I had been asked throughout the years how I managed the topic of student Section Leaders. I'd learned early on that delegating and offering student ownership to the whole program would reap bountiful rewards. Here is a sample of the email I sent to those whom I felt would do the job.
Dear XX and XX:
I write to ask you both to serve as Co-Section Leaders of the XX Section for the 20__-20__ school year. I am going to try something a little different this year in that I realize the commitment of the Section Leader extends past rehearsals and class, especially where sectionals are concerned; it may be easier to split the sectionals into a rotation of two houses during the month. Each section leader will host two a month rather than consecutive weeks. Also, the fall presents issues with various activities which might be better leveraged with two leaders. (NOTE TO READER: Weekly sectionals are a mandatory part of this curriculum. Students host one-hour sectionals in their homes, absent of me, every week. Attendance at sectionals is factored into the marking period grade.)
I am also asking a junior and a senior in your case so that I can maintain the leadership after graduation.
I prefer to ask people in person, face-to-face, but I realize that the opportunity to speak to some of you in private may not present itself next week.
Here are the things you need to consider:
· Your parents and family members need to be on board with this. As you already know, you will be opening your home to your section at least two times a month.
· You must be in Concert Choir full-time next year – either on the roster or by scheduling period 8 lunch. This is non-negotiable.
· I come first. As Section Leader, I need to know that the choral program is a priority to you. If there is a conflict with another activity, choir wins.
· You may certainly decline this offer. Not everyone is interested in the commitment and the leadership position. Understood.
You are a solid singer in Choir Sectionals and do all you can to recruit from your lunch period.
You are a role model with a solid work ethic and sturdy moral character.
You run one-hour sectionals for ACC every week in your home.
You are honest and trustworthy and demonstrate solid integrity. You report sectional attendance with accuracy.
SPRING COMPETITIONS REQUIRE YOUR ATTENDANCE – No negotiation.
You encourage all singers in your section to do the best they can.
You need to help…ALL THE TIME.
You create an understanding in your section that ACC and Monday night rehearsals are not only a class, but a priority and the class comes before birthday parties and social events.
You stand at different places in your section (ACC & CC) to monitor singing and help where it is needed…
You lead by example…you know your music; you are on time for rehearsal, etc.
You think ahead for the needs of the program…you know how things run…
You foster and build unity within your section…playful competition between sections (t-shirts) is always fun!
You do not create DRAMA…you help manage it…OR ELIMINATE IT!
You don’t cut class, you don’t get suspended…you show respect for the tradition of the program as you are its future…
You are always “on” and maintain a level, NON-EMOTIONAL, NON-JUDGMENTAL, attitude towards your section. One of the toughest things about being a leader (of anything) is that you are expected to be “on” all the time…
You help in all classes:
You ask, "Is there anything I can do for you today…before I leave rehearsal…?"
Do we need to re-set/clean up the choral room?
Are there materials you can help distribute?
Does the stage need to be set, risers re-assembled? (concert season)
Are there students struggling in Concert Choir who may need either musical or personal help?
Is the class just way too talkative?
Will you encourage your section into better behavior?
Section Leaders serve the entire department, not just A Cappella Choir. They know where they can help. This is where my expectations lie.
You encourage everyone to have ownership in the program. The program does not belong to just A Cappella kids because they sing in more than one ensemble…let’s think of good ways to involve everyone in the work of the program
YOU NEED TO TAKE 24 HOURS TO MAKE THIS DECISION. YOU MUST SPEAK TO YOUR FAMILY AS SECTIONALS WILL BE SCHEDULED IN YOUR HOME. YOU MUST CONSIDER YOUR WORKLOAD NEXT YEAR AND UNDERSTAND THE COMMITMENT YOU ARE BEING ASKED TO MAKE.
This is not to be discussed with anyone other than your family and your co-section leader. It is not to be mentioned in school. If you accept, you will be introduced at the first rehearsal and acknowledged on the 20__-20__ roster that will be posted after auditions. Your ability to keep this to yourself will prove to me that you are trustworthy.
Section Leaders (From the Standards and Expectation Sheet distributed in the first rehearsal):
Section Leaders are your direct link to all things ACC. They are to be called if you are running late.
Make sure you have your section’s Cell phone Numbers in your phone…perhaps enter them as a GROUP.
Email or TXT your section after each Monday night rehearsal to confirm the week’s sectional, date, time and place.
Have you told your section how important this choir is to you?
Points of Discussion
I’ve always set the standard. For the last few years, that standard was met and exceeded all expectations. Everyone played the game as the game should be played. Even in tough times, we listened to one another, we worked out our differences. How do we create that environment again?
If you are accepting the position of Co-Section Leader, kindly respond to this email over the weekend – Saturday or Sunday. That way I know you will have had enough time to give it serious thought as well as discuss it with your parents/family.
If you are declining, kindly also respond over the weekend.
Thanks for this consideration.
NOTE: Throughout the years, my Section Leaders have been outstanding. I credit each of them with the continued success and reputation of the Ridge High School A Cappella Choir Honors.