Chorus Registration 2020-2021

In light of the current Covid 19 pandemic, NOCC is modifying the way we hold rehearsals and concerts for the 2020-21 season. The safety of our singers and staff is our greatest priority, so we have developed a three-stage plan that we will use as we work our way back to normal rehearsals and concerts. 

Stage 1: We begin with virtual rehearsals on Monday, September 14, the Monday after Labor Day, via Zoom. We will have a shortened rehearsal for all choirs, and then a number of optional “classes” that singers in Lyric Chorus and Concert Chorus can choose from. There will be two sessions for Songbirds, tailored to their age and abilities. We are being as creative as possible in order to develop the musicianship of our singers in various ways while it is not safe for us to sing together. The list of classes for Lyric Chorus and Concert Chorus are described below.

Assuming we are unable to move on to Stage 2 before our Winter Concert date, we will provide a video concert, which will include all choirs and also solo performances of Christmas carols. Based on health guidance, conferences with St Paul’s about the safety precautions and ventilation situation, and weather, we will consider smaller group rehearsals in person, either in the church with masks and distancing or outside, once it is cooler. However, virtual rehearsals will always be an option for those uncomfortable with in-person learning.

Stage 2:  We are very optimistic that we can begin in-person rehearsals by January, but will, of course follow guidance from local officials, school officials and health care experts.  Our plan is to return to regular Monday rehearsals of the usual duration at St. Paul’s Church.  If necessary, we will resort to alternating weeks in person with half of the choir present in person, while others can attend rehearsal online.  However, we will only move to this plan if schools are fully open and the level of virus in the community is very low, and in-person gatherings are not restricted.  If at any time restrictions on live gatherings are reinstated, we will go back to Zoom rehearsals.. We will plan to have our Broadway Concert in person, but if this is not possible, we will have a video concert, including all choirs and soloists.

Stage 3:  We will have regular in-person rehearsals every week, with safety precautions in place.  Spring Concert will be in-person if we implement Stage 3.

We are prepared for a hybrid approach as necessary.  Since no one can predict the exact course of this virus, we will be flexible and ready to pivot as possible and necessary.  We are committed, as always, to the high standards of NOCC.  We expect the kids to grow musically, make friends, and have fun within all of these scenarios. Virtual rehearsals were a surprise to us in the spring and all of us felt unprepared. We have had some time to re-think our rehearsals for an online platform and feel better equipped for this situation now.

We will provide rehearsal tracks and other learning tools as necessary.

The American Choral Directors’ Association, Chorus America, and over twenty-five other arts organizations nationwide, have commissioned a study on the safety of activities such as singing in choirs, playing in bands, participating in theater, etc. They are studying, in particular, the effect of aerosols on the spread of the disease, and whether singers and wind players produce more aerosols than talkers. The results of this study are still coming in. but indications are that the safety of singing together is only possible for a thirty- minute period with distancing and masks while the virus is widespread in our community. HVAC systems and the rate of air exchange are also factors.  We will continue to follow these recommendations and make judgements accordingly. Virtual rehearsals will always be an option.

For Concert Chorus members:  I have been invited to conduct a Massed Choir and Orchestra at Carnegie Hall over Memorial Day weekend of 2021, on a performance, with members of other choirs joining us.  This will be the tour for the Concert Chorus, assuming it is safe for us to go on a tour.  All payments are refundable.  More information on the tour will be available in the fall.


Songbirds: Ages 5-6

Mondays 4:00–4:30 PM
Zoom rehearsal, Singing and learning musical concepts

Thursdays 7:30–8:00 PM 
Story Time and Songs

Lyric Chorus: Ages 7-10

Mondays 5:00–5:30 PM
Zoom Rehearsal with singing and musical activities in preparation for December recorded concert

Choice of optional classes below.

Concert Chorus: Ages 10-16

Mondays: 4:30–5:15 PM 
Zoom rehearsal with singing and musical activities in preparation for December recorded concert.

Choice of optional classes below.

Class Descriptions

Songbirds Only

Instructor:  Jan Schluter

Ms. Jan will meet with the Songbirds on Mondays from 4:00-4:30 PM on Zoom.  She has planned a variety of activities that will engage the children and provide musical fun while we are unable to sing together.  We will explore basic music theory that is appropriate for pre-schoolers, such as clapping rhythms, identifying notes and rests, and singing scales. We will learn about concepts such as fast/slow tempo, high/low pitch, and quiet/loud sounds. Ms. Jan will sometimes show the Songbirds how to make simple rhythm instruments that can be played while listening to instrumental music.  

On Thursday evenings from 7:00-7:30 PM, Ms. Jan will offer a bedtime story/song Zoom meeting. Children should be fed and bathed and ready for bed – pajamas are encouraged. Stories and songs will help the children to wind down at the end of a busy day.  

Class Options for Lyric Chorus and Concert Chorus

Introduction to the Keyboard                                   Mondays 5:45-6:15 PM
Instructor: Tommy Zanca (Mr. Tommy)

Students will (virtually) explore keyboard instruments and learn to identify the basic layout of the keyboard. This will include pattern recognition, note names, finger numbers, and basic notation. 

Instruments to be presented include the piano, electronic keyboard, the harpsichord, and pipe organs. Where WiFi permits, sessions will be transmitted from various locations. No prior knowledge of keyboards is necessary. For those students currently studying piano, this class will enhance learning through exposure to other keyboard instruments.

Music Theory                                                                   Mondays 5:45-6:15 PM
Instructor: Jonathan Szymanski     

This class will introduce students to Music Theory, providing insight into the fundamentals of music such as rhythm, pitch, harmony, and music notation. The primary goal of the class is to help students learn to read music, so that they may further develop as young musicians.  Students will obtain and practice ear training skills as well as skills required for sight reading.

Hand Drumming                                                            Mondays, 5:456:15 PM
Instructor: Janel Ockman (former director of Lyric Chorus)

NOCC will offer a Hand Drumming class using the World Music Drumming Curriculum. This curriculum is based primarily on the drumming traditions of West Coast Africa and the Islands of the Caribbean.

Drum Patterns and techniques taught will help students internalize beat and rhythm, and understand the difference between the two.  The drumming process helps to develop listening skills and  increases the student’s ability to focus.

Mrs. Ockman uses a Tubano, which can be purchased from The Guitar Venter. But a real drum is not at all necessary for students to participate in this class. Some substitutions could be a five gallon water jug (like a Kentwood bottle), 2 or 5 gallon bucket, the top of a standard stool, or even just a table top. Parents will need to consider the age of size of the child. will need to consider the age and size of the child. A 5 gallon water jug may be too cumbersome for a younger student to handle, as they will need to play on the bottom and hold the bottle with their legs. Younger students will be just fine on a table top. 

Voice Class                                                                       Tuesdays 5:306:00 PM
Instructor: Cheryl Dupont

This class will focus on vocal technique, so as to help each singer improve sound production and ease of singing. Classical vocal technique is the basis for all other types of singing. Classes will focus on vocal solos, starting with art songs and moving on to Broadway songs. Singers will be given the opportunity for individual coaching during the class if they are comfortable doing so. Those who are not comfortable singing alone will not be required to do so, but will still benefit from the vocal training. We teach vocal technique in our rehearsals, bur this class gives us the opportunity to focus more fully on individual technique, with a small group.

Ukulele Class                                                                   Tuesdays 5:30 – 6:00 PM
Instructor: Meredith Hotard

The ukulele is a versatile instrument which has been making a comeback in popularity in recent years. Mrs. Hotard will teach group lessons via Zoom on ukulele technique, which will cover music reading skills, finger picking, chords, and a bit of songwriting. The course is intended for beginners. 

Ukulele Required. Ukuleles come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, but you don’t need to spend an excessive amount of money. Inexpensive ukuleles can have quite a nice sound and can be found on Amazon or at Guitar Center.  A soprano ukulele will work fine for anyone, but older students may want to get a concert ukulele, because it is a slightly larger instrument. You will also need a tuner – many ukulele sets come with a tuner, or it can be bought separately. The Snark brand is very good. 

REGISTER FOR 2020-2021

Please complete the following form, then download the Member Information Form and mail it to the NOCC office with the $50 registration fee.

5580 Canal Blvd Ste A
New Orleans, LA 70124

If you’d like to speak with NOCC staff, you can call the office at 504-482-2883. We are also available to meet on Zoom.