For several years now, SCIS’s Honor Choir has been producing some fantastic musical performances for our community to enjoy. 

Part of a robust and well-rounded performing arts program, the Choir is an experience like no other. It challenges students to express their artistic selves while cultivating musical skills that benefit other areas of study and life.

Running for the fourth year, the Honor Choir has doubled in size this year, going from about 35 students to more than 70.  This rise in popularity is a true reflection of just how passionate our teachers and students are.


The responsibility of guiding the honor choir this year has been shared by Jane Coles and Stacey Stoltz, lower school music teachers at SCIS Hongqiao. Together, they combine their talent and knowledge to provide a rich music experience at SCIS.

Mrs. Coles is a piano player and teaches behind her instrument. She works to ensure the right ensemble balance is achieved by correcting melodies and harmonies. On the other hand, Mrs. Stoltz has an interest in vocal techniques and sound production. She is usually found in front of the group, coaching singers through choral techniques such as posture, mouth shape, and articulations.

Stacey notes: “We each pick out music to help students develop and contribute in new and different ways. We also focus on healthy sound production, vocal blending, and the differences between singing as a soloist and singing as part of an ensemble.”


The SCIS choir is a busy group, doing on campus and off campus performances throughout the year. In a short period of time, students are expected to learn a lot of music, often only rehearsing a handful of times. This year alone, there were eleven performances, three of which were off campus.

One notable performance was a combined show with the newly created SCIS Hongqiao Orchestra. Both ensembles received a warm reception from our community who came together for our Heart to Heart fundraising week.

“Many students listed the Heart to Heart performance as their favorite” comments Mrs. Stoltz, “a close favorite was the “Earth Day” show we did with Community Center Shanghai”.


Music is a way that students can experience what it means to be human. What’s more, research shows that music learning yields an array of benefits that are valuable.

Music learning:

  • Strengthens the same part of the brain used for complex math skills.
  • Involves active engagement which results in improved reading skills and speaking abilities.  
  • Increases self-esteem, creativity, and attentiveness.

The music we do in our classrooms is general music- giving the students the skills to perform individually, in small ensembles, and a well-rounded base knowledge of music. Singing in a choir means being part of a large performing ensemble. The choir covers more music, performs more often, and learns extended techniques compared with daily music classroom.

Lastly, students get the chance to learn from each other and work with students in other grade levels and other classes. This has helped develop a social community of students who are all invested in the choir and contributed to its continued success!

SCIS. Cultivating Passion.