student sent out of rehearsal room.

  3. Phone call to parent.

  4. Meeting with parents, singer, and director.

  5. Removal from THCC.           

Student cell phones must be turned off and put away during rehearsals and performances. When notes to parents are passed out at the end of rehearsal, give them to your parents the same day. We cannot memorize all the music during our group rehearsals. In addition to our regular rehearsals, singers will need to practice at home.

If a singer is hoarse, he/she should bring a written note and observe quietly and attentively. Much can still be learned by listening and following along with the music.

Expectations of Parents

  • Commit to the success of your child within the THCC and help them follow the student guidelines.

  • Bring children on-time to rehearsals and performance call-times.

  • Read the entire information sent home. Notes about concerts, schedules, special events, and requests for help are sent home often. The answers to your questions are almost always found in the materials sent home with your child. You may also check the THCC website or our Facebook page for current information.

  • Post rehearsal dates and times and performance information in a prominent place, and transfer the dates to your family calendar.

  • Be positive and encouraging of your child to do his/her best.

  • Attend concerts in support of your child. Invite others to attend as well!

  • Pay tuition on time. Failure to pay tuition in the time allowed may result in your child being removed from the choir.

  • Complete required forms and submit to administrator.

  • We depend heavily on email for communication. Printed handouts will be kept to a minimum because of the waste involved. It will be important for the primary contact to check email often. If you don’t, you may find yourself uninformed.

The purpose of the choir is all about giving the children a great experience with music and an encouraging place to grow in their abilities. Gossip about a THCC child, parent or director tears down the organization and will not be tolerated. Legitimate concerns should be taken directly to the person involved. Anyone spreading misinformation or making hurtful remarks will be addressed by the director, the choir administrator, and, if necessary, the board of directors. Any conduct by a parent that is detrimental to the overall success of the THCC may result in your child’s dismissal from THCC.

 

Approved: November 2016

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