Large Group Performance Evaluation (LGPE) is sponsored by the Georgia Music Educators Association and takes place during February or March of each school year. Ensembles that participate should have at least 17 members to perform. Groups with less than 17 members can participate in Solo and Ensemble, which a separate event sponsored by GMEA. Any school can take as many groups as they wish, and it is a part of Northgate Choir curricular to go to this event for evaluation.
Each group performance is evaluated by a panel of 3 judges, approved by GMEA by a panel of teachers on the individual councils (i.e. Band, Chorus, and Orchestra). Once the list of approved judges are out for each year, a district can choose whomever they wish from that panel. The head judge makes all final decisions and runs the event. All head judges are assigned by GMEA and have to go through additional training for the responsibilities associated with that job.
The judges have score sheets for each ensemble. Each of the elements of judging criteria are based on the National and State Music Standards. These are elements that are worked on from the beginning of the year and in many cases are overlapping standards. We rarely work on the standards separately for they are occurring at the same time during each particular piece of music. It is possible to choose selections that focus on a specific idea but we are always working on breathing techniques, tone, and intonation. Those concepts are present at all times.
The director chooses which level each ensemble will participate in the evaluation. The choral ensembles perform in Class A, B, C, or D with A being the most advanced. GMEA provides a list of repertoire and each group must perform at least one selection from the provided list of repertoire at the level for which they enter.
Below are the rating levels that are giving to ensembles for their performance and sight reading at LGPE. This is directly from the GMEA handbook. Superior (1): Outstanding performance. Worthy of distinction of being recognized as among the very best. Excellent (2): Unusually good performance in many respects, but not worthy of the highest rating due to minor defects. A performance of distinctive quality. Good (3): A good performance, but not one that is outstanding. Shows accomplishment and marked promise, but lacks one or more essential qualities. Fair (4): A performance that shows some obvious weaknesses, generally weak and uncertain. Poor (5): A performance which reveals much room for improvement. The students reveal almost a complete lack of preparedness and understanding.
The final component of LGPE is the sight reading portion. It is expected in our music classrooms that we work on sight reading skills. Not only should each individual be able to read but the group should read at a certain level. In this portion the students AND conductor are handed a piece of music at the corresponding performing level that they have never seen (i.e. – A class A performing group should be reading at a Class A level.). A preset amount of time to work on the example is given for the director and ensemble to demonstrate using the skills from class. At the end of the time, the ensemble will perform the example live for the sight reading judge. The ensemble is then graded on this performance and practice. It is important to note that a portion of the grade is based on their practice. This part of the process is most important, for without a method, they will not be able to read the music. They must demonstrate a competent reading method during this time.
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