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 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. When there isn’t a pandemic, 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 hope 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.
Spring 2021 and Communication
Our spring 2021 rehearsals will be offered virtually on a weekly basis January 31 through May 23 with the possibility of optional, in-person meetings in late spring as public health directives permit.
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!
In a typical season, our rehearsals would culminate in public performances and sharing our music throughout the community. During the pandemic, sharing our ensemble work will take other forms.
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.
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.
Typically, members commit to MYC for the entire school year but during a pandemic, flexibility is a priority and so, both a fall semester membership and a spring semester membership will be offered. Even though the semesters are offered as separate registrations, we are still planning this season as a thematic whole. Singers will get the most out of their experience if they can participate in both semesters, though it’s not required.
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. And one of the advantages of a virtual rehearsal is the accessibility factor–transportation, weather, and even illness are no longer barriers to attending.
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 include MYC rehearsals as possible conflicts when considering other activities.
Reporting Absences: Absences or late arrivals/early departures should be reported to the MYC office via the on-line absence form or by calling the MYC office at 608 238-SING (7464).
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 artistic director 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.
Tuition for our 14-week spring 2021 session will be $250 for each singer regardless of their ensemble. Tuition provides entry to the weekly virtual rehearsals and the opportunity for singers to continue learning, growing, and connecting within the MYC community throughout the spring semester.
Tuition Due Dates and How to Pay
Tuition for the spring session is due in full by January 29, 2021. If you need more time to pay, please contact us to set up a payment plan.
At a minimum, a $50 deposit is required by January 29, 2021 to access the first two weeks of virtual rehearsals. Payments may be made by check, money order, or credit card. Please mail payments to the MYC office at 433 W Washington Ave, Floor 2, Madison, WI 53703.
Credit card payments may be made using the PayPal link on our Members page (additional fees apply).
We understand that the virtual format may not work for everyone. Therefore, your full tuition, less the $50 deposit is refundable should you decide to withdraw by February 8 (after two rehearsals). After February 8, if you cancel your participation, your full tuition is 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 January 29, 2021, at the latest. The application is confidential and straightforward.
In a typical season, there are a number of opportunities for MYC families to engage with their community and raise funds for MYC. Family fundraising at MYC has always been about keeping tuition affordable for everyone and helping us close the gap between the actual cost of providing programming and what we charge for tuition.
You won’t see a family fundraising contribution goal on your tuition statement this fall but we hope you will still 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.
MYC and the Pandemic Impact / How You Can Help
It goes without saying that no one has been spared some financial impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. For MYC, we are experiencing the impact of significantly reduced revenue in every bucket: tuition, grants, corporate support, and individual giving (including family fundraising). In response, and to keep our organization afloat, all salaries have been reduced indefinitely even though the full-time work continues.
None of this is easy, but we are grateful for the opportunity to offer programming this year and look forward to still being viable next summer when our new building is ready to open its doors to us. That dream becoming a reality motivates us to survive this time, no matter what.
You can help us weather this storm in a number of ways and we’ll list them here as a reference because they’re timely anytime, not just in a pandemic:
- 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.
- Make a donation to MYC above your tuition amount. Encourage others who are close to you to do the same.
Your support is what will allow us to survive. 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.