Wednesday December 17, 2014


On Friday October 10th, I wrote about the assignment I gave to every member of my department which was to sing the Region II Chorus audition for rubric grading. In addition to writing comments, I encourage many to audition by telling them that I “would love to help them polish their work” because “it would take very little to ready themselves for an actual audition”.

As a result, I had 24 students register to audition. I decided to pull a full-court press on helping them…they had to sing for me twice…one week apart prior to the audition day.

The first week, I was very detailed and forthright in suggesting things upon which to improve. The second week (audition week), I gave limited feedback one-on-one. Each of them was asked to sing some part of their audition in rehearsal as the class members sat down on the risers with their heads down and eyes closed (simulating a “blind” audition).  When/if they stumbled, I was able to coach them through recovery of all parts of their audition.

The results? 22 out of 24 were accepted into one of the two Region II Choruses… 11 in the Mixed Choir and 11 in the Women’s Choir! Another banner year for Ridge singers!

While one can say I have a strong talent pool here this year, I am convinced that these kids rise to the occasion because I have “spoken” to them through their assignment. It’s something I will continue to do every October.


When I was in high school, the tradition at the end of the Christmas concert was the singing of Adolph Adams’ SAB version of O Holy Night where the third verse was performed as the coveted Senior Solo.

When I began teaching at Ridge High School, I established the same tradition and have carried it forward these thirty-plus years later. My twist, after the first few years, was to invite alumni up on the stage to sing as well.

Last night, our department shared its Winter Choral Concert with the community. The concert concluded with the alumni singing of O Holy Night with alumni invited onstage. I found myself suspended in time between my past and my present. I saw grads from all three decades of teaching, gathered on stage to sing together and create those moments that are beyond comprehension and so very difficult to describe. They took the stage by the dozens.  I was transported to memories of moments where I conducted each of them during their own tenure at Ridge. Mystical and magical for sure.

I hope your season has brought many memorable moments for you as well.

Thanks for reading..


Monday December 1, 2014


My husband is my hero.

After a Thanksgiving weekend spent in Germany celebrating the half century birthday of a dear friend, I woke up this morning wondering what I was going to do with my period 9 Chorale girls.  They are so ready for our concert…beautifully ready…and I did not want to continue to sing their program over and over again for the next 12 days.

What to do…what to do…

I needed an idea for an in-class week long project.  I know!  We’ll create skits in each section…but what shall the topic be?  Something relevant would be the holidays or Christmas but I knew it wouldn’t necessarily be representative of the diversity in the class.

I walked into the kitchen to prepare my lunch and shared what I had so far with my husband, Rick.  In a New York minute he said, “Frozen”…the title should be “Frozen:_____________________”!


All I needed was the idea and I ran with it.

I have attached the instructions I distributed to the class and THEY LOVED IT!  I have a split section of SI’s, SII’s and a split in the alto section so there are 5 groups.  So far their titles are

FROZEN: The journey Home

FROZEN: Princesses with Icy Hearts

FROZEN: Thawed

FROZEN: Let’s Break the Ice

FROZEN: I’m still…still…STILL…waiting!

And of course, the moral of each story…LET IT GO!

This will be such a fun week in class…watching them create for their presentations on Friday.  They are also charged with creating three rubric statements for grading.

Feel free to use it if you’d like!

Let the creativity begin!

Have a great week!