"Take Note"

Carmel High School Choir Newsletter - March 27, 2023

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23-24 Choir Rosters Posted Thursday

Starting at 6:00pm, on Thursday, March 30th, students will be able to log into www.carmelchoirs.org to view their choir assignments for the 2023-2024 school year. A link to the lists will be posted on the homepage of the website.

This is always a very exciting day for some students, and a very difficult day for others. It also tends to be the same emotional roller coaster for parents. We take this opportunity to remind all of you that Carmel’s Choir Program is one of the largest, and therefore most competitive, programs in the entire country. It is particularly competitive for girls. Many girls dream of making it into Accents or Ambassadors, and some never will. There are only about 25 spots for girls in Ambassadors and around 50 for girls in Accents. There are over 300 girls in the choir program, so you can see that the odds are not high that many girls will make it.

Please know that we MUST determine placements in the various choirs by evaluating the student’s performance in their audition and on how we have seen them perform in class throughout the year. If we start to base placement off of anything else, we are setting up the program for extreme favoritism and an eventual lowering of the overall quality of the groups. We cannot just pick the “outgoing kids” who volunteer to help and who have parents who often volunteer. This would be completely unfair and goes against everything that we stand for as educators. We sometimes take “seniority” into consideration, but only when scores are nearly equal. The audition process is complex and includes many components. Of course, students need to sing well and in tune, but beyond that, they must show excellent musicianship skills in their knowledge of music theory, rhythmic and melodic sight-reading, and in tonal memory. For the competitive show choirs, they must also prove that they can learn choreography quickly and execute with high energy and enthusiasm. We have many students who sing beautifully, but struggle with these other parts of the audition process and those lower scores cause them to not make those upper level groups. We also have many students who are fabulous dancers, but are still struggling with their vocal technique and therefore do not make the competitive show choirs.

Students get very nervous in the one-on-one audition and sometimes, unfortunately, do not sing or sight-read to the best of their ability. Although this is always disappointing when it happens, we cannot just boost their score based upon what we see each day in class. If we did that, what would be the point of auditioning at all? Part of being ready for the highest-level ensembles at Carmel, is being able to make it through the audition process and conquer those nerves.

Please know that as choral directors with a combined 40 years of experience, the students’ proper placement and positive experience is at the very heart of every decision that we make. It is so important that students are placed in an ensemble that is the right level for them. They need to feel comfortable and able to contribute. They also need to be challenged to continue to grow. If they are placed in an ensemble that they are not ready for, they will realize very quickly that everyone around them is moving at a faster pace, and they will feel out of place and discouraged. This is a terrible position to put a student in. If they are placed in an ensemble that is too far below their level, they won’t feel challenged and will not continue to improve musically. Just because a student “wants” to be in a certain group, does not mean it is the best place for them to be, or that they are ready to be there. We also know better than the students what the expectations are of each choir, so sometimes students may think they are ready for an ensemble, but we recognize that they are not. It is our job to use our professional training and knowledge to best determine their proper placement.

We realize it is hard to not “get what we want when we want it”, or to “not be with all our friends”. We realize there will be some broken hearts this week. This is always a very difficult week for us as well. We ask you, as parents, to use this as an opportunity to help your sons and daughters find perspective. Discuss with them the positives of continuing to work towards goals. Try to help them see the ways that they can step into leadership in whichever ensemble they are in. Try to remind them that they joined choir because they have a passion for music and performing, and no matter what group they are in, they will still have that opportunity. One of our favorite reminders at this time of year is that “if it doesn’t open, it’s not your door”.

Here at Carmel High School, even our most introductory ensembles get opportunities that most advanced ensembles at other high schools do not. No matter what ensemble students are in, they will learn quality literature. They will get to work with nationally known clinicians and choreographers. They will make new friends and develop a community of friends who share their love of music. They will get to wear amazing costumes and have the chance to perform for thousands of people. They will be challenged and nurtured by teachers who care for them and help them to reach their full potential. These are core beliefs that we are committed to providing for all of our students. If they truly want to make music, grow as a performer, meet friends, and have great performance opportunities, they will get this opportunity no matter which ensemble they are in.

If students would like feedback on how they can continue to improve in future auditions, the choir instructors will be available during SSRT and before or after school during the fourth quarter. They can reach out to their director and set up a time to discuss their strengths and weaknesses one on one to help them reach their future goals in the Carmel Choir Department. Since this was a closed audition process between the students and teachers only, we will conduct audition feedback meetings with students only, as they will truly be the only ones who can think back on their audition and understand the critique. Their own self-evaluation is another important step in this process. Students are welcome to even record the feedback so that they can share it with their parents or private instructors. Teachers will not be replying to emails or phone calls regarding audition placements until after Spring Break, and we ask you to please respect our privacy during this much-needed down time.

We have had a wonderful year getting to know these students, and we are looking forward to more fabulous opportunities to make musical memories in the 2023-2024 school year. Thank you for your trust in us as teachers and thank you for your continued support for the program.


Kathrine Kouns, Kyle Barker, & Anna DeBard

Directors of Choir

Carmel High School

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Select Sound Performs at Feinstein's at the Hotel Carmichael

Select Sound will present an encore performance of their Ear Candy Concert at Feinstein's Restaurant and Cabaret at the Hotel Carmichael on Sunday afternoon, April 23 at 3pm. Tickets are limited to this very special event, so don't wait purchase at the link below.


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Slideshow Volunteer Needed

Looking for a volunteer to assist with creating the Senior Slideshow for the end of the year awards ceremony, If this is within your skill-set and you are interested in helping, please email Katie Kouns at kkouns@ccs.k12.in.us and she can give you more information.
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ITALY Choir Trip 2024

We have just received word that our International trip has been approved!. The Carmel Choir Program will be assembling a "tour choir" that will rehearse outside of school hours starting in May of 2023 and then will travel to Italy during Spring Break of 2024 to perform in multiple cities. The "tour choir" will be made up of 10th - 12th grade students who demonstrate a high level of musical ability, strong sight-reading skills and vocal technique, reliability, consistent integrity and moral character, and the availability to meet the rehearsal schedule and financial commitment of the trip. Students' dance abilities will NOT be taken into consideration since performances will include a strictly "concert choir" repertoire.

At this point, the directors are reviewing all audition results, as well as discussing the student's performance in their current choir. This coming Thursday, March 30, we will post a list of students that are eligible to be considered for the trip. We will also post the rehearsal schedule for the year, a ballpark estimate for the total cost of the trip, and a contract of expectations that students must meet in order to remain eligible. This contract will include expectations for discipline, attitude, musical comprehension and memorization, attendance, and academic performance in ALL classes. We will then give everyone the week of Spring Break to decide whether or not they feel they can meet the financial and disciplinary expectations for the trip, and commit to the rehearsal schedule. All students on the eligible list will need to return a google form accepting or forfeiting their position in the tour choir by April 10.

Once we see how many students can commit to participation, we will then determine whether or not we can take everyone. We are capping the trip to 100 participants. If we have more students than we can take who want to go, we will go back and look more closely at their ability level and take only those with and advanced capacity for learning the music quickly and performing it at a high level. We also have to consider having a balance of voices in the group, so we may have to cut people if we have too many in a particular voice part.

After reviewing all of this, we will post the final list of students who are invited to be a part of the tour choir by April 17. We will have a detailed itinerary, a payment schedule, and other information by mid-May when we will also have a mandatory meeting for participants and their parents. We will have a few rehearsals prior to the end of the 22-23 school year, and a few over the summer. In the Fall, a more regular weekly rehearsal schedule will begin to prepare all of the music.

We are excited for this great opportunity and we are already hard at work with the Music Travel company to secure incredible performance opportunities in multiple cities. At this point, it looks like the itinerary will include Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, the Vatican City, and potentially Vienna, and we would have performance opportunities in each city. More details will be published by the end of this week.

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Show Choir Camps of America Registration Open

We’d like to take this opportunity to invite your Carmel Choir student to attend Show Choir Camps of America this summer. This is a fabulous music enrichment opportunity that is available within a short drive. You can find the information at www.showchoircamps.com. Show Choir Camp is a wonderful opportunity for students to spend a week of their summer learning more about singing and dancing, working with master teachers and performers, getting to know other students with a passion for performing, and making memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. All three of the Carmel choir directors have been involved with Show Choir Camps of America for many years, and we cannot recommend it enough. Our very own Ambassadors & Accents choreographer, Dwight Jordan, is one of the founders of the camp and it has been in existence for over 30 years.

There are two camp weeks to choose from. The first is in Decatur, Illinois at Millikin University from June 18th – 24th. The second is in Tiffin, Ohio at Heidelberg University from July 9th – 15th. The camps are basically identical, but just in two separate locations. In the past, we have had a larger group from Carmel attending the Ohio camp, but last year some students opted for the Illinois camp and still had a great time. At least one of the Carmel HS Choral Directors will be attending the Ohio camp.

Hopefully, the following information will give you a better idea of what to expect during the week of camp. Students arrive on their own during registration hours on the first Sunday of camp. Registration usually begins around 12pm and goes until 4pm, but we recommend arriving early to avoid lines, get settled into your dorm and audition for additional ensembles if interested. On the registration day, students are assigned to a specific dorm on campus. They will have one roommate, and they can request a specific person in advance if they want.

Once they are settled in their dorm, on the first night (Sunday), there is a guest show choir that does a performance for the camp. There is also a meet and greet activity for the kids to get to know their counselors and clinicians. Monday morning, they are assigned to a performance group and they begin rehearsals. These groups are not leveled by ability. In fact, they are a deliberate mix of students from all levels of singing and dancing background. Their days are made up of rehearsal with their group and workshops that they can choose. There is a wide variety of workshops throughout the week. Some are vocal, some are related to dance, some focus on audition techniques, song-writing, tricks and lifts...you name it. They can choose one to attend each day. They eat their meals in the campus cafeteria and there's a great selection of food at each meal. Evenings consist of guest performance groups, including show choirs, Broadway performers, college acappella groups, talent shows, etc. Every night is something new and fabulous. They also have dances and social events with the other campers. There is a vocal jazz group that the students can try out for, as well as a dance ensemble and talent show. All of these auditions take place on the day of registration, so if a student plans to try out, they should arrive early on the first Sunday.

On Saturday, the final day, each group is assigned a rehearsal time in the morning. Then after lunch (the last meal served in the cafeteria) the concert begins. The concert starts around 1:30pm and usually ends around 3:30pm. Each group performs four songs and dances that they’ve learned throughout the week.

Their staff is hard to reach until a bit closer to the time of registration, but hopefully this answers your questions for now. If you want to attend, you will fill out a registration form and send it directly to the camp with your deposit. DO NOT send registration or money to Carmel High School. A $150 registration fee is required by mid-May, but the remaining balance can be paid when the students arrive at camp in the summer. Once you have registered, please let your CHS Choir Director know so that we can add you to our group registration.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask any of the choir directors. We encourage all students to have this amazing opportunity to participate in this life-changing week of music.

Register Here:


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"Songbook Academy" Summer Intensive Applications Now Being Accepted

This is an OUTSTANDING opportunity that attracts some of the best high school singers from all around the country. Amazingly, the event takes place right here in our own hometown! Students get to work with some of the best singers, musicians, and performers in the business for one week, and then perform an incredible concert at the Palladium. We HIGHLY recommend that our advanced singers take the opportunity to apply. We have had many Carmel High School students do very well in this contest over the past few years.
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Summer Camp Registration Continues

Help us spread the word! Registration for our annual Summer Spectacular Show Choir Camp. Limited space still available for students entering grades 7-9. Our 5th & 6th grade camp is full.

Calling all students who are currently in 4th - 8th grade and who LOVE to sing and dance! The Carmel High School Choir Department will once again be hosting its annual Summer Spectacular Show Choir Camp from May 30 - June 2 at CHS. We will offer a morning session for students entering 5th - 6th grade each day from 9am - 12pm. We will also offer two afternoon sessions from 1-4pm each day, for students entering 7th - 9th grade. All groups will work with a vocal clinician and guest choreographer as they prepare three songs and dances. The week will finish with a concert for the public featuring all three camp choirs. Campers will also receive two t-shirts, music, snacks, and are sure to make lots of new friends and have a full week of fun! Registration begins January 30 and there are limited spots available. We expect it to fill up quickly, so don't wait to register. No experience required! Camp Tuition is $160.

Register at https://carmelchoirs.org/summer-spectacular-show-choir-camp/

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Summer Theatre Camp

The Carmel High School Theatre & Film Department will host a Summer Theatre Camp June 12-16, 2023. The week-long, in-person camp is for students 8-14 years old. The camp will offer students an opportunity to focus on acting, singing, and choreography, culminating with a public performance of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid JR” on Friday June 16!


For more details, please visit CarmelDrama.org/camp

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At the start of second quarter, we introduced all choir classes to our On-Line Music Theory Program that we will be using this year. It is called "Breezin' Thru Theory". Students will need to login daily for assignments. They can do these on any device including a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Their assignments can be viewed on the dashboard of the theory website, or on Powerschool. Please be sure students are completing assignments in a timely manner.

Site: https://breezinthrutheory.com/

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Mark Your Calendars!

-Thursday, March 30 – 23/24 Choir placements announced

-April 13-16 - Select Sound trip to Nashville, TN

-Wednesday, April 19 - “Ear Candy” – Select Sound in Concert 7pm CHS Auditorium

-Sunday, April 23 - "Ear Candy - Encore" - Select Sound - Feinstein's 3pm

-Saturday, April 22 – ISSMA Organizational Festival (CP, Rhap, NE, All)

- April 26 – Parents of students who earn placement in 23-24 Ambassadors, Accents. & New Edition – 6:30pm (Auditorium)

-Friday & Saturday, April 28 & 29 – ISSMA State Qualifier (Amb, GS)

-Thursday, May 4 - All Choir Parent Zoom Meeting 7pm All about the 23/24 school year (incoming freshmen parents encouraged to attend)

-Friday & Saturday, May 5 & 6 – ISSMA State Finale (Amb & GS)

-Sunday, May 7 – Choir End of the Year Awards Ceremony 6:30pm (Auditorium)

-May 11-13 – Spring Musical “Hunchback of Notre Dame”

-Wednesday, May 17 – Spring Choir Concert Tech Rehearsal 4:15pm – 6:45pm

-Thursday, May 18 – Spring Choir Concert 7pm – 9pm

-May 30 – June 2 – CHS Summer Spectacular Show Choir Camp

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Join Raise Right to Offset Choir Fees

Raise Right (Formerly SCRIP) is a wonderful program that is easy to use and can reduce your choir fees significantly. More information about participating in the program can be found at the links below: https://www.raiseright.com/

Information Packet:


Instructional Slideshow:


Important Information For Choir Families

Please click on the Parent Resource Google Drive to locate important information including the 22-23 choir calendar, the 22-23 choir handbook, and choir fee information.


Support Carmel Choirs

Become an ANGEL Sponsor

Link your Kroger Card to OVATION

Link your Amazon Smile Card to OVATION

Become a corporate sponsor or advertise in our programs


Choir Fee Information

Click here to see choir fee information. First payments due by August 31.


Contact chsovationfinance@gmail.com with questions about fees and payments

Contact your individual director with requests for financial aid or alternate payment plans

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Subscribe to the 22-23 Carmel Choirs Google Calendar

Click here for instructions on how to subscribe to the Carmel Choirs Google Calendar



Contact your OVATION Chairperson by finding their contact information at this link:


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Contact the Choir Directors

Mrs. Kathrine Kouns (Accents, Select Sound, Blue & Gold Company, Expressions)


Mr. Kyle Barker (Ambassadors, Allegro, Greyhound Sound, Counterpoints)


Mrs. Anna DeBard (New Edition, Rhapsody, Applied Music)