Saturday, May 24, 2014

Secret Garden - May 29-31 at 7pm; June 1st at 2pm

McLean High School Choral Society Presents 

The Secret Garden ~ the musical 

Buy Your Tickets by Clicking HERE

May 29-31 at 7pm; June 1st at 2pm
McLean High School's Stephen Burks Auditorium 

Reserved Seating - $10 Students and Seniors/$15 Adults

Book and Lyrics by MARSHA NORMAN
Music by LUCY SIMON
based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This enchanting classic of children's literature is reimagined in brilliant musical style by composer Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright.  Orphaned in India, 11 year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald and his invalid son Colin. The estate's many wonders include a magic garden which beckons the children with haunting melodies and the "Dreamers", spirits from Mary's past who guide her through her new life, dramatizing The Secret Garden's compelling tale of forgiveness and renewal.

The endearing musical will be brought to life again on McLean High School’s stage by our talented MHS students and will feature vocalists, actors and a full orchestra. Students from area elementary and secondary schools will also join this talented cast to ensure a true Northern Virginia production.

Thursday evening features Jennifer Rose, Meg Hashem & Lily Lord
Friday evening features Jennifer Rose, Meg Hashem & Nancy Pruett
Saturday evening features Grace Myers, Rachel Lawhead & Lily Lord
Sunday afternoon features Grace Myers, Rachel Lawhead & Nancy Pruett
playing Grace, Martha & Lily respectively

Thank you suppoting our talented students and 
THE ARTS in YOUR community.

Letter from Ms. Reilly and Ms. Martin Regarding Choral Classes Next Year

Dear McLean Community,
 
We write today to inform you of good news regarding the status of our choral department program.  Although it seemed inevitable that the program would have to be reduced due to the current budget challenges facing FCPS, we have, through creative problem solving and input from the community, come up with a plan that we believe will ensure the program continues to thrive and be a vital part of the McLean experience.  The program will remain the same in the 2014-15 academic year with the exception of moving the Madrigal class into the school day.  There will be a separate Women’s Chorus, Men’s Chorus, and Advanced Women’s Chorus (Armonia); we will also offer Music Theory and AP Music Theory.  This solution helps the school system with its staffing issues, while preserving the long tradition of choral groups at McLean High School.  We would like to thank the community of parents, students, and faculty that have worked with us to resolve the scheduling issues.  

We remain committed to providing a well-rounded education for all McLean High School students.  

Points to note:
         Students who are in Madrigals will meet with Ms. Martin to discuss options of taking a second chorus class.
         Information regarding a new Economics and Personal Finance option for the summer can be found by clicking HERE.
 
Thank you for your support and cooperation. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Ellen T. Reilly                   Linda Martin

Principal                           Choral Director

Friday, May 9, 2014

MHS Choral Society Response to MHS Choral Program Changes - Meeting Tonight at 7:30 in Library at MHS

The choral program of McLean High School is among the first in Fairfax County to feel the effect of recent budget constraints. The program’s most advanced choir, Madrigals, will not be offered as separate class in the 2014-2015 school year. Madrigals, an auditioned mixed voice chamber ensemble, has a 50 year tradition of excellence. At a recent competition in New York City, Madrigals received a Gold rating, earning them the right to perform in the Elite Performance Series Festival at Carnegie Hall.

The administration at McLean is offering Madrigals next year  in conjunction with the school’s other advanced choir, Armonia, an auditioned all women’s chorus.  Presumably it will be up to the choral director to determine whether to rehearse the combined group as one choir with a 4:1 women to men ratio or to rehearse one choir at a time, thus reducing rehearsal time for each choir by half.

Currently, Madrigals is an eighth period class.  This allows the Madrigals to also be members of another McLean chorus.  Armonia, Men’s Chorus and Women’s Chorus are strengthened by the Madrigal’s voices and experience.  If Madrigals takes place during the school day, most Madrigals will not be able to work two choral classes into their schedules. 

There are several creative solutions that would allow Madrigals to exist as a separate class from Armonia.  If these solutions fail, Madrigals could return to a club status. The primary draw back of this option is financial.  If the parents are required to fully fund Madrigals, they will be unable to provide scholarships allowing all singers to travel to choral competitions.  It is also not clear whether the choral director would be allowed to direct Madrigals as a club. 

The choral director’s position at McLean has been “de-staffed” from a full-time to a part-time position.  No other high school in the county has de-staffed the choral positon.  The current director, Ms Linda Martin, must choose between holding two part-time jobs at different schools or leaving McLean for a full time position at another school.  Although she has been at McLean for 18 years, Ms Martin was not offered an additional non-music class at McLean (such as the new required personal finance class) to give her full time work at the school.  As chair of the performing arts department, she has also been denied the planning period usually available to department heads.  Over the past three years, Ms Martin has had major surgery, a brain tumor and twins.  Yet the number of students enrolled in her programs has not decreased and her choirs excelled in competition this year. Imagine what she could accomplish next year with good health and returning talented students!  Ms Martin’s impressive bio is available under the “About Us” tab at www.mhschoralsociety.com.

The administration made the decision to combine Madrigals and Armonia without input from the choral director.  The students found out about it by receiving notes from their counselors asking them to come in to revise their schedules. They made the decision to de-staff Ms Martin without notifying the students or parents.  Hopefully, this meeting signals the willingness of the administration to address these issues as a community.  

Tonight - 7:30 - Meeting Regarding Future of the Choral Program at MHS

7:30pm on Friday May 9th - McLean High School Library.  Please come and support the Choral Department and its future by attending this meeting.  Ms. Reilly will be there to explain the administrations decisions.  
Here is a copy of the letter she sent out yesterday afternoon:

Dear McLean Community:

In response to a number of inquiries that we have received regarding our choral program, I am writing to provide some clarity and dispel the misconceptions.    First, I assure you that the choral course offerings will not change for the 2014-15 school year.  However, due to low enrollment in some courses, we need to combine classes.  The current constraints on our budget require us to set a minimum threshold of 20 students to offer a class.  As a result, we have combined women’s and men’s choirs because not enough male students signed up to meet the minimum threshold.   We plan to offer three choral sections: AP Music Theory, Mixed Chorus, and Vocal Ensemble (Madrigals and Armonia).   This will allow us to retain the course offerings and provide students with options for all of the combinations they will need.

We are now working through how best to run the vocal ensemble class, Madrigals and Armonia.  Students try out and can qualify for either or both of these advanced choirs.  There are sixteen students who have been selected to join Madrigals; again, this does not meet the 20 student minimum for a stand-alone course.  Rather than cut the course, we decided to combine Madrigals and Armonia. Students who are signed up for Madrigals will need to fit the class into a seven period day.  In the past, we were able to run Madrigals as an 8th period class that met at 6:15 a.m. two times a week and one evening a week.  However, our budget situation will not allow us to offer an 8th period class next year.  

Our instructors reserve the right to have students who take either Madrigals or Armonia sign up for a second music course.  In coming days, counselors will meet with students who were selected for Madrigals and/or Armonia so that they can choose the additional music course they would like to take.  Students need to stay within the seven period schedule, while meeting graduation requirements.   Students who are in jeopardy of not meeting graduation requirements should speak with their counselor to figure out the best course of action moving forward.  Students who have difficulty the two music courses in their schedule have an option of taking summer school on-line course or they make take an 8th period on-line course during the 2014 -2015 school year.  Both on-line options come with a financial cost to the family.

In summary, we project that there will be three course offerings  in the choir program; however, we will reevaluate the number of sections next week to see if we are able to offer a  fourth class.  While our current enrollment numbers do not support  having a full-time teacher for the upcoming school year, this can always change when and if more students sign up for our choral classes in the future.  We are extremely proud of our choral program and are committed to continuing this outstanding tradition.

Thank you for your continued support of McLean High School.

Sincerely,
Ellen T. Reilly

McLean High School, Principal

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

McLean High School Choral Society Presents 

The Secret Garden ~ the musical 

Buy Your Tickets by Clicking HERE

May 29-31 at 7pm; June 1st at 2pm
McLean High School's Stephen Burks Auditorium 

Reserved Seating - $10 Students and Seniors/$15 Adults

Book and Lyrics by MARSHA NORMAN
Music by LUCY SIMON
based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This enchanting classic of children's literature is reimagined in brilliant musical style by composer Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright.  Orphaned in India, 11 year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald and his invalid son Colin. The estate's many wonders include a magic garden which beckons the children with haunting melodies and the "Dreamers", spirits from Mary's past who guide her through her new life, dramatizing The Secret Garden's compelling tale of forgiveness and renewal.

The endearing musical will be brought to life again on McLean High School’s stage by our talented MHS students and will feature vocalists, actors and a full orchestra. Students from area elementary and secondary schools will also join this talented cast to ensure a true Northern Virginia production.


Winner of 3 Tony Awards

"Elegant, entrancing...The best American musical of the Broadway season." -Time

"A splendid, intelligent musical...It's all you can hope for in children's theatre. But the best surprise is that this show is the most adult new musical of the season."- USA Today

"A many splendored children's fable that neither cloys or loses grip on its unique spell."-Newsday

"Revels in theatrical imagination [and] achieves the irresistible appeal that moves audiences to standing ovations."-Christian Science Monitor

The Secret Garden" is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

Thank you supporting our talented students and 
THE ARTS in YOUR community.

Meeting Regarding the Future of The Choral Program

7:30pm on Friday May 9th - McLean High School Library.  Please come and support the Choral Department and its future by attending this meeting.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Boar's Head Feast

Plan now to attend the McLean High School Choral Society's Boar's Head Feast.  The 62nd Feast will be held on Saturday March 15th at Redeemer Lultheran Church, 1545 Chain Bridge Road, McLean (just down the street from MHS). 

The Boar's Head Feast is a combination of fine dining (catered by Le Madeleine), music, performance and comedy.  Students will be performing and serving meals in the Renaissance- inspired hall.  All Mens, Womens, Armonia and Madrigal Chorus Members are required to attend this event to perform and/or participate.  

The dinner feast starts at 6:30pm but call times for students will be earlier.  Information about call times and responsibilities will be forthcoming.  

The Boar's Head Feast is a fabulous event with delicious food, outstanding music and lots of laughs.  This popular annual event is appropriate for people of all ages and is open to the entire community.  Please purchase your tickets early as this much loved community event typically sells out early.  

To purchase tickets please click here: 

Hope to see you there!

Thank you for supporting our talented students and the Arts in our community.  


PS.  Please help us promote this event - invite your friends, print out the attached flyer and put it up in a business you frequent, or place of worship.  All are welcome!