• Southern California Vocal Association

Festival FAQ's

HOW LONG WILL THE FESTIVAL BE?
SCVA festivals are 90-120 minutes in length. All choirs are required to be present for the entire festival so they can hear the performances of all the other choirs. There are 6-8 choirs enrolled in each SCVA choral festival. A full high school festival has 8 choirs. A full middle school festival has 6 choirs. A full clinic festival has 6 choirs. Each choir performs a set of music (typically 3 pieces) that does not exceed 12 minutes.

WHEN DO WE WARM UP?
Short onstage warm-ups (3-5 minutes) are available during the hour before the festival begins. There is no offstage warmup room available.

WHAT SHOULD A CHOIR WEAR TO A FESTIVAL?
Concert choirs should wear uniforms or similar clothing while performing at festival. Options can include matching polo shirts or t-shirts with the same color pants, formal wear (matching gowns and tuxedos), or students all wearing the same color (i.e., black). Choir uniforms should meet the school dress code (if one exists at your school) and should not detract from the performance (i.e., too revealing, visually noisy).

WHAT SHOULD A CHOIR DIRECTOR WEAR TO A FESTIVAL?
The director should wear clothing similar to the uniforms of the choir. The director of a choir in polo shirts may wear a matching shirt, or something of a similar style. Choirs in formalwear should have a director also in formalwear. The clothing of the director should not be revealing nor detract from the performance of the choir.

I REGISTERED FOR A FESTIVAL BUT NO ONE HAS CONTACTED ME
When you register online, you immediately receive a registration confirmation email from admin@scvachoral.org. This email should also be used as your invoice. You can log in to the Members Only page to view your festival registrations and payment status. Your festival host will email you one month before your festival with specific info on directions and parking, and ask you for your repertoire info for the festival program.

WHO ARE THE JUDGES?
Each festival has two certified adjudicators who will give comments and/or grades to each director. You will find out the names of your judges from your festival host; they are not published online. One judge will do detailed written comments, and the other judge will audio record verbal comments. For more info on audio recording verbal comments, please see What Do I Bring? below.

WHAT HAPPENS AT AN SCVA SIGHTREADING FESTIVAL?
An SCVA sightreading festival is very similar to other choral festivals. Your choir will be seated in the audience and watch the other choirs perform. After your choir performs, they will be escorted to a nearby classroom for their sightreading adjudication. Your choir will receive copies of a newly composed sightreading example; you already chose their sightreading level and voicing when you registered for the festival. The sightreading judge will lead you and the choir through the adjudication. The choir will return to the performance venue to hear the other groups perform. Your festival plaque will include your performance rating and your sightreading rating. For more information, click here.

WHAT DO I BRING TO THE FESTIVAL?
Each director must bring TWO ORIGINAL OCTAVOS of each piece being performed for use by the adjudicators. Duplicating copyrighted music is illegal. Any ensemble submitting photocopies will have its adjudication withheld. Also BRING YOUR OWN RECORDING DEVICE (BYORD) to the festival to receive recorded comments from the adjudicators. Many directors use a smartphone with a voice recording app as their recording device. You will need to provide a person to assist the judge in operating the device if needed. If no recording device is provided, then two written adjudications will be received. Your festival host may choose to provide digital audio recordings of adjudicator comments; in this case you do not need to BYORD. Your octavos and recording device will be returned to you at the end of the festival along with your score sheets and plaque.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMMENTS AND GRADES?
You may choose to have "comments only" or "comments and grades." The SCVA festival score sheet uses letter grades (ABCDF), not points. You can download a PDF of the judging form at scvachoral.org. If you choose "comments only" you will receive comments without letter grades and a rating. If you choose "comments and grades," then the grades given to you by the two judges will be averaged into a rating (good, excellent, superior). At the conclusion of the festival, your octavos, score sheets, and recording device will be returned to you with your plaque and rating. However, no places will be awarded (first, second, etc) and you will NOT receive a score recap sheet.

I REWROTE SOME OF THE PARTS TO FIT THE VOCAL RANGE OF MY SINGERS. WHAT DO I DO?
Clearly notate your changes on two original octavos for the judges. They cannot evaluate the performance for accuracy without this.

DO WE HAVE TO SING A PIECE FROM THE RECOMMENDED FESTIVAL MUSIC LIST?
No. The SCVA Recommended Festival Music List is recommended, not required. Other repertoire may be used, but it must be of the same high musical quality as the pieces on the Recommended Festival Music List.

CAN I USE A PRE-RECORDED ACCOMPANIMENT TRACK?
No. Pre-recorded accompaniment tracks may NOT be used in choral festivals. Any ensemble using pre-recorded accompaniment will have its adjudication withheld.

DO I HAVE TO BE A MEMBER OF SCVA?
Yes. An SCVA Choral Festival is open to the choirs of current SCVA members. According to the SCVA Bylaws "The membership year shall be from August 1 to June 30."

CAN MY CHOIR ATTEND TWO DIFFERENT FESTIVALS?
No. Each choir can only attend one festival per year. However, the free choir of a festival host may attend a second "away" festival.

CAN I ENROLL THREE OF MY ENSEMBLES IN THE SAME FESTIVAL?
No. One school is limited to enrolling two ensembles in a festival.

WHERE SHOULD I SEND MY PAYMENT?
You can send a school or booster check (no personal checks) payable to "SCVA" to:
   Melva Morrison
   5790 Friars Road, #D-8
   San Diego, CA 92110
You can also pay on-line securely using PayPal with any major credit card (MasterCard/Visa/Discover/AmericanExpress) by going to the e-Payments page and scrolling down to the Festival Registration Fee items, then entering the School Name and Choir Name.

THERE WERE TWO SLOTS AVAILABLE FOR A FESTIVAL, BUT WHEN I TRIED TO REGISTER MY SECOND CHOIR, THE WEBSITE REPORTED THAT THE FESTIVAL WAS FULL.
The festival registration is a real-time system that accepts registrations as they are submitted. This situation can happen if a choir from another school registered for the festival in between your first and second registration, thereby filling up the remaining slot. For this reason, we encourage directors to register their ensembles as quickly as possible, rather than waiting until the festival is almost full.

I CAN'T ATTEND MY FESTIVAL -- CAN I GET A REFUND?
Festival fees are non-refundable unless the Festival is cancelled by SCVA. If you have a schedule conflict with your original festival, the VP's of Festivals will try to schedule you into an alternate festival. If there are unusual circumstances regarding your cancellation, you may submit a written request for a refund to the SCVA Executive Board. Requests will be considered on a case by case basis at regularly scheduled board meetings.

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