High School Program Spotlight : Charles City High School

Program Spotlights

CS Music is highlighting unique and impactful high schools, universities, summer programs, young artist programs, and other organizations that help singers. If you want us to highlight your program, email Mary Taylor at mary@csmusic.net.

Charles City High School

Charles City, IA

Choral Director: Derek Sturtevant
# of Students:
Subjects Taught: Choir, Musical Theatre, Voice

Why are you unique?

We have an expansive vocal jazz and extracurricular music program for a school of our size. Also, both of our curricular choirs are non-auditioned which means that any student, regardless of singing experience can be a part of our choir.

About Charles City High School

There are two curricular choirs at Charles City High School each consisting of between 60-80 students that produce four concert performances a year. In addition to the curricular choirs, we have four auditioned vocal jazz ensembles each consisting of 16 members and an auditioned chamber choir of between 20-25 students. Students at Charles City High School have the opportunity to participate in Iowa All-State Auditions, Solo and Ensemble Festival, a bi-annual music trip, individual weekly voice lessons, and an annual musical theater production.

How do you get your students more involved in the program?

Our extracurricular ensembles help to grow and challenge our advanced singers while our curricular choirs invite all students to sing. Our program is focused on helping students to grow as young adults while challenging them musically.

What are you most proud of about your program?

I am very proud of how are students tackle challenges and push themselves to become better musicians. We have created a culture of excellence that that students take pride in.

Do you have any special traditions?

We sing our Alma Mater to end every concert, inviting Alumni to join our singers onstage. This builds a great connection between our current students and the alumni that have some before them. Our choir president will conduct at these performances throughout the year.

Has your program participated in any competitions, performances, or special activities?

We do not compete outside of our state sponsored music festivals. Our choirs regularly receive superior ratings at large group festival, solo and ensemble festival, and vocal jazz festival.

If there was one thing you’d like to learn from other teachers across the country, what would it be?

I always love to hear repertoire that different directors are programming , new warm-ups, and new festivals that they are attending.

Finally, if there was one thing you’d like to see accomplished within your program, what would it be?

I would like to see our program continue to grow and to impact as many students as possible. To continue to make the choir room at our school as safe place for all students to learn and grow as musicians and as people.

Mary Taylor

Mary Denton Taylor is CS Music’s Online Magazine Editor. She loves helping thousands of singers find their potential at the CS Music conventions and vocal competitions. She is a former librarian who writes young adult and middle grade fiction when she isn’t working or being a wife and mom to her four music-loving kids.