For Jr. High & High School
For the Audience of ONE!
Philosophy of the Fine Arts Department
At GCS, we believe God creates us with a need to express ourselves through more than traditional language both individually and corporately. The fine arts reflect the creative nature of God and our endeavors in the arts should bring glory to our Heavenly Father. To do this, we must shepherd our students to be able to perform and participate with excellence in the the arts and enjoy them from a Christian perspective rather than man’s perspective. In trying to shepherd them in this direction, there are several principles which we focus on demonstrating and building:
1. Our main objective is to bring glory and honor to God. Whether in the context of the classroom, ministry, profession or avocation, we should strive to honor God through all of our artistic efforts.
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
2. A person’s worth and performance should not be linked together.
Therefore, success needs to be evaluated on the type of people we are producing, on the characteristics and qualities our performers are claiming for themselves, and not on our title determined at state or district competition or patrons’ reviews.
3. As authorities established by God, judges receive our honor and respect.
All of the arts are subjective in nature and we must realize that judges and authorities set above us to evaluate, instruct and direct make informed judgements and decisions based on their personal expertise and experience. We are called to accept these graciously, gleaning what we can apply for improvement and growth. Judges and those facilitating events as well as visiting master teachers all deserve our respect no matter how their decisions may affect us.
4. Allow God to grant victory or defeat. God is more concerned with the process of attaining success than the success itself. We must be willing to endure any situation God chooses for us and accept it as part of His omnipotence and plan. Our emphasis in this area is two-fold: prepare to do well and give 100%; then allow God to exercise His will and accept that joyfully. (Hebrews 12:1)
5. Fine Arts is a tool to help educate the whole person. The arts are one of many tools that God may use to teach us about life. There are opportunities to grow in artistic discipline, personal responsibility, interpersonal skills, leadership and spiritual maturity.
To conclude, much more could be written about the role of fine arts in a Christian’s life and the perspective that we should maintain. This list of goals is intended as a foundation from which we will build and work. If we are to successfully influence young men and women for Christ, we must take this foundation and build upon it. To do that, we must work alongside students and parents, looking to God for His direction, wisdom, and strength.
Organizations & Staff
Marilyn Ackerson—6th Grade Art Phil Rumbley--Band
Anna Pierce—7th/8th Grade Art, HS Art I Jason Montier--Orchestra
Lindsay Long—HS Art I & II Jeff Shelton—Drum Corps
Susan Boylan—JH & HS Choir Arlie Bice—HS Preparatory Theater, Co.
Delisa Bice—Fine Arts Dept. Chair; JH Drama; HS Acts of Grace Co.; Tech Theater; Speech
Communication & Concerns
The Fine Arts faculty often makes difficult choices in dealing with auditions, chair seating, constructive criticism and instruction which do, because they are dealing with an art, have a subjective nature to them. We try to weigh these decisions very carefully as we consider the needs of the individual as well as the ensemble. We know that this can sometimes lead to questions or hurt feelings on the part of students as well as parents. Parents and students are encouraged to carry all questions or concerns directly to the appropriate director first, then to the Fine Arts department head if needed. If you feel the need to pursue the issue further, the next step would be to the high school administrator then, finally, to the school headmaster.
Standards of Eligibility
The standards of eligibility discussed below refer to any practices, performances or trips that pull students out of an academic class. All other rehearsals and performances are considered part of the course. Attendance and participation is mandatory, and failure to perform will impact the student’s artistic discipline and/or performance grade.
*Students, to be eligible, must have a “70” average in each core subject (no failing grades), with the exception of an AP course in which a student may have a grade as low as “60”.
*Eligibility is determined by the nine week grades immediately preceding a Fine Arts event/competition and begins or ends on the Thursday following the end of the nine weeks, (which is the final day for teachers to turn in grades).
*If a student is ineligible due to a 9-week grade, his/her eligibility may be reviewed with a 3-week grade check. If at that point the student has shown a marked improvement, he/she may be reinstated by the verbal agreement of the teacher and fine arts director. The agreement must be approved by the principal or assistant principal. If there is not a marked improvement, she/he will remain ineligible until they have achieved a passing grade or have demonstrated a good attitude, willingness and ability to improve.
*In the case of TAPPS district and state competition, we will abide by the TAPPS rules which are a follows:
Failing no more than one course during the grading period
1. In determining whether or not the student is passing, his or her work from
the beginning of the semester to seven days before contest must be
2. The length of time for ineligibility after a grading period shall be at least
*Students whose grades or conduct drop significantly or who have excessive absences from class during the course of an activity may be removed from participation by the sponsor/teacher or principal. Criteria such as 3 week grade checks and periodic reports from teachers will be used to determine if a student should be allowed to participate. A student may have a passing grade, but their work habits, attendance, attitude and conduct may not warrant them having the privilege of representing our school in a performance or event.
*If a student is doing a good job on homework, turning in work on time, participating in class, showing a good attitude and is doing all that they can to maintain their grades, but still is not passing, we will work with the teacher, student, fine arts director and principal to determine if we should grant that student “grace” and allow him/her to participate under a probationary status. This will be rare, on an individual basis.
*To be eligible to participate, a student must be regularly enrolled in a full school day. Approved off-campus studies and work programs will be considered a full school day.
*To participate in any extra-curricular activity (including practices), a student must be in attendance at least a majority of the periods of their school day.
Conduct of a Christian Performer
Fine Arts students are held to high standards to demonstrate artistic discipline, self-discipline, respect toward peers as well as authority figures, and compliance to school and group policy on the stage, in the classroom and on trips. The conduct of a Christian performer is closely observed in many areas of life and impacts not only himself or herself, but others. The ensemble is affected if the individual does not take care of his/her personal responsibility and conduct in the classroom or outside of school. All established school policies in the Parent/Student Handbook or from the administration apply to fine arts activites. Any misconduct or questionable behavior brought to light will be addressed by directors and/or administrators or according to school policy. Violations of a serious nature may result in suspension or possible expulsion from the group.
In the Classroom
At GCS, a performer must maintain eligibility standards in scholarship as discussed earlier, but also in citizenship. He or she should always conduct herself/himself as a gentleman or lady, giving respectful attention to classroom activities and showing respect to all students and faculty and staff members at all times. Disruptive play and unnecessary talking are not acceptable. In the fine arts classroom, the performer should always be prepared and exhibit good artistic discipline. Failure to comply with these standards may result in lowered artistic discipline grades, suspension or expulsion from the group.
*The Fine Arts staff all use an artistic discipline grade which applies not only in the classroom, but also to out-of-school co-curricular rehearsals, events and trips. Parents and students need to make every effort to schedule personal appointments and other activities around established rehearsals or the artistic discipline grade may be affected. This grade may be impacted by tardiness/unexcused absence, attitude, lack of self-control in behavior, poor stewardship, and other behaviors which are a detriment to the group.
*The school dress code applies to extracurricular activities including rehearsals unless specific exceptions are announced. In cases where attire must be conducive to movement such as choreography, modesty is still expected.
On trips each performer directly represents the Lord, our school, and directors; therefore it is expected that all concerned behave in such a way that will set a good example to all the people we come in contact.
Before a member of any fine arts group will be allowed to leave school, they must have a signed GCS Acknowledgement of Rules & Permission to Travel Form (or any other applicable forms) on file which will grant permission for scheduled group travel. Directors will be responsible for sending parents information pertinent to each individual trip/performance to inform them of times, destinations, and plans.
To promote member unity and to ensure directors that all members are present and ready, members are required to meet with and ride to and from the performances with the planned transportation unless other means have been specifically authorized in writing by the school administration/director in writing before the departure of the event. School insurance only covers students when they are traveling in school authorized vehicles..
When vehicles are equipped with seat belts, all passengers are expected to wear them. The number of passengers should not exceed the number of seatbelts. *Please note that not all of our school vehicles have seat belts.
Girls and boys are not allowed to sit in the same seat during a school trip and any public display of affection is not permissible.
Adults should be spoken to with honor and respect. We will leave every school, performance area, park, van, car, and restaurant cleaner than we find them. Vehicle drivers will be shown respect and will be obeyed.
Guidelines for Field Trips—The Fine Arts Dept. also abides by the established school guidelines for field trips listed in the Parent/Student Handbook.
On the Stage:
Performance and exhibition is the culmination of classroom study and as a result fine arts instuctors assess artistic discipline and performance grades for concerts, shows, and competition. Performances are weighted as test grades; therefore it is expected that every member would participate in all performances in which they are involved. Failure to comply with these expectations will result in grade deduction and will be unexcused.
Attendance Expectations for Rehearsal and Performance
All parents and students should recognize the collaborative nature of the Fine Arts and the commitment that each performer makes to the larger group. There are times where the commitment we have made to be part of the group requires us to set aside our personal desires and plans. As a result, students and parents are expected to plan activities and appointments around scheduled rehearsals, performances and contests.
Students are excused from scheduled rehearsals and performances only in the following circumstances:
*If a student is absent from school due to illness or an emergency, and they have notified the director/office as soon as possible.
*If the student is an active participant, not a spectator, in a scheduled school-related event or competition (i.e.: a sports or academic team).
*If the student’s family has previously scheduled a family vacation. However, this does not excuse the student from tryouts or auditions and the director should be made aware of this as soon as the trip is scheduled. Other family activities, such as unexpected special dinners/events/parties should be worked around the scheduled Fine Arts activities. Church/youth groups trips, whether your parents go or not, are not excused. The intent of this rule is to encourage commitment to the group but also to support true family activities.
*If the student has submitted, been approved by the administration, and notified the director of a college visit before the rehearsal or performance is scheduled. College visits arranged after a rehearsal or performance has been scheduled are not excused.
It is expected that:
*If a student misses school for illness she/he cannot attend practice or performance. If a student attends school, he/she should also attend practice or performance.
*Student-performers should make an effort to schedule non-emergency medical or dental appointments so as not to conflict with class or performances, especially two days prior to and the day of a performance.
*If a student is going to be absent due to a medical appointment, she/he must come to school and attend as many periods of the day as possible and have a written note from either his doctor or parents about the illness/injury in order to participate in any fine arts activity that day. If an appointment or other activity is scheduled which conflicts with a class or performances, the director must be notified by the parent prior to the conflict, otherwise the absence will be considered unexcused.
* Parents and students equally share the responsibility of working around scheduled rehearsal and performances and the responsibility of notifying the director of possible upcoming, unavoidable conflicts. Students coming in and saying, “My parent didn’t tell me until now…” is not excusable. Being in a fine arts performing group is a great joy and privilege, but is also a serious commitment.
The school dress code as defined in the Student Handbook applies to all fine arts events, including travel time to and from events. Directors may specify a certain type of attire for their group.
School Equipment and Fine Arts Fees
Each Fine Arts course/activity assesses a participation fee which helps cover items such as music, folios, group t-shirts, supplies, travel, etc. which are not covered by the budget. Some groups assess additional fees for uniforms, conventions, voluntary trips or contests. We have tried to list all anticipated fees below. This is not to say that unanticipated fees will not be added; however, we will keep in mind the burden that unexpected fees may present for families and try to avoid them or keep them at a minimum as much as possible.
Fine Arts participation fees are as follows:
Jr. High Drama, Choir, Orchestra, Art and Band $30
Jr. High Drumline $80 (due Nov. 1)
High School Drama, Technical Theater, Art, Choir, Orchestra and Jazz Band $50
High School Drumline $80 (due Oct. 1)
Known additional fees:
*HS Choir and Orchestra dresses $75
*HS Choir and Orchestra tuxes $80
*Musical costume fee of @ $30 possible depending on casting and the show
*Drama often goes to see plays and musicals. Tickets may range from $20-$80 depending on show. These shows are always optional.
*Acts of Grace Company members have the opportunity to attend the Texas Educational Theater Association Theatrefest each year. This is optional and may range from $300-$400 depending on the number of attendees.
The Fine Arts fee is due no later than the Friday after the Labor Day holiday each year. (September 9, 2011)
In Fine Arts, “school equipment” includes, but is not limited to: instruments, music, scripts, folios, costumes and performance attire, music stands, props, set pieces and equipment, makeup, textbooks and any other resources provided by the school. Students are expected to be good stewards of all school equipment and facilities treating them respectfully and with great care.
Students are personally and financially responsible for all equipment checked out to them and/or fees incurred by them, and will not be cleared from school until all their equipment is returned in good condition or fees paid in full. Performers will be deemed ineligible for the next year and report cards and/or diplomas will be held until all equipment is returned at the end of the current year.
“And also if anyone compete…, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” II Timothy 2:5
Conduct before, during, and after a class, rehearsal or performance is to be consistent with school policy and will be enforced by the director and/or administrator.
If a performer quits mid-year or is dropped from a group, he/she will not be eligible for any awards or lettering. He/she will also not be allowed to return to that performing group or to any other performing group until they have approval for reinstatement from the director and administrator.
A director, with administrative approval, may establish additional requirements for his/her group.
Fine Arts Letters and Awards
Letter jackets may be earned in each Fine Art area through active participation, commitment and outstanding achievement. Each director determines the criteria for lettering and will notify students who have qualified for a letter jacket. Patches for additional areas in which the student has actively participated may be purchased, but the student should have the director’s approval to add the patch.
To earn a high school letter jacket in band, choir or orchestra, a performer must meet the following criteria:
*Must satisfactorily complete two consecutive years with the lettering organization
*Must advance to the state level solo/small ensemble contest one year
*Must have 100% participation in all performances (unless prior approval for absence is granted by the director or illness is an issue).
To earn a letter jacket in drum corps, the following criteria must be met:
*Must have two years honorable service/participation as a high school drum corps member (in other words, a junior drum corps member in good standing).
*Earning an high honor such as All-Region band member (in high school)
*1st division on a solo or ensemble at state competition (high school)
To earn a letter jacket in drama a student must:
*Successfully complete two years of honorable service and/or performance in a drama company or technical theater.
*Must compete at the state level in TAPPS Speech or Drama event. (Patches may be Speech or Drama depending on the event.)
To earn a letter jacket in art a student must:
*Participate in art for two years, maintaining an “A” average each year
*Advance to TAPPS state level competition at least one year
In High School, two performers (one girl/one boy) will be honored with the Cougar Award. This is given to two performers (only upperclassmen are eligible) who have been active in at least one fine art program throughout their high school years thus far. They are nominated by students and faculty and selected by the Fine Arts directors The following criteria will be considered in their nomination:
1. Commitment and active participation in at least one fine art
2. Honors received in fine arts organization(s) (district and state competitions)
3. Leadership qualities within each group
4. Academic achievement
5. Service projects
6. Christian character traits demonstrated on the stage, in the classroom, and in everyday school life. This will be evaluated by the teachers, directors, school staff and administration.
At least three girl and boy nominees will be considered nominees for this highest honor that we present.
In Junior High, two performers (one girl/one boy) who have excelled in their area(s), maintained good grades, and have demonstrated Christian character in the classroom, in performances and in everyday school life will be honored with the Cougar Award. The students are nominated for this award by their peers and directors and the two finalists will be determined by the Fine Arts directors.