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MUSIC 1GW3A Ensemble:Women'S Choir

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff



Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: by appointment

Course Objectives:

Student will be instructed in the foundational aspects of vocal-choral performance through specific instruction in vocal technique, choral listening, tuning, balance, musicality and style. In rehearsal, students will be encouraged in the development of those skills appropriate to their ensemble, and are expected to show continuous progress in their development. Final demonstration of skills will occur through performances and individual testing.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Rehearsal Materials

  Pencil (evidence of score marking in rehearsal is part of your final grade)

  Scores (at every rehearsal)


Concert Attire

Long black pants or a skirt (no minis), black stockings, black long sleeved shirt (at least ¾) or blouse, black shoes.

Method of Assessment:

1) Testing - 40%

Students will be tested at the end of each term. Testing will take place in small groups, and will involve excerpts from the repertoire studied during the term. The composition of test groups will be determined by the instructor toward the end of each term, and will depend on the repertoire performed and the distribution of students registered for the course. Students will be expected to perform the test material without mistakes, to reflect the musical instruction provided during rehearsals, and to demonstrate fluency in all of the ensemble skills: listening; tuning; balance; blend; musicality; style; diction & pronunciation. TESTING WILL BE HELD THE WEEK PRIOR TO EACH MAIN CONCERT (end of Term 1 and end of Term 2).  Individual sign-ups will be provided


2) Participation - 30%

Each student's willingness to accept direction, and his/her efforts to incorporate the instructor's suggestions into his/her performance at each rehearsal and concert will be appraised. Because of the co-operative and experiential nature of these courses, irregular attendance by any student is seriously detrimental to the progress of his/her ensemble. If a student must miss a rehearsal, s/he is expected to inform the instructor (or his/her representative) before the expected absence. Frequent absences, either excused or in excused, will directly affect a student's skill development, and will be reflected in his/her grade for this component.


3) Preparation/Progress - 30%

At each rehearsal, specific assignments for individual practice will be given. Appraisal of each student's success in this area will be based on his/her ability to easily perform his/her individual parts, and to adapt to the give-and-take of ensemble rehearsing.

Students are expected to learn the assigned music quickly, and to demonstrate continuous progress in all the skills that are appropriate to their ensemble (listening, tuning, balance, blend, musicality, style, rhythmic, dynamic and phrasal flexibility.)


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

A wide range of music will be learned throughout the year, and it is important for all singers to carry their own weight within the group. This includes taking some time outside of rehearsals to be sure that you know your music well.  Like any varsity sports team, 100% attendance is expected for this team. Contact Dr. Rensink in advance of any absence from choir. Failure to make contact before rehearsal will result in an automatic “unexcused absence.”


Choir Attendance Policy

  • No more than ONE absence per term. Students taking choir for credit will receive a reduction of 10% for any missed rehearsal extending beyond one.  Those not taking choir for credit will be asked to re-audition for the choir. 
  • Failure to return to choir post-break will be marked as an absence;
  • Tardiness for rehearsal will result in a loss of 2% per rehearsal.


Voice Rest Policy
If your throat is sore or if your voice is overly fatigued, you will not be expected to sing during rehearsals. You will, however, be expected to attend rehearsal, listen, and mark your scores. Please speak with Dr. Rensink at the beginning of rehearsal if you are on voice rest.


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:



Hamilton Arts & Letters Reception

Central Library Downtown

Friday, October 21

2:30-5:00 pm


Women’s Leadership Summit Conference

McMaster Campus

Saturday, November 12            

10:00 am performance | 9:00 am call   


Women’s Choir Concert | Song of the Universal

MacNeill Baptist Church (Hamilton)

Friday, November 25                                                 Sunday, November 27

6:00 pm dress rehearsal                                                      3:00 pm performance | 1:30 pm call


Mac Choirs Carol Sing

Student Center Atrium

Wednesday, December 7               

11:30 am – 12:30 pm


McMaster Women’s Choir Noon Series Performance

Central Library Downtown

Friday, March 17                                   

12:00 pm performance | 11:00 am call


McMaster University & Women’s Choir Concert | Made in Canada

Location TBD

Friday, March 31                                                                        Saturday, April 1     

6:00 pm dress rehearsal                                                      7:30 pm performance | 6:00 pm call