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Choral Music Program - Grades 4 to 12
Large grouping of students singing in vocal concert

Children's Choir
Mrs. Allison Craig, Ms. Lisa Marcellus

The North Hills School District Children’s Choir is open to any student in grades 4, 5, or 6 who wants to sing in a group setting outside of the regular vocal music classroom. The group meets on Mondays in the West View Elementary School auditorium and presents a winter holiday concert. The children’s choir also joins with the middle and high choral groups on their combined concert in March and performs several holiday selections at Ross Park Mall in December.

PMEA Sing Fest - The Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) sponsors a one-day fest for students in grades 5 and 6 in the spring at a school within the five-county District 1 area. A guest conductor leads the students in preparation for a public evening concert, and students also participate in music enrichment activities throughout the day. Students are chosen for this opportunity by teacher recommendation and a selection committee put together by the organizing host director.

Middle School Choirs
Mrs. Renée Triscila

Chorus 7 - Chorus 7 is an introduction to vocal technique, singing skills, part-singing and performance of choral literature. Emphasis is placed on ensemble performance with several required eve­ning concerts for the public showcasing skills learned in class. Opportunities for more advanced study are available through select extracurricular ensembles and festival experiences. No audition or previous experience in chorus is required.  

Chorus 8 - Students enrolled in Chorus 8 build upon the skills learned in Chorus 7 by experiencing a more intense study of vocal techniques, ear training, and choral literature from around the world and from various periods in music history. Classroom experiences culminate in several required public performances throughout the year. Opportunities for participation in festivals and select ensembles outside of the regular classroom are also available. Previous experience in chorus is preferred but not required. 

Additional Middle School Opportunities

Concert Choir - This is a select group of singers from each of the Grade 7 and 8 choral groups as well as students in band, orchestra, general music, and music appreciation classes. The Concert Choir meets during homeroom activity period three days a week. Concert Choir typically performs two to three selections at each concert, usually of a greater degree of difficulty, sometimes with accompanying instruments or in other languages. They also perform annually at the High Note Festival at Carnegie Mellon University and have consistently earned a Superior rating.

Winter Musical - The Winter Musical is open to students in grades 7-9. Members of the Drama Club present a musical production annually during the last weekend in January. These musicals are shortened versions of full-scale shows, and are designed specifically for middle school voices. In addition to the cast members performing on stage, a Tech Crew is selected as part of the Drama Club to build set pieces and manage the behind-the-scenes aspects of the show, such as scene changes, light and sound operation. High School student directors assist in all aspects of the production under adult supervision as well. Auditions are held for the cast at the end of October.

PMEA District Chorus - Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) sponsors a two-day festival for students in grades 7 to 9 in the spring at a school within the five-county District 1 area. A guest conductor leads the students in preparation for a public concert. Students are chosen for this opportunity by teacher recommendation and a selection committee put together by the organizing host director.

High School Choirs
Mr. Shaun Cloonan

Women's Choir - comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomore girls selecting choir on their schedules, this class emphasizes part independence and refinement of the soprano and alto sound while covering a wide variety of musical styles. Women's Choir may be taken for either one semester or a full year as schedules permit. The Women’s Choir performs on all high school concerts along with the Symphonic Choir and also collaborates with them on special performances of larger works with the bands or orchestra. The Women's Choir participates in a fall regional Women's Choral Festival along with 4 other female ensembles ranging from high school to college and community choirs held at the First Presbyterian Church of Edgewood. At the Music in the Parks festival, these singers have performed well, earning a 1st Place/Superior rating in 2013 at Kings Island and a 2nd Place/Excellent rating in 2015 at Hershey Park.

Symphonic Choir - The Symphonic Choir is the large mixed vocal ensemble of the high school choral program. Women in grades 11 and 12 (as well as some select 10th grade women), and men in grades 9-12 enrolled in choir class are a part of this group, which performs 3 concerts annually. Choir meets daily and can be taken for either one semester or a full year. Music learned and performed covers a wide range, from early Renaissance motets to folk songs, classical to world music, Broadway and musical theatre selections to vocal jazz and pop standards. The Symphonic Choir has performed with the River City Brass Band, and collaborates semi-annually with the instrumental ensembles on a major work (Fall 2015: performance of Faure's Requiem). Most recently, this ensemble was featured at the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale's 3rd annual Festival of Choirs at Carnegie Music Hall in October 2014. As competitive performers, the Symphonic Choir has earned 1st Place/Superior (2013 at Kings Island) and 2nd Place/Superior (2015 at Hershey Park) ratings in the Music in the Parks festivals.

Additional High School Opportunities

North Hills Singers - Students enrolled in the Symphonic Choir may audition for the North Hills Singers, a select 30-member mixed vocal ensemble focusing on challenging music for chamber choirs, vocal jazz, Broadway, pop, and music suitable for community performances at senior centers, churches and luncheons. The group also frequently sings the national anthem and alma mater at select sporting and district-sponsored events.  The North Hills Singers meet Mondays and Tuesdays weekly.

Arrow - The Arrow Men's Ensemble is a student-run group overseen by the director that is open to all male singers in the choral program interested in singing music specifically written for combinations of tenor and bass voices.  Auditions are not required, and the group rehearses throughout the year on Wednesdays after school as schedules permit.  Arrow members perform on choral concerts, at Cabaret Night and Arts Alive, and occasionally sing the National Anthem for special district and athletic events.
Madrigal Choir - The Madrigal Choir meets seasonally to provide musical entertainment during the Choral Parent Association’s Madrigal Dinner fundraiser as well as during the district’s Arts Alive celebration, strolling through the hallways. This group meets on an as-needed basis around the time before these events. The Madrigal Choir performs in period costume.
Spring Musical - Members of the High School Drama Club present a fall play in November and a musical production annually during the last two weekends before spring break each year. Auditions are held for the play in September and for the musical in January. 

Mucho Macho Music - Sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association of Pennsylvania (ACDA-PA), Mucho Macho brings together boys in grades 6 to 9 from across the southwestern Pennsylvania region for a day of music making. A guest conductor specializing in the adolescent male voice change works with the boys on several choral pieces, which are presented in an informal closing performance. College/university choirs that have been featured at this festival include the Westminster College Men's Chorus, Slippery Rock University Men's Ensemble, Penn State Glee Club Hi-Lo's, and California University's Vulcanize. 

Sweet Harmony - An annual event sponsored by ACDA-PA and has been held at Burgettstown, North Hills, and Upper St. Clair schools brings together girls from grades 6 to 9 for a day of music making. Guest conductors work with the girls on pieces specific to female/treble voicing. The University of Pittsburgh Women's Choral Ensemble and the Westminster College Women's Chorus have both served as featured choirs joining the girls for the day.

Additional Festival Opportunities 
  • PMEA Honors Choir Festival (Grades 9-12)
  • PMEA District Chorus (grades 10-12) with opportunities to advance to Region and All-State Chorus
  • PMEA Junior High District Chorus West (grade 9 singers)
  • ACDA Honor Choirs
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North Hills School District
135 Sixth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15229
Phone: 412-318-1000 Fax: 412-318-1084
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