MYC Member Handbook
Welcome to the Madison Youth Choirs’ Member Handbook! Please always feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.
Madison Youth Choirs (MYC) was formed twenty years ago through a merger of the Madison Boychoir (formed in 1971) and Madison Children’s Choir (formed in 1985) on July 1, 2003. The Madison Children’s Choir brought a fifteen-year history of serving singers with innovative programming and creative rehearsals. The Madison Boychoir, founded by Carrel Pray, brought a more than thirty year history of performance, commitment, and advanced musical training.
Today, MYC is a vibrant community of singers learning and growing together across eleven ensembles. MYC shares its music with area audiences and often shares the concert hall with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison Opera, and many other arts organizations. When it becomes possible again, we plan to continue touring internationally to build upon the experiences we’ve shared in places like Scotland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, England, France, Japan, and Ireland.
Rehearsals, Performances, and Communication
Our rehearsals are the heart of our program where big ideas are explored through the lens of music. Discussions around the music are valued as much as learning the music and participants can expect to have their curiosity muscles flexed! All of our ensembles rehearse on Sundays at our permanent home on the Isthmus–Madison Youth Arts at 1055 E Mifflin Street. This is also our office and mailing address. Please view (or subscribe to) your singer’s calendar for the entire season schedule.
Music distributed to singers is the property of Madison Youth Choirs and will be returned at the end of each season. Singers are responsible for caring for their music and we ask that each family provide a 1″ black three-ring binder to keep music organized and protected throughout the season. Music should be brought to each rehearsal along with a pencil.
Specific COVID guidelines for our fall 2022 rehearsals will be shared in September prior to our first meeting.
In a typical season, our rehearsals culminate in public winter and spring performances and sharing our music throughout the community. For the 2022/23 season we are planning to host a winter concert series at Middleton Performing Arts Center and a spring concert series at the Verona Performing Arts Center. Our public concerts are ticketed events and information regarding purchasing tickets is shared with parents and the public several weeks before the event is scheduled. MYC singers wishing to attend a concert in which they do not perform always receive a complimentary ticket.
Due to copyright law, individual audio or video recordings are not permitted at our concerts. MYC concerts are professionally recorded by Audio for the Arts and are available for viewing on our YouTube channel (both during the concert via live stream and later). Seating for each concert begins approximately 30 minutes in advance. Pre-concert warm-ups are generally closed to families and audience members to allow singers to focus on their music and final instructions. Individual choirs may have other performances scheduled throughout the year; some are open to the public, while others are for private groups. When a performance is added to a calendar, families are always notified.
Dress rehearsals allow our singers to practice for an upcoming performance inside the concert venue to finalize musical details, and work out logistics. Casual clothing should be worn to dress rehearsals–not concert attire–unless otherwise announced. Attendance is required for dress rehearsals. Depending on the venue, dress rehearsals may be open to parents.
To stay connected throughout our programming season, we update our members with current information through our Weekly Notes emails sent each Thursday. Thank you for reading them thoroughly and following up with us at any time if you have any questions. Weekly Notes are also archived on our website under the Current Members tab.
The best way to reach us is via email or by calling our office at (608) 238-7464.
Membership Details and Policies
Membership: MYC is dedicated to educating a diverse group of musicians. Participating in MYC in any way makes you a member of the MYC community where empathy, mutual respect, and the exploration of big ideas through music expand how we see the world.
Members joining in the fall commit to MYC for the entire school year as we plan a full season experience around a particular theme to benefit our singers’ development and deepen our sense of community.
Attendance:The most valuable contribution musicians can make to their ensemble is their presence at rehearsal. Membership in MYC is a commitment to consistently prioritizing weekly rehearsals. Just like a sports team or the cast of a play, your fellow choir members are depending on your contributions to the rehearsal. We know that singers feel the most engaged and successful when they are consistently attending rehearsals.
MYC believes that commitments are chronological, meaning that the commitment that was made first should be the commitment that is honored. Please compare your school, sports, music, and other calendars as soon as possible and let us know of possible conflicts with your rehearsal schedule via the Absence Form. Most importantly, please disclose your MYC participation and share your rehearsal and concert schedule when you are auditioning for a play or musical, or when signing up for other extra-curricular activities that require your attendance.
Reporting Absences: Absences or late arrivals/early departures should be reported to the MYC office via the on-line absence form.
School Music Program Participation: MYC considers itself a partner with school music programs in educating young musicians and promoting musical excellence. As a member of MYC, you are strongly encouraged to participate in your school music program whether through choir, band, or orchestra.
Participating in a school music group provides huge benefits to young musicians:
- Daily singing (or playing) and technique/musicianship building
- The opportunity to work with and learn from different music educators
- Additional opportunities (all-state groups, solo ensemble festivals, tours, competitions, musicals, college scholarships, etc.)
- Opportunities for leadership, to serve as role models, to give back to school music programs and keep them vital and dynamic
MYC tries very hard to avoid scheduling conflicts with area school events, but this is not always possible. Please discuss pending conflicts as early as possible.
Auditions for new singers (ages 11-18) are generally in late spring, late summer, and early winter.
Introductory Choirs: MYC offers Introductory Choirs throughout the year for students ages 7-10+ who are new to MYC. Students in this age range participate in an Introductory Choir prior to joining a performing choir. These comprehensive music education sessions prepare singers for membership in a performing choir by teaching basic music vocabulary, vocal technique, group singing skills, and MYC’s rehearsal culture through fun games and activities.
Our Join a Choir page provides up to date information on both auditions and Introductory Choir.
Moving choirs: Auditions for current singers wanting to move to the next choir in the sequence occur in late spring or early fall.
Taking into account a singer’s age, grade level, and experience, we believe each of our ensembles provides an excellent environment for a singer’s growth and musical development.
Although each ensemble is unique, our conductors all share the same dynamic teaching philosophy valuing thoughtful content and a nurturing process in rehearsals. What a singer might learn as well as contribute in an ensemble are equally considered when making placements.
Most singers, depending upon their age and experience, will sing in a particular choir for more than one year. While the timeline will be different for every singer, the philosophy is the same. It’s not a race to move to the next choir: it’s our goal that each singer have the right types of experiences in a choir, including leadership, before moving. This philosophy helps ensure the success of both individual singers and the ensemble and provides singers with the best possible comprehensive choir experience.
Although the exact process may change from season to season, the information we use to make placement decisions is the same. We look at singers’ vocal, musical, and rehearsal skills. We consider age, grade, and social development. We consider each singer’s time spent in our program. In short, we do whatever we can to get a picture of the “whole singer”.
Code of Conduct We care deeply about cultivating a culture of empathy and respect within the MYC community and so will always strive to model an attitude that assumes the best of our students. We are committed to being clear in our communication and gentle in setting expectations within a rehearsal and relying on the self-motivation of our singers to contribute in positive ways to the rehearsal experience for themselves and for their peers. When conflicts occur or a student needs a reminder, we rely on the underlying ethos of mutual respect and genuine desire for a positive outcome for everyone involved.
Reporting a concern: MYC would like every singer to have the best experience possible and we realize that sometimes adjustments need to be made in order for that to happen. If you or your child has a concern about his/her choir experience, it is best to discuss the problem with your child’s conductor first as he or she can often make immediate changes to improve the situation. If you feel the situation has not improved or feel uncomfortable approaching the conductor, please contact the MYC office who will work with you and the conductor to resolve the problem to the best of our ability. The MYC staff encourages singers and parents to bring concerns to our attention as soon as possible so we can make appropriate adjustments before the problem escalates.
Volunteering: Parents are encouraged to share their time and talents with MYC:
- Volunteering is a great way to feel connected to our mission and to meet members of the MYC community;
- Your contributions of time and talent allow us to invest resources back into programming and expand our capacity.
- It’s fun! Really!
Volunteering opportunities are shared via the Weekly Notes but if you have something specific to offer, please contact us at any time.
The policy of the Madison Youth Choirs is to respect the privacy of individuals. Information gathered by the employees, independent contractors, or others working on behalf of MYC shall not be shared with any other party unless specifically authorized by the individual whose information is involved or unless MYC is legally required to provide such information.
MYC NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY: It is the policy of the Madison Youth Choirs that participation in all aspects of MYC’s programs be open to any and all. There shall be no discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex/gender, national origin, age, disability/handicap, status or service as a veteran, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by applicable law.
This policy applies to all Madison Youth Choirs employees, independent contractors, present, prospective, and former members and their families, volunteers, donors, or third parties who interact with employees, such as customers, vendors, or other members of the public.
STATEMENT ON PERSONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FOR MEMBERS OF MYC: It is the policy of the Madison Youth Choirs to have no affiliation with any religion, nor to discriminate against any individual, group, or organization on the basis of religion. Further, it is MYC policy to respect everyone’s free exercise of their religious beliefs.
MYC recognizes that two important factors influencing performances are the nature of music suitable for performance and the availability of facilities for concerts. MYC acknowledges that the history and tradition of choral music has given a rich heritage of music based on religious themes or written for specific religious purposes; and that religious edifices are often the most logical sites for public performances, either within or outside the framework of religious worship services. It is further possible for the Madison Youth Choirs to hold performances in non-religious edifices, but under the sponsorship of a religious denomination. This policy must be understood to place no limitations on the performance of any music in any venue.
This policy shall be understood to generally discourage rehearsals and performances on Saturday mornings or Sunday mornings in the Madison area so that MYC staff and members can participate in religious worship of their choice; exceptions to this policy are allowed in exceptional situations with prior consultation of both parents and MYC members. Furthermore, care shall be taken in planning for such out-of-town events, and when and if possible, appropriate alternative arrangements must be made to accommodate those staff or members wishing to attend religious worship services of their choice.
Season Tuition by Choir
Choraliers, Con Gioia, Purcell, and Britten: $550
Capriccio, Holst: $580
Cantilena, Cantabile, and Ragazzi: $610
Tuition Due Dates and How to Pay
At a minimum, a $50 deposit is required by August 15, 2022 to access the first month of rehearsals (including the half-day season kick-off rehearsal on September 11 or 12). After the deposit, at least 50% of your season tuition is due by September 11 with the remaining balance due in full by November 20. You may choose to pay in installments or in full. If you need more time to pay, please contact us to set up a payment plan extending beyond November 20, 2022.
Payments may be made by check and mailed to the MYC office at 1055 E Mifflin Street, Madison, WI 53703 or via credit card through the payment portal on the Members page (additional fees apply).
The $50 tuition deposit to reserve your singer’s seat is refundable through July 31. If you change your mind about being enrolled with MYC after July 31, your full tuition, less the $50 deposit is refundable through September 30. This trial period includes the first month of MYC rehearsals–including the half-day welcome rehearsal. After September 30, if you cancel participation, full tuition is still due and non-refundable.
Tuition Assistance Grants
MYC commits to supporting participation for singers with financial need through its tuition assistance program. If you are unable to afford full or partial tuition, we invite you to submit the tuition assistance application when you register or by August 15, at the latest. The application is confidential and straightforward.
Tuition covers just under half of the actual cost of participation and we rely on other sources of funding, including additional support from our MYC families to help us close the gap and keep tuition affordable for everyone.
We hope you will be mindful of helping us increase our capacity during this time as it’s needed now more than ever. Thank you for considering a donation beyond your tuition payment and for inviting others in your sphere to consider supporting us. We will be sharing other fundraising opportunities as they become available throughout the season. Thank you!
Other Ways to Engage
We deeply appreciate the myriad ways our MYC families show their support and love for this organization. We could not do what we do without your engagement. As we rebuild during the ongoing pandemic your support is more crucial than ever and you might be surprised by the impact you can have by doing just a few simple things:
- Engage with your singer’s experience and enjoy discerning what they are getting out of their participation. Your positive experience is important to us and fuels our success.
- Cheer for us when you see a post on social media (like, share, comment).
- Tell your friends and family about us. We hope MYC comes up often in your conversations!
- Pay tuition on time–this is very impactful and so appreciated!
- Make a donation to MYC above your tuition amount. Encourage others who are close to you to do the same.
Thank you for helping us fulfill our mission!
Other ways you can help
- If you work for a company that has a charitable foundation or makes contributions to organizations like MYC, contact us. Many companies make funding decisions based on employee involvement or support; please consider being an MYC advocate in your workplace by writing support letters for funding proposals, sharing your personal story with a foundation representative, and/or inviting co-workers to MYC events. You don’t have to be the company president to make a difference.
- If your company has a matching gift program, your donation to MYC could be doubled. Contact us if you need help enrolling MYC in your program.
- If you shop through Amazon, we hope you’ll consider making your purchases through AmazonSmile, a free program which donates 0.5% of eligible Amazon purchases to non-profit organizations. Visit Smile.Amazon.com and choose Madison Youth Choirs as your charitable organization.