About Herndon Choir
The Herndon High School Choir Department is dedicated to keeping its high standard of musical performance — and to having fun while doing it! Students in all grades have the opportunity to participate in one or more of six musical groups. With the exception of For Men Only, the groups study, rehearse, and perform as regular classes for which they receive elective credits. Rehearsals and performances both in and out of school are required. Auditions are required for all choral groups except Concert Choir.
The HHS choral groups are described below. Complete course descriptions are provided in the
HHS Course Catalog. Detailed requirements for rehearsals, performances, and costumes are provided in the Chorus Handbook.
The “chorus for everyone,” Concert Choir is a beginning-level chorus of mixed men’s and women’s voices, but singers of all grades and experience are welcome. Emphasis is on correct vocal performance techniques. Repertoire includes traditional and classical art songs and musical theater songs.
The Herndon High School Madrigals Singers combine rich a cappella harmonies, courtly manners, and elegant costumes to evoke the romance of the medieval to renaissance periods. Madrigals is an advanced mixed choral group in which emphasis is placed on the development of musicianship and proficiency in ensemble performance. Course content includes a study of choral literature, vocal techniques, and sight-singing. Performances are unaccompanied and often student-led. Repertoire can include popular and sacred songs in English, Italian, German, or French. Madrigals have a heavy schedule of extracurricular performances during the December holiday season.
This group offers advanced choral experiences specifically for women’s voices. Students develop both musicianship and proficiency in ensemble performance. Course content includes a study of choral literature from all music periods and styles, vocal techniques, and sight-singing.
Heatwave Show Choir
Heatwave is Herndon’s musical theater group. Students develop musicianship and proficiency in ensemble performance, study of appropriate literature, vocal techniques, sight-singing, and choreography. Repertoire includes selections from popular music, jazz standards, and Broadway musicals. Students also gain experiences in stagecraft, costuming, makeup, and expressive movement in this course.
Vocal Jazz is an ensemble group for advanced mixed voices. Emphasis is on rehearsal and performance techniques from the genre of jazz standards, blues, and ballads. This class meets outside of the regular school day, with Mr. Jim Van Slyke as Vocal Jazz Clinician.
The Bennett Street Boys
An all-male a capella performance group, The Bennett Street Boys' repertoire includes folk music, spirituals, and classic popular songs. The group meets outside of the regular school day. (Men's choir is an extracurricular activity — not a credit course.)
An all-female a capella performance group, the Shebees' repertoire includes popular songs with a feminine twist. The group meets outside of the regular school day. (Shebees is an extracurricular activity — not a credit course.)
The HHS Choir Department performs four concerts each year. Students are required to attend, and they receive a grade for their participation. The performance schedule also includes the Broadway Cabaret and a Competition/Trip event.
Concerts are described below. Detailed schedules and information are provided throughout the school year.
Fall Sampler Pyramid Concert
Choirs from elementary schools in the HHS Pyramid — Aldrin, Armstrong, Clearview, Dranesville, Herndon, and/or Hutchison elementary schools, and Herndon Middle School — gather to perform in this first concert of the school year. Individual performances by each choir are followed by the culminating event: More than 500 elementary, middle, and high school students singing together on one stage.
Winter Choir Concert
All six HHS choirs perform classical and traditional selections in celebration of the season. The choirs combine for the closing piece of the evening.
Spring Pre-Festival Concert and District XII Choral Festival
Choral students from HHS and Herndon Middle School perform their District XII Choral Festival music for an audience. All HHS choirs perform at the Pre-Festival Concert. However, only selected choirs attend the actual festival, which is held shortly thereafter. Choirs are judged and rated on various performance criteria, including sight-singing.
A night of musical theater allows the students to showcase their talents. At this final concert of the year, students perform as part of their choral ensembles as well as in smaller, student-led groups and solos. The program includes song, dance, costume and set changes, and music from every genre of popular music: rock to rap, mellow to metal, country to coffee house. The choirs combine for the closing piece of the concert — and the school year.
Top hats and canes, flashy costumes, dancing shoes — these are the hallmarks of this annual event, which features favorite selections from Broadway musicals. The Cabaret spotlights the collaborative talents of students from both the HHS Choir and Drama departments. Students choreograph the musical pieces and design and build their own stage sets. Student participation is open to the entire school. Auditions are usually held in October, and the performance is in January.
These annual trips allow students to travel to often exotic locations to compete in festivals with choruses from other states. The trips, which typically last three to four days, include performance and adjudication as well as tours and activities. Student participation is optional and must be financed individually; fundraising opportunities are provided. The competitions are usually held in the spring, and the students travel to festival venues in and out of state: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida; New York City; and Virginia Beach.
Honors Chorus Events
Opportunities for HHS students to audition and perform in local, state, and regional honors choruses are plentiful. District XII Chorus, All-State Chorus, All-County Men’s Chorus, and the Honors Choir at Longwood University (for seniors only) are just a few. Selected students spend one or two days working on several pieces with a guest conductor, and then perform the pieces in concert. Audition and performance dates are provided in the schedule and announced in class.
Other Annual Events
- HHS Musical. This performance is held in conjunction with the HHS Drama and Music departments, and can be scheduled for fall or spring.
- Hosting of chorus festival events at HHS.
- Baccalaureate and/or Graduation performance, Back-to-School Night, and other school events.
- Awards Banquet. This fun end-of-year event is for all choir students and their families. They will enjoy a catered dinner and receive awards and certificates for their participation in choral groups and honors choruses. Graduating seniors receive special honors, and the Paper Plate Awards – "best of" distinctions that students vote on in class and then draw on paper plates – are given.