Mission Statement:
We believe that all students are innately musical. The Mason City Community School District vocal music program enables the integration of the intellectual, physical, creative, aesthetic, and social skills which will develop productive and well-rounded citizens for a global community.

Choral Program Goals:
Music is a language of special communicative powers that liberate and excite the human spirit. Music facilitates student growth in an awareness and appreciation of themselves, exploring their feelings and emotions. The practice and study of choral music enriches the lives of students by enabling an artistic experience for each individual within the ensemble. The Mason City High School choral program strives to develop the intellectual, physical, creative, aesthetic and social skills of the members of the choirs. Instructional goals relate to the following objectives:

1. To facilitate development of aesthetic expression and appreciation of choral music in an environment which promotes students’ artistic appreciation, expression and creative thinking
2. To study a varied repertoire of choral literature that will demonstrate student mastery of vocal skills and create a broader understanding of varied cultures and beliefs
3. To foster a sense of belonging and community for all students in the choir through tolerance, trust and respect of individual similarities and differences
4. To engage audiences in artistic experiences in order to create an education of the mind, heart and soul for both performer and listener
5. To promote student growth in self confidence by striving to elevate their level of performance through a curriculum that promotes sequential vocal development
6. To develop the gifts, skills and attitudes of students that will encourage the use of the singing voice as a lifelong instrument
7. To cultivate opportunities that generate student self-awareness and develop a positive self image
8. To create a safe and open atmosphere for critical analysis of individual and ensemble performance through assessments that will monitor both group and individual student development

Vocal Music Program Values
The Mason City Community School District vocal music program values the following imperatives for learning, and will focus planning and decision-making through them:

• The uniqueness of each individual
• Learning as a process which requires the active engagement of all individuals
• Teaching and learning in a variety of styles and models to assure success for all students
• Continuing and ongoing improvement in teacher and learner interactions
• An outcomes-driven curriculum which provides feedback on performance to students, staff, parents, and the community
• Lifelong learning

Vocal Music Program Standards and Benchmarks
1. The learner will demonstrate a functional knowledge of music
RHYTHM
Novice
Identify the value of simple and complex rhythms
Intermediate
Perform simple and complex rhythms of a melodic line with a steady beat
Advanced
Perform simple and complex rhythms for an individual voice part
of a choral score with a steady beat
MELODY
Novice
Use the solfege system to sight read simple pitch notation in treble clef
in major keys with the ensemble
Intermediate
Use the solfege system to sight read melodies in treble clef in major keys
independently of the ensemble
Advanced
Use the solfege system to sight read your voice line in 4 part harmony
with the ensemble
FORM
Novice
Identify simple music forms from listening examples
Intermediate
Using appropriate terminology, describe forms in choral literature
Advanced
Using appropriate terminology, analyze forms in choral literature

2. The learner will understand music performance
SINGING
Novice
Sing appropriate voice line written in homophonic three part music
Sing simultaneously with other vocalists of voice part in mixed
ensemble - accompanied by piano
Intermediate
Sing appropriate voice line written in homophonic four part music
Sing simultaneously with other vocalists of voice part in mixed
ensemble - a capella
Advanced
Sing appropriate voice line written in polyphonic music
Sing appropriate voice line written in divisi harmony
Sing part independently in a small group of vocalists in mixed ensemble -
a capella
INTERPRETIVE MUSIC TERMINOLOGY
Novice
Identify and define standard notation symbols for pitch, rhythm, dynamics,
tempo, articulation, and expression
Intermediate
Describe how interpretive music terminology can be
reflected in performance
Advanced
Discuss possible reasoning for composers expressive choices to interpret and evoke emotional/intellectual responses to music
VOCAL TECHNIQUE
Novice
Describe criteria for evaluating the quality of vocal/choral performances
Intermediate
Compare and analyze quality indicators to choral/vocal recordings utilizing performance criteria
Advanced
Apply critical listening skills for performance reflection and setting goals of ensemble improvement

3. The learner will interpret a variety of musical styles
HISTORICAL
Novice
Experiences music of historical periods through performance
Intermediate
Identifies unique and distinguishing characteristics of choral music
from historical periods
Advanced
Performs music with stylistic features of choral music
from historical periods
MULTICULTURAL
Novice
Experiences multicultural music through performance
Intermediate
Identifies unique and distinguishing characteristics of multicultural
choral music
Advanced
Performs multicultural choral music with appropriate stylistic features

Sacred/Secular Music Literature Position Statement:

It is the position of the Mason City School District Vocal Music Department that the study and performance of religious music within an educational context is a vital and appropriate part of a comprehensive music education. Music has a purpose in education beyond the mere words or notes in conveying a mood, teaching culture and history, and broadening an understanding of the arts. The omission of sacred music from the school curriculum would result in an incomplete educational experience.

Problems of misunderstanding and intent seem to arise most frequently with solo songs and choral composition which have a sacred text. While public school teaching objectives and criteria for repertoire selection should not include religious indoctrination, the selection of quality repertoire will invariably include, within its broad scope, a substantial amount of music with a sacred text.

The Mason City School District Vocal Music Department does not assert that the singing of lyrics is an expression of belief in that text, be it corporate or individual. However, understanding the power of words, any student may choose not to perform a musical selection if they perceive it to conflict with their personal or religious beliefs.

To exclude from a public school curriculum all choral music which has a religious context associated with the text is to severely limit the possibilities of teaching for artistic understanding and responsiveness. Since music with a sacred text or of religious origin (particularly choral music) constitutes such a considerable portion of music literature and has such an important place in the history of music, it should and does have an important place in music education.

Considerations for selection of vocal repertoire:

A) Select repertoire for its musical and educational values. The selection of music has a primarily secular purpose of teaching music appreciation, expressive abilities, and musical skills.
B) Show sensitivity for and expose students to the traditions of various cultural and historical styles of music.
C) Neither promote not inhibit religious views.
D) Show a diversity and balance of programming over a period of a school year by documenting literature used for public performance.

Source Material: The Music Educators National Conference; The American Choral Directors Association; Bachman v. West High School, U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Green, 900 F. Supp 254 (D. Utah 1995); Florey v. Sioux Falls School District, Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 619 F. 2d 1311 (8th Cir. 1980).