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CHOIR & HANDBELLS

The Santa Margarita choirs have performed in celebrated music venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, The Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Internationally, the choir has traveled throughout Europe with recent trips to Ireland, Italy and Austria singing in the world's most sacred spaces including St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and St. Patrick's Cathedral in Ireland. The choir has been awarded silver and gold medallions from competitions from throughout the country. But above all, students in Santa Margarita's choirs have fun making music together while forming lifelong friendships.

Whether it's singing in the intermediate choir, the advanced women's chorus or with the auditioned chamber singers, students are exposed to repertoire from a variety of time periods and genres, as well as the opportunity to sing in several different languages.

Singers from the choir are accepted into major conservatories and universities around the world such as Manhattan School of Music, Mannes School of Music, the Julliard School, The Colburn School, Eastman Conservatory, New England Conservatory, and Berklee College in Boston to name a few.

The Santa Margarita choir program in under the direction of Performing Arts Chair Francisco Calvo who is highly respected in Southern California as a conductor, pianist, composer/arranger, and musicologist.

The handbell program is responsible for training students to read music, perform music with the use of a four octave set of English handbells, and to appreciate good music.

Courses Offered

Advanced Women's Chorus Honors

Advanced Women’s Chorus is an auditioned women’s ensemble. Members of this ensemble must successfully complete an audition with the director. Students who are selected for this ensemble must have adequate knowledge in the fundamentals of music theory, and basic sight-singing, and perform challenging pieces of music. Students are asked to sight-sing or sing extended musical phrases individually. The repertoire for this class (which can include extended works) is varied and requires students to sing in foreign languages. Performance is an important component in this art; therefore, students are required to attend some performances outside of the regular school day. Participation in the annual SMCHS Christmas Production is mandatory. This class fulfills the Fine Arts requirement for graduation. Girls only.
Length of Course: Year
Open to Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
(f) UC Approved
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Concert Choir or audition and Director’s approval.

Men's Chorus

This choral ensemble class is designed to introduce boys to the art of choral singing. Students will learn fundamentals of vocal technique, demonstrate it at performances, and develop comprehensive musicianship within the choral rehearsals through a sequenced study of music theory. Performance is an important component in this art. Therefore, students are required to attend school masses and some concerts outside of the regular school day. Participation in the annual SMCHS Christmas Production is mandatory. This class fulfills the Fine Arts requirement for graduation. Boys only.
Length of Course: Year
Open to Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
(f) UC Approved

Concert Choir

This choral ensemble class is designed to introduce students to the art of choral singing. This is an entry level class designed for the student with little or no vocal music experience. Students will learn the fundamentals of singing technique; the basics of music theory and sight-singing and performing various pieces of music. Performance is an important component in this art; therefore, students are required to attend some performances outside of the regular school day. Participation in the annual SMCHS Christmas Production is mandatory. This class fulfills the Fine Arts requirement for graduation.
Length of Course: Year
Open to Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
(f) UC Approved

Chamber Singers Honors

Chamber Singers is an auditioned mixed ensemble of men and women. Members of this ensemble must successfully complete an audition with the director. Students who are selected for this ensemble must have adequate knowledge in the fundamentals of music theory, and basic sight-singing skills. Students will learn advanced singing techniques, music theory and sight-singing, and perform challenging pieces of music. Students are asked to sight-sing or sing extended musical phrases individually. The repertoire for this class (which can include extended works) is varied and requires students to sing in foreign languages. Performance is an important component in this art; therefore, students are required to attend some performances outside of the regular school day. Participation in the annual SMCHS Christmas Production is mandatory. This class fulfills the Fine Art requirement for graduation.
Length of Course: Year
Open to Grades: 10,11,12
(f) UC Approved
Prerequisite: Audition and Director’s approval.

Beginning Handbells

This course, one of the most unique courses in the curriculum, is designed to introduce interested students to the art of handbell ringing. Students with no prior ringing experience, or students with some musical experience in another instrument, are encouraged to participate in this course. In this class, students will learn the following: basic handbell ringing techniques, fundamentals of music theory and performance skills. All performances are an important component and a requirement in this class. Therefore, students must attend some performances outside of the regular school day. Fall and Spring concerts are mandatory. This class fulfills the Fine Arts requirement for graduation.
Length of Course: Year
Open to Grades: 9, 10
(f) UC Approved

Intermediate Handbells

This course is designed for students with a basic understanding of music notation and handbell techniques. Students with prior ringing or instrumental music experience are encouraged to participate in this course. In this class, students will learn moderately difficult handbell repertoire. All performances are and important component and a requirement of the class. Therefore, students must attend some performances outside of the regular school day. Participation in the annual SMCHS Christmas Production is mandatory. This class fulfills the Fine Arts requirement for graduation.
Length of Course: Year
Open to Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
(f) UC Approved
Prerequisites: Beginning Handbells and/or Director’s approval.

Advanced Handbells

This course is open to all students with prior handbell ringing experience. Students will learn complex handbell techniques, advanced theory skills and perform challenging and varied music. All performances are an important component and a requirement in this class. Therefore, students are required to attend some performances outside of the regular school day. Participation in the annual SMCHS Christmas Production is mandatory. This class fulfills the Fine Arts requirement for graduation.
Length of Course: Year
Open to Grades: 10, 11, 12
(f) UC Approved
Prerequisites: Intermediate Handbells and/or Director’s approval.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which class do I join?

Freshman can be a part of Advanced Women's Chorus, Men's Chorus, Concert Choir and Beginning Handbells.

Do I have to audition?

No experience is required for Men's Chorus, Concert Choir or Beginning Handbells. If you have a love of singing or ringing you are welcome to join us. However, girls may audition to be considered for Advanced Women's Chorus Honors. Intermediate/Advanced Handbells is open to ringers with previous experience. Chamber Singer Honors is not open to freshmen.

How do I sign up?

Simply choose Men's Chorus, Concert Choir or Beginning Handbells as your elective. It's that easy! Or you can call for an audition if you are interested in the Advanced Women's Chorus Honors, Chamber Singer Honors, Intermediate Handbells or Advanced Handbells.

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