Important Info about Vocal Skills

Dear Understanding HST Families,
We had 50 students sign-up to audition for A Cappella Choir this year. While, it is exciting to see how many students enjoy singing, it is hard to know that we can’t handle that large of a choir in the short amount of rehearsal time allotted. Therefore, many students ended up not being accepted.
It is VERY important to me that students realize that A Cappella acceptance is not a way to determine if you are a good singer – for several reasons:
*First *- any try-out, audition, or judged competition is simply an assessment of your performance at that moment. *Second* -choral singing requires that voices blend well and regardless of how well you sing solo, how well you blend depends on the others who are auditioning (thing colors…all colors blend well with some colors but clash with others). *Third *- there are basic physical realities about singing that we have no control over:
– *Human vocal cords develop at different rates/times for different people,* in the same way that people grow in height at different rates/times. – *Many adults who are great singers were not great at singing when they were young*. Our own SR Troupe Director, Mrs. Alexander, who has sung beautiful opera solos was never selected for a solo in college. She will tell you that her voice was just not ready for solo work at that age. – *This varying rate of vocal cord development is why no one should tell a child that they are tone-deaf or that they cannot sing.* We have adult alumni who are now professional musicians/singers, but when they were young HST students, they struggled with singing on key. – *Vocal chords are like a muscle* – *they work better and get stronger when they are used regularly*. – *The best way to get better at singing is to sing! * This doesn’t mean you have to be in a choir (runners get better at running just by running – they don’t need to be on a track team). You can sing with the radio, sing in the shower, sing in the car……*as long as you are singing out loud your vocal cords are getting a work-out and your singing will improve. * – *It is NOT true that anyone who is good at singing is good at A Cappella.* – Instrumental accompaniment gives us something to match our voices to and helps us “hold” the correct notes and gives us something to follow. – A Cappella does not have musical accompaniment so it is harder to “find” and “hold” the correct notes. *You have to have the ability to hear your own pitch without being influenced by the different notes being sung by others.* This is not something everyone can naturally do. It is a skill that gets easier with continued singing, but even with practice, it will always be harder for some singers than others. *In the same way that all sport players get better at shooting/hitting with practice but there are some players who are just better at defensive skills, so too in singing some singers will always be stronger with musical accompaniment. *
*PLEASE go over these point*s with your student if they like to sing and hope to one day be part of HST’s A Cappella Choir. *They should not get discouraged if this goal is not met before their highschool career ends* because their voice will continue to develop (if they sing regularly) and some goals just take longer in life to achieve. There are *lots* of choral opportunities at colleges, churches, and communities. *The key is to just keep singing! ** No one masters a musical instrument without practicing and no one gets better at singing without singing! *
Blessings, Mrs. Mullan

Teacher Christmas Baskets – Collecting all week

Dear Understanding HST Families and Students,
It’s that special time of year when we get to make our teachers, directors, and support staff feel special and appreciated!! *This joint effort is GREATLY appreciated and helps retain the amazing people God has sent to work for HST*.
Tomorrow and all next week we will be collecting items for gift baskets at ADI and Redland. (Drop items off in the check-in room) *Deadline* for dropping off items is* 1:30 PM *on* Friday, December 14th* at Redland Baptist.
Please do not send in items labeled for your student’s teachers. All items that come in need to be for general giving. We’ve had too many people send in one or two items for individual teachers which is contrary to the goal of this project and limits our ability to provide over-flowing baskets of love for every teacher.
· *Have your student write a teacher appreciation note as their English assignment this week! *(See student instructions and list of teacher names below.)
· Pick up something extra when shopping.
o Grocery Store items:
§ any type of candy, fruit (apples, oranges, grapefruit), small bags of assorted chips/pretzels/nuts/crackers/cookies, jellies/jam, gum/mints, nuts, hot chocolate mix (in individual packages), individually wrapped tea bags, flavored coffee mixes, granola/breakfast bars
o Drug Store items:
§ Chap sticks, purse-size tissue packages, Christmas candies, small candles, travel size toiletries, festive napkins, small holiday items
o Dollar Store:
§ Mugs, holiday knick-knacks/decorations, candles, one-size fits all gloves, notepads, note cards, magnets, fun socks, candies, lotion, soap,
· Plan some baking time! Homemade goodies are always special!
o Cookies – make as few or many as you want. Put four or six to a baggie
o Breads/Muffins – use the mini loaf pans. Wrap in Sarah Wrap or put in baggies.
o Brownies/bars –cut up & divide into baggies. (Do not bring in pan of uncut brownies)
o Candies, popped corn, Carmel Corn, Chex Mix – divide into baggie portions
· Make a cash contribution.
o Sometimes we just don’t have time to go shopping or do baking. Donating a few dollars helps cover the expenses (baskets, wrapping supplies, ribbons).

*Reasons why HST does not allow personal gifts or gift cards for individual teachers:*
o This defeats the idea of a community effort. We started doing baskets to eliminate the pressure students sometime feel to impress their teacher or keep up with their peer’s gifts. When gift-giving becomes competitive or pressured, it is not being done for the right reasons. *Our baskets and notes are meant to bring joy to the teacher, not make a particular student stand out because they spent a lot of money on a gift.*
o The money spent on one teacher’s gift could provide items for several teacher baskets. Our goal is to “spread the love” which means helping to provide baskets for all, not just thinking of the one or two teachers your student comes in contact with. Please do not send in items labeled for your student’s teachers. All items that come in need to be for general giving.
Obviously families are not required to participate in this outreach but we’ve found that the small efforts of many does multiply to fill many beautiful baskets!!

Note: If “life happens” and you forget or are unable to contribute, please assure your student that there is no list of who contributed and who didn’t. We give as a community which means that the baskets are given on behalf of all HST’s families.
*STUDENTS:* PLEASE take the time to write a short note of appreciation to your teachers/directors. *These are always the favorite part of the baskets!* Remember – a note doesn’t have to be long – it just has to be sincere. You can give a reason you enjoy their class – or perhaps your favorite memory of your teacher – or maybe why the class is important to you. Your parents can add a thought as well!
Total Number of Baskets: 27 *SH Troupe Director*- Ms. Steffi Phelan *SR Troupe Director *- Mrs. Cynthia Alexander *GB Troupe Director* – Mrs. Tricia Phillips *JR Troupe Director & BW Choir Assistant Director* – Ms. Gena Photiadis *Choir Director* (both Broadway & A Cappella) – Mrs. Joan McFarland *Make-Up Program Director* & *Travel Troupe Supervisor*- Ms. Megan Ellis *Tech Program Director* & *JR Troupe Assistant Director*- Ms. Amy Grabow *SR **Musical Director* – Mr. Al Hart *SH Musical Director* – Mr. Jake Simpson *GB Musical Director* – Ms. Ann Kramschuster *Acting A* – Mrs. Cathy Mays *Acting B* – Ms. Steffi Phelan *SH Assistant Director – *Mrs. Sophie Barrows
*Dance Teachers/Choreographers *(these are 1st semester assignments – all will teach 2nd semester as well) Mrs. Susan Galbraith – Tap 3 & Tap 4 Ms. Melanie Barber – Tap 1, Tap 2, Broadway Jazz 1, Jazz 3, Broadway Tap 2 – Choreographer for JR, GB, SR, BW Choir Ms. Pep Targete – Jazz 1, Broadway Tap 1, Broadway Jazz 2, Jazz 4 – Choreographer for JR, GB, SR Ms. Janae Palmer – Jazz 2, Jazz/Hip Hop, Irish Hardshoe & Choreographer for JR, GB, SR Ms. Sophie Elhallal – Irish Softshoe Mr. Roger Riggle – SR Troupe Choreographer Mr. Giuliano Antonio – JR, GB, SR Choreographer Mr. Nick Tax – SH, TT Choreographer Mr. Michael Barber – Broadway Tap 1 Assistant & Assistant to SR Director Ms. Elise Baile – Jazz 1 & Tap 1 Assistant
We also give baskets to: *The Founding Directors* – Suzanne Ellis, Linda Harrison, Marilyn Mullan *Redland Baptist Church *(where we hold Friday classes)

Acting A & B Reminders

Just a reminder that Acting A & Acting B do NOT have to order make-up kits. They will automatically get one at their Make-up Workshop.
Parents are welcome to come to those workshops since it is often the parent who is actually applying the make-up (which happens at home before they come to the theater).
– Next week is last class before break. – Next week we collect for Teacher Christmas baskets (look for a separate email with this info) – Acting students do NOT return on Nov. 11th but they are highly encouraged to come to the IMPROV competition at 4pm that day (look for email over holidays) – Acting students 1st class back is Jan 18th. – Acting A’s Make-up workshop is Jan. 18. – Acting B’s Make-up workshop is Jan. 25
Blessings, Marilyn

Ah Robin Music Files – Please practice!

Dear SH Troupe,
We will get these files onto the website, but hopefully they will go through to most of you. Please use the music files to practice. We are putting time and money toward helping you sing well but none of it matters if you don’t practice.
*Three Merry Men* and *Oh Mistress Mine* files are already on the website.
Blessings, Mrs. Mullan
ah robin melody first line.wav <>
ah robin harmony.wav <>
ah robin all.wav <>


Acting B at Mullan’s tomorrow – Please reply

Acting B students get dropped off and picked up at Mullan’s:
400 Broadwood Dr, Rockville, MD 20851 Please reply to this email so we know you go it & won’t have to call you.
You can drop off 15 min early if you also have an Acting A student you need to get to Redland. Please pick up at noon and then pick up Acting A student at Redland (there is voting for T-=shirts in lobby so they will have plenty to do for 15 minutes).
NOTE: If Acting B students wish to vote for the Showcase T-shirt artwork, you will need to swing by Redland Baptist after picking up at my house. There is often a run-off for showcase (which would happen next week) but there is no guarantee that will happen. So if voting is important to your student, please swing by.
Blessings, Marilyn

Ordering time for T-Shirts, Hoodies, Make-up Kits & VERIFY SIZES

Dear Understanding HST Families,
It’s ordering time for T-shirts, Hoodies, and Make-up Kits. Items will be delivered 2nd semester (usually in February).
– Order Make-up Kit (or just base). Samples will be in Redland lobby on 12/7 & 12/14 from Noon to 1pm if you need help determining kit #. – Check Tee Shirt size for the show shirt your student automatically gets for each show they perform in. (We don’t by extras. If you get the wrong size you are going to be stuck. Better to order a bit big (they can grow into it) then too small. – *If you wish to change your student’s tee shirt size – **reply to this emai*l *with student name and the size you want to change to* – The list is by Troupes & then Showcase. The order is not alphabetical, but by size order. – *Order Colored HST shirts, HST Zip-Up Hoodie or extra show shirts.* (Form attached) Note: You can postmark by Mon, Dec. 17. – Students automatically get a show shirt for every show they perform in. Some students/parents like to get a 2nd show. – THS picks 2 colors each year for HST’s traditional mask artwork. This year they are Daisy Yellow & Charcoal Grey. – HST alternates between a Zip-Up Hoodie and a Pullover Hoodie. This year is the Zip-Up Hoodies. – HST alternates between a Tech Team T-Shirt and a Make-Up Team T-Shirt. This year is Make-Up Team. – Students who think they will have all their requirements for THS membership at the end of the year should go ahead and order their THS shirt. We will hold unto these shirts until the September THS overnight.
Blessings, Mrs. Mullan

A Cappella Audition Info – PLEASE READ

Dear Understanding A Cappella Auditioning Students,
It is VERY exciting that we have so many students auditioning. *Our final count for auditions is 50!!! *Of course, *that does mean that there will be many cuts* because a choir that large would need more time to get ready for performance and there simply isn’t more time to be had. So, it is very important that Mrs. McFarland gets the time she needs for every audition. *Please read ALL of this email and come prepared. *
– *Check in downstairs first* and then take the steps to the right of lobby & turn left. * Auditions are in the last room on the left (past JR room)*. – Please be ON TIME. *This means in the room across from the audition room at your assigned time *(10am, 11am or Noon). – Please *look at the schedule charts below* (there were some changes). – Quietly* wait in the room across the hall *from the audition room until the director brings your group in for warm-ups. – Please *BE PREPARED. *You will sing *Somewhere Over the Rainbow* *AND* you will sing scales. *You were sent sheet music and music files to practice both a previous email.* You can find that email in the Email Archive on our website ( – click HST Families tab). – *PLEASE NOTE – This choir does NOT have returning priority.* This means that *students previously in A Cappella do NOT have an advantage over anyone else who is auditioning. * The director needs to create a balanced choir with voices that blend well together. Just like auditioning for a part – not getting a role/slot does not mean you can’t act/sing. It’s about what’s best for the overall show/choir – not individual abilities.
We will send out the results of the audition on Monday at 7pm. *People who are offered a slot will *need to pay their $85 tuition* by Friday, Dec. 14* to keep their slot.
– Tuition is now $85, which is $10 more than previously listed because HST is going to invest in embroidered polo shirts to use every year as the A Cappella “uniform.” The increase in tuition will help us recoup the financial investment these shirts will require. * If the additional cost is a burden, please contact me.* – Checks get made to HST & put in envelope with your name on it. *Drop payment envelopes into the wire basket next to the check-in sheets at dance (Tues/Wed) or Redland Baptist (Friday).* – *Please be aware that parents are responsible for purchasing khaki pants *(no cargo, no skin-tight) *as well as brown loafers. * These are listed as possible stock items in our policies contract. If these are a financial burden, please let us know.
Blessings, Mrs. Mullan
Elizabeth Bolin
Colin Conley
Danny Cummings
Lauren Walsh (go first)
John Cummings
Emily Davis
Sophie Elhallal
Rachel Flester
Ellie Franovich
Levi Hebeisen
Peter Haufpauier
Katherine Midlam
Addie Tallman
Kane Timlin
Joey Yoritomo
Addie Poulsen

Mary Grace Abel
Michael Corbalis
Isabel Flynn
Sophia Flynn
George Higgins
Emily Higham
Holly Higham
Bethany Hoffman
Sarah Marcolin
Charlotte McNamee
William McNamee
Roma Sheth
Jake Speer
Michaela Stell
Larissa York
Lara Becker

Elise Baile
Zach Beardsley
Annabelle Begley (TT)
Emily Hiller
Mary Beth Glasgow
Samantha Haley (TT)
Lily Hoyle (TT)
Sophia Morrison
Ben Reichard
Kristen Sauder (TT)
Nathan Slay (TT)
Stephanie Van Roie (TT)
Sarah Stoolmiller (TT)
Gemma Cummings (TT)
Isabella Wright (TT)
Mikaela Hall (can go last)
Gianna Barrows

Non-HST Sponsored Teen Event – Dance on Dec. 15

HST’s Board voted to use HST’s email group to advertise social events that meet the following criteria:
– The event has an HST parent sponsoring it. – The event is open to anyone in HST who meets the age requirement. – The event is only a social activity (ie. does not have religious instruction included in the event).
The attached flier is for a Christmas Dance on Sat., Dec. 15 from 7:30 to 10pm – open to teenagers (age 13 and above).
– HST parent sponsor is Luanne Flynn – 240-281-3469. Please direct any questions to her. – Price & location are on attached flier.