OSUYC Handbook

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2017-2018 OSU Youth Choirs Handbook


Preparatory Choir: This choir is designed to provide emerging singers with beginning­ level choral music instruction. Group focus includes developing good posture, tone, breath management, and music reading skills. Performing opportunities are fairly limited in this ensemble.

Concert Choir: This choir is designed to provide upper elementary through junior high singers with more advanced musical experiences. Group focus includes 2 and 3­part treble singing (SA and SSA) along with continuing development of vocal technique, musicianship, and performance skills.

Belle Voci: This choir is designed for high school­aged singers. It is dedicated to the study of advanced choral literature for mixed voices (SAB and SATB) along with musicianship and performance skills.


Placement hearings are required in order to place each singer in the appropriate choir based on vocal maturity and experience. The hearing lasts approximately ten minutes, and no preparation is necessary. The conductor will ask the child to sing a familiar song and to echo simple tonal patterns in order to ascertain his/her vocal independence. Placement hearings will be held at the beginning of each semester for new members if openings


There is one required Parent Meeting at the beginning of the choir year. Each singer must be represented by at least one parent or guardian in order to participate in OSUYC this season. This is your opportunity to learn more about the year’s activities and to volunteer to help. The chorus welcomes parental involvement, and we depend on your support.

Parent volunteers are needed for the following duties/activities:

  1. to monitor the hallways before, during, and after rehearsals;
  2. to prepare and/or serve refreshments for special events;
  3. to assist with various projects and activities such as: concert receptions,  fund raising, uniform assistance,  travel planning, record keeping

Rehearsal Times and Location:

All rehearsals are held in the Seretean Center at Oklahoma State University unless otherwise specified. Rehearsals are held from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday evenings.  Singers should arrive for rehearsals at least 10 minutes before the rehearsal begins. Singers may enter the building through the north, east, or south doors. They should go straight to their choir rooms when they arrive. Parents should clearly inform singers where they will be picked up after rehearsals. For safety reasons, we prefer that singers are picked up on the north side of the building so that the staff can monitor them.

Note: Food, sodas and gum are NOT allowed in rehearsals or concerts. Bottled water IS permitted. MUSICIANSHIP TRAINING

Musicianship training will be incorporated into every rehearsal to help singers build the necessary skills used in a choral setting. Students will explore and master rhythmic and tonal patterns so they can progress in reading and singing more challenging music.


An outstanding choir is made up of singers who:

  • Attend all rehearsals and performances
  • Arrive on time
  • Bring a positive attitude
  • Are committed to excellence
  • Are supportive of each other
  • Are dedicated to growing musically
  • Listen attentively during rehearsals
  • Always put forth their best effort

Note: If a singer continually forgets the rules or distracts others during rehearsals, he or she will receive a verbal warning and parents will be notified. Repeated offenses may result in dismissal from the choir without a refund of tuition.


Membership in OSUYC requires a commitment to attend all rehearsals and all performances. Any singers or parents who are unable to fulfill these expectations should reconsider their decision to join the program. Choral music is a group endeavor, and the absence of even one voice changes the dynamic for the entire ensemble. In addition, programs are planned for the entire year based on September enrollment. With these things in mind, it is understood that enrollment is for the 9­ month academic year.

Regular Rehearsals: Please consider that there are only about 15 rehearsals in each semester. This is very limited time considering the quantity, variety, and complexity of repertoire performed at each concert. Every minute counts. Please see that your singer is present and on time for each rehearsal. The flow of the rehearsal is disrupted when a singer walks in late.

Perfect attendance is the expectation for this organization. If an absence is unavoidable, however, please call or e­mail the choir secretary and leave a message before the rehearsal.

  • OSUYC Phone: 385-9373
  • Email: communitymusicschool@okstate.edu

Any singer who misses 3 rehearsals in one semester will jeopardize his/her continued membership in choir. The OSUYC staff keeps attendance records in order to reward singers for their efforts:

  • Perfect attendance: Singer will receive SPECIAL RECOGNITION at the final concert
  • 1st Absence: Singer will receive a “We missed you!” e­mail
  • 2nd Absence: Singer will receive an e­mail with a reminder of our policy
  • 3rd Absence: Singer will not be eligible to sing in the next concert

Note: Rehearsals and activities are open, and parents are welcomed to attend. If you wish to observe a rehearsal, please enter the choir room before the rehearsal begins and find a chair in the back.

Parking: Be careful where you park your car if you choose to attend a rehearsal. Parking in a staff lot anywhere on campus is prohibited until 5:00 pm; violators will be ticketed. After 5:00 pm, however, you may park on campus.

Friday Rehearsals: Once per semester, members of the choir are required to meet for a special Friday rehearsal. These events provide opportunities for the singers to polish their repertoire for the semester and to get to know each other better. These rehearsals usually include musical enrichment experiences in addition to singing. These count as regular rehearsals; attendance is required.

Performances: OSUYC Concert Choir and Belle Voci members usually have 1 ­ 3 concert appearances each semester. Attendance at these performances is REQUIRED. The “dress” rehearsal at the performance site prior to each concert is also mandatory. Singers who do not attend the “dress” rehearsal may not be allowed to sing in the concert. Singers who miss a required concert for reasons other than illness, family emergency, or a school ­related performance may forfeit their membership in the OSUYC. Concerts generally occur on weeknights but occasionally may occur on a Sunday afternoon.

Late Policy: All singers must be picked up within ten minutes of the conclusion of the last scheduled activity. Beginning and ending times for all events will be announced in advance. The choir staff members have other obligations and it is unfair to make them supervise children who are not picked up on time. Singers who are waiting to be picked up should wait inside the Seretean Center rather than out in the yard or on the sidewalk. Singers who are consistently picked up late may be dismissed from the choir. It is our sincere hope that all children will be picked up on time and dismissals will not be necessary.


The OSUYC program is designed to provide quality choral music experiences. Tuition and enrollment fees help to cover the cost of music and supplies, hire a professional staff, and provide each singer with a choir t­-shirt. Please note: Membership in OSUYC is a 9 ­month commitment, but tuition is payable by the semester. Families with will receive a 10% discount per singer on tuition.

Enrollment Fee: A $15 (per singer) non­refundable annual enrollment fee is due Tuition Fees:
$100/semester due prior to the first rehearsal.  Students that join the program late will be considered for a prorated tuition based on start date.

Uniform Cost: Some pieces of the concert uniform are provided by the program. The rest of the uniform is the responsibility of the singer’s family. The cost of the choir uniform is usually under $50.00 depending upon the size. Details on how to purchase the concert uniform will be provided in a handout at the beginning of the choir year. Some uniform items must be purchased through the company selected by the Choir Staff. Please do not purchase those items from any other source.


Financial aid may be available for those members who need assistance with tuition. You may contact the OSUYC Executive Secretary to apply by the deadlines listed here. Partial scholarships are available for tuition only and will be awarded based on need and moneys available. Our goal is that no child will be denied membership because of an inability to pay. Families who receive scholarships are expected to volunteer their time in support of choir activities in exchange for financial aid. Scholarship Application Deadlines: Fall 2017 – September 27; Spring 2018 – January 31.


Casual Uniforms – The casual attire for all singers is a Oklahoma State University Youth Choir t-­shirt with blue jeans. All new members will receive a complimentary Oklahoma State University Youth Choir shirt after payment of registration and tuition. Choir shirts may be worn to school, to rehearsals, to “dress” rehearsals, and for casual concert appearances. Parents are welcomed to purchase t­shirts for themselves to help support and promote the organization.

Dress Uniforms – Just as the ensemble’s sound is important, so is the ensemble’s concert appearance. A well­ groomed, neatly uniformed ensemble is essential for a truly professional and artistic experience.

Concert Choir and Belle Voci Boys: Bow ties for the boys are provided by the organization. White, tuxedo wing collar shirt, black slacks, black socks, and black shoes complete the ensemble. Shirts are to be tucked in. Hair should be neatly groomed. Boys should wear no jewelry.

Concert Choir and Belle Voci Girls: Bow ties and cummerbunds for the girls are provided by the organization. Black skirts, white tuxedo blouses, black tights or hose, and black shoes complete the ensemble. Blouses are to be tucked in. Hair should be groomed away from the face. Girls may use natural (matching hair color) barrettes; but no bows, ribbons, or colored barrettes, please. Girls should wear no jewelry other than small stud earrings.

Prep Choir Boys: Ties are provided by the organization. Boys should wear black slacks, white long sleeve oxford shirt, and black shoes and socks. Shirts are to be tucked in. Hair should be neatly groomed. Boys should wear no jewelry.

Prep Choir Girls: Ties will be provided by the organization. Black skirts, white long sleeved shirt with a Peter Pan collar, black tights or hose, and black shoes complete the ensemble. Shirts must be tucked in. Rules regarding hair and jewelry in the previous paragraphs also apply.

Note: The choir occasionally sponsors a “uniform exchange” night. Retired members sometimes donate their uniforms to the organization, and this allows current members to “trade up” to a larger uniform size. Singers wishing to “trade up” should contact the OSUYC Executive Secretary.


Music and folders are purchased for the singers to use in OSUYC rehearsals. Folders may be checked out after a rehearsal for practicing at home and returned at the beginning of the next rehearsal. In the case of damage or loss, however, replacement will be the financial obligation of the singer.


Notes with vital information concerning OSUYC activities are regularly sent home with singers after rehearsals. Please ask your child for notes, then read them and post them as a reminder about concerts, event schedule changes, etc. Notes will also be sent out by e­mail. Please do not call the Music Office at OSU concerning OSUYC activities. Oklahoma State University is our gracious host but is not responsible for the maintenance of this organization.


If the Stillwater Public Schools are closed due to the weather on rehearsal day, rehearsals will also be cancelled. If in doubt, please call the Executive Secretary.


Special performances (such as invitations to sing at music education conferences or community events) may require extra rehearsals. A notice will be sent out at least two weeks prior to any extra rehearsal.


At the end of a choir member’s first year in our program, he/she receives a certificate and a choir pin. Each additional year a singer participates in the program, he/she receives a gold bar that attaches to the pin. Choir members are encouraged to wear their pins as part of their formal attire at each concert.


The winter and spring concerts are times when the Oklahoma State University Youth Choir is presented formally to the community. These performances are the culmination of much work, and the singers will be able to do their best with a quiet, attentive audience.

Alternative arrangements should be made for babies and small children if possible. Families with babies and small children in attendance should sit near the back of the auditorium, where a quick and quiet exit can be made if necessary.


Recruiting new singers keeps our program vibrant with new talent. Rehearsals and concerts provide opportunities to encourage involvement of new singers. Members of OSUYC are welcomed to bring a friend to rehearsal during the months of September and January, and to invite their friends to attend any of our concerts.


All policies presented in this handbook are designed to help Stillwater Honors Choir members achieve their fullest potential. Singers and parents who choose to join the organization are asked to demonstrate their understanding and support of OSUYC policies by signing a “Letter of Commitment” (attached). Please sign this letter and return it to the choir secretary after the mandatory Parent Meeting.

Oklahoma State University Youth Choir DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT

Please sign this letter and return it to the Choir Secretary after the Parent Meeting.

Thank you for choosing to be involved in the Oklahoma State University Youth Choir program for the 2017 – 2018 season. The policies presented in our handbook are designed to help Oklahoma State University Youth Choir members achieve their fullest potential as musicians and as members of society. Singers and parents who choose to join the organization are asked to demonstrate their understanding and support of OSUYC policies by signing this “Declaration of Commitment”.


Oklahoma State University Youth Choir was founded on the principle of providing excellence in choral music instruction. When a singer is invited to join Stillwater Honor Choir, the staff members make a pledge to that singer. Our pledge is to provide all singers with quality musical instruction in every rehearsal in order to help them become the best musicians they can be.


In return for our commitment to you, OSUYC asks each singer and parent to make their own personal pledge of excellence to our program. Achieving our potential requires teamwork. After you have read the OSUYC Handbook and discussed it with your singer(s), we ask that you sign this letter and return it to the choir secretary before Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017.

We have read the OSUYC Handbook and are ready to make a commitment for the 2017 ­2018 choir year (September – May). We understand that the success of the organization is dependent upon a high level of dedication from each singer and parent involved in the program. We agree to uphold OSUYC policies to the best of our ability.

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Signature of OSUYC member          Signature of parent                      Today’s date