UPDATE FROM MR. KEELER

Hello Parents and Students, 

 

First and foremost, congratulations on a successful audition! The Show Choirs at NWR are growing! Reflection has the largest membership in history - 45 amazing young ladies and Rhapsody will be making the move to the very competitive large division. Although the end of 2019-2020 academic was different than we would have imagined, I am encouraged by the overwhelming response to digital auditions. 

 

I hope that you all are enjoying your summer as we begin to experience somewhat of a sense of normalcy. I hope that you all are well and staying safe as we all continue to navigate school and activities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. I had hoped that I would have more finalized information to include in this email, but RCSD is still in the process of planning what the start of school will look like. Last week, Dr. Townsend sent an email outlining possible plans for a restart for our school district. Although there has been no decision made about how RCSD will restart, I have taken the time to brainstorm approaches to Show Choir and Concert Choir based on these possible restart plans. In this email, I’ll go through each approach and offer a quick run-down of how the show choir will look for each scenario. Please understand that at this point, this is all speculative. I won’t have any concrete plans for our group until we have direction from NWR and RCSD administration. I’ll also outline what financial commitments will look like as we go into this year. 

 

Option #1 - Enhanced Traditional Plan 

 

Should we return to school under the enhanced traditional plan, both show choirs will resume with the concept of producing a competition show. This means full costuming, sets, lighting, and staging. I have registered NWR Show Choirs for Jackson Preparatory, Jackson Academy, Northeast Jones (we may travel to Albertville if out of state travel is allowed), West Jones, and Madison Central, and Biloxi. We still have our deposit on file with Show Choir Select. This would be our destination trip. I am a member of the Mississippi Show Choir Association. We have been meeting via Zoom regularly and are having conversations about how show choir contests will look this year.  We will follow all protocols in place for RCSD, and rehearsals will be divided into sectionals / small groups as much as possible. School performances will be multi-night with limited audiences. We will use an online ticket reservation site and there will be no “at-the-door” purchasing of tickets.  

 

Option #2 - Social Distancing / Hybrid Plan 

 

If we return and use the combination of distance learning/face to face learning, I will assemble a show that can be performed through a combination of individual learning and face to face learning. Materials will be available on Canvas/Google Classroom, and choreography videos will be available and vocal sessions will take place on-line. Students will be able to access music digitally and will be provided with materials needed for the competition year (this Canvas shell will also be available if we implement the traditional plan in the case of emergency school closures). Costuming and rehearsal shirts will still be purchased for rehearsals and possible performances. Performances will be multi-night with limited audiences. We will use an online ticket reservation site (this is already in place and used for the Madrigal Feaste) and there will be no “at-the-door” purchasing of tickets.  

 

Option #3 - Full Distance Learning Plan 

 

If we enact the Full Distance Learning Plan, all materials for show choir will be available on-line through the Canvas shell. Tuition will be used as a “class-fee” that will include music materials, the purchasing of software, and the creation of virtual videos/recordings that will be created. Students will have assignments to complete each week and will have access to choreography, music, and virtual voice lessons. Students will also have assigned times for sectional and dance rehearsals with music and choreography staff. 

 

Other Items / Information 

 

1. We will make sure that everyone is set-up in our CHARMS online system. At this time, I am asking that parents begin sending in payments for the 2020-2021 competition season. Regardless of which plan is enacted by RCSD, we will still procure arrangements, enlist the professional expertise of choreographers, and need to purchase rights for the music. As more information becomes available, I will advise parents in the continuance of payments. The tuition for the 2020-2021 competition season is $2,000. This is an inclusive fee that includes our destination trip. Right now, I am asking every member to make the initial deposit of $400.00. After the deposit is paid, there will be 4 payments of $400.00. By making the initial payment of $400.00, I will begin ordering materials that we will use if any of these scenarios are realized. Students will have access to choreography videos, music arrangements, the Smart Score music program, and My Choral Coach music software and be provided with rehearsal t-shirts (we will use these for in-person rehearsals and any virtual productions that we realize). Please have this payment posted/submitted by July 15, 2020. 

 

2. At this time, there is not a concrete date for Show Choir Choreography camp because we have not been given the go-ahead to assemble in person in groups larger than 10. After consideration, it is not equitable to meet with students in this manner. If we are able to meet in person after July 15, we will make plans to have Show Choir Choreography Camp July 26 - August 1, 2020. Camp would look like this 

-Rehearse in Sections (example, Sopranos from 9-12 p.m., Altos from 1-3 p.m.) with time to properly disinfect space between rehearsals 

-Rehearse Boys Only/Girls Only 

-Hold rehearsals simultaneously by utilizing the Vine St. Cafeteria/PAB/Vine Street Choir Room 

-Prepare Video Rehearsals for Choreography before/after rehearsals to help reduce rehearsal/face to face time in the room

 

3. If you are a returning member, you can use your credentials for CHARMS to login to your account. The CHARMS portal is located at www.charmsoffice.com. The school code for Northwest Rankin is NorthwestRankinChoir. If you don’t remember your credentials, please email me and I will reset your account.

 

4. If your child is new to the NWR Choral Program, your account is not yet created. Please give is about a week to create your account. We will send you an email with instructions on how to access your CHARMS account. 

 

5. If you wish to mail your payment, you can send it to our treasurer. Please contact me at ant501@rcsd.ms for Mrs. Bell's email address.

 

6. You may also make a secure payment via PayPal on our website. This payment will be processed by PayPal and will be added to your CHARMS account. 

 

Consultations

At some point during the summer, I will be setting up individual vocal consultations via zoom to better acquaint myself with the talents and abilities of the group, set individual goals for student success, and discuss strengths and weaknesses based on audition submissions. This will be very beneficial for students and for me as we work to plan for the academic year, whatever that may entail. Please look for a google doc to sign-up for time slots. Meeting invitations via zoom will be sent to both students and parents.  This is very important as we finalize show design, consider solo opportunities, and finalize vocal selections. 

 

I hope that this information has been helpful. Although different, I am still very optimistic about Show Choir for the 2020-2021 academic year. I am confident that we will rise to the occasion and make beautiful music and wonderful memories. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me. During the summer, I check my RCSD email 1-2 times each week and will do my best to respond to questions in a timely manner. 

 

Musically, 

 

 

 

 

 

Toney Keeler 

Director of Choral Activities 

Northwest Rankin High School at Flowood

Inspiring Learners, Developing Leaders

©2020 Northwest Rankin Choral Music.