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Singing at SMA

Welcome. Below you will find the syllabus for each of the music courses I teach. Additional information about Concert Choir, Marian Singers, and the Tri-M Music Honor Society can be found via the navigation links in the column to the left. Please don't hesitate to contact me at kathy.briggs@smapdx.org if you would like to know more about our general music and vocal music programs. ~ KB

Music Appreciation

Music Appreciation is a required course for 9th grade students. In this 9-week class, students study the elements of music (melody, harmony, style, rhythm, form, timbre, texture, and expression) through composition and analysis of several musical genres. The class culminates with a survey of music history.

Required iPad Apps: Schoology, Notability, i-Nigma, Virtuoso Piano Free 3, Finale Songbook, MicPro, Metronome Classic

Recommended Software: Finale Notepad This software is a free download for Mac or PC. It is not an app. It will be available in the computer lab at SMA. It can be downloaded to your home computer/laptop at Finale Music .

Headphones for your iPad are also required for this course.

Concert Choir

Concert Choir is a performing ensemble for all students, grades 9 - 12, who enjoy singing. This course for credit meets before school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. A popular class with over 100 students, Concert Choir rehearses both semesters and performs at the Christmas Concert and Spring Concert every year.

Required iPad Apps: Schoology, Notability, i-Nigma, Virtuoso Piano Free 3, Finale Songbook, MicPro, Metronome Classic


Marian Singers

Marian Singers is an auditioned choir for select 10th through 12th grade students. Auditions are held during the last week of school each spring. The Marians rehearse after school on Tuesday and Thursday, and perform at numerous events throughout the school year both within the SMA community and the Portland metro area. The Marians are the first female choir to compete at the Oregon State Choir Championships at the 6A level, performing in both 2008 and 2012, and won first place at the 2011 A Cappella in Albany Festival. This year the Marians have five students selected to be members of the elite Oregon All-State choir.

Required iPad Apps: Schoology, Notability, i-Nigma, Virtuoso Piano Free 3, Finale Songbook, MicPro, Metronome Classic


Music Theory and Composition and Advanced Music Theory and Composition

These college-bound course covers the fundamentals of music theory (key signatures, major, minor, augemented and diminished chords, and harmonic functions) through analysis of music and original compositions. Students who successfully complete Music Theory and Composition course (or pass a prerequisite assessment) may enroll in Advanced Music Theory and Composition. These courses are highly recommended for students planning to study music in college.

Required iPad Apps: Schoology, Notability, i-Nigma, Virtuoso Piano Free 3, Finale Songbook, MicPro, Metronome Classic

Required Software: Finale Notepad This software is a free download for Mac or PC. It is not an app. It will be available in the computer lab at SMA. It can be downloaded to your home computer/laptop at Finale Music.

Headphones for your iPad are also required for this course.

Show Choir and A Cappella

Show Choir and A Cappella is a semester long course in which students learn the basics of pop a cappella singing and choreographing and staging a complete show choir performance. This elective is open to students in 10th-12th grade who have been enrolled in Concert Choir or Marian Singers.

Required iPad Apps: Schoology, Notability, i-Nigma, Virtuoso Piano Free 3, Finale Songbook, MicPro, Metronome Classic

Headphones for your iPad are also required for this course.

Ms. Kathy Briggs


Ms. Briggs and Marian Singers

    • Teachers Music Appreciation, Concert Choir, Marian Singers, Music Theory and Composition, and Vocal Jazz/Show Choir
    • Advises Tri-M National Music Honor Society and Musicians Club
    • Fine Arts Department Chairperson

The Marian Singers are under the direction of Kathryn E Briggs. Ms. Briggs has 16 years teaching experience and is in her 8th year as the music director at St. Mary's Academy. She earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Education with an emphasis in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her Masters of Music Education with an emphasis in Choral Conducting from the University of St. Thomas.

Ms. Briggs was recognized for outstanding teaching as a finalist in the OnPoint Community Credit Union Excellence in Teaching Awards in 2011, and as the Mt. Hood Conference "Advisor of the Year" in 2009. Her research in music education has been nationally published in the American Choral Directors' Association's Choral Journal and she was a clinician at the 2013 Northwest Region National Association for Music Education conference. Ms. Briggs has also authored secondary general music classroom lesson plans for The National Association for Music Education and VH1 Music Studios.


A few Marian Singers perform at the 2016 St. Mary's Auction Singing in the Rain

Under her direction, the choral program at St. Mary's has grown from less than 25 students to over 150 singers. In 2008, the Marian Singers were the first women's choir in state history to compete in the Oregon State Choir Championships at the 6A level. They have returned to the State Choir Championships in 2012 and 2013. In 2009, The Marians and Concert Choir were the leading forces at the 150th Anniversary Concert, bringing together musicians from around the country to celebrate the SNJM sisterhood and our school through music with a sold-out performance at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. In 2011, the Marians won first place for their performance at the A Cappella in Albany Vocal Jazz Festival. In December, 2012 the Marians were invited to Washington, DC to perform for guests of President and Mrs. Obama at The White House. Under Ms. Briggs' direction, the Marians received the prestigious honor of being invited to perform at the 2013 Northwest Region National Association for Music Education conference where they received rave reviews, recognizing them as being among the top performing ensembles in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. In 2013, the Marian Singers made history once again as the first women's choir in Oregon to win a league title at the Mt. Hood Conference Large Group Choir contest. In April 2012 Ms. Briggs lead a group of St. Mary's students from both the choir and orchestra programs to Europe for a music history tour through Vienna and Salzburg. During her years of teaching, Ms. Briggs' choirs have performed in New York City, Disney World (Orlando, Florida), Seattle, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, and at the White House. In 2015, the Marian Singers under the direction of Ms. Briggs became the first all-woman choir to win the OSAA State Championship.

If you have any questions about the music program at St. Mary's Academy or are interested in having the Marian Singers perform at your special event, please contact Ms. Briggs.