Dana Van Slyke

Herndon High School Choral Director


Dana Van Slyke has served as choral director at Herndon High School since 1995. During her time there, she has conducted the Concert Choir, Herndon Chorale, Heatwave and Soundwave show choirs, the Madrigal Singers, and the Men’s Choir. She has taught AP and introductory music theory as well.


Under her direction, the Herndon choirs have received much recognition for their excellence in performance. The Herndon Madrigals have performed at the White House six times in the past ten years. In 2003 and 2008, the Herndon Madrigals and Vocal Jazz were featured at the Virginia Music Educators Association Conference. Ms. Van Slyke received the Commendation of Excellence as a Fairfax County Teacher of the Year Nominee in 2004 and the Herndon Optimist Club Partnership in Education Award in 2006.


Having a strong background in musical theater, Ms. Van Slyke has played a large role in producing Herndon’s theatrical productions. Oklahoma!, the fall 2009 production, marks the fourteenth musical in which Ms. Van Slyke has served as musical director at Herndon High. Along with her colleague and husband Jim Van Slyke, Ms. Van Slyke has directed, arranged, produced, and choreographed ten Broadway revues.


Ms. Van Slyke is a graduate of Ithaca College with a degree in music education and vocal performance. She also holds a master’s degree in music education from Shenandoah Conservatory. She feels her most important accomplishment, however, is her wonderful family, Jim, Conor, and Ethan!


Contact Ms. Van Slyke

Phone: 703-810-2333

E-mail: dana.vanslyke@fcps.edu



Jim Van Slyke

Vocal Jazz Clinician


Jim Van Slyke is currently clinician for the Herndon and Westfield high schools Vocal Jazz ensembles. He has served extensively as an adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor, and guest speaker. A nationally recognized vocal coach, Jim has taught on the voice faculties of Ithaca College and Catholic University, and he has active studios in both the New York City and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas. Student credits include Broadway, off-Broadway, national tours, the Metropolitan Opera, and even the Radio City Rockettes.


As a solo artist, Jim has sung on stages throughout the United States and Europe and has received critical acclaim for his New York cabaret performances. In 2006, Jim signed with the prestigious LML Music record label and released his debut album, Open Road. The album earned a Grammy nomination for best pop vocal album, and Jim received an ASCAP songwriters award for his self-penned title track.


Jim is a graduate of Ithaca College with a degree in vocal performance. He also holds a master’s degree in vocal pedagogy/ performance from Catholic University. Jim has proudly worked alongside his wife, Dana, since the inception of the Herndon High School Vocal Jazz Ensemble.


About Herndon Choir



Choral Ensembles

Photo by Rick Hancock

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.


Concert Choir

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.


Herndon Chorale

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

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.)

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Photo by Rick HancockThe 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.


Pops Concert

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. 

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Other Choral Events

Photo by Frankenhouser family

Broadway Cabaret

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.

Chorus Competition/Trip

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

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