Anatomy of a Chorus Class 

Girls’ Chorus is an elective offered to 7th to 12th Grade Students. (Boys’ Singing Group is also offered to 7th-12th Graders and the groups often collaborate.)

Mrs. Katherine Vargas, the Middle and Upper Division Chorus Teacher, explains what goes on during a typical 45-minute chorus class in five short videos.

We start with vocal warm-ups and exercises to teach vocal pedagogy. Vocal warm-ups are just like stretching before you exercise. The exercises that teach vocal technique are intended to promote correct breathing for singers, proper resonance on the vowels, articulation of the consonants, and beautiful tone—or what the voice sounds like.

After this, we work on our repertoire.

In the Highlands by Eugene Butler. This is a piece that we just started learning to help teach phrasing and blend as a Choir. The lyrics are by Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, and they appear in Songs of Travel and other verses. The poem by Stevenson describes the beauty of the Scottish Highlands.

Homeland by Gustav Holst and arranged by Z. Randall Stroope, text by Sir Cecil Spring-Rice is a piece that we just started learning to perform at our Veterans Day Assembly. The piece uses the music Jupiter from Holst’s Planets Suite and applies a patriotic text.

Here we are listening to a new piece we will be singing with the boys’ singing group Libera Me from Gabriel Faure’s Requiem.

Finally, we ran through a piece from another movement of Faure’s Requiem, Pie Jesu. This piece is showing greater mastery of dynamics, phrasing, blend, etc. as we’ve moved beyond learning notes and rhythms to understanding how to express the Latin text through musical ideas.

Mrs. Vargas’ chorus class will be performing at the following events and assemblies:

    • Founders Day Assembly on Thursday, October 8
    • Veterans Day Assembly on Friday, November 9
    • Thanksgiving Assembly on Friday, November 16
    • Winter Concert on Thursday, December 6
    • Grandparents’ and Special Friends Day on Friday, January 18
    • K-12 Musical on Friday, March 15 – Saturday, March 16
    • Cabaret Night on Friday, April 26.