• Southern California Vocal Association

Festival Host Guidelines

SCVA Festival Host Guide (revised February 2018)
The success of a festival depends a great deal on how the host plans and organizes the festival. The following information is a guide to assist the festival host in planning and running a successful festival. We recommend that you print the Festival Host Guide and use it as a checklist to plan and organize your festival.

Festival Host Checklist
Two to Four Weeks Before the Festival
 - Receive information about the participating choirs by email from "admin@scvachoral.org" exactly 28 days prior to your festival.
 - Receive names and contact info of the two adjudicators assigned to your festival from "admin@scvachoral.org" exactly 28 days prior to your festival. If you are hosting a sightreading festival, a third adjudicator will be assigned to your festival to judge sightreading.
 - Receive Festival Adjudication Forms (in duplicate) via U.S. Mail from the VP of Festival Adjudication.
 - Receive paychecks for Adjudicators in mail from VP of Festival Adjudication. Paychecks should arrive with Festival Adjudicator Payment Vouchers., but if they do not, print Festival Adjudicator Payment Voucher from website to have adjudicators sign them when then get their checks.
 - Contact your ADJUDICATORS and confirm date/time, exchange cell phone numbers, etc. Decide which judge will do recorded comments, and which judge will do written comments.
 - Send an email welcome letter to each participating director with directions and request for repertoire info for program (see sample below)
 - If you are going to provide digital recordings of the adjudicator's comments, inform your participating directors.Directors need the audio files of the judge's comments BEFORE THEY LEAVE YOUR FESTIVAL. Many directors use these files as their lesson plan for the day after the festival. If you are unable to provide them with audio files before they leave, then you must offer a BYORD festival.
 - If you are not providing digital recordings, inform your participating directors that they need to BRING THEIR OWN RECORDING DEVICE (BYORD) if they want recorded audio comments from the adjudicators.
 - Please also inform directors that they will need to provide a person to assist the judge in operating the recording device.
 - If no recording device is provided, then two written adjudications will be received.
 - Get program info (titles, composers/arrangers) from each director.
 - Receive plaques in the mail from trophy company; check correctness of plaques when they arrive.
 - If your school or district requires an SCVA Certificate of Insurance for your festival, please email Carolyn Kelley, SCVA Treasurer, at choralcjk@earthlink.net. Please include the following information: name and address of who is to be "additional insured" which is usually the district, and the date of the festival.

Few Days Before the Festival
 - Fill out top portion of adjudication forms COMPLETELY for all participating choirs
 - Print out two copies of the Ensemble Classification Definition Sheet to place on the adjudication tables.
 - Prepare printed Festival Program, copy and fold
 - Count out programs for each school, have extras for parents/audience
 - Get student/parent helpers to assist each adjudicator, greet each group, usher, emcee, calculate scores, operate recording equipment and/or computers
 - For sightreading festivals only: sightreading judges will need two assistants who will stay in the sightreading room to help pass out and collect the sightreading examples. You will also need a guide to lead the choirs from the stage to the sightreading room.
 - For sightreading festivals only: two days before your sightreading festival, you will receive an email from the VP of Festival Adjudication that contains the sightreading examples and information on the level, voicing, and number of copies needed for each choir in your festival. Prepare the copies as directed, and put each choir's copies in a securely sealed large envelope. The envelopes will be given to the sightreading adjudicator to be opened in the sightreading room.
 - Prepare scripted announcer sheets (especially for student emcees) and have them practice. The announcement for each group should include the information from the top of the adjudication form, but titles of selections do not need to be introduced because they are printed in the program:

EXAMPLE: Now entering the stage is the Ocean View High School Wave Chorale from Los Angeles, CA. This novice ensemble has 42 singers. Ocean View High School has a population of 2200 students, and has 4 choral ensembles. The Wave Chorale is directed by Ms. Jane Smith who has been in her present position for 6 years; she has 14 years of choral teaching experience. They are accompanied by Mr. John Doe. Let us welcome the Ocean View High School Wave Chorale.

Day of the Festival
 - Have risers, shell, tuned piano, podium, microphone available onstage
 - If you are providing digital recording of adjudicator comments, set up recording equipment and/or computers and helpers to operate equipment
 - For sightreading festivals only: prepare the sightreading room (a classroom near the performance venue where choirs will go immediately following the performance to do their sightreading adjudication). The room will need adequate chairs for the number of singers, two music stands, and a piano.
 - Post seat assignments on chairs in auditorium/theater
 - Provide table/desk, chair, light, water, pencils, Festival Adjudicator Payment Voucher and a helper for each adjudicator.
 - Put plaques on a table in order of performance, ready to calculate/attach rating plate
 - When each director arrives, assign a greeter to take the choir to their seats/bathroom etc.
 - Each choir is allowed a short 3-5 minute onstage warmup.
 - Have two large envelopes for each choir labeled with their school and ensemble name.
 - When the choir arrives, assign a helper to collect the scores for the adjudicators (no illegal photocopies allowed!) and their recording device. One set of scores and the recording device go into one envelope; the other set of scores goes in the other envelope.
 - Directors may choose "comments only" or "comments and grades." Please indicate their preference on each envelope.
 - Put all envelopes at adjudicators' tables.
 - Put your own ensemble's scores and recording device in large envelopes and put them at the adjudicators' tables.
 - Festival host gives a welcome speech that includes introducing and thanking the adjudicators.   Remind students they need to follow the SCVA Festival Code of Conduct
 - Consider starting your festival with all students singing the National Anthem
 - It's nice if an administrator can also be present to give a brief welcome
 - Use "Choral Festival Recap Sheet" to enter festival data online. You will receive an email with a link to enter your festival data. Please enter the data from the Recap Sheet after your festival, before you return the form with the yellow score sheets.
 - As the judges finish each adjudication form, have the Helpers collect the forms and give them to a Helper with Calculator to calculate ratings (directions on bottom of adjudication form), then attach rating plate. Complete "Choral Festival Recap Sheet" while ratings are being calculated. Do NOT share Recap Sheet info with directors or students.
 - For sightreading festivals only: a second rating plate for sightreading will be attached to the plaque beneath the performance rating.
 - If you are offering digital recording of judge's comments, then audio files must be distributed during the festival. Directors need the audio files of the judge's comments BEFORE THEY LEAVE YOUR FESTIVAL. Many directors use these files as their lesson plan for the day after the festival.
 - Adjudicators may need extra time to finish adjudication forms, request assistance in operating recording devices, or request pauses between selections. Please assist them as needed with these requests.

After the Festival
 - Before each director leaves, return the large envelopes with their scores, recording device OR recorded adjudicator comments, and plaque with rating attached.
 - Complete Online Festival Adjudication Evaluation
 - Return "Choral Festival Recap Sheet" with the carbon copies of the adjudication forms. This form is not to be published or shared with directors or students!
 - Mail carbon copies of adjudication forms to VP of Festival Adjudication. Forms must be received within one week of the festival date.
 - For sightreading festivals only: all copies of the sightreading examples must be collected and securely destroyed. This is a requirement of the publisher as the same examples are used in several states.
 - Mail completed adjudicator Festival Adjudicator Payment Voucher to Treasurer. Forms must be received within one week of the festival date.

Festival Policies
 - All directors participating in SCVA festivals must be current members of SCVA.
 - Awards ceremonies are NOT allowed at SCVA festivals. Each director will only receive their own scores, no recap sheet or announcement of ratings is provided.
 - A festival host may take their "free" group to an away festival in addition to participation in their own. Separate applications and fees must be submitted for each festival.
 - Festival hosts may NOT charge an admission fee or sell tickets to audience members at SCVA festivals.
 - Pre-recorded accompaniment may NOT be used at SCVA festivals. If a director requests the use of one, please decline the request.
 - The two adjudicators in consultation with the festival host may decide to withhold adjudication from a group that submits illegally photocopied music, uses pre-recorded accompaniment, or displays obviously disruptive conduct.

Thank you for making the commitment to be a festival host!

If you have any questions, contact one of the Vice Presidents of Festivals:
Nancy Ludwig (VP-I of Festivals)
(626) 258-4708
Kristen Walton (VP-II of Festivals)


Dear Director,

We look forward to having you join us for the ______(date) SCVA Festival at ______ High School.

The festival will begin promptly at __pm.  The auditorium will be open and the stage available for warmups beginning one hour before. Warmups will be on a first-come, first-served basis with a five-minute time limit if other groups are waiting.

There will be ___(number) sections of choral risers onstage along with a ____(type) piano.  Please let me know if you have any special needs, such as handicapped accessibility, chairs for instrumentalists or page turners, music stands, solo mics, etc.

There are no changing facilities available, so please have your choirs arrive dressed.  Also, please review the SCVA Festival Code of Conduct with your students beforehand.

I will need your titles and composer/arranger names by _______(one week prior).  Please include accompanist and soloist names as well.

You will need to bring two copies of each selection (no illegal photocopies!) for the adjudicators, and you will need to bring your own recording device (BYORD) for recorded adjudicator comments. Most directors use the voice memo recorder app that is pre-installed on many smartphones. Please have a student or parent ready to assist the adjudicator with operating the device if needed.  If no recording device is provided, you will receive two written adjudications.

_______ High School is located at __________. Please let me know if you need more detailed directions.

Please email me with any questions.  Thank you and I look forward to seeing you soon!