Upper School music ensembles focus on performance, theory, technique, and repertoire. Students experience various genres and styles of literature for both large groups and small ensembles, allowing students to achieve musical independence and excellence. The large ensembles offered include String Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, and Concert Choir. Advanced ensembles require entry through competitive audition and include Select Strings, Select Winds, and The Grace Notes. All ensembles perform for school concerts and events and participate regularly in activities sanctioned by the Ohio Music Education Association, such as Solo and Ensemble, festivals, district and state contests, and national-level tours and adjudications.

Upper School String Ensemble

Students in the Upper School String Ensemble develop the technical and musical aspects of playing together through rehearsal and performance in orchestra. Students work on the mechanics of playing, tone production, musical literacy, and rehearsal skills. Repertoire includes music from all of the major historical periods, as well as multi-cultural and popular musical styles. Students study musical terms and key signatures and practice scales and technical exercises to improve music literacy, left-hand and bowing technique, and tone production. Students also appreciate the historical, cultural, and aesthetic relevance of the repertoire they are studying. Students learn to follow a conductor, play in an ensemble, set goals towards a successful performance, and critically evaluate their performance. Upper School String Ensemble students attend four professional concerts a year.

Upper School Select Strings

Upper School Select Strings is CSG’s top Strings Ensemble. It is available through competitive audition to students in Forms IX-XII. The literature is advanced, and ensemble members are expected to bring an advanced level of musicianship and playing technique to the ensemble. The ensemble focuses on playing chamber music and learns to rehearse and perform without a conductor using non-verbal communication. Students develop chamber music rehearsal skills with a critical awareness and discussion on how to work toward the elements of a successful performance.

Upper School Winds

Upper School Winds is an intermediate ensemble open to students with previous experience. It begins by briefly reviewing previously learned skills, technique, and instrument care. We work through a progressive program to set standards of excellence, introduce advanced repertoire, analyze Bach Chorales to master key signatures, scales up to seven flats and seven sharps including relative minor keys, articulation, time signatures, and expressive elements of music. Repertoire is chosen to reinforce and further the understanding of these concepts while allowing the students to have fun making quality music together as an ensemble. Percussionists will advance skills on all instruments in their section. Students are expected to read, write, and perform complex rhythms, memorize and understand musical terminology, and review music selections using this correct musical terminology. The band is a balanced ensemble that performs a varied repertoire including selections from the OMEA Large Group list.

Select Winds

The Select Winds is CSG’s top performance wind ensemble. It is available through competitive audition to band students Forms IX-XII. It is usually comprised of a flute trio in addition to other highly qualified wind instruments such as bassoon and horns. The literature is advanced and requires the development of chamber music rehearsal and performance skills for non-conducted performances. The group is featured in all school concerts and performs regularly for school functions.

Upper School Choirs

Upper School Choirs build on the musical and vocal skills developed in Middle School with a decided emphasis on performance and competition. Healthy singing technique is the focal point of the curriculum, covering correct posture, supportive breathing, tone quality, and sound placement. Students concentrate on intonation work and vowel unification in order to develop an effective ensemble sound in 3- to 6-part harmony. Through an expansive repertoire, students have an opportunity to sing in different styles and languages from a variety of cultures and time periods that allows them to appreciate the historical and cultural relevance of music. Students also experiment to create different tone colors for historical and cultural accuracy. Music literacy is another focus of choral curriculum and students develop rhythm and pitch notation skills, and ear training through the solfege system. Upper School students learn most literature through sight reading.

Upper School Concert Choir

The Upper School Concert Choir is an intermediate ensemble open to any interested students. The repertoire of the ensemble is varied and focuses on singing technique, skill building, and sight reading. The ensemble is a class that meets every other day. Performance opportunities include regularly scheduled concerts and participation in the OMEA large group contest.

The Grace Notes

The Grace Notes is CSG’s premier choral performance ensemble. It is available through competitive audition to students From X and above. The literature is advanced, and ensemble members are expected to bring a level of musicianship and technique to the ensemble. The ensemble is a class that meets every other day to focus on vocal technique and music literacy. The ensemble regularly performs outside of the school day at school events, local venues, and competitions. Each year, the ensemble goes on tour to cities like New York City, New York; Chicago, Illinois; and Nashville, Tennessee.

Advanced Placement (AP) Music Theory

The Upper School curriculum offers AP Music Theory to students recommended by their ensemble director. They learn college-level theory and compositional skills through written and aural training in accordance with the Advanced Placement curriculum.