High School

I would like to welcome you and your child to the choral experience at Northwest School of the Arts. I am very excited to have you as part of this program, and I look forward to the success and improvement of your child through hard work and dedication. This letter is to welcome you to the choral program at Northwest, to give you a brief overview of what to expect as a parent, and to tell you about my expectations as a teacher.

This is my fourth year of teaching chorus and music theory at Northwest and my twelfth year overall. Last year, we gave your students a great plethora of positive musical experiences. All of our ensembles performed at four school concerts and each of our chamber level ensembles represented us at civic events. At Music Performance Adjudication, all of our choirs performed above standard. Several of our individual students attended Mars Hill, All-Carolinas Choir, CMS Honors Chorus and North Carolina Honors Chorus. Dozens of our students participate in multiple ensembles in our school, including instrumental ensembles and musical theatre. There are some truly wonderful experiences in store for our young singers in the coming year as we increase opportunities for learning in music.

My expectations of your child are quite simple. I expect that your child work hard, and be an asset to the ensemble to which they belong. In order to succeed, and earn satisfactory grades, your child should abide by the principles mentioned in this handbook including classroom rules, concert etiquette, practice at home, succeeding in assessments of accountability, etc. It is my philosophy that a student in a music class should learn principles in the musical setting that lead to success as an individual in everyday life, and that principles used in other classes should also be used in choir, such as mathematics, history, social skills, and language. My best interest is in your child’s success as a student, and as a human-being. There is a great deal of character development that comes with being a member of choirs at Northwest. As long as your child abides by the guidelines set forth in this handbook, you as a parent can expect a successful student with satisfactory grades and with an improving ability to perform music.

There are many opportunities for you as a parent to contribute directly to the quality of your student’s choral education. We need parent volunteers to serve on our Booster Club board, to help as chaperone on trips, to help with the distribution of fundraisers, to supervise students during concerts, and to provide support at various events. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time should you desire to assist us.

Historically, some of our biggest hang-ups are caused by issues concerning transportation. In summary of what is mentioned later in the handbook, it is essential that we maintain open lines of communication so that everyone is aware and prepared for coming events.

In past years, students have ended the year wishing they possessed a stronger understanding of music reading. This year, every choir will begin with an extensive music reading workshop. At times, students find the acquisition of this knowledge extremely challenging. At the beginning of the year, my schedule for tutoring is very open, but it closes fast. I encourage any student in need or with questions needing extra attention to come and see me.

Should you have any questions at all concerning this handbook, the choral program, your child’s progress, or any concern at all with which I can help you, please do not hesitate to contact me at the school, or to see me personally. My school address is stephanier.madsen@cms.k12.nc.us.  Thank you for your time and cooperation, and I look forward to working with you and your child.


Stephanie R. Madsen