Apex High School Choral Department

Student/Parent Handbook



Instagram: mscopleyahs

[email protected]

Dear Parents and Students,

If you had told me 22 years ago when I started at Apex that the 2020-2021 school year would look like this, I would tell you that you were crazy. I still feel like it is a bad dream that I cannot wake up from. Like many of my students, Choral Music is a part of my identity!!! I have been completely lost without it and I literally have dreams of the first day I get to have all of them together. I promise you that I will try and make the year as normal as I can. I think the key for you and I will be routine. Once the 2 week orientation period is over and everyone has what they need, we will establish a routine schedule. I cannot make a lot of promises but I can promise to love and encourage each student. My hope is that our Chorus community will become a place where your student belongs. This document will give info for both virtual and in person learning.


Email is my number one source of communication. You will receive updated emails from me at least every 2 weeks. These emails will include updates on what we are doing in class, information of performances, rehearsals, fundraisers, booster info, tutoring opportunities and grade updates. I will use the following google form to create my email base. Please complete ASAP.


I check my email daily during the week, but I try to leave my weekends for my family. I am free from 1-3 most days. I will post reminders on Instagram, our website and through remind. Power schools is open for parents to check at any time. Some of you will complain because there is to much communication.

Literature Studied:

Students are required to sing a variety of choral literature both sacred and secular. Students will not be expected to believe, practice or worship any of the sacred literature, but will be asked to sing and study it as a part of our world’s music history. Music originated in the church. It is simply another style of music that is crucial to learning. Most of the sacred selections that we sing are on our state adapted music list.

Virtual Singing:

We will learn Choral Music like we normally do. I will focus on technique, musicianship, and making the individual better. When we finally get together (in whatever that may look like) we can focus more on blend and balance. Our first performance or informance will be when we are all together again. We will perform what we work on in the fall. If your child does not practice….I will know it! Singing is like a sport. You can’t run a marathon if you haven’t been running everyday prior to the race. Singing is muscle memory. It will be obvious. Our success for the spring will depend on what your child does when they are not on the camera with me. My plan is to do a big lesson on Monday and then use the rest of the week to implement the lesson through assignments and small group help. Once my class lists are set, your student will be assigned a time each week to get help from me in a smaller group setting. My Wake County Colleagues and myself spent most of the summer creating supplemental sight singing videos to help with their during online learning. This will help! Students will be graded on correct singing 3-4 times a quarter. The rest of the singing assessments will be effort and completion (These are the assessment that I will use to give feedback and suggestions on how to improve). Extra tutoring, or make up work will be done from 1-3. I will probably spend a big portion of my evenings helping with my daughter’s 7th grade work.


  • -40% Rehearsals/Concerts:

In Person Learning--each outside of class rehearsal is worth 100 points. Each major concert is worth 200 points. If your child is out of school on a rehearsal or concert date due to sickness or funeral, I must be notified by a parent with an explanation. It will then be your child’s responsibility to make that time up within one week of the child’s return to school or their grade will result in a 0. You receive a calendar for the entire school year on the first day of school. Please plan doctor, dentist and family trips accordingly. If a child is well enough to stay at school, then they are well enough for rehearsal or a concert! Please notify me immediately of Apex athletic conflicts so that I may handle it in a timely and professional manor with the coach. The Arts Department tries hard to plan around Apex Athletic events and tournaments, but it does not always work out. Remember that Chorus is an academic class and Athletics are extra -curricular. Other school field trips are also extra -curricular. Please be organized. If transportation is an issue, please notify me immediately so that I can arrange a car pool.

Virtual Learning: Every 3 weeks, your child will have to upload on flipgrid a recording of their part with Accompaniment of the song we have been working on. This grade will be a completion grade (if completed correctly and followed directions). There will be 3-4 grades here per quarter.

  • 30% Performance Practices:

In Person Learning: If you are talking, sleeping or eating, how can you be singing? Breakfast is over at 7:10. Lunch also begins and end with the bell. Plan ahead! I allow water and encourage water bottles, but no colored liquids. There are way too many kids in the room and too many accidents when these rules are not followed. A student will also lose points if they are texting, talking, sleeping or doing homework. Students may be asked to place cell phones on the cabinet at the front of the classroom before class begins. If a student is texting without permission, their phone will be taken and given to an administrator….no warning. If a child is doing homework without permission, it will also be taken. If your student is sick and cannot sing, they must follow along in the music. This is not free time. Each unexcused absence is -2points for that day. If your child has a medical condition and you know they will miss more than 10 days of school, it is crucial that you take medical documentation to your child’s counselor. I have decided to PLT with my department so our grading will be consistent. The students will only have 1 performance practice grade. It will begin with a 100. The students will earn 2 points a day. The lowest grade you can get is a 14. Those are free points. Please know that you cannot get these points back. 5 bad days and your grade is already a B. NO CELL PHONES! Grades will be entered on Fridays after day 10 of school.

Virtual Learning: There will be short completion assessments with weekly google meets.

  • 30% Tests/Quizzes/Projects:

In Person Learning: Each quarter, the students will be tested at least once on sight reading and/or new theory material. Because of time with performing schedules, music history may be presented in paper or project form. Each quarter, the students will also be given a singing test in groups of 2, 3 or 4. They will be tested with other students who sing different parts. They will be graded based on the rubrics that are given. There may be an occasional singing pop quiz where there is not a rubric. They will be in 5 or 10 point intervals and will be added together at the end of the quarter for 1 grade. This allows me to get to know the students and their voices. All written make up work is due 1 week after the absence. Emails will be sent out of when those make up afternoons will occur. It is the child’s responsibility to make up the work. Do not assume that we sing all day every day.

Virtual Learning: These assignments will be graded on correctness. These grades include Sight Singing, theory, projects and mini singing tests.

  • 1 semester of Chorus Band/Orchestra kids: If your child can only take 1 semester of Chorus, I will not re-teach them what they missed. I will treat them day 1 like they have been with me all year. They will be graded just like the kids that have been in Chorus all year.

Chorus Expectations: Virtual and In Person Learning

  1. Take responsibility for your own development as a musician.
  2. Every time you sing, make it a quality experience.
  3. Work to master basic music skills.
  4. Develop an attitude of wanting to improve each day.
  5. Be willing to try new things. Wait until a piece of music is ready to be performed before you have an opinion. Give it a chance and expand your mind.
  6. Display an attitude of effort at all times.
  7. Come to class prepared to work hard.
  8. Be present for all rehearsals and concerts.
  9. Listen Carefully. My pacing is fast. Critical listening improves the quality of the choir.
  10. Respect the efforts of others, and of our differences. Girls. Keep the drama out of our class. A positive and encouraging attitude is mandatory! I will not tolerate bullying. If I hear you degrading another kid, I will write you up and you will find yourself in basket weaving next year. Chorus is not about you, but about the ensemble and what is best for the group.
  11. Enjoy experiencing and making beautiful music.
  12. Show willingness to work with others.
  13. Choir is a group effort, but every individual is important. Working together is the key.
  14. Practice concert etiquette at all times, especially during daily rehearsals.
  15. Make a positive contribution to the class. Do not be a distraction.
  16. Online learning: look presentable.
  17. Online learning: Keep camera on when being evaluated on singing so I can give you accurate feedback.


              We will not address this until later in the semester. This is an FYI of what to expect when normalcy occurs again.  Each student is required to purchase or fundraise the money for a uniform.  You keep that uniform and you do not have to purchase another one unless you grow.  Tux pieces may be bought separately. Students are fitted for the uniforms here at school.  Dresses are $70 and Tuxes are $150.  Students will need to purchase closed toe black dress shoes on their own.  If a girl needs to replace her bling-bling, they are $8.  I have a few used dresses and a few tux pieces for those in financial need, but not in every size.   If there is a financial need, please contact me ASAP.  We will have a private conversation and will offer assistance. No contact means you can do this with fund raising opportunities. Students with "fun" hair dyes will be asked to use a 24 hour natural hair color for all concerts.  These kits are under $20 at your local stores.


Apex Performing Arts Boosters (APAB):

Each parent of an AHS chorus student is a member of the Apex Performing Arts Boosters. You will receive more information on how you can get involved. We usually have an informance at the beginning of the year, but we are postponing that at this time. You will meet our Booster Board at that time. They will be your go to people for finances, volunteering and fund raisers. Any other questions or concerns should be directed at Ms. Copley. Checks written to APAB or you can use PayPal. Pay Pal info will be emailed to you later in the semester. Chorus operates on a system called charms. You will be trained later in the semester on how to access and begin using this system.

Fair Share and Finances:

We have decided as a board to table the details of this for later in the semester when we know more, but this is an explanation of what a fair share is for the new people. Our school funds do not exist. It takes quite a bit of money to keep our program going. We have 400-700 people in attendance at every concert, and over 2000 at our pops concert. These are big events. Several years ago, I came up with the idea of having a fair share. I was having thousands of dollars in my possession at a time, whether it was taking money up for pizza, or collecting for festival money. It was everywhere and I felt like I was nickel and diming the parents to death. The Booster Board and I sat down, looked at those expenses, totaled the money spent and divided it amongst the kids in chorus. The fee each year is different, based on the total of kids we have. Because the Advanced Mixed Chorus participates in more activities, the fair share for each class will differ. I will never ask for money unless there is a fund raiser attached with it. If you do not wish to fund raise, you may write a check for fair share or uniforms to the Apex Performing Arts Boosters (APAB). If we have a fair share for the spring, you will receive a list of what it will cover. Fair share does not include ticket sales, trips, CD orders or uniforms.

Chorus Trip: Our Choral Department travels each year. It is one of my favorite things to do. We have been to Germany, Italy, Austria, England, Hawaii, and Switzerland. We also travel in the US. I literally could write a novel on our trip experiences. Experiences that they will NEVER get from a History book. We do quite a bit of fundraising to offset this cost. Due to Covid, we will not be traveling this year.

Apex High School Honors Treble Choir Auditions for the 2021-2022 school year:

Honors Auditions for next year will be held in the Spring. You must be a rising sophomore to audition. Honors credit is based on work ethic, behavior, dependability, responsibility, music literacy scores, written tests, and trio/quartet test grades. The cut off scores for quartet tests and sight reading tests are usually an 85+ and some years 90+. This depends on the talent in the program and space availability in the class. A boy that wishes to receive Honors credit, must have completed 1 full year of Chorus with me along with the qualifications listed above.


For in Person Learning

We have a new tardy policy in place this year. When the tardy bell rings, the teachers will lock their doors. You will then go to stairwell 1 and get a pass from the staff member at that door. Staff will be sweeping the hall each period. Once you have your pass, you will go to the teacher’s door and show the pass to the window for them to let you in. The staff member at the stairwell will assign lunch detention. Students will not be allowed out to use the restroom until the first 10 min of class is over.

ALL CHECKS MADE OUT TO APEX Performing Arts Boosters APAB. There is a box in the chorus room. Any money turned in during the year must go in the locked box in an envelope. Please write your name and what the money is for on the memo lines of the checks. Cash is not the best option! You can’t track it. No coins!

Remind Codes: 

1st Period- [email protected]

2nd [email protected]

3rd [email protected]

Google Classroom: 

1st Period: jnzvsox

2nd Period: 7ivpjfd

3rd Period: 4cu73wq

Our Director, Heather Copley

Heather Copley has been the director at Apex High School for 19 years. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Voice from Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina. Each year Mrs. Copley is the Music Director for the Apex Fine Arts Department's Musical Productions and is the advisor to the Apex High School Tri-M Honor Music Society. She is also a member of NCMEA, MENC, and ACDA.  Mrs. Copley serves as member at large on the NCMEA High School Chorus Executive Board.

AHS Performing Arts

Apex High School Main Website

Apex High Band - Directed by Daniel Jarvis

Apex High Orchestra - Directed by Todd Miller

Apex High Theatre - Directed by Laura Levine