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Chocachatti broadens options for applicants

Chocachatti Elementary School has scheduled several orientation dates for parents who want their children to attend the magnet school.

Orientation will be at 4 p.m. Feb. 4, and 7 p.m. Feb. 5 and Feb. 12. at the 4135 California St. campus.

This year, Chocachatti has added a new element to its application process. Since the school opened in 1999, students were selected by lottery. But prospective students can also submit a preliminary portfolio or audition to gain entry into the 800-student campus.

"If a student has a particular artistic talent, they can apply to audition and they may get in that way," said assistant principal Susan Wilson. "There's a small percentage who can get in that way."

Those parents who want their children to audition are urged to attend the orientation, Wilson said, because there are no guarantees.

"It's just another option," she said.

Led by principal Michael Tellone, Chocachatti emphasizes hands-on learning in fine and performing arts, MicroSociety and a challenging academic course of study. All students receive instruction in music, dance, theater and the visual arts.

As part of the new application process, music, theater and dance applicants must submit a videotape for the preliminary auditions by Feb. 13, according to a statement released by the school.

Art students must submit a portfolio containing a sketchbook and at least five original works that should represent at least two of the following areas: ceramics, sculpture, drawing or painting. Photographs of large sculpture and ceramic works are acceptable.

Music students must perform a solo. Students may have an accompanist, may perform with a taped or CD accompaniment no longer than two minutes, or choose to play/sing without accompaniment. Instrumental students must also play one scale.

Theater students interested in auditioning for acting should prepare a monologue no more than one minute long. The monologue should be from a contemporary play _ no Shakespeare or verse _ and must be memorized.

Students interested in musical theater should prepare a solo vocal selection from a published stage musical _ no pop or film selections _ and must be memorized. Students can use an accompanist or perform with taped or CD accompaniment. Singing without accompaniment is discouraged.

Dance students should perform a solo showing as many elements of dance the student can demonstrate. The solo should not exceed two minutes and should be performed with taped or CD accompaniment.

After all videotapes or portfolios are reviewed, parents will be notified of the outcome. If needed, some students may be invited to audition before a live panel at the school.

For information, call the school at 797-7067.