AATF CT French Student Singing Competition
The idea arose last year: to organize a live student singing contest in French with a jury, prizes and lots of flashing lights...similar to American Idol, mais en français, bien sûr! Invitations were sent to all French teachers on the AATF CT mailing list, as well as to the AATF chapters in neighboring NY and Western MA.
We decided there would be two types of acts: those singing over a pre-recorded musical accompaniment (i.e. karaoke-style) and live performances with actual instruments on stage. The karaoke-style acts were divided into three categories: solo singing, small singing groups and large singing groups.
Brunswick School (Greenwich, CT) accepted to host the event and the music department even offered to put on a small rock performance (French covers only, of course!) to entertain the audience while the jury deliberated. The jury? A group of six very enthusiastic senior students and French scholars would act as host-cum-presenters-cum-jury.
What a wonderful evening we were going to have...
….and then of course Covid hit the fan!
So, we decided to turn the whole thing into a video contest. Part of the original application process was to submit a video, as we wanted to make sure to select the very best acts. Once we learned that there could no longer be a live event, we invited applicants to submit new videos if they liked, or to keep the videos they had initially submitted. Some students went all in and put together some very cool musical clips. Others simply filmed themselves singing facing the camera.
Working in Zoom breakout rooms, the members of the jury watched all the videos and decided on prizes and citations. Here are the results for 2020:
GENERAL DESCRIPTION of ORIGINAL PLAN (before Covid-19 happened!) BELOW:
“Alors, on chante!” is a LIVE contest show of francophone music performed by students...for students, teachers and friends.
It will take place at Brunswick School, Greenwich, CT, on Tuesday, April 7th, starting at 7:00 pm. The show will last from 1½ to 2 hours.
Why not teach a song to one of your classes and have your students perform it as a group? So fun and easy!
Know of a student who loves to sing? Reach out to him/her and encourage him/her to do a solo act!
There are two different types of acts:
1. Karaoke-type singing contest (solo or group)
2. Small band performances
Karaoke-type singing contest:
Students sing a song entirely in French (see details below about song options) along with a recorded instrumental track.
Songs are to be memorized and performed with expression.
The addition of costumes/movement/back-up dancers is completely optional, yet not expected.
Students may perform solo or in a group.
A panel of judges will determine one winner within each of the following categories.
3 categories for SOLO singing acts:
“Best ballad/love song”
“Best pop/rock song”
“Best rap/hip hop song.”
2 categories for GROUP singing acts, regardless of genre:
“Best small group song” (2-8 singers)
“Best large group song” (9 or more singers)
Important: Contestants will not be “embarrassed” by live critiques of their performance or by a display of scores; they will simply sing their song, be applauded by the audience, and then go sit down and enjoy the rest of the show with their peers. All will await the announcement of the winners at the end of the show.
Small band performances:
We will accept a few live performances that will be presented in between the karaoke-type acts.
These acts will be eligible for the “Audience Choice Prize” that will be determined by audience applause at the end of the show.
The bands cannot exceed 5 musicians (including singer) and must feature lyrics sung entirely in French.
Students will not need to bring their drum set or amplifiers. For all technical inquiries, please address questions to Mikel Berrier (email@example.com). Songs performed live must not exceed 3 minutes and can be originals or covers.
INSTRUCTIONS AND DEADLINES
Step 1: Check eligibility.
Verify that the participating teacher in your school is an active AATF member for 2020. If he/she is not, then membership renewal is easily done at aatfct.org/membership. Contestants/performers must be in grades 8-12 and lyrics must be entirely sung in French. Contestants do not need to be enrolled in a French class. All students of French are encouraged to attend the show as audience members.
There is no limit to the number of acts that a school may submit, so allez-y!
Step 2: CLICK HERE to submit quick "smartphone-style" video by March 6th, 2020.
IF you have any trouble uploading or accessing the submission form, email Mikel Berrier at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teachers of all interested participants (karaoke contestants and small bands) must submit a 2-3 minute video of their act before 4:00 pm on Friday, March 6th, 2020. Karaoke-type singing contestants, please see below for the song selection process.
This video can be done VERY SIMPLY and does not need to have any formal editing at all.
A quick smartphone video is absolutely fine, but please check that the audio is good enough.
In order to keep the show under two hours long, a group of senior French students from the host school will review all submitted act videos and will choose a list of finalist acts that will perform at the event. The list of accepted acts will be shared with all applicants by 4:00 pm on Friday, March 13th.
Step 3: Finalists perform!
Selected finalists will perform on stage on April 7th to an audience of other contestants, families, and teachers.
When not performing, contestants will sit in the audience to enjoy the rest of the show and applaud their peers.
See the LIVE Finals Round Judging Rubric HERE.
Prizes: Beautiful trophies will bring glory and honor to the winners' schools and all participants will receive certificates.
SONG SELECTION PROCESS
For Karaoke-type singing contestants (solo or group):
You or your students may choose whatever French language song you like, as long as it fits into the categories listed above.
ALL tracks must be purchased by you/your students on the website www.version-karaoke.fr.
Most tracks are $1.99.
(NOTE: The AATF does not benefit financially from these purchases and has no relationship with www.version-karaoke.fr;
Use of a purchased audio track is the only way to respect copyright regulations for a competition like this one.)
Choose your song as a "Version instrumentale MP3,” add to "panier," pay via credit card of PayPal*, and download the fichier.
It is up to you whether you choose the version with or without chorus (“Choeurs”).
*NOTE: Credit card payments may be rejected as this is a site hosted abroad. PayPal seems to work fine, though.
To keep the show moving, each karaoke act will be a max of 2 to 2.5 minutes long. Tracks may therefore need to be faded out mid-song.
Or, if you or your students are comfortable editing the track, you may cut/fade it where you like and send the shorter version to us just how you like it.
Selected finalist acts have until Thursday, April 2nd to email their final mp3 file of their accompanying music track AND a screenshot of the purchase receipt of the MP3 track from www.version-karaoke.fr* to Mikel Berrier (email@example.com). Don’t hesitate to email if you have any questions.
On the day of the show, participants/contestants can arrive anytime between 4 and 5 pm for sound-check and warm up.
Light sandwiches, snacks, and drinks will be provided to contestants and their teachers prior to showtime.
Doors will open to the public at 6:30 pm; the show starts at 7:00 pm and ends between 8:30 and 9:00 pm.
Alors, on chante!
Email contest coordinator and AATF CT Comité Exécutif member Mikel Berrier - firstname.lastname@example.org
*Tency Music and www.Version-Karaoké.fr are granting us permission to play their tracks in a live performance, but they are asking that we, in exchange, make sure the tracks were properly purchased.