The Classes & Academics

Northwestern High School Concert Choir

The Course

The Northwestern High School Concert Choir is the main vocal performance group at Northwestern, and is comprised of beginning/intermediate-level singers in Grades 9-12, most of whom are new to the vocal music program. The ensemble appears as the "Mixed Chorus" on students official course schedule, and is an every-other-day course which meets on B-Days during Period 1B. No audition is required for this ensemble. Students in the Mixed Chorus class learn fundamental vocal technique, ensemble skills, basic music literacy, and ear training through preparation and performance of a variety of appropriate repertoire. The Concert Choir performs several times throughout the school year and at festival adjudication in the Spring. For the first semester, only, the entire group will rehearse on alternating Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4:15pm until 5:30pm. Students who succeed in this course are invited to perform, travel, and to move on to the Advanced Ensemble. This group has a moderate regional performance schedule with light traveling engagements.

Prerequisite(s): There are no requirements for entry into this ensemble. A student does not need prior singing experience for participation in the Concert Choir.


Women's Uniform

Women enrolled in the Mixed Chorus (Concert Choir) are required to wear a special indigo-colored gown. The cost of the gown is $80. Students may elect to raise the funds to cover the cost of their uniform through fundraisers or begin payment installments beginning in the third week of September. The uniform must be paid in full and ordered by October 30th to have in time for the December concerts. Flat, black, closed-toe dress shoes shall be worn with the gown. Single white stud pearl earrings, are worn with the gown.


Men's Uniform

The uniform cost for men enrolled in the Mixed Chorus (Concert Choir) is $80. The uniform includes a white tuxedo shirt, black tuxedo pants, black tuxedo vest, and an indigo-colored bow tie. Students may elect to raise the funds to cover the cost of their uniform through fundraisers, or begin installments beginning in the third week of September. The uniform must be paid in the fall and ordered by October 30th to have in time for the December concerts. Black socks and black dress shoes, must be worn with the uniform.
Northwestern High School Advanced Ensemble

The Course

The Northwestern High School Advanced Choir or NHS Ensemble, is the principle touring/performing choir, which is comprised of advanced-level choir members in Grades 10-12. Singers in this group have progressed from the main Mixed Chorus and have advanced to the select Concert Choir class. Even though the course appears on students' schedules as "Concert Choir," this ensemble is not to be confused with the actual Concert Choir (Mixed Chorus). The Advanced Choir meets every-other-day on A-Days during Period 4A. The students in the Advanced Choir audition for enrollment in the ensemble or they rehearse with the ensemble during after-school sessions held each Thursday afternoon from 4:15pm until 5:30pm. This ensemble practices more challenging musicianship skills, ear training, and music literacy, while building developing vocal technique. This group performs an eclectic repertoire ranging from early choral music of the 18th century and beyond, to jazz, and ethnic music. This ensemble performs the most of the four choral groups and must maintain a high standard of choral singing and excellence. This group has an extensive out-of-school traveling and performance schedule.

Prerequisite(s): Entry into this select ensemble is through audition only or prior approval from the director.


Women's Uniform

Women enrolled in the Advanced Choir currently wear the same indigo gown worn by ladies enrolled in the Concert Choir. The cost of the gown is also $80. Students may elect to raise the funds to cover the cost of their uniform through fundraisers or begin payment installments beginning in the third week of September. The uniform must be paid in full and ordered by October 30th to have in time for the December concerts. Flat, black, closed-toe dress shoes shall be worn with the gown. Single white stud pearl earrings, are worn with the gown.


Men's Uniform

Gentlemen enrolled in the Advanced Choir wear the same uniform as the men enrolled in the Concert Choir. The uniform includes a white tuxedo shirt, black tuxedo pants, black tuxedo vest, and an indigo-colored bow tie. Students may elect to raise the funds to cover the cost of their uniform through fundraisers, or begin installments beginning in the third week of September. The uniform must be paid in the fall and ordered by October 30th to have in time for the December concerts. Black socks and black dress shoes, must be worn with the uniform.

The Course

The Women's Choir is a brand new beginning/intermediate-level soprano and alto female ensemble, that meets every-other-day during Period 4B. The ensemble is open to females in Grades 9-12, with no prior choral singing experience required. This full-year course offers instruction in intermediate vocal techniques, score reading, and also includes study and performance of two and three part SSAA choral literature. This ensemble will not have an assigned after-school rehearsal schedule, initially; all repertoire will be prepared and learned in-class, during the academic school day — the exceptions may be preparations for the Winter & Spring Concerts, as well as festival adjudication in the Spring. Students will be eligible to participate in the county-wide vocal solo and ensemble assessments, and are required to participate in the spring choral assessment festival. Students enrolled in the Women's Chorale are eligible to sing in the Concert Choir, and with prior authorization, the Advanced Ensemble for the more seasoned performer.

Prerequisite(s): There are no requirements for entry into this ensemble. A student does not need prior singing experience for participation in the Women's Chorale.


Women's Uniform

Ladies enrolled in the Women's Choir will eventually wear a brand new uniform, exclusive to the group. No specific uniform has been selected, as of yet. Once the new uniform is approved, students may elect to raise the funds to cover the cost of their uniform through fundraisers or begin payment installments.

Enhanced Instruction

Applied Music ("Zero Period")

All Choir students enrolled in the Center for the Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) are required to take a "zero period" Applied Music course, at the start of each school day. This course is not a requirement, nor is it available to non-CVPA students. This zero period course is held before first period, therefore CVPA students start their school day approximately 45-minutes earlier than the general population. To accommodate this academic requirement, special CVPA school buses are provided to all program students. This course generally negates the need for an after-school rehearsal.

Voice Training

All students in the Northwestern High School Vocal Music Program, are encouraged to study voice, privately, especially for juniors and seniors in Grades 11 and 12. There are local teachers who charge minimal fees to help students prepare for college vocal auditions. Each student in the VPA Choir, will prepare vocal solos and have some private vocal coaching, however, students who intend to study vocal music at the college/university-level, should begin the Fall of their JUNIOR year, preparing for those auditions.

Music Theory & Basic Piano

Students enrolled in the Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, as well as the Jim Henson School of Arts, Media, and Communications at Northwestern High School, have the opportunity of choosing music as an academic "major," and should enroll in the Musicianship I & II courses or the Advanced Placement Music Theory & Piano Lab course, that's available at the school. Students should speak with their guidance counselors or consult with Mrs. Lowery Fitzhugh or Ms. Jones, about these options.

Vocal Music Jury

Voice and instrumental music majors enrolled in the Center for the Visual and Performing Arts are required to take what are called, "juries," each winter of the new year. Juries are essentially the music equivalent of statewide standardize written testing. Students practice with their private tutors during the first semester, to eventually perform before a panel of jurors who will assess their progress thus far in their studies. This is graded an will go towards students CVPA Certificate.

Northwestern High School Choir

The Northwestern High School Concert Choir in performance at the 2011 Superiors Concert held at Northwestern.

About Us
The Northwestern High School Choir is comprised of two performing ensembles with students in Grades 9-12, which includes our auditioned performing/traveling choir, the Visual and Performing Arts Choir, and our main Concert Choir. The Friends of the Northwestern Choral Society (FNCS) is a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) non-profit division of our vocal music program, which serves to provide financial and operational support to the Choir.
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Friends of the Northwestern Choral Society  |  Northwestern High School Choir
7000 Adelphi Road • Hyattsville, Maryland 20782
Phone: 301-985-1820 ext.2269  |  E-mail: officers@friendsofnhschoirs.org  |  Web: www.friendsofnhschoirs.org



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