June 10, 2009


to the 

Burley Bearettes

Music Festivals Inc's


Middle School Choir

National Grand Champions!


June 4, 2009

Unfortunately, I've received some disappointing news from Mr. Phillips, the coordinator of the fireworks display on Independence Day:

 "I took this idea to the committee and they are concerned that this
could get out of control with others wanting to do the same thing.  I
appreciate your support of the event, but we will not have any performers
this year."

It appears the McIntyre event is a no-go.  I am looking into alternatives, so please watch this space!

May 16, 2009

Concert this Thursday!  All students should plan to be in their seats no later than 6:40 PM.  Dress is concert formal.  

The entire evening's performance is being professionally recorded by realMusic Productions, L.L.C. of Richmond!  DVDs of the evening will be available for purchase at the door and will be shipped directly to your home.  realMusic accepts cash, check, and all major credit cards.  The DVD will feature all five ensembles performing Thursday, and will feature professionally mastered digital audio and multiple-camera angle video.  

See you Thursday!

Upcoming dates:

Thursday, May 21   Formal Concert

May 26 - 29  Dresses washed & returned (women not returning next year should remove their hems)

May 29  Bearettes on tour to Burley 'feeder' elementary schools, County Office Building, and possibly a few surprise locations.

May 30 Bearettes Follies (2:00 PM)

June ??  Rehearsals for "Sparks Fly in the Fourth of July" performance (pending)... and may possibly include Bearettes Alumni!


I need photographs!

from New York and Ohio; else, there will be no slideshow DVD this year.  
Please send me your memories!  I can take digital camera cards, thumbdrives, DVD or CD Rom, email, or hard copies.  You will get all originals back! 

April 29, 2009

Great news!  I spoke with Mr. Thomas, director of the AHS Jazz Ensemble, yesterday: Bearettes admission is $3.00, not $10.00.  Accompanying parents will still need to pay the full admission price, however.

April 27, 2009

Thank you to all parents and volunteers who helped the ladies realize their dreams this year.  We're not done yet! Upcoming events include:

Friday, May 8 - voluntary performance at the Albemarle High School Jazz Band Dance ($10 admission includes buffet) Summer dresses (ala what you wore for "Annie"). If there are enough ladies who are able to go (and to cover the part), we will sing.

Thursday, May 21 - advanced choir concert.  Bearettes portion will include "Praan," "Beauty School Dropout," "Turn the World Around," and "Long Time Ago" SAB with the rest of the choral program. Bearettes uniform dresses and pearls.

Friday, May 22 - requested performance for Burley Field Day in the morning.  "Praan," "Beauty School Dropout," "You're the One That I Want," "Turn the World Around," "When Will I Be Loved?"  Dress for field day!

Bearettes Follies- day is to be determined, but unless an evening date during the week becomes available, the best date so far is the evening of Saturday, May 30.  

Visits to elementary schools - I'm still working on that.  It may yet happen. :)

4th of July Celebration Concert - I'm still working on that, too.

April 21, 2009

Monday is "Ohio University / SMO" T-shirt day!

Special, heartfelt thanks to our chaperones: Diane, Dorie, Karen, Lori, and Sasha- you folks went far above and beyond this weekend.  Your thoughtfulness, cheerfulness, and support made such a great difference for the girls and for me.  Thank you!

Don't forget:  No rehearsal Monday, but please plan to rehearse Tuesday and Wednesday!

New York update:  Mr. Jennings has just purchased two new "Find It" games.  Find the penny yet?

April 20, 2009

Ohio University Trip Archive

Ohio University Update:
Saturday, April 18
We're packing up and loading the bus!  Our current ETA in Charlottesville 
is 4:00 PM

Please do not park in the bus loop; we'll need access to unload the charter bus.
Thank you!
Friday, April 17
11:20 PM 
It is such a blessing to be in a position to think, just about every April / May, "This is it.  This the best concert of my career... so far."  The women have set a new high water mark, and then some.
Wait until you hear the recording.  Your daughters were utterly, unreservedly brilliant tonight.  They shone like stars.

Today the women toured the campus and bought some Ohio University souvenirs at the OU Bookstore.  The ladies then observed a rehearsal of the Ohio University Women's Chorale and their a cappella ensemble, "Title IX," followed by a joint rehearsal of the Burley Women's Chorus and the Singing Men.  The ladies then went to lunch with the gentlemen of the ensemble as their hosts and guides.  We spent the afternoon in Glidden Recital Hall observed by undergraduate music majors, who were very encouraging to the ladies.  We've just returned from dinner at Abrio's Restaurant, where the ladies enjoyed a pasta dinner buffet.  Special thanks to Dr. Jarjisian for graciously arranging and providing the meal!
Folks we need to remember to thank:
Michel van Eersel, President of Meetings, Etc.
Charlene Parkinson, Director of the University Women's Chorale
Nick, John, and Kyle of the Singing Men of Ohio
Luke, our impromptu accompanist for the upcoming concert
Andrew, our flautist for our collaborative song with the Singing Men
and, of course, our host, Dr. Peter Jarjisian
Betsy Baringer, Makela, and Elizabeth Llewelyn (sp?) at the Ohio University Inn.
I will try to update the website this evening after the concert and reception.
Please wish us luck!
The women have had breakfast and are preparing for a guided tour of Ohio University.  Our tour guides will be volunteers from the Singing Men of Ohio.  Our late morning / early afternoon activities will include rehearsal, observing the Ohio University Women's Chorus and the Singing Men in rehearsal, rehearsing while being observed by undergraduate music education majors, and dinner at Abrio's Restaurant.  Look for an update around 5:30 / 6:00 PM if time allows!

Thursday, April 16
We have arrived at the Ohio University Inn!  The ladies were met at the doorstep by Dr. Jarjisian, who is joining us for dinner and to see "Annie."
The ensemble had a very informative and interesting performance / rehearsal sharing session with the women's chorus of Warren High School in Vincent, Ohio.
The weather is beautiful, the people are kind, generous and welcoming.
Thank you to all who made this opportunity possible!

It seems we are expected.  Cool. :)


April 8, 2009

  • Don't forget!  We are performing for the Burley student body in assembly at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, April 15... backed up by the Albemarle County Jazz Band (Which just got a perfect score in competition last Saturday).  Parents are welcome!
  • Ohio rehearsals:

         Thursday, April 09: 11 AM - 1 PM (Last chance to audition for solos)

         Monday, April 13: 8 AM - 9 AM and 4 PM to 5 PM

         Tuesday, April 14: 8 AM - 9 AM and 4 PM to 5 PM

         Wednesday, April 15: 8 AM - 9 AM and 4 PM to 5 PM

  • Wednesday, April 15: Ice Cream Social Concert

Ladies, please arrive no later than 5:45 PM; dress is school-clothes casual (dress up if you like, but please do not wear the Bearettes uniform dress or pearls).  Performance starts at 6:00 PM and will include all of the music we are performing in Ohio and New York City.  Families that attend the concert are welcome to a bowl of ice cream; no admission will be charged!  Donations towards the choral program are cheerfully accepted, but are not necessary.  Mr. Jennings will need a few volunteer adults and students to help with service and clean-up; please jump in if you can.  Email him at: cjennings@bearettes.net or cjennings@k12albemarle.org

Ohio University song list (prepare all of it!)

Long Time Ago (with the Singing Men of Ohio)

Sto Mi e Milo

Oh, Shenandoah

The Water is Wide

Nigra Sum

O Sifuni Mungu

Come to the Music

Come Fly with Me

O, Occhi Manza Mia

You're the One That I Want

When Will I Be Loved

  • Packing Checklist for Ohio:

Enough clothes for three days: tops, socks, et cetera

Toiletries: Shampoo, contact lens solution (& back up lenses and glasses), et cetera

Warm clothes... the weather prediction for Athens, Ohio next week is low 60s and rainy. 

Although I don't see an indoor pool on the Ohio University Inn website, you may wish to pack a swimsuit just in case.  Outdoor pool use will be prohibited, though.

Performance clothes:  Bearettes Dress (clean & appropriately hemmed), hose, shoes, necklace, hair stuff

This just in:  We ARE going to see "Annie" Thursday night... pack nice clothes appropriate for a semi-formal night out!  No jeans, t-shirts, sweats, et cetera.  Please approach this opportunity to enjoy each other's company in a social setting maturely!

March 29, 2009

The women have just enjoyed an incredible performance at the VMEA District XIII adjudication festival.  Some quotes from the judges:


            “This is the best middle school group I’ve heard so far”

            “It is clear you are working on all of the right things”



Live performance recordings are available on the website:  http://www.bearettes.net


Finally, I wanted to make you aware of some new rehearsal and performance dates getting ready for Ohio.  Please let me know if there are unresolvable conflicts; I am happy to work with you.  Failing that, all rehearsals and performances should be considered mandatory and every effort should be made to ensure all women are in attendance.  The women face unprecedented performance challenges and rehearsal time is precious!


Upcoming calendar:

            March 30, April 01, April 02                Rehearsal, 8 – 9 AM

                                                                        (April 02 is bagel day!)

            April 03                                                No rehearsal

            April 09                                                Voluntary rehearsal,  11 AM – 1 PM

            April 13, 14, 15                                    Rehearsal, 8 – 9 AM

            April 13, 14                                          Voluntary rehearsal, 4 – 5 PM

                                                                        (All soloists & small groups should plan to


            April 15                                                Performance with the AHS Jazz Band, 3 PM

            April 15                                                Performance (I don’t want to go on the road

                                                                             without giving you a full performance!)

                                                                             6:00 PM, Burley cafeteria with an

                                                                             Ice Cream Social donation fund raiser!

            April 16                                                Leave for Ohio!


March 12, 2009

I hope you've enjoyed the lovely Spring weather!  It looks like winter is going to tag us a little bit tonight; as ever, if there's a delay on Friday, rehearsal that morning is canceled.  Don't forget: the permission slip (see the March newsletter) for the VMEA event next week is due tomorrow!

Remember, there will be a Pizza Rehearsal this 

Saturday from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  

I am ordering $50.00 in pizza; I need your daughters to come eat!  As always, the more women there, the better.  Furthermore, I am again inviting parents to sit in rehearsal and hear the great work the Bearettes are doing.

Next week is crunch time: everything we've been working on since January comes to a head on Friday, March 20.  It is imperative that all women make all rehearsals next week.  Also, I would greatly appreciate their presence on Thursday morning if possible, as we will be practicing on stage with the SAB ensemble.  I really don't want to leave anything that can be prepared to chance.

The Friday performance is at Nelson County High School; the women perform at 10:00 and all of the students perform at 10:40.  Please contact me if there are any problems regarding dress, food (students must bring a substantial, healthy packed lunch), or the schedule.

The Bearettes will not meet on Monday, March 23.  Rehearsals in preparation for Ohio and New York resume Wednesday, March 25.

Finally, thank you for the support and sacrifices you and your families have shown and made in support of the efforts of the ladies.  It is wholeheartedly appreciated!

March 05, 2009

With the VMEA adjudication only two weeks away, coupled with losing a full day of rehearsal due to the snow, I'd like to offer a voluntary extra rehearsal this  

Saturday, March 7, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon.  

We can get a lot done in a very short amount of time.  It's short notice, so I'm taking volunteers, but the more women there, the better for all!  Also, I am formally taking this opportunity to invite parents to the rehearsal!  You are welcome and encouraged to come in and see the work your daughters are

There are a couple of things that still need some attention, if you are
energized and have some free time:

1).  The women are rather anemic with the iPod fundraiser.  Please help me with this; we're getting closer to meeting our financial responsibilities for Ohio but aren't out of the woods yet!  This fundraiser is 100% profit, so I would like to maximize the impact!  You can find a form to download at
Please send it with your child tomorrow!  Mrs. Wilson will be there to hand out tickets!

2).  Super-volunteer Patti Wilson retires from her role as head of the printer-cartridge recycling effort at the end of this year.  We are looking for a parent of a 7th or 6th grader who may be interested in taking over. This fundraiser provides opportunities for the ladies in the ensemble who
would not be able to receive them any other way.

3).  I would like a volunteer to investigate the "Kroger Card" fundraiser. In short, Kroger allows you to register a Kroger gift card; every $100 you put on the card donates $5.00 to Burley Chorus.  You still get $100 to spend on the card; it apparently is infinitely reusable!  This might set up a very strong revenue stream for the chorus students' projects.  If you are interested in looking into it, or happen to be a manager of a Kroger ;) please let me know.

One final happy thought for today:  In response to a grant request, I just received a $1000 check from the Wal-Mart Distribution Center at Zion Crossroads for the ladies' trip to Ohio!  This'll help me sleep better at night.

March 03, 2009

March 02, 2009

  • Snow! There appears a very real possibility that we won't see each other for a few days.  Ladies, it is critical that you get your rehearsal CDs out and spend some time with the music!  If you don't have your CD, remember, all of the files are available on our rehearsal media page!
  • Some of you wanted to see the project for Cathy's birthday... here's a photo album.
  • Finally, be sure to work on quartets for Ohio... space is limited!  If you are not going to Ohio, I need to know immediately.  Email me, please!

February 23, 2009

     The women continue to work on their competition music; I will publish
performance details as they become solidified, but as of now, we are
performing at 10:00 and 10:40 AM at Nelson County High School on Friday,
March 20.

      The Ohio trip is fast upon us; there are two ongoing fundraisers that need
adult support and energy:  I have asked each Bearette family to sell one box
of chocolate from the fundraiser in order to help support feeding the women
on the Ohio trip.  Please, if your child has not helped in this regard,
please encourage her to do so.

     The other fundraiser is brand new and is chaired by parent Patti Wilson.
Patti has acquired an iPod from Staples and is spearheading an effort to
sell tickets for a drawing to be held in March.  I have included two
attachments with this email:  one is a flyer advertising the campaign, the
other is an order form to send with your daughter.

     A final note: the ladies are working hard, but "cold & flu" season is
sapping some of them of their energy, drive, and initiative.  Please
continue to encourage the women and help them through a rough period.

Thank you for your help!



February 14, 2009

  • Hello ladies! I just got back from conducting the VMEA District 8 ensemble; it was a blast.  The kids were musically gifted, sensitive artistically, and expressed themselves joyfully.  Where have I seen that before?  ... Oh yeah- you guys.

February 7, 2009

  • New rehearsal media added.  CDs will be available at Monday's rehearsal.
  • Don't forget the Burley Expo Night open rehearsal, February 18, 5:00 - 5:45 PM.  I'd appreciate it if you Facebook admins added it to your pages.
  • Don't forget to sell a box of chocolate for Ohio!
  • No rehearsal next Friday, February 13!

February 3, 2009

  • New date added:  The Bearettes will have an open rehearsal from 5:00 to 5:45 PM on Thursday, February 19, at the Burley Expo Night.  All women are expected to attend.  Please see me if there are conflicts.
  • Voluntary rehearsal this Saturday, February 6, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon.  We'll hit all the music needed for competition: SA part songs: "The River," "O Occhi Manza Mia," "Come Fly with Me," SSAA part songs: "Come to the Music," "Nigra Sum," and "O Sifuni Mungu."
  • We need percussionists for "Sifuni!"  Please let me know if you are interested.
  • Please keep "Shenandoah" and "Water is Wide" fresh; we'll perform them at Ohio University.
  • Learn "Sto Mi e Milo!" It's on the rehearsal media page!
  • Congratulations to soprano Caitie Hill!  Caitie is the winner of the "Create a Logo" contest; her entry now adorns our front page.
  • Preparation:  Ladies, I was very enthused by Monday's rehearsal.  We are starting to get a -very- solid sound.  I appreciate your patience while rehearsal tracks for your music are finalized.


January 25, 2009


  • Special thanks to Bearettes Alum parent Michel van Eersel, president of Meetings Etc for his work securing accommodations for the women in Ohio.  Mr. van Eersel has done a top flight job and gotten incredible rates (and breakfast each morning, too!)
  • Yes, ladies. The hotel will have a pool.
  • Don't forget to bring in your chocolate contracts.  Mr. Jennings is asking each Bearette to sell at least one box to put towards meals on the trip to Ohio.
  • Mr. Jennings has created a "Fans of the Burley Bearettes" group on Facebook.  It's open to all!
  • Mr. Jennings is looking for video footage to add to the "Media" page.  Please contact him if you have video of the Omni concert.