Chris Helseth, Choir Director

Welcome to the Choral Department at CRA!

CRA 2023-24 Choir Guide

Mr. Helseth, Director

Choir is a music ensemble where contribution makes the class fun and meaningful! Choir is a team effort by each member. Participation and contribution are graded by the below rubric.  This rubric is designed to encourage members to sing and grow as a singer.  Best effort and attitude are a must.

Choir Room Expectations and Procedures

  • Come into the room respectfully looking at the board for directions.
  • Find your assigned seat – often with assigned folder and in your seat before the bell.
  • Hats and hoods are off.
  • No gum, candy, and other food items – exceptions are made from time to time.

Choir Concerts are the culmination of the hard work that singers put into each Choir rehearsal.  These public performances are extremely rewarding and showcase growth in a unique and important element of a child’s education.  Concert attire is to “dress-up”.  Choir concerts are 50 points. 


Choir Participation Grading Rubric – 15 points for each week of rehearsals

15(100%) – Exemplary effort and attitude, showing leadership as a singer and Choir member.

14(93%)– Good Effort and attitude with audible singing out.

13(86%) – Generally good effort with good effort and attitude.  Audible singing is not consistent.

12(80%) – Satisfactory effort most of the time- audible singing about half of the time. 

11(73%) – Satisfactory effort and attitude some of the time.  Audible singing is less than half of the time. Sometimes negative behaviors that impact Choir rehearsals.

10(66%) – Very little effort and virtually no audible singing is occurring. Consistent redirection is needed for disruptive attitudes and behaviors that are impacting Choir rehearsals.


Choir Skills Tests are done in small groups (or solo for extra credit!) in front of the piano, facing me.  The skills assessed require effort and then showing the skill that has been practiced and developed in Choir rehearsals.

Each skills test is graded on a 5-point scale with the chance to earn a 6/5 extra credit score.  Below is a sample skills test rubric.  A rubric can be viewed on each Skills Test in PowerSchool.  Most skills tests have an Extra Credit option.  Examples of skills tested are, memorization, rhythm reading and scale singing using the “do, re mi…” scale syllables and hand signs.  With most skills tests there will be a way to practice/study with a material found under “Files” on the Choir Microsoft Teams Page.  For example, the below test has the America PDF posted under “Files” to go over at home.  The lowest grade is 3.5/5, 70%.  A student needs to intentionally earn this grade.

America Verse 1 Memory Skills Test = 5 points total

6 – Sing by yourself memorized – Extra Credit

5 – In a small group memorized

4.5 – Good effort but memory and/or singing needs improvement

4 – More effort and needed to determine if memorized and barely audible singing

3.5 – No effort to do this skills test

0 – Refusal to do test


Attendance:  Absences for some students are always a challenge as Choir is an A Day/B Day class.  I will be grading students for participation and skills when they are present. If a student is absent for an entire week, I will exempt them from that participation grade. This means the points do not help, but they do not hurt the overall grade.  There is a caveat to this below.

If there are many absences, a student is missing out rehearsal impacting vocal development, vocal exercises, music instruction and concert music.  Over a quarter/semester, absences will significantly a Choir students’ ability to keep up, feel confident and enjoy Choir.  Absences can significantly impact on a final grade.


Absence Make-up Work (Microsoft Teams Form) can be requested by students with absences.  It will be up to the student to complete it and turn it in.  The make-up assignment will be in the form of a written rehearsal reflection of a rehearsal that a student did attend.  The reflection will highlight the specific elements of the rehearsal.  The intent is to get the student up to speed with the Choirs progress.

For skills tests, A “0” will be entered and “missing” in PowerSchool until the student is present and ready to do the skills test.


Communication will be done mainly on Microsoft Teams.  Email is an option, but I encourage students (and parents) to communicate using the Teams Chat function.  Teams Chat has proven to be the best and fastest way to communicate.  I am always to open to have a phone (or Teams call) conversation with parents as well!  I make it a goal to respond to all communications within 48 hours.