A monthly glimpse into our classroom!

November Newsletter

We changed our name!


November was a productive month for sure! I can’t believe we only have a month of the semester left! Time to start planning next semester’s calendar and music!

But first, let’s look at November!

TakeNote Visits CHS

On November 5th, we had the opportunity to have Clemson’s female a cappella group, TakeNote, come perform for our choir class AND do a pop a cappella workshop! The girls got to learn one of their arrangements of “The Middle” and sing it with them! It was a cool experience to hold a piece of music in a genre they have never performed before. We had a great time!

Veteran’s Day Performance

Every year, all of the Chesnee performing ensembles participate in the Veteran’s Day celebration at our school. This year, we sang an arrangement of “My Country Tis of Thee” and we teamed up with the CHS orchestra to perform an awesome arrangement of “Mansions of the Lord.” It was a beautiful ceremony all around!

We love “Mansions of the Lord” so much that we added it to our winter concert program, and the girls will be singing it a cappella, WITHOUT a director!! They have really taken a liking to it, and have worked hard to make it a special performance!

All State Auditions

On Wednesday, November 7, I took 4 girls to audition for the SC All State Choir! We had a great day, and all of the girls were proud of their performance. We sadly did not have anyone make it this year, however, we had one soprano, Hannah, miss the score cut off by three points, and a soprano 2, Maggie, who received a perfect sight singing score! I’m super proud of them, and look forward to bringing more students to audition next year!

Honors Credit

At the November 13th District 2 Board Meeting, the board approved our choral program to receive honors credit! Next semester, our girls will receive honors credit as their ensemble will be considered our advanced group. We will also have a brand new choir next semester consisting of only new students. This organization of ensembles will allow for future growth of the choral program, and provide an opportunity for those students wanting a more in-depth and rigorous choral experience.

Name Change!!

As the girls and I started talking about the new honors credit choir, I felt the need to give them a new “identity.” I gave them a list of ensemble names that I collected from various high school choral program websites, and had them vote on the name they wanted their ensemble to be called. I rendered no opinion, as I was happy to let them be who they wanted to be! They unanimously voted on Viva Voce (viva vo-chay) which is Italian for “living voice.”

What’s funny about them choosing that name, is that it is the name of chamber ensemble I was in at Clemson when I decided I wanted to be a choral director. The group at Clemson is currently called Kantorei, but it’s still the same kind of group. :)

So with the honors choir being called Viva Voce, the new choir next semester will serve as a beginner/intermediate ensemble. They will be called Chesnee Singers!

I think it’s important to give the choirs an identity as it creates a sense of ownership among the group. And, it just sounds cooler when the choir has a name! Right?!

What’s left this semester?

We would love for you to join us for our Winter Concert on Tuesday, December 4th at 7:00pm in the CHS Auditorium. This will be the debut for the Voices of Chesnee community choir, as well as our first performance as Viva Voce! Admission is free, though we will be accepting donations!

Viva Voce will be performing at the Chesnee Elementary Fine Arts Night on December 6th at 6:30pm! We will sing some carols as well as some tunes from our Coffee House performance! We’d love to see you there!

Until next time!

Mrs. Brazell

October Newsletter

Clemson, Coffee House, and Craziness!

Hello, Chesnee Choirs friends, family, and followers!

October has been super busy but so much fun! It has probably been my favorite month yet. Here’s a look at all we accomplished:

Clemson - Ranky Tanky!

On October 2nd, we took a trip after school to my alma mater, Clemson University. We arrived at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts and received a short tour of the facility, and we got to sit in on the end of TakeNote’s rehearsal. TakeNote is the female a cappella group at Clemson, and the girls were enamored with them! TakeNote will be coming to our classroom to perform and work with us next week, and we are SO excited. Everyone loves pop a cappella, right?

After our tour we went to the Chick-fil-A on campus and had dinner. The walk from the Brooks Center to the Chick-fil-A gave the girls a small glimpse of the campus, which for some was the first time they stepped foot onto a college campus. Very exciting!

We ended our night seeing Ranky Tanky, a musical group from Charleston that shared the music, poetry, and culture of the Gullah communities of the low country. They were incredible musicians, and it was fun to sit back and listen to a concert without the pressure of completing an assignment for it, or even being the ones preparing the concert!

It was such a fun night, or as we called it, Girls Night Out! We’ll get to do it again next semester and see Cantus, a world-renowned choral group. I’m super excited!

Coffee House

We hosted our first Coffee House fundraiser on Tuesday, October 16th in the choir room. We rearranged the choir room to accommodate table seating, rows of chairs, a cozy stage, plenty of Christmas lights and lamps, and a buffet table of treats and coffee! Each act sang wonderfully, and without any nerves or stage fright! (Or at least they didn’t show it!) We made a little under $200, which will go towards audition fees for future honors choir opportunities. If you came out, thanks so much for supporting our program! If you missed it, come see us next semester! We will host one Coffee House per semester.

Clinic with Dr. Bernaducci

The Clemson Director of Choral Activities, Dr. Anthony Bernaducci, came to our classroom on Thursday, October 18th to work with our choir ladies for an entire class period! He showed them some unique vocal warm-ups, choral singing technique, and worked on some of their concert repertoire with them. Not only did the girls learn a lot, but I did too! We will definitely be incorporating some of the things he taught us into our daily rehearsals. He also brought us some Clemson Choral Exchange t-shirts! Who doesn’t love a free t-shirt?

Senior Recognition Assembly Performance

We were asked to sing the Chesnee Alma Mater at the Senior Recognition ceremony, which the entire school attends. With such a busy month behind us, we felt a lot of pressure to make sure it was polished and ready for their school-wide debut as an ensemble! I think we were all a little nervous, but as soon as they started singing the auditorium became silent, intently listening! They received much applause, and left with their spirits so high! I’m so proud of how much they have grown as a choir since August, and I am so glad they are proud of their group!

Looking ahead to November.

If you thought October was busy, wait until you see November!

First, TakeNote is coming to sing for us and teach us a little about pop a cappella performance. That same week, I’ll be taking 4 girls to audition for the SC All State Choir in Columbia. There, they will sing the audition piece in a quintet and then move to individual sight singing.

Then we will participate in the Veteran’s Day performance on Monday, November 12th, and then our Winter Concert is on Tuesday, December 4th at 7:00pm! We hope you’ll come hear our program! We’ve been working hard every day!

Until next month,

Mrs. Brazell

September Newsletter

A new look and lots of things to look forward to!

Greetings, Chesnee Choirs friends, family, and followers!

First of all, check out our new logo above!! Isn’t it cool? One of my friends from Mississippi is a graphic designer extraordinaire, and she offered to make us a custom logo for our choral program. Our new choir t-shirts will have this logo on it, and basically everything from now on will have this attached! I hope you like it as much as we do!

September has flown by! We have accomplished a lot and are preparing for so many exciting things happening next month! Here’s a look into our classroom:

Part Tests

Our choir ladies had their first part tests this month. This usually comes with a lot of anxiety and worry, but they all did such a great job!

(I smile and take selfies with them while they practice for part tests!)

A part test is when each singer has to sing their part in a trio, meaning we will have one Soprano 1, one Soprano 2, and one Alto singing at once. I like to do part tests for a number of reasons:

  1. It gets the singers practicing outside of school, or extra hard during school!

  2. It lets me know which sections of certain pieces may need a little more attention.

  3. It gives me a chance to hear each singer individually! Something we don’t always get to do in a choral setting!

Coffee House - Auditions and Preparation!

Last week we held auditions for solo and group acts for our Coffee House Fundraiser coming up on October 16th at 6:30pm in the choir room! You are really in for a treat! We’ll have several students doing their own sets of 2-3 songs, and we’ll do 2 songs together as a choir! It’s definitely going to be an event you’ll want to attend! Who doesn’t love coffee, treats, and live music?

(Us working on “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman for Coffee House. This was also on what I called “Freaky Friday” where I was tricked into thinking Adrian Acosta was filming for Clemson promotions, and they were all actually setting me up for public shock for the D2 Difference Makers. This is a whole different story, but I am very humbled by the award. To me, I’m just doing regular choral director things!)

Hey, speaking of coffee and treats…we will need some volunteer baristas that night! If you would like to be a barista please email me! The only skill required is knowledge of coffee makers! Your admission will be free if you are a barista! :)

We will also be bringing in baked goods, so if you are a baker and want to donate your delicious treats to our event…let us know!

Ranky Tanky at Clemson University

On October 2nd, the choir will be traveling to Clemson to see a show, Ranky Tanky! These free tickets were provided by the Clemson choral department as part of our partnership with the Clemson Choral Exchange program. The girls will get a tour of the performing arts center, we’ll have dinner at Chick-fil-a (suggested by the choir…), and then we’ll see the show! It’s a nice girl’s night out, and we are pretty excited about it!

Later in October we will have Dr. Bernaducci from Clemson come do a clinic with our choir, and eventually the female a cappella group, TakeNote, will be coming to sing for the girls as well! I’m going to see if they’ll teach us one of their songs so we can all experience the wonders of pop a cappella together. Think Pitch Perfect, or if you haven’t seen that movie…that is your homework this weekend. ;)

Voices of Chesnee

We had such a great start in September! We doubled our membership in our second week, so I’m hoping the pattern continues! Our ages range from 6th graders all the way up! It is never too late to join, so if you would like a place to sing each week, VOC is the place to be! Monday nights at 6:45pm in the choir room! Bring family and friends!

Looking Ahead to October!

We’d love to see you for our fall Coffee House Fundraiser, October 16th at 6:30pm in the choir room! Admission is $5 which includes your ticket in, and any food and beverage you desire! :) Make sure it’s on your calendar!

For our official calendar, please visit: http://www.chesneechoirs.com/choir

That’s our news for now! Be sure to subscribe to this newsletter, the Chesnee Choirs blog for updates and announcements at http://www.chesneechoirs.com, and also follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @ChesneeChoirs.

August Newsletter

Choir thus far!

Greetings, Chesnee Choirs followers!

Welcome to our first monthly newsletter! Each month I will be sending out a short summary of what we have been doing in our rehearsals.

First, I must tell you that I am SO impressed with our singers thus far! I have given them a lot of new information in a short time, and they are exceeding my expectations and rising to the challenge!

This new information is mostly my methods of teaching music literacy. We use solfege (do, re, mi, fa, sol…etc) to read notes and pitches, and we use the Takadimi method of reading rhythms (ask a choir student what that is…it’s pretty fun!). We are able to use both of these methods to equip students to be able to sight read music without hearing it on a piano first. If I were a superhero, my power is definitely sight singing, and I love giving those powers to my students! It’s amazing to watch their growth through the semester, and even in these 2 short weeks!

Clemson Choral Exchange Program

This is something I am SUPER excited about!

The Clemson University Choral Department has created a new program where they “adopt” a high school choir for the year. As a Clemson alum, they offered it to my choirs first! With that adoption, here is what we get:

  • 2 choir and vocal clinics by Clemson faculty.

  • FREE tickets to one show at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts each semester. (And a tour of the facility!)

  • Tigeroar and TakeNote, the 2 pop a cappella groups at Clemson, will come to our school to perform.

  • A featured spot on the spring Clemson Choirs concert, and performing 1-2 pieces with the university ensembles.

I’m so excited for our students to be exposed to these great teachers, performances, and experiences!

Room Decorations

I will be the first to admit that I do not excel in visual art. I can barely write my name in cursive to sign a check. So, rather than leaving the walls empty or putting up random and unsightly decor, I sought the help of our singers.

The instructions were to find one quote about music and one quote about leadership that they liked, make it look pretty, and we would have a decoration day.

Well, decoration day came around and I was absent from school with a family emergency. I left it in my sub plans for the choir to spend the last 30 minutes making our back board look nice. And boy, did they deliver! Here is some of their work!

Looking Ahead to September

We have some fun things planned! We will have our a cappella choir auditions next week, and later in the month our choir class will start working on our Coffee House Fundraiser. Coffee House is where we turn the choir room into a cute cafe, fully stocked with refreshments and, yes, coffee, and perform some solo, duo, and group pieces! We’ll have music, art displayed, and hopefully some poetry or creative writing readings! You’re definitely going to want to come to this!

For our official calendar, please visit: http://www.chesneechoirs.com/choir

That’s our news for now! Be sure to subscribe to this newsletter, the Chesnee Choirs blog for updates and announcements at http://www.chesneechoirs.com, and also follow us on Instagram at @ChesneeChoirs.

-Mrs. Brazell

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