• ORCHESTRA Handbook 2020-2021

    Class Rules 
    1.    Be on time to class. (School tardy policies will apply.)
    2.    Bring your own instrument to class and a pencil.  Store instruments in your locker

           during the day and take them home at night!
    3.    Every student will receive a 3 ring 1” binder the first week of school.  It is your

           responsibility to bring it to every rehearsal. DO NOT rely on your stand partner to

           have a folder to use.  We will be checking for the first few weeks of school to see if

           you are bringing it to class.  Points will be deducted if we find that you do not have

           your binder.
    4.    Absolutely NO FOODDRINK, or GUM in the orchestra room or on

           stage.  Bathroom breaks need to be taken care of prior to class. 

    1. You are in charge of your own disciplineBe quiet during rehearsals. A

           participation grade will be given for each day and discipline is considered a part of

           your participation along with being prepared for class. When other

           sections are rehearsing study your parts.
    6.    Remember that all concerts are required!  The calendar is subject to change but

           all the concerts are set now and you need to clear all work schedules.  There are

           make-up assignments for both concerts and dress rehearsals, please notify a

           director in advance with an email prior to the orchestra activity (if there is an

           emergency we will take that into consideration).

    Mr. Thibodeaux – jthibo@neisd.net

    Mr. Norton - lnorto@neisd.net

    7.    Make-up Assignments/ Extra Credit: A student may earn extra credit by

           attending a non-Churchill H.S. orchestra concert. To receive credit the student will

           need the concert critique rubric before attending the performance. Return the

           written critique, rubric and the program from the concert to Mr. Thibodeaux.

    Turn in your make-up work.  Please turn in all make-up work to Mr. Thibodeaux.  If you are participating in a UIL event such as a game or meet which conflicts with a concert you will not have to do a make-up assignment but as a courtesy please notify Mr. Thibodeaux in advance by email.  Please understand it takes every person to make a good performance.  I will try to work with each of you on an individual basis concerning conflicts.  However, I do expect everyone to make arrangements to be at UIL Concert and Sight-reading Competition.  There should be no excuses even for other school events.



    1. Uniforms: There is a NEISD uniform usage fee.   The fee will be $10.00 per

            year.  Please bring in your usage fee as soon as possible. You are responsible for

            their upkeep.  Please do not put them in lockers or leave them in the trunk of your

            car.  Dry clean as needed.

    Girls need black shoes with a low heel.

    Boys will need a white tuxedo shirt, pleated with a wing tip collar.  Black shoes and black socks.

    9.    GRADING:  You will be tested as needed for chairing and progress.  Each week

           you receive a participation grade. Participation and weekly grades will be

           determined by your work ethic each week in class.  There will be writing

           assignments given periodically during class.

    20% Participation
    25% Playing Tests or Written Tests
    25% Rehearsals
    30% Concerts
    70 and above is passing

    Eligibility is required for:
    1.   Region
    2.   UIL Solo and Ensemble
    3.   UIL Concert and Sight-reading
    4.   Dinner Theatre
    5.   Trips


    Eligibility and Trips: A date will be given for the final payment for the trip.  You will be given a contract which gives the payment due dates.  There will be no refunds after that date. If you discover that you have failed after that date you will forfeit ALL money toward your trip and it will not carry over to the following year.

    10. Instruments: Students may use the school cellos and basses in class. Those students who do not have their own cellos or bass will be checked out a cello or bass to take home. The violins and violas are rented on a first come first serve basis. There is a charge by NEISD of $30.00 to use a school instrument during the year (that even applies to students who use a school cello/viola/bass at school only.)  The $30.00 will cover all the general maintenance of the instrument.  You will be responsible if you damage the instrument due to negligence.


    1. When turning in money always put it in an envelope and put it in the money box.  Envelopes are provided.  Never hand in money to the directors or put it on their desks. On the envelope you need your name, the amount of money you are turning and what it is for.  Always turn in money for fees by the required deadline.




    12.      I will try very hard to secure the room. However, there are activities in this room when we leave each day.  I strongly recommend carrying insurance through your homeowner’s insurance policy. LOCK your lockers.

    13.      I want every orchestra student to understand the importance of following all district policies that are in your Churchill student handbook that involves the orchestra both during school and outside of school.  There are strict disciplinary consequences which come with the policies concerning: hazing, drugs, tobacco, weapons, alcohol, theft and many others listed in your handbook.  Many time students are not aware of the things they say or do may be considered hazing or sexual harassment.  The orchestra has never had a problem with any of the above issues.  The orchestra is used as an example to the other organizations of the school for having some of the best academic and talented students in the school. I want to keep this tradition going so it is your responsibility to adhere to these rules.


    1. Violin and Viola students need to have us an extra set of strings.
    2. Violin and Viola students need to have a shoulder rest.
    3. Cello and Bass students need a rock stop
    4. ALL students need rosin and pencils!
    5. You must have a music stand!


    A word from Mr. Thibodeaux ,     Ladies and gentlemen, orchestra is supposed to be fun.  It is not fun for us or you when you cannot respect us and the rest of the class.  Keep all unnecessary comments to yourself.  Think before you speak.  I have feelings just like all of you.  Make sure what you have to say is not going to hurt my feelings or the feelings of someone else in the class.  If we all work hard to respect one another we will have a great year.  We are going to try to keep the complaining down to a minimum and smile at the unimportant things that happen each day.  I want you to do the same.  Practice needs to be treated very seriously.  Practicing 30 minutes each day will be enough to play all the music in your folder.  The more you put into orchestra the more you and the orchestra will get out of it.  Practice can be a great way to get away from homework and relieve stress.  Before you do your homework get your instrument out and when you can’t absorb anymore, practice to break the tension of studying.  It really works!

    Classroom Zoom Etiquette 


    Name Display 

    •  Your first and last name and instrument must be used as your name on Zoom.               (ex. Jason N. Thibodeaux – VIOLA)


    Computer Settings 

    • Screens/Video must be on and make sure your whole face is visible.
    • Use the microphone settings in the Google Classroom when playing
    • Stay muted unless instructed otherwise
    • Please use one of the following virtual backgrounds.
    •             a) ORCHESTRA LOGO
    •             b) Orchestra Building
    •             c) Union Flag
    •             d) WC Whiteboard



    • Be on time and ready to learn!
    • Be properly dressed while on video as school dress code rules apply. 
    • Be mindful of what is behind you during the Zoom.
    • Use a Churchill Virtual Background



    • Focus on instruction without visits to other tabs, streaming services, etc. 
    • Stay off your phone unless the lesson requires it.
    • Find a place to be alone so you are not distracted by other people in your house.
    • Make sure you have a music stand. 









    Let’s have a great year!

    It is very important that you and your parents understand all of the above rules and guidelines for orchestra this year. Please bring back the following forms as soon as possible:

    1. N.E.I.S.D. Travel Consent Form and Medical Addendum
    2. Student AUP Permission Form
    3. Orchestra Guidelines and Rules Acceptance Form
    4. Money for your uniform ($10.00) and if you are checking out an instrument ($30.00) for the maintenance fee. You may put both in the same check made out to Churchill High School. Please send booster money separately.
    5. Orchestra Booster Club Membership Form and Dues
    6. NEISD Fine Arts Code of Conduct






    Churchill Orchestra Guidelines and Rules Acceptance Form



    Parents please return this form to the Orchestra Directors. It will be placed in the orchestra permanent file for this year.






    I have read the Orchestra Bulletin and understand the information and guidelines given.


    Student Name (PRINT):_________________________________

    Student Signature: ____________________________________

    Parent Signature: _____________________________________

    Date: _______________________________________________






     Mr. Thibodeaux                                                            Mr. Norton