Announcements & News

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Announcement Archive:

1st nine-weeks, 2008

December 21, 2008

The Omni CD

The second round of CDs are finished and are available.  Mr. Jennings will be at the school from 11 AM to 12 noon on Monday for distribution.  See you there!

Hoops & Yoyo card

I toyed with the idea of making this an egg, but I wanted you to see it.  Click here. :)


December 16, 2008

The Omni

Great work, ladies.  It's been a full 24 hours and I am still getting email.  The CD (which is terrific- I've heard the audio tracks) is going to be amazing.  Albemarle County Superintendent Pamela Moran came to the concert last night, and was utterly floored by your performance.  She had no idea... but she does now.(Mwa ha ha ha)

Albemarle County Public Schools Website

Hey... check out who is on the front page... :)(click)

No rehearsal!

Take Wednesday morning off. Hit the "snooze" button 10 times or so. ;)


Don't forget to wear clean sneakers & socks, nice (unripped) jeans, and some sort of sweater or turtleneck (along with your coat and Washington DC scarves) for the goodwill tour to area hospitals.  Parents can pick you up at the school at 5:00 PM.


Our final rehearsal of the 2008 calendar year is at 8:00 AM Friday; we'll warm up, perform 3 or 4 songs for the faculty of Burley Middle School, then eat a delicious breakfast! Don't be late!

December 14, 2008


Wow, ladies.  Wow.  Great attitudes, great behavior, great concert! Considering the temperature and that the United States Federal Government decided to close the gate to the park for an hour- what a great, great concert! Congratulations!


If you have photos of the women at the National Tree in DC, please send them to Mr. Jennings:   Thank you!


We will have regular rehearsal tomorrow on stage at Burley Middle School, 8 AM.  We will work out logistics for the concert at the Omni tomorrow evening. 


  • Arrive at the Omni no later than 6:00 PM; we are in the room named           "Ashlawn Highlands"

  • Make sure to wear appropriate dress shoes, pantyhose, the Bearettes dress, and pearls.

  • Hair is off the face in a ponytail

  • Deodorant is required.  Perfume is forbidden.

  • Eat a full, nutritious dinner!

  • Drink lots of water!

  • The concert begins at 7:00 PM. Admission is free

Parents who are interested in helping move equipment tomorrow afternoon should plan to meet in the Burley auditorium at 4:15.  I'm not sure how many cars we'll need, but better safe than sorry.   We'll also need to break things down and bring them back to Burley afterwards.  Thank you for your enthusiasm, patience, and support!

Daily Progress

The Daily Progress has requested a picture or two of the women in DC.  I have complied... look for a blurb about our activities sometime soon!

Goodwill Tour Schedule

Our tour schedule is set for Thursday, December 18, from 1:00 to 5:00 PM.  Participating women should wear festive street clothes (jeans and sneaks are fine, sweaters, turtlenecks, and coats are a good idea).

Our itinerary:

  • 1:00 PM meet in the auditorium to warm up.  Any solos not covered by their usual vocalists will be reassigned for the afternoon.

  • 1:45 - 2:15 PM  Barrack's Road Shopping Center (in front of Staples' Barber Shop and next to Greenberry's Coffee)

  • 2:30 - 3:30 PM  University of Virginia Hospital

  • 3:45 - 4:30 PM  Martha Jefferson Hospital

Rehearsal Schedule for the Week:

While you should be checking the calendar anyway, I thought it prudent to list our rehearsals for this week:

Monday, December 15: 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM on stage

Wednesday, December 17: NO REHEARSAL

Friday, December 19: 8:00 AM Rehearsal, room #107. Performance for Burley Faculty (buffet breakfast is provided!)

Homework & Academics:

Ladies, please be sure not to equate "membership in Bearettes" with "academically entitled to extra time and privileges."  Nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, it is expected that all of our members are diligent in accomplishing tasks in a timely and responsible manner.  Please be sure to actively cultivate a positive academic relationship with the faculty of Burley Middle School, or we will not be able to achieve all of our goals this year!

December 10, 2008

The women were given an important packet regarding Washington today in rehearsal!  Parents, be sure to ask your daughters about it, or download it here!

One more rehearsal!

Hang in there, ladies.  Keep hammering away at the sections that elude you.  Progress will be made, even if it's not obvious until you return to ensemble rehearsal.  Keep at it; be tenacious!

Documentary filming

Mr. Steinberg is requesting opportunities to interview a few women at the voluntary rehearsal Thursday afternoon from 4 - 5 PM.  See if you can make it.  You'll have a better performance, and you might be interviewed! 

December 7, 2008


Ladies, congratulations on a great rehearsal yesterday.  Your work is making such a difference in the quality of the group's sound.  Your individual contribution is greater than you imagine; keep it up!  We're so close!

Thank you!

To uber-Mom Donna Martin and the legion of parents who made sure we were (extremely) well-fed and taken care of yesterday.  Your support is so very, very appreciated!

Dr. Greennagel's thoughts:

Dr. G was, quite simply, bowled over by your professional demeanor and technique yesterday.  He was very, very impressed, and said as much.


A few pictures of yesterday's event are now available on the "Recordings" page


Mr. Jennings has been approached by Bearettes Dad and film-industry director Jack Steinberg about creating a mini-documentary of the Bearettes program and it's upcoming adventure in the nation's capitol and at the Omni.  More to come as information becomes available, but yet another reason to be sure our preparation is top-notch!

CD fundraiser

We're already nearing $200 raised by the fundraiser!  Remember, the CD will include the best recordings of our concerts this December, and delivery will be made before you leave for break!  Order forms are available here.

December 5, 2008

Woo hoo! (click - National Tree Concert Schedule)

Clinic with Dr. Greennagel

Don't forget:  

  • You should be in your seat by 10:00 AM. 

  • Bring everything you need for rehearsal: music, pencil, water, and a great, determined attitude!

  • Bring something to share for lunch!  (Drinks, plates, cups, napkins and utensils are all set)

  • If your pot-luck lunch dish needs a serving utensil, please bring that, too!

See you there! 

December 2, 2008


Mr. J has been very pleased with the obvious amount of work you've been doing.  The extra rehearsals are really paying off!  Remember:  if you can come for TAP, or lunch, or both (if you've packed a lunch), please do!  The more time we get, the better we'll be!

Bearettes newsletter

Don't forget to give your parents your purple packet!

Pot-luck lunch for Saturday's rehearsal

Mr. J needs an energetic mom to help coordinate!  Please contact him if you can help!

November 24, 2008


Z95's "Christmas Idol" - Update!

The song is complete and will be submitted Tuesday.  Listen to it here!

November 23, 2008

Z95's "Christmas Idol"

We will be recording the raw tracks for the "Christmas Idol" entry on Monday. Have "White Christmas" memorized and ready to go, it'll be on the radio! :)


If your dress isn't 100% ready tomorrow, don't worry; we'll make sure we find a time to check your fit!

Volunteer meeting tomorrow

As stated in the November newsletter, parents who are interested in helping to plan the NYC trip will be meeting at Shenandoah Joe's tomorrow, Monday, November 24, at 6:30 PM.  Hope to see you there!

Clear your calendar!

The December 6th rehearsal is moving ahead.  All active Bearettes are expected to attend; women with conflicts must see Mr. Jennings.

November 21, 2008

Rehearsal Friday morning

NO. The rumors are NOT TRUE.  We WILL have rehearsal today.

November 19, 2008

Solo auditions

Ladies, don't forget - if you missed your solo audition opportunity last Saturday, tomorrow is your last day to make an appointment with Mr. Jennings

Drama performances tomorrow

7:00 PM, free, Burley auditorium.  Come out and support the drama program!

New York City

Payment #2 is due Monday.

November 16, 2008

November's Newsletter

November's Newsletter has been added.  Download it here.

Yet another egg!

This one is what "Google Earth" thinks our view of the White House will be on December 12.

Thank you!

The Belk sale was a tremendous success!  We have raised over $1000, with money still coming in!  Thank you to all families who supported us, a special thank you to the families that served at the table yesterday!  A HUGE thank you to Donna Martin, for organizing the table service, and to Mary Anderson, for coordinating the fundraiser with Belk!


Ladies, thank you for your time and artistry yesterday.  We accomplished a great deal!  Hang in there!  We're almost done!

DC information has been posted

Please check the front page for a .pdf file!

Voluntary rehearsal

Tuesday PM, 4 - 5... Mr. Jennings will give time to any and all who desire it.

November 14, 2008

New egg!

The awesomeness that is Lilly, Evan, Briana, Kelly, and Tara have insidiously hidden a really hysterical, hard to find egg!  Good luck, and see you at rehearsal tomorrow!  

P. S. Don't bother asking them where it is, they won't tell you.  Then they'll laugh at you and call you names.

November 13, 2008

Belk Fundraiser Information

The Belk sale is this Saturday! Please bring the raised money and any leftover cards to rehearsal tomorrow.  If you're replacing the cash with a personal check, please make it payable to "Burley Middle School"

8th graders and TAP

Ladies, please be sure to follow all rules set down by your academic teachers before coming to me for rehearsal during TAP.  Also, you may not come to me if you are in poor academic standing in a class.  Failure to keep your grades up and to follow the standards set by your core class teachers jeopardizes your membership in the ensemble!

Don't forget Saturday's rehearsal

8 AM - 12 PM  Auditions for solos, too!

Yet another egg has been hidden

...and it's a bear to find.  Good luck with that.  Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

November 12, 2008


Andy Johnson, the Albemarle County Arts Coordinator, has promised support for 50% of the cost of transportation to Washington DC in December!  Mr. Johnson, thank you so much! 

Yet another egg added!

Mr. Jennings has secretly added yet another hidden egg on the site.  There are now 3!  Can you find them all?

November 11, 2008

Egg added!

Mr. Jennings has secretly hidden an "Easter Egg" on the website.  See if you can find it and tell him what it's about tomorrow at rehearsal.

November 10, 2008


Folks, you made some very nice people very, very happy last week.  Swing by the room and see the thank you card.

Get your parents to read this website!

We need adults to be as informed as possible regarding the plans, needs, and requirements of your ensemble.  Please encourage (in a sweet, friendly way) your folks to check this site out often.

Special Guests:

Jennifer Morris from Albemarle High School has been invited to work with you on Friday.

Melanie Leinbach (soprano) from UVA has been invited to work with the soprano section.

Dr. David Greennagel from VCU will be working with us in December (details to come!)

There will also be a special guest next Monday, November 17. :)

Notes from this morning's rehearsal

From Mr. Jennings:

First of all, I've listened to the recording, and I've come away with a few observations: 

  • Given that we've been away from each other for over a week, it wasn't as bad as you thought.  Your rehearsal technique is simply incredible.

  • I say "Okay" a lot.  I mean, a lot a lot.

  • We'll get there! I know a few of you are concerned, and that's to be expected. I've been in this situation before, and my best advice is to keep plugging away.  Imagine if we knew "Sleigh Ride" as well as "Water is Wide," or if we knew "Masters in This Hall" as well as "Silent Night!"  How do we get there?  Choose a focus piece for the evening, and spend 20 minutes on your part.  Make sure you do it every evening (even weekends), and combined with the rehearsal times, we'll get there. 

Next, I'd like you to spend a little extra time on "Wassail," "Masters," and "Dancing Day" for Wednesday.  Those three pieces will be our focus in rehearsal.

8th graders - if you're not working on academics during TAP this week, please consider coming down for some intense part rehearsing!

Rehearsal recording notes:

Star Spangled Banner

  • Not bad blending

  • Harmonies - Mezzos are getting drowned by other parts

  • Finish phrases - sound authoratative, not apologetic

  • Unsupported air

  • The end needs a bit of attention

Sleigh Ride:

  • The beginning takes you by surprise

  • Altos - good swing, but have more presence - you're pretty close

  • Giddy-up - We need to pay some rehearsal time getting the harmonies set better

  • Make sure you learn the lyrics! :)


  • Tuning at the beginning needs to solidify faster

  • Sing full phrases and watch for the closes

  • Extend the quarter notes so they're a little more legato and less "thumpy."

  • Altos- make sure you're not going flat at phrases that end in major Seconds

  • Half note / quarter note phrases (World has... been shaken...) Please don't breathe after the half-notes.

  • Open up on "of" to include more "Ah" syllable, like the beginning of "olive"

  • Please, please, please - longer phrase lengths "In the dark night of the soul" and similar. You're quitting early to get the peak "Oh Mother Mary" without appropriate building of energy

  • Sopranos- sing a little darker tone on the harmony- beware becoming strident or shrill

  • Mezzos - Way to carry the melodies.  Yeah!

  • Don't miss the pick up notes - IL-luminate, HAVE mercy (beat 4 each time)

Water is Wide / Shenandoah:

Mezzos - I can always use more of you in the closer harmonies, just don't oversing.  Right now I've got Emily, Katie, Carey, and Briana pumping out 80% of the section's sound... see if you can work to contribute more, other mezzo ladies!

Again, sing to the end of phrases!  We have a tendency to let whole notes die off- let them live four full counts (and be happy!)

Sopranos - the "Nor have I wings" line is very dramatic - bring that out more.

Rediscover the harmony at the end of "Water is Wide."

A note to ladies considering the solos: both of these songs benefit from pure, supported, open vowels and tone.  It helps to smile, and to try to make other people smile. :)

November 4, 2008

Don't forget!

No rehearsal Wednesday, November 5 or Friday, November 7!

Rehearsal media service has been restored

Go get your files, you.

Notes from Winterhaven

Ladies, I can't thank you or your families enough for your kindness in performing at Winterhaven on Sunday. One of the reasons this ensemble exists is to give to the community.  Some of the folks spoke to me at the end of the day; here's what they had to say:

"I'm remembering my mother today.  She loved music, and would have loved yours."

"That was the best thing I've ever heard"

"I needed to hear your girls.  Thank you."

Voluntary rehearsal Thursday

Mr. Jennings has added a voluntary rehearsal from 4 - 6 PM after school on Thursday.  Please try to be there, as there  only 14 rehearsals left until Washington DC! 

Make sure your parents read this website!

We want to make sure everyone is well-informed regarding the Bearettes and their activities.  Not everyone knew what was going on Sunday; this could be avoided by checking this page.

November 2, 2008

Winterhaven: "Requiem"

Please do your best to memorize the lyrics. We don't want to detract from the service by mumbling and fumbling through what can be a moving and meaningful performance.  Click on this message to link to a page with lyrics only.

Performance today!

Don't forget our Winterhaven performance is today.  Details below under "October 27."

The Water is Wide

Find a phrasing example here.  Wow.

Daylight savings begins today!

Turn your clocks back, and don't be an hour late for Winterhaven. :)

Volunteers needed!

Mr. Jennings and the women are looking for some energetic, enthusiastic adults:

  • The Omni performance space needs to be measured and checked against our existing performance equipment

  • We need an adult to coordinate the movement of equipment to and from the Omni

  • Sam's Club chocolate:

  • We need trucks (or one large truck) and hands to move the pallet of fundraising chocolate from Sam's Club to Burley.  Please contact Mr. Jennings if you have time, equipment, and energy!

  • Mr. Jennings needs a representative to check pricing for a formal concert program at Sir Speedy

  • Belk Cards - So far, only one family has offered to sit at the Bearettes table after Mr. Jennings leaves at 7:30 to conduct the rehearsal on Saturday, November 15.  We need you!  First and foremost, we need an adult to coordinate the table schedule!

 Washington DC:

Unfortunately, with the budget crunch upon us, coach bus funding requests to the Superintendent's office for have been politely deflected to other offices, who politely deflect phone calls and emails elsewhere.  In other words, the buck is being passed and shows no sign of stopping.  The Cross Motorcoach Company has given us a great deal; if families wish to contribute $20 - $25 per student to make our journey to the Capitol Building comfortable, it would be appreciated.

October 31, 2008

Film added!

Two YouTube videos from last Spring's concert have been added to the "Media" page.

Hey, it's Halloween!

Be safe this evening!

Rehearsal Friday

Yes, there's still rehearsal today; see you there!

Rehearsal Media

Mr. Jennings is aware of the apparent unresponsive nature of our media host; this happens from time to time and should straighten itself out within a day or so.

O, Holy Night

Mr. Jennings has found a great arrangement and will be making it available at Saturday's rehearsal.

Don't forget:

No rehearsal next week! Enjoy your time off! (We'll still have rehearsal Saturday and the Winterhaven performance Sunday, though!)

October 30, 2008

Winterhaven Map Updated

The original Winterhaven map link was somehow off by about half a mile!  Click here to see the correct location.

A clarification: the Bearettes are invited performers at Winterhaven but are not the focal point of the afternoon- this is first and foremost a memorial service and appropriate planning should be made when deciding who, if any, Bearettes family members accompany the performers. 

Mr. Jennings is happy to arrange a performance for families on Saturday at the rehearsal, or at some other point during next week or so. 

Parents are welcome to drop off students at 1:30; while families are welcome, large numbers would detract from the experience of the memorial service families, whose comfort should be our first priority.  Thank you for your understanding.

October 27, 2008

Saturday's rehearsal

As this Saturday is the day after not just Halloween, but Halloween on a Friday evening, 

 Mr. Jennings has moved the Bearettes rehearsal up two hours to 10:00 AM; it will still be a four-hour rehearsal and will end at 2:00 PM.  

We are seeking 100% involvement; if students are in town and do not have unavoidable conflict they should plan to rehearse with the ensemble.  As always, parents are welcome to join us for all or part of the rehearsal (you won’t have to sing!)  There will be muffins!

Winterhaven performance

Winterhaven Assisted Living has invited the women to perform at a service for all of their residents who have passed on in the past year.  Mr. Jennings is taking volunteers to sing two pieces ("The Water is Wide" and "Requiem") for the service.  Parents are welcome to attend, but should use the Parkview apartments parking lot (so long as you park away from the front door) and should plan on saving the Winterhaven parking lot for the visiting families of the residents.  Students should arrive by 1:30 PM; warm-up is public and will begin by 1:40.  Mr. Jennings expects the service to be about an hour.  As not all dresses have arrived from the manufacturer, our dress code is as follows:

  • Conservative black dress shoes

  • Black pantyhose

  • Black skirt (below the knee) or black dress slacks

  • White dress blouse

  • Hair pulled back off the face and, if long enough, in a single ponytail

Winterhaven's address is 220 South Pantops Drive (22911) (click for a map) and is located between Parkview Apartments and State Farm.

October 26, 2008

Sleigh Ride

Sleigh Ride has been uploaded to the Rehearsal Media page.  Cut m. 58 to the end; go to the S at the end of measure 57 instead.  Upper Mezzos should learn "Mezzo I," while lower Mezzos will learn "Mezzo II" parts.  More to come!

October 23, 2008

First Nine Weeks' Announcements

Mr. Jennings has archived the announcements from the beginning of the year.  Find them here, or click on the link at the top of this page.

Volunteers needed!

We still need performers for the Winterhaven service on Sunday, November 2, in the afternoon.  We will perform "Requiem" and "Water is Wide."  Please let Mr. Jennings know at Friday's rehearsal if you are able to attend.  Details will follow in a letter and on this page.

Rehearsal time change!

Saturday November 1: Rehearsal has been moved from 8 AM - 12 PM.  It is now 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.  Why, you may ask?  It's the day after Halloween!

First Fundraiser!

The Bearettes will participate in the Belk Charity Day ticket sale.   Each student is encouraged to sell 20 ticket coupons for $5.00 each:  the ensemble gets 100% of the proceeds.  Each ticket is good for 20 - 50% off items throughout any store in the Belk chain.  Furthermore, ticket holders get $5.00 off any single item in their shopping basket, so they get their donation back!    We have a total of 1000 tickets to sell! by Saturday, November 15  Remember: the tickets can be sold to people anywhere along the Belk chain of stores (not just Charlottesville).  Get your tickets from Mr. Jennings in rehearsal on Wednesday.

Strategies for selling well:

  • Sell only to people you know: DO NOT go door to door

  • Make a list of family members and friends who live in Charlottesville

  • Check the Belk "Store Locator" to see where other stores are.

Unsold tickets must be returned to Mr. Jennings no later then Thursday, November 13, 2008, so they can be sold in the store.

Mr. Jennings needs volunteers to work with him in the local Charlottesville Belk on Saturday, November 15.  He'll bring bagels!