VALLEY TROUBADOURS HANDBOOK 2023 - 2024
*All families must read and agree to the contents of our Handbook
The Valley Troubadours will meet at Belfry Hall at 900 N. Mason St, Appleton, WI
The Valley Troubadours Homeschool Music & Theater Program is a Christian organization. Due to the diversity of faith and practice in our Troubadours community, we ask that all students are modest, respectful, and conservative in both dress and behavior commensurate with a Christian academic environment when participating in Troubadours activities.
Although it is not required for students to be Christian in order to participate in the Valley Troubadours, all curriculum, repertoire, class management, and policy decisions will reflect, or at a minimum not directly contradict, a Christian worldview. As we seek to glorify God and show Christian love and respect in all that we do, these decisions are under the sole discretion of the Valley Troubadours.
MEANS OF COMMUNICATION
DIRECTOR: Cathy LaFrombois
Email contact is preferred. Messages sent via Facebook/Messenger may not be received/responded to in a timely manner
COMMUNICATIONS VIA WEBSITE
The Valley Troubadours Homeschool Music & Theater website, www.valleytroubadours.com, is our primary means of communication year-round, a ready reference and wealth of information. During the two semesters, it is the responsibility of both parents and students to check the website regularly for the most current information. There, members will find a link to any time-sensitive announcements.
UPCOMING EVENTS will be at the top of the front page. We will also strive to update the Calendar page throughout the year. The semester Calendar will be posted in September and updated as needed. Note important dates on your home calendars. Please advise the Director, via email, of any conflicts as soon as you are aware of them, especially for a performance or any of the 3 practices prior to. See also “Reporting Absences and Date Conflicts” found under “Attendance” in the Handbook. Periodically check the Calendar throughout the year for updated information.
IN CASE OF EMERGENCIES
On your registration form, we asked for a cell phone number for emergencies only. This number will be used to contact you for weather or other unforeseen, last minute problems that can cause a delay or cancellation of a rehearsal or event. Please have your cell phone on en route to music-related events so we can reach you should the need arise.
INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY:
When winter weather requires a delay or cancellation of rehearsals, check the Troubadours website as of 7:00 a.m. on the morning of rehearsal for information. Emails will be sent and messages will be posted on Facebook and through VHS, but it is the responsibility of each family to check the website, and make a personal final determination as to driving conditions. As weather conditions vary around the Fox Cities, please exercise due caution accordingly.
Our status will be posted using three levels:
GREEN: Rehearsals are a “GO.” No change in rehearsal schedule.
YELLOW: Delayed Start: ALL classes with start times prior to 10:30 will be canceled. We will start rehearsals with Cadet Choir/Strings II/Guitar 11+ and proceed through the schedule from there. Drama Troupe will send separate communication.
RED: ALL CLASSES CANCELED for the day
PLEASE DO NOT CALL, TEXT, MESSAGE, OR EMAIL prior to 7 am, or without checking the website as of 7am
LABEL ALL YOUR BELONGINGS! We don’t want to collect things in Lost and Found. Label your music folder, scripts, all your own books, and refillable water bottles, etc. These are the items left after practice most frequently.
Supply lists will be distributed by the teacher/director of individual classes prior to the first day of rehearsals.
Two concert semesters are scheduled, and each semester requires separate registration and payment. First concert semester is September through the Christmas Concerts in December. The second concert semester begins in January through the Spring Concerts in May. There may be a few additional performance opportunities during the year. Members are expected to make a commitment for the entire semester. A full refund will be given up to 2 weeks before the semester starts. After that, partial refunds may be given. Auditioned ensembles will have additional rehearsal/performance expectations for families to calendar.
Cell phones: Cell phones need to be off or on silent mode and put away during practices, rehearsals, and performances. The only exception is when used as a tuner in band/strings classes.
EXPECTATIONS OF PARENTS
Parents have the regular responsibility of getting their student(s) to and from rehearsal each week, on time, at least 10 minutes before their start time. Please make sure they are prepared and adhere to the dress code included in this handbook. Dress codes for rehearsals and for concerts are listed in detail. We ask all parents to review the Dress Codes with their students a couple weeks before each concert or performance. At the same time, check the fit and readiness of the items they will need to wear for performances.
Lastly, parents should carefully review the sections titled “Rules of Conduct and Building Rules,” and “Attendance” with their students so all are aware of what is expected.
WHERE SHOULD YOU PARK?
We do have a parking lot for Belfry, which we are planning on expanding to accommodate more vehicles. If parking on the street, PLEASE OBSERVE ALL CITY PARKING RULES (and especially the law regarding a clearance of at least 4 FEET from the edge of any driveway). The Appleton Police Department will issue tickets to those parked illegally.
ARRIVAL TIMES FOR ALL MUSICIANS
All students need to arrive early enough (at least 10 minutes before their rehearsal time) to prepare instruments, stands and music, and be ready to begin rehearsal promptly at their practice time. Percussionists need to assist with ALL the instrument set-up necessary for their band, before their practice time begins, as well as clean-up.
Thursday Class Schedule
11:00 Class Voice
12:15 Speech 101/Public Speaking
12:30 Junior Show Choir
1:30 Show Choir/Drama Plus
Friday Class Schedule
8:30 Troubadours Players
9:00 Children's Choir/Strings I/Ukulele
9:45 Beginning Band
9:50 Tin Whistle Class
10:30 Cadet Choir/Strings II/Guitar
11:15 Cadet Band/Ukulele
12:45 Jazz Band/Fall One Acts
1:30 Concert Choir
2:15 Concert Band
There will be many people coming and going during practice and space is limited. Instrument cases can be left on the floor (out of the way). Cases or belongings are not to be left in the percussion section, including those of the percussionists. It is necessary to move around the percussion area throughout practice and that space needs to be free of clutter.
Talking During Rehearsal – Talking between songs is generally not a problem unless the Director is speaking, in which case all should be quiet. There should also be no talking once the Director begins to work on a piece of music. While practicing a song, she may make frequent stops in order to fine-tune something, pick apart a passage or work on a problem area. It is difficult, if not impossible, for her to speak to students and be heard over the chatting. This is not a problem if members wait patiently, remain quiet, and pay attention.
MUSIC RESOURCES – AUDIO LINKS
Audio links will be posted on the website if available. It will greatly aid your personal progress and mastery if you play/sing along with these links in your daily practice. Of course, it will probably take a while until you are able to play at the tempo of the recording. You will find just listening to the music frequently, apart from your practice time, will improve your ability to learn and play the song. It is recommended that you save the files/links to your computer.
REPORTING ABSENCES and DATE CONFLICTS
Absences, whether anticipated or not, should be reported as soon as possible. The Director expects an email for any and all absences.The more advanced the notice, the better. E-mails should be sent before the day of practice, as possible. Please state the student’s name as well as what ensemble(s). Date conflicts, whether for practices or performances, are to be made AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to the Director.
Due to the nature of auditioned ensembles, Trouvères, Drama Troupe, and Show Choir attendance requirements will be shared with students in separate communication.
ATTENDANCE CHOICES AFFECT THE ENSEMBLES
There are a myriad of interesting activities in which to participate. One of the most popular categories is sports. As a comparison, here’s some food for thought:
Most often, sports programs require multiple practices and a game or two each week. Many sports have multiple people to play the same position, or positions may rotate. This is not the case with band/strings/theater especially. There is only one practice each week, for fifteen weeks before a performance, our one and only “game." Individuals are assigned one part to practice on their own over the semester. There is not always someone else with the same part. It is not fair to other students to expect someone to “cover” a part when they have not had it to practice. If you choose to miss practice, you are missing 100% of that week’s practices.
As performance time approaches, each practice becomes more and more critical. When one student is missing, it can, and does, affect that week’s entire rehearsal. The absent person is not affected by it, but the hole that is left is very noticeable to all present. Of course, we understand illness and other serious problems may arise, causing an occasional absence. We are asking you to consider seriously your commitment to the ensemble, especially your regular attendance at weekly practice, when making your choices.
IMPORTANT: ATTENDANCE AT DRESS REHEARSALS IS MANDATORY IN ORDER TO PERFORM AT CONCERTS.
GUIDELINES FOR KEEPING SICK STUDENTS HOME
COVID-19: Please keep students at home if they have a fever of 100.4 ̊ or higher, are coughing, experiencing shortness of breath, have a decrease in sense of smell or taste, have a sore throat or have muscle aches or pains.
Colds: Keep students at home if experiencing discomfort that would interfere with ability to sing or play an instrument.
Conjunctivitis (Pink-eye): Following a diagnosis of bacterial conjunctivitis, student may return after the first dose of prescribed medication. Students with viral infection may return when eyes are clear.
Diarrhea/Vomiting: Students with diarrhea and/or vomiting should stay home until symptom-free for 24 hours.
Fever: Students should remain at home with a fever of 100.4 ̊ or greater, and can return after they have been fever free for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medicine such as Tylenol or Motrin).
Head Lice: A child with head lice should stay home until after the first treatment with a medicated head lice product.
Strep Throat: A child with strep throat may return to rehearsals 24 hours after antibiotic treatment has begun.
A sick child cannot learn effectively and is unable to participate in classes in a meaningful way. Keeping a sick child home prevents the spread of illness in our community and allows the child an opportunity to rest and recover.
RULES OF CONDUCT AND BUILDING RULES
Conduct will be enforced before, during, and after rehearsals anywhere on the property in which the groups rehearse or perform. Directors reserve the right to deny participation in rehearsals or performances due to inappropriate behavior, and the following will result in immediate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the program for the semester without refund:
· Foul language, coarse joking, or unwholesome or disrespectful talk to students or adults
· Disruptive behavior
· Physical displays of affection
· Disrespect for those in authority
The following will result in immediate dismissal from the program for the remainder of the semester without refund. Re-admittance to the program will be at the discretion of the Director (PARENTS: Please reinforce to your students that knives of any kind are not permitted on campus.)
Use/possession of illegal drugs, alcohol, smoking/vaping, or inappropriate materials or weapons (pocket knives, lighters, matches, etc).
Directors will discipline as deemed fit for each offense, but in most cases will use the following guidelines:
First offense: Warning.
Second offense: Dismissal from current practice/performance. Student & parent return to the next 2 practices and must sit together. Following this, a meeting with the student, parents, and Director must take place to reevaluate the situation.
Third offense: Dismissal from the ensemble for the remainder of the semester without refund. Student & parent must meet with the Director to determine if re-enrollment is allowable.
In addition to the above, these rules apply to our rehearsal facility and any other practice or performance facility the group uses:
Other than a water bottle, no food or drink allowed in rehearsals.
Keep the facility/property clean. Pick up trash and dispose of it properly.
Children are not permitted to play in or around cars in the street.
Younger children must be supervised when not in class.
Damage done to a facility or equipment will be the financial responsibility of those involved in causing the damage.
In general, when an ensemble is rehearsing upstairs (choir room), students who are waiting can be in the Fellowship Hall. No students are allowed to be in smaller classrooms unless under adult supervision.
NO ONE is to play on the grand piano in the Choir Room without express permission from Mrs. LaFrombois
Please take advantage of agreeable outside weather, but also be mindful of your students’ whereabouts and activities. Parents, please assist in respecting our neighbors!
There is to be no food or drink in the Choir Room (upstairs) other than water. Lunch/snacks may be eaten in the Fellowship Hall at the tables during break. Please dispose of trash properly when finished.
Please use the restrooms prior to rehearsal. This is especially important for our Children's Choir students (parents, please assist in reminding students before rehearsal begins).
Masks remain OPTIONAL.
Our dress code is not a judgment on individual dress styles or personalities but is expected for participation in the Valley Troubadours organization for the purpose of appearance, unity, and maintaining an academic environment. There are many positive ways to stand out in our organization, and opportunities for self-expression and individuality abound in the Valley Troubadours through music and theater.
DRESS CODE FOR PRACTICES
Parents are responsible with regards to their student’s personal appearance. We desire that students’ clothing be appropriate for a Christian academic environment and demonstrate respect for others. Outfits that are immodest, too tight, too short/revealing, contain
inappropriate messages/symbols, or attract undue attention are not acceptable. Parents, please show appropriate consideration.
DRESS CODE FOR MUSIC PERFORMANCES: A UNIFORM LOOK
As in many performing groups, our goal is to provide a clean, neat, uniform appearance in our music performances. We strive to become one ensemble, one look, one sound. In order to do this, no one member’s appearance should stand out. We are a group with a common goal and focus.
For formal performances (Christmas Concert), we would like to have an all-white shirt for all members, and all-black on the bottom (black pants, or below-the-knee length black skirt), black socks/tights (if worn), and black shoes. Women have the option to wear pants or long skirts.
Trouvères will have a specific formal wear required and/or provided.
Marching Band will wear all black on the bottom (pants/socks/shoes, etc) and a band shirt, or formal Marching Band Uniform
For more informal performances (usually spring concerts), we may wear a provided concert t-shirt and blue jeans (or below-the-knee jean skirt).
Students who participate in the Valley Troubadours must agree to comply with the Rules of Conduct, Building Rules, & Dress Codes.
ADDITIONAL DIRECTORS & PERSONNEL
The Valley Troubadours is blessed with a rich community of people who share their gifts with our program. You will see many of these faces around the Belfry Hall during the year. Below are individuals who direct, teach, and/or assist with our classes:
Drama Troupe/Theater Arts Directors: Schawn Starfeldt & Heather Neumann
Production Manager/Managing Director: Carolyn Rosenau
Accompanist: Paula Quiñones
Strings Instructor: Marissa Buelow
Ukulele/Guitar Instructor: Shanna Buettner
Ensemble & Program Assistance: LoriAnn Snow, Myndi Margan
Flag Line Assistance: Heather Neumann & Angela Ott
Tin Whistle Instructor/Student Teacher: Josie Margan