A group of students in red tops and a black skirt singing on risers on the chapel stage. The conductor is in front of the group conduction with hands in the air.


The Arioso curriculum solidifies rhythmic and melodic readying skills and teaches healthy vocal production throughout the voice change. Singers perform a variety of music in unison and multiple parts. Arioso performs on both the fall and spring Girl Choir concerts in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel; singers may have the opportunity to participate in one additional community performance or event.

Auditions for Arioso are held in April for the following year. Please fill out our interest form to receive audition information next spring

2018-19 Calendar

Arioso 2018-19 Calendar


  • Suggested Reading Lists
    • To help girls better understand and connect with our concert theme of "We Raise Our Voices," we have posted two suggested reading lists on our Spring Semester Resources page: a list from the Academy of Malala-related books and a list from the Appleton Public Library of books including broader themes such as speaking out, defying expectations, and powerful women.
    • These reading lists are purely optional and meant to supplement the girls' learning.

Click the button below to download and print the Girl Choir Program Handbook.

Girl Choir Handbook


Assignments from 2/18 for 2/25
  • Om laul
    • We solidified the two and three-part split on the Refrains and learned pronunciation for Verse 1.
    • Remember to replace "mõtsa" with "foot-sa" until we get the pronunciation in our muscle memory! Focus on how that particular vowel sound feels and how you are shaping it (what is your tongue doing? your lips? your soft palate?). Practice speaking/singing the text for verse 1 in a mirror and freeze various vowel shapes to inspect them so your brain can learn how to make them consistently.
    • Next week we will add pronunciation for Verse 2 and the end. Please work with Mari's recording to review and get ahead: click here to listen. People who used this recording last week did better last night on the pronunciation than those who did not.
  • Jarbe, mara jarba
    • We connected the text of this piece with Malala's family's experience as refugees during the war.
    • We memorized the A and B sections and played with tempo!
    • Notice that mm.52-59 (top of page 4) have similar notes with different rhythms and words. Practice this passage, paying extra attention to all those 8th notes! We will add text next week.
  • Reflection - Heroine Project
    • We learned that, due to violence and war, Malala and her family had to flee their home in Swat Valley. Her 12th birthday wish living as a refugee in Mingora, Pakistan was for peace.
    • Building off of our knowledge of our heroines' early lives and challenges faced, this week's research questions are: "What inequalities or injustices did/does your heroine see in her community or in our world?" and "What did/does your heroine wish for?"
    • Share your responses here: bit.ly/ARheroines3

Past Assignments:

Assignments from 2/11 for 2/18
  • Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round
    • ​We solidified the 3 part split based on our new voicing! Write in your numbers/solfege and practice. ;-) Altos - beware the "Freedom land"... it's higher than your ear would lead you to believe!!
  • Jarba, mare jarbe
    • Use the pronunciation track provided to practice: click here.
    • Memorize mm. 22-51
  • Om laul
    • We worked a lot on the refrain, paying careful attention to where and how our parts split (especially the Mezzos!)
    • Our composer, Mari, has sent us a beautiful pronunciation track: click here to listen! Use it to review the pronunciation of the chorus. We will go over the verses together on Monday.
    • Practice your part on the chorus. Rely on your eyes NOT your ear for which notes are yours! 
  • Reflection
    • The list of heroines that people chose to profile is awesome, from women they have personal relationships with, to scientists, activists, artists, ground-breakers, political and historical figures, athletes, and more).
    • Ms. Kottman is researching Malala Yousafzai and sharing her research with everyone each week.
    • Last week's assignment was to select your heroine (haven't done that yet? Fill out last week's Google Form and let me know who you're researching!). This week's assignment is to dig into her story - what was her childhood like? What challenges has she faced in her life? Complete the Google Form here: bit.ly/ARheroines2


Assignments from 2/4 for 2/11

**We re-voiced in Monday's rehearsal. If you were absent, please complete all assignments below and see Ms. Kottman before rehearsal next week so she can place you somewhere!**

  • Om laul
    • ​We learned the pronunciation for the chorus. Practice your words - the correct diction will depend on muscle memory, which is only built through practice over time. After voicing, we split into divisi sections for the refrain and started to learn the pitches. We also learned that Mari received the "Culture Treasure Award of 2018" for her home state of Võru. Lola brought up Mari's music video for this song, click here to check it out!
  • Jarba
    • We put the pronunciation we learned last week together with the melody for the first portion of the A section. See last week's assignment for review and practice.
  • ​Reflection - Week 1 of our heroine project
    • heroine: female hero. a legendary woman of great strength or ability. A woman admired or emulated (as a role model) for her achievements and qualities. Someone who you look up to for having raised their voice to change their community for the better.
    • Step 1 of this heroine project is to choose your heroine. Think of a woman (currently living, historical/deceased, or fictional) who inspires you by what she has done and how she has lived. Maybe she is someone you know in your life, someone you have learned about in your studies, someone from pop culture, or otherwise. Perhaps your heroine is someone whose story you know really well, or someone you don't know very well at all yet! Choose carefully - you will be spending a lot of time with this person over the next few weeks :-)
    • Complete this week's reflection assignment at: bit.ly/ARheroine1


Assignments from 1/21 for 1/28
  • Om laul
    • We sang through the verses on 'loo' and 'lee,' noting the subtle changes in rhythms and pitch direction. We also practiced the chorus by tapping the rhythm and speaking it on the consonant combination "ch". Continue using these same practice tools this week on your own. Do not fall into the trap of singing each verse the same way!
    • We also learned that the National Song & Dance Festival (called 'Laulupidu') happens every 5 years in Estonia, featuring a choir of 30,000 and audiences of up to 75,000 people! Our piece "Om laul" was performed at last summer's Youth Song & Dance Festival, where almost all of the performers, conductors, and composers were "children of freedom" who were born after 1991 - less than 30 years ago! Research the significance of this phrase - why are Estonian people born after 1991 called "children of freedom?" Write this information on your reflection sheet.
  • Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around
    • ​Using the Langston Hughes poetry starting at m.27, this melody became our voicing tool. Everyone sang it in duets (people who were absent - you will go next Monday!). Next week we will use this same melody to re-voice our sections, so please keep it in your voice.
  • Jarba, mare, jarba
    • We added pronunciation for the first line of text and noticed that the different accents on the letter "a" change it's pronunciation.
    • Practice this one section on text this week!

Jarba, mare jarba,
YAR-buh mah-ray YAR-buh

m-as dusje akasza,
mahs doo-zhe ah-KAH-suh

da nu pot, ka am zsurat.
da noo poht kuh ahm tsoo-raht


Assignments from 1/14 for 1/21
  • Jarba, mare jarba
    • We learned the rest of the A section up through m.36. We also discussed the meaning of the term "folk music" or "folk song" (music/song of the people) and talked about how vocal color, tone, and dynamics can be used to bring the spirit of this piece to life off the page.
    • We examined the published octavo and thought about why publishing Jarba, mare jarba as a "gypsy folk song" instead of a "Roma folk song" could be problematic. We wondered why Mr. Adkins might have made this decision, and decided to refer to Jarba as a "Roma folk song" while learning this awesome piece of music!
    • For homework on this piece, watch this short video to learn where the term "Gypsy" came from historically and hear an activist share her perspective on why the term "Roma" is more appropriate to describe her community.
  • Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round
    • We learned all three parts of the refrain, identifying Part I as the melody. Please note that where your ear leads you and what's written on the page (especially for Part III) may be different! Let's do what's on the page :-)
  • Voice change self-assessment and reflection
    • We discussed the physiology (the way the body works) of the adolescent female voice change and its impact on our singing.
    • We compared the different instruments that children, changing voice adolescents, and adults have (and learned that Ms. Kottman isn't 40 years old yet!!).
    • We went around the room and each did a vocal swoop through our range, keeping a floated "oo" vowel and using good breath support. We each noticed where our voice changed color and whether it had any cracks, breathy patches, or shifted "gears" while we swooped through. Then we used our How is my voice growing? sheets as a tool to identify how our instruments are growing.
    • Then we took turns singing each part of "Ain't Gonna Let" and reflected on which one was most comfortable for us last night. We reminded ourselves - and each other - that what's most comfortable for us to sing will continue to change as our voices grow.
    • For homework this week, do 2 swoops a day (one for warm-up, and one for noticing)! Notice what you hear. Are your sound and your range consistent, or do things change from day to day? If there's a noticeable difference, think about how you're feeling (physically, mentally, and emotionally) and reflect on how much sleep you got, what you ate, etc. Keep a swooping journal for this week's reflection.
  • Expectations
    • As part of our voice change exploration, we also discussed how the Girl Choir program supports healthy vocal development. In addition to being placed in a Girl Choir based on each person's instrument, Ms. Kottman emphasized that musical skills, rehearsal maturity, and responsibility are also taken in to account. Weekly homework completion is an expectation (ESPECIALLY when you miss a rehearsal) and can be factored in to placement decisions. Please make sure to complete assignments every week so the learning continues outside of rehearsal.


Assignments from 1/7 for 1/14

​**new music was distributed!**

  • There are many ways to start learning a new piece of music. We brainstormed different musical learning strategies (by ear, sightreading, through movement, improvisation, composition, imitating sounds in nature, etc) and began learning the melody of "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round" by rote (call and response by ear).
  • La-minor is a minor scale found within the notes of the Do-major scale. We used the pitch C as our Do and wrote in solfege for "Jarba, Mare Jarba." Then we broke into small groups and figured out how to sing it! Each group encountered challenges, particularly with the tied notes.
  • What are tied notes? We heard several different explanations and figured out how to sing them.  Then we put "Jarba" all together on solfege at a variety of tempos!
  • We watched this video of a piece called "Om laul" and noticed the performance setting/environment, the singers' performance attire, and how they were singing musically and expressively. We wondered what is going on in this video and where the singers are in the world.
    • Answer: This video was filmed in Estonia, and the language of the piece is Võru.
  • Reflection
    • Listen to this performance of "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round" by famed women's acapella group Sweet Honey in the Rock. Notice that the object of the song changes ("Ain't gonna let ____________ turn me 'round") with each verse. Listen deeply, and write down all of the verses they use. Which verse is most powerful to you this week and why? Be prepared to show your reflection when you come in the room on Monday.


2018-19 Dress Rehearsal and Concert Dates

Tickets for the March 23 concerts will be available through the  Lawrence University Box Office starting March 4.

Dress Rehearsals
Friday, December 7, 2018 3:45-6:30 p.m.
Lawrence Memorial Chapel
Friday, March 22, 2019 3:45-6:30 p.m.
Lawrence Memorial Chapel
Saturday, December 8, 2018 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.
Lawrence Memorial Chapel
- 7:00 p.m. concert will be available
to view online via Livestream.
Saturday, March 23, 2019 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.
Lawrence Memorial Chapel
- 7:00 p.m. concert will be available
to view online via Livestream.

2019-20 Girl Choir Auditions

Click here to view the audition dates for the 2019-20 season.

Choir Materials

  • Arioso singers must bring a three-ring binder and two sharpened pencils to every rehearsal.
  • Music is the property of the Academy.
  • Singers new to the program will receive a tote bag that becomes theirs.
  • Additional or replacement bags can be purchased through the Academy office for the price of $10 plus tax.

Concert Uniform

  • A red performance top is provided by the Academy. The tops are the property of the Academy and must be returned in good condition at the end of the season. Please do not alter the tops. There will be a fee assessed for the cost to repair or replace a damaged uniform.
  • Each Arioso singer will need to purchase a uniform black skirt or pants, and wear black pantyhose and black closed toed, flat-heeled dress shoes.
  • Singers who already own a skirt may choose to be fitted for and purchase the uniform pants or continue to wear the skirt they already own.
  • Post-style earrings for the concerts are acceptable, no hoops.
  • Hair accessories must be small and the color of the hair. Hair must be a natural color. 

Electronics Policy

Cell phones, iPods, electronic readers, and other electronic devices are strictly prohibited during ensemble rehearsals and back stage during concerts.   If a family emergency takes place during a rehearsal or concert, please contact the ensemble manager.

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