Music is required of all River Ridge students in grades seven through ten. In grade seven, the fundamentals of music are introduced, and then applied to the use of the singing voice and to the learning of the recorder as a solo instrument. In grade eight, students learn to play as part of a recorder ensemble. The focus of music in the ninth and tenth grades is on the age-appropriate vocal development of the changing voice. These skills enable all students to participate in a ninth and tenth grade girls' choir and a ninth and tenth grade boys' choir which give two formal concerts a year. There are also opportunities for choral, hand chime, and percussion ensembles.
Extracurricular Performing Groups
The Concert Choir is a select ensemble of advanced singers drawn from grades ten through twelve which meets on Wednesday after school. This 70-voice mixed ensemble gives the students their first opportunity to sing advanced larger choral literature. An audition is required for participation.
The most experienced singers have the opportunity to sing in a small chamber ensemble which performs advanced music from all musical periods—from a cappella madrigals and motets to especially commissioned 21st-century music. Chamber Singers represent River Ridge at state choral competitions and have consistently received superior ratings. This group often collaborates with professional ensembles in the Twin Cities and sings on a regular basis at the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis. An audition is required for participation.
This group is open to brass, woodwind and percussion players in all grades. Students audition to play in the group, and need to show the ability to sight-read music, play basic scales, and perform a simple solo with some proficiency. The Wind Ensemble plays concert band music in a variety of styles, from marches to well-known classical transcriptions, occasionally featuring soloists. They perform during the winter and spring concerts as part of the ninth- and tenth-grade choral concerts.
This ensemble is open to any student from the Wind Ensemble who is especially proficient on his or her instrument and who enjoys the jazz medium. They meet every Wednesday after school and occasionally have workshops. Two school performances plus one or two other performances occur during the year.
Students in all grades from medium to advanced abilities are invited to participate. The orchestra meets Wednesday from 5:00-6:30 p.m. Sectionals meet Wednesday morning before school. Students perform original pieces from the world's greatest composers. The String Ensemble has had the opportunity to play with members of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in a special concert held at the River Ridge campus. The String Ensemble also performs during the winter and spring concerts.