Vocal Music at Avon Old Farms School
The opportunity to learn about the arts and to perform as an artist is an essential part of a well-rounded curriculum. www.spreadmusicnow.orgThe vocal music program at Avon Old Farms School is made up of four choral ensembles and serves more than 80 students. Of the ensembles, three are curricular (Chorale, Honors Chorale, and the Riddlers), while our student-run a cappella group meets independently (the Sing-ed Beavers). Students in the vocal music program participate in Regional and All-State Honor programs in the Connecticut Music Educators Association and American Choral Directors Association.
“What sets Avon apart is the importance music plays in the daily lives of many students. There are many students on campus for whom music comes first, and that allows for a true music community on campus where budding musicians can grow.”
Kofi Kelvin Agyenim-Boateng '16
The Chorale is open to all students regardless of grade level or experience. In daily rehearsals, students prepare for performances while learning to sing with healthy and age appropriate vocal technique. Students will explore basic music theory and history and will encounter the music of many different cultures and traditions. The Chorale performs on campus frequently throughout the school year.
Students who have completed at least one year of Chorale or an equivalent at a previous high school are welcome in Honors Chorale. The ensemble is curricular and requires an audition. Students in Honors Chorale continue to refine their vocal technique and expand their understanding of music theory. Sight-singing is a regular part of the Honors level, and students work on their musicianship skills daily in class. Honors Chorale performs a wide variety of choral repertoire at regular performances on and off campus.
Avon Old Farms School’s a cappella group is run by students and meets independently outside of class. The ensemble’s student director chooses and rehearses all repertoire, which includes everything from Barbershop classics to arrangements of Top 40 hit songs. The Sing-ed Beavers perform regularly on campus at concerts and special events, as well as off campus at other schools and in the community.
Named after the school’s founder, Theodate Pope Riddle, the Riddlers are the top choral ensemble at Avon Old Farms School. The twenty members of the Riddlers are selected through a competitive audition process and have progressed through the various stages of choral training. Prospective members must display outstanding vocal technique, rehearsal technique, and initiative. The Riddlers’ repertoire is extensive and includes medieval chant, renaissance polyphony, romantic part songs, folksongs, and contemporary classical music.
The Riddlers rehearse and perform independently and with the school’s larger choral ensembles. They travel for performances at major concert venues in New York City and Boston and have recently toured internationally in Ireland, Greece and Canada. In 2014, the Riddlers were selected to perform at the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division Conference in Baltimore. In February 2017, they will perform Randall Thompson’s Testament of Freedom at Carnegie Hall as part of the DCINY concert season.
This course is designed to introduce the history of music to musicians and non-musicians alike. Although the course is open to all students, the design is catered to introducing the great music and composers of the past 400 years in a way that no formal music training is required.
Students will be asked to listen to and identify major works from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy, Stravinsky, Copland, as well as many others, while they improve their listening skills. The course will also survey American music from the 18th century to today, focusing on Blues, Jazz, Swing, Pop, Rock, Country, and Rap. Assignments and discussions will focus on how social and political events have shaped the way music was written and enjoyed. This course will satisfy the arts requirement for graduation.
The Independent Study is designed for talented and motivated musicians who wish to pursue an in-depth study in a specific field of interest. Each student has an individual program of study developed jointly by the student and teacher to meet the student’s needs and interest. The independent study culminates in a public solo and/or ensemble performance. Such opportunities are based on faculty availability; normally, this arrangement is based on a semester or trimester basis, depending on whether meetings take place during a regular academic class period or during the afternoon sports period.
Students can study one-on-one with faculty in weekly lessons for an additional fee. Study is available in voice, guitar, piano, percussion, string, brass, and woodwind instruments.