[email protected]
Savannah Arts Academy Choral Program
Savannah Arts Academy became the first dedicated performing and visual arts high school
in Savannah, Georgia in 1998. In the 15 years since the school opened, the choral department
has grown to four choirs and two ensembles. Nova singers, Women’s Cantabile, Men’s choir,
SAA Chorale, Skylarks (auditioned women’s ensemble), and Downtown Sound (men’s quartet).
Under the direction of Diane Stallings, the four choirs consistently score superior ratings at
Georgia Music Educators Association District I Large Group Performance Evaluation. SAA
choral students have also distinguished themselves in the District and State Literary
competitions, and a Multi-Cultural National Honor’s Choir in Miami. SAA students are
consistently chosen for All-State Choir, and All-State Reading Choir. Additional honors include
selection to the prestigious Governor’s Honors Choir Program. SAA choirs have performed at
the historic Lucas Theatre in Savannah, Georgia, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy
Center, and the Music USA Festival in Orlando, Florida winning first place each time.
Diane Stallings/ Choral Arts Director
Diane Stallings is an accomplished performer, conductor, and music educator with
numerous recognitions to her credit. Mrs. Stallings obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in
Music Education from Old Dominion University, and her Master’s in Music Education,
Vocal Pedagogy emphasis, from the University of North Texas. Diane Stallings’
performance credits include, a tour of North Africa and Europe for the Defense
Department, Virginia Opera Company, and Opera Colorado, and soloist for the
Breckenridge Music Institute Orchestra, and the Cincinnati International Chorale. She
has performed with the Lake Dillon Community Theater Company, the Savannah Choral
Society, and with the St. John’s Episcopal Church Choir. Mrs. Stallings’ conducting credits
include the Summit Choral Society, Breckenridge Music Institute Orchestra, Summit
Children’s Chorale, and the Summit Chamber Ensemble. Her recognitions include Who’s
Who in American Colleges and Universities, Phi Mu Alpha, University of North Texas,
Who’s Who in American Business Women, Mayor’s Visiting Artist Award of Milan, Italy,
Colorado Community Theater All-State Acting Award, Teacher of the Year Savannah Arts
Academy, and television station WTOC’s Top Teacher award. Diane Stallings’ career in
music includes 31 years of teaching in public schools as well as College and University.
Mrs. Stallings is currently the Junior Choir Director of St. John’s Episcopal Church, and
the Choral director of the Savannah Arts Academy Choirs.
Noteworthy Choir Parent Organization
The Noteworthy Choir Parent Organization supports the efforts of the students and
the director of the choir through fundraising, chaperoning and other volunteer efforts.
The NCPO board believes the success of any school organization relies on the
involvement of its parents. This handbook is provided for your convenience as an
introduction to the program. Please feel free to contact us for any questions about the
choral program or volunteer opportunities. [email protected]
Tandi Rose/ President Noteworthy Choir Parent Organization
Nova Singers
Nova Singers is the Advanced Women’s Choir. This choir consists of freshmen and
sophomore female choir majors, with other female singers from other majors and
varying grade levels. This class is designed to teach the basics of choral
performance. Vocal technique and music reading skills are developed as the group
rehearses pieces in a variety of musical styles. The level of the music performed,
however, is of an Intermediate level—rather than a beginning one. Nova Singers
perform in the Winter Concert, the Outdoor Concert and the Choir Showcase. They
also may perform in the Large Group Performance Evaluation (LGPE) combined
with the Women’s Cantabile (Mastery Women’s Choir). In addition there may be
other programs announced during the school year.
Women’s Cantabile
The Women’s Cantabile is the Mastery Women’s Choir. This choir consists of
sophomore through senior female choir majors, with auditioned students from
other SAA majors. This class is designed to teach intermediate to advanced
techniques in choral performance. Vocal technique and sight-reading skills are
developed within each rehearsal. A variety of choral music is rehearsed and
performed. This choir performs in the Winter Concert, the Outdoor Concert and the
Choir Showcase. They also perform in the Large Group Performance Evaluation
(LGPE) in the spring of the year. In addition there may be other programs
announced during the school year.
Men’s Ensemble
This group is for all interested male singers in our school, with a prerequisite of
auditioning for Mrs. Stallings to determine their ability to match pitch. All beginning
male choir majors are required to sing in this ensemble. This class is designed to
teach the basic skills of choral performance, including Barbershop quartet style.
There is at least one performing Quartet of auditioned students (grades 10-12)
within this choir. Auditions are held in the fall and require participation by choir
student majors in the Men’s Ensemble and the SAA Chorale as well as auditioning
for All State each year. Vocal technique and sight-reading skills are developed
within the weekly rehearsals. This group performs in the Winter Concert, the
Outdoor Concert and the Choir Showcase. They also perform in the Large Group
Performance Evaluation (LGPE). In addition there may be other programs
announced during the school year
SAA Chorale
This choir is the only mixed choir in the choral program. It is made up of boys who
are choral majors (or who have auditioned and are in Men’s Ensemble also) and are
sophomores through senior, with the females being only junior or senior choir
majors (or participants in two choirs and have auditioned with Mrs. Stallings). The
class rehearses and performs many styles of classical choral literature from
a cappella selections to major works. There is an emphasis on building
musicianship skills through a program of sight-reading, ear training, vocal technique
and conducting skills. Students in this class are required to participate in the Winter
Concert, the Outdoor Concert and the Choir Showcase, as well as additional
announced performances in the community. They also perform in the Large Group
Performance Evaluation (LGPE) in the spring.
This is an auditioned ensemble made up of female choir majors who are juniors or
seniors. The total number in the group is kept between 10 and 14 students. As they
represent SAA to many groups within our community, these girls must be
responsible and excellent musicians. Skylarks are required to audition for All State
choir each year. They are also asked to keep an academic average of 90 or better.
Their repertoire ranges from jazz standards to Renaissance music and their
performing skills include choreography. These girls are included in all concerts and
obviously learn a demanding program of music and perform for many community
(as well as national) groups.
All-State Chorus
Students sing in this prestigious choir only after passing two
rigorous auditions. The first audition is held in October.
Students must sing a prepared solo from the approved list,
demonstrate tonal memory and sight-singing skills, and finally
pass a theory test. Chosen students audition again in January,
proving they have mastered the repertoire for the concert. The
All-State event includes 2 ½ days of rehearsal with renowned
guest clinicians culminating in a concert performed at the
University of Georgia in Athens, GA. Auditions are open to all
Black Box
This box is located on the wall immediately to your right as you
enter Mrs. Stallings office. All monies /forms/etc. should be put
in this box. Do NOT hand any payments to Mrs. Stallings. All
payments should be put in an envelope with the student’s
name, activity and amount enclosed. Payment by check made
out to Savannah Arts Academy is preferred.
District Honors Choir
Students singing in this choir are chosen by Mrs. Stallings. They
participate in a two-day clinic with renowned guest
conductors, concluding with a concert performance. This event
is held yearly at either Georgia Southern University or
Armstrong Atlantic State University.
GMEA (Georgia Music Educators Association)
This statewide organization serves music educators of all
levels, and is an affiliate of the Music Educators National
Conference. This association is responsible for the organization
and production of the All-State Chorus, and District Honor
choir events. www.gmea.org
LGPE (Large Group Performance Evaluation)
In this event, the chorus is evaluated as a whole. Prepared
music and a sight-singing selection are performed for
adjudicators. Eligible choirs are Mixed Choir, Men’s Ensemble,
and Women’s Cantabile combined with Nova Choir.
NCPO (Noteworthy Choir Parent Organization)
This organization supports the efforts of the students and the
director of the choir through fundraising, chaperoning and
other volunteer efforts. The NCPO board believes the success
of any school organization relies on the involvement of its
parents. [email protected]
Each student will compile a performance portfolio. Included
will be a list of music performed throughout the year as well as
programs or other documentation of performance.
The Noteworthy Choral Parents Organization hosts a potluck
dinner each fall and spring. Students are encouraged to perform
solo or as a small group for their peers and parents at these events.
The fall potluck encourages freshmen to step up and break the ice,
while the spring potluck welcomes final senior performances.
These are family friendly events and a low-pressure performance
opportunity for students.
SECAF (Southeastern Choral Arts Festival)
This is a two-day festival held at Armstrong Atlantic State
University in Savannah. This is an opportunity for high school
choral students to participate alongside singers from the
university choral program, and to study with a member of the
AASU voice faculty. This event is for mixed choir only.
Solo and Ensemble Performance Evaluation
This event offers students an opportunity to sing for an
adjudicator who critiques the performance for the benefit of
the student. Students sing a prepared solo, duet or ensemble
piece. This event is open to all students.
The Tri-M Music Honor Society is the international music
honor society for middle and high school students. To become
a member, students must maintain a 90 grade point average,
and submit an essay in their sophomore year. If Chosen,
students must commit to meeting attendance and musical
performances for community service. Mrs. Gartner is currently
the advisor for Tri-M.
Parents and Friends: We ask your help in assuring that you come to our
concerts and other performances knowing that each song being performed
represents many hours of work and preparation. It is extremely important
that our audiences remain quiet and attentive so that each choir member can
perform with the utmost concentration and skill. Family and friends who
come to support their chorister should not be distracted as they listen and
enjoy the intimate beauty of the human voice. We also videotape our
performances for our records and for educational evaluation. With your
help, we can set a very professional and “artist friendly” atmosphere at
Savannah Arts Academy. We also expect our choir members to know how to
be a wonderful and supportive audience member. Thank you for your help
in “leading by example”.
1. If you bring children to our concerts, please sit on the ends of the
aisles and at the back of the theatre. If they become restless, please
quietly exit to the foyer. The audience, choir and video recording
technicians will appreciate your thoughtfulness. PLEASE DO NOT
2. If you must leave during our concerts, we ask that you wait until a
song is finished and the audience begins its applause. Exit quickly
and please do not re-enter the theatre until you again hear audience
4. Please do not talk during a performance number. When the choristers
have finished a piece and you feel the need to comment, do so by a
warm round of supportive applause!
5. Please do not yell out and draw attention to your choir member or
friend on stage. Congratulate your chorister at the end of the concert.
6. It is posted that no food or drink is allowed in the theatre. We
cherish this performance space because of its history and beauty. Help
us keep it clean.
7. If someone in the audience is being unruly or disruptive, please find
an usher or one of the principals.
With your help, we can make this year a truly artistic endeavor for both
performers and audiences alike.
The Savannah Arts Academy Choral Department is committed to a world-class
artistic and educational experience for all singers. To that end the Chorus
Curriculum is organized around four core areas:
 Individual vocal tone
 Ensemble technique
 Music literacy: pitch, rhythm, vocabulary and concepts
 Expanding musical perspectives in relation to music history and cultural
The core areas are arranged so that students will master the same set of
standards and skills in the same sequence, from entry level in grade 9, to
developing level (10-11), to achieving level by grade 12. A sequence of teaching
and assessment strategies for each of the core areas models best practices in
instruction. These are also directly aligned with the National Standards for
1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
2. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
3. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.
4. Reading and notating music.
5. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
6. Evaluating music and music performances.
7. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and
disciplines outside the arts.
8. Understanding music in relation to history and culture.
“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the
electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents” - Ludwig von
Or in the words of Nietzsche,
“Without music life would be a mistake”
The Director of SAA’s Choral Program, Mrs. Diane Stallings, believes that
creative and quality experiences (knowledge and skills) presented effectively and
consistently (habits of body, mind, and spirit) result in positive life skills (values)
and musical independence (artistry).
Music is an Art and it is my goal as a choral music director to
shape, foster and brings to life the Artist within each student. I
am committed to helping students develop skilled voices,
attentive ears, artistic minds and warm hearts through song.
It is our honor to have you as a part of a continuing tradition
of musical artistry here at SAA. In order to achieve these goals
parents must understand and pledge support of the following:
All choir students are expected to attend all scheduled performances and
rehearsals of their particular choir, as well as full choir events, sectionals and
rehearsals. Concert dates/times will be posted in the fall for first semester and
January for second semester. In the event of a schedule conflict, the student is
expected to make arrangements and communicate with Mrs. Stallings in writing.
Absences from Performances
The only justifiable excused absences from performance are: illness, death
in the immediate family, religious belief conflict, subpoena, or court appearance.
The student should notify Mrs. Stallings well in advance of the absence if
possible. Absences from performances due to any other reasons are considered
unexcused. In order to be excused, the student MUST BRING A WRITTEN
THE PERFORMANCE. With an excused absence the student will be assigned a
written assignment reflective of the prepared choral music to the student. It is
the students’ responsibility to obtain this assignment from Mrs. Stallings and
turn it in within five school days.
Choir Uniform
All students are required to have formal wear: girls - a black gown and pearls
(total for both ~ $75), boys - a black tux (package includes slacks, shirt, bow tie
and jacket ~ $95). Formal Fashions, Inc. carries our formal wear and parents
must order directly from them. We cannot place the order through the school.
Instructions for ordering will be given out at the August open house. Both boys
and girls are required to wear black dress shoes (no high heels), and black socks
or hose. The informal wear is a choir tee shirt ($10). Shirts may be ordered at
open house.
Your signature below is a written commitment to the requirements
listed above.
**I understand and agree to the performance attendance and the
uniform requirements:
(parent signature/date)
(student signature/date)
(home address)
Email is the primary form of communication with parents. The choral
parent board can be reached at [email protected]
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