SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) – January 2007


Message from the President - Mark Henson, President

I hope you are all enjoying the post-holiday season.  We’ve had just enough time to regroup, and now it’s on to festivals, trips, conventions, etc.  I wish you all the best for 2007! Here is something fun for your amusement from the mind of Rollie Maxon…

Arcadia High School

There seems to be some concern regarding the music that is being performed by the choral music groups at various concerts during the year, especially at the annual Holiday Concert. While I understand these concerns, it is difficult, if not impossible, to avoid the religiosity in all literature. I would suggest that sometimes the lyrics of songs are interpreted in the wrong way.  I will use “Bethlehem Hallelu” by Jay Althouse as an example.

On the surface, it may appear as if this song is about the birth of Jesus Christ when, in fact, it is not. It is about three professors from Cal Tech, Satchmo, Abdul, and Jose Cohan (yes, they are brothers) who are going to visit their sister, Mary, in Pennsylvania who is about to give birth to her first child. She and her husband, Joe, live in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. These three wise men arrived just after the birth occurred and were startled when they heard beautiful music coming from above. Coincidentally, the Anaheim Angels were traveling by plane from a game in Baltimore to one in Cleveland and happened to be singing just as the plane passed over Bethlehem. They had just clinched the pennant while in Baltimore, so there were many joyous shouts of “Hallelujah” and the like.

Jim and Lori Shepherd, their dear friends who live in an unincorporated area between Springfield and Richfield, came to hail the birth of the child after leaving their children (they have a flock of kids, twelve or thirteen at least) in the care of a baby sitter. Everyone was very happy over the birth of this boy child, especially the proud papa who, while in Southern California, had become an avid hockey fan, especially of the Los Angeles franchise. He was so happy that he had a future king as a son; so happy that he started calling him a king right away. His joy extended so far that he felt like telling the world of this wonderful birth!

So you see, things are not always as they appear. What may seem to be a sacred song to one may actually be a secular song all along.

Rollie Maxson
Choral Director, Arcadia High School


Junior High/Middle School HONOR CHOIR
Tony Azeltine, Vice President, Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir

Greetings, colleagues!  I hope your year has been going well. Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir is right around the corner and we need your students! 

Michelle Jensen, of Azusa Pacific University, will serve as this year’s Guest Conductor. I am very excited that the students will have the opportunity to work with this outstanding and inspiring conductor.

Our goal is to form a balanced SATB choir.  Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth grade members of your choral programs are eligible to audition.  (Sixth graders who are part of junior high/middle school program may also audition.)  Ninth grade Tenors and Baritones are especially encouraged to audition.  These singers are often the backbone of the Honor Choir. 

Please share the honor choir information with your non-member colleagues.  It is not too late to become an SCVA member in order for their students to be eligible for this wonderful experience.  Non-members are urged to send in their students' audition applications.  Prior to auditions, Sheri Nelson (Membership Chair) will contact directors who need to join or to renew. 

If any of you would like to get involved with SCVA, now is the time!   I still need audition adjudicators in the West Valley, Bakersfield, South Orange County, and San Diego regions.  How about conducting or accompanying a rehearsal or sectional?  I can use your gifts.  Please volunteer so we can create a great event.  I am here to assist your programs, so your opinions and observations are very important to me.  Let me hear from you!

The audition application is included in this newsletter. Please contact me with any questions you may have. 

Audition Tips
- Major and Minor Triads may be sung on any syllables or on numbers.  Singers will be given verbal instructions and the starting pitch (root of each triad) will be played.
- “America” is to be sung a cappella demonstrating tone quality, intonation, and preparation.  Singers will be given verbal instructions and starting pitch will be played.
- Major scales are used to determine the voice part for each singer.  (Note that young men are eligible for all voice parts.)  The singers will be given verbal instructions, then the first pitch and the major chord will be played.  The scales are sung a cappella. 

Honor Choir Information

Tuesday, January 16:
Deadline for directors to mail completed applications
Tony Azeltine
Mark Keppel High School
501 E. Helman
Alhambra, CA 91801

Saturday, February 24:
Saturday, March 3:
Honor Choir Auditions - see application for locations
(choose either date to audition)

Saturday, April 14:
First Rehearsal, 12 noon – 3 p.m.
(Location to be determined)

Saturday, April 28:
Second Rehearsal, 12 noon – 3 p.m.
(Location to be determined)

Saturday, May 5:
Final Rehearsal, 12 noon – 3 p.m.
(Alhambra High School)

Sunday, May 6:
Honor Choir Concert, 3:30 p.m.
(Alhambra High School)

Perform one verse of "America"(My country 'Tis of Thee) memorized and sung a cappella emphasizing tone quality, diction, intonation, and presentation.
Demonstrate tonal memory skills (4-5 note passages sung on any syllable)
Demonstrate melodic and rhythmic sight-reading skills (single line, unaccompanied melody, sung on any syllable, number, solfege, etc.)
Sing a major scale, major triad, minor triad (on any syllable)

The participation fee for SCVA Honor Choir members will again be $45.  This fee covers music, conductors, accompanists, and rehearsal/performance facilities.

Junior High Honor Choir Application


Jennifer Stanley, VP -  High School Festivals, and
Maria Fritts, VP - Middle School/Junior High Festivals

As music educators, we are in a very unique position for assessment because of festivals.  No other discipline allows teachers to have their students assessed by experts in their field and receive instant feedback.  Choral directors who attend festivals have positive experiences with adjudicators who understand their teaching situations, and the adjudicators actively work to reinforce their teaching.  Attending festivals is an excellent way to expose your students to great choral literature, and for them to see other students working on the same choral concepts you are teaching.  Since it is a positive experience for everyone involved, make sure that you ATTEND A CHORAL FESTIVAL THIS YEAR!

Thank you to all the directors who are hosting festivals! With our festival hosts, we have been able to schedule 49 festivals in many different locations throughout March, April, and May. The festival application follows this article.  Applying early will increase your chances of being accepted to your first choice festival.  As a courtesy to others, please do not bring more than two choirs to one festival.  The application deadline is March 1, 2007, and late applications will not be accepted.  Please check your school’s testing schedule and spring break when scheduling your festival.  Please be aware of the location of your festival so you can begin planning for transportation.

The SCVA website has information to assist you and your students in your festival preparation.  The schedule of festivals, festival application form, PayPal payment system, festival adjudication form, adjudication scoring scale, festival code of conduct, festival listening guide, festival host guide, and list of recommended choral literature are there for your use. Please let us know if we can post other useful information for you.  For more information or questions, please contact Maria Fritts at or (714) 854-9815; contact Jennifer Stanley at or (626) 258-5292.

Festival Application


SHOW  CHOIR SPECTACULAR - Patty Brietag – VP Show Choir

I am honored to join the SCVA Executive board as your Show Choir Vice President.  I look forward to meeting many of you in the coming months. 

Mark your calendars!  The SCVA Show Choir Spectacular is scheduled for Saturday, May 5 at the Fullerton College Campus Theatre. A variety of divisions will accommodate groups at all levels, with performances being judged by qualified choral professionals.  My goal is to make the Show Choir Spectacular a “paperless” event, so please visit the SCVA website for the application.

Complete details will be sent to participants, but please consider the following guidelines in preparing for this festival:
- Each group will be allowed a maximum of 20 minutes including set up and tear down.
- Drum set will be provided.
- Any special effects must be cleared in advance of the festival.
- 5 microphones on stands will be provided for each performance.  We will also provide general stage lighting. No group will be permitted to use their own sound/lighting equipment.

Areas of adjudication include:
- Intonation
- Dynamics
- Accuracy
- Interpretation
- Blend/Balance
- Visual Effect
- Diction
- Overall Presentation

Please call or email me with any questions.  I look forward to hearing your groups soon.


Ron Soderwall, VP Men’s Clinics

With 62 of my young ladies and 20 of my young men heading for the February 3, 2007 WOMEN’S DIVA DAY at Anaheim High School and the February 17th, 2007 Young Men in Harmony Clinic/Festival at Cypress College, we are one excited group of singers.  If you are still sitting on your applications you may be too late for the DIVA day event (with the100-voice International Champion “Harborlites”) and right on the edge of missing out on the YMH Day event (with the many-times international winning “Master’s of Harmony” chorus)!  Before you leave for winter vacation, cut that check and get those applications in the mail!!!

You know, I was never a big fan of barbershop singing, as it was always something that I had my singers do when I didn’t have something “legit” on the schedule.  How wrong I was - and how I wish I could turn back the hands of time so that my choruses were introduced to barbershop singing years ago.  Why?  Because it is the easiest method to train your “singer’s ears” toward independent-part singing which then is easily transferable to the other genres in the rehearsal folder!  And, kids love to sing barbershop because it is “FUN”.  Both SPEBSQSA and the Sweet Adelines have multiple rehearsal tools available to the director, and the people involved with barbershop seem to be at your “beck and call” to assist in whatever need may arise.

My 9th grade women’s chorus sings 4-part (SSAA) a cappella music within the first month of school each year thanks to the Sweet Adelines available tools…my men the same!  Check it out for yourself…and, don’t deprive your singers of these events!


Other Important Information
SCVA Membership Application