SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) - January 2011


Message from the President - Rodger Guerrero
I hope that you had a splendid, restful, rejuvenating and joyous holiday and that you spent your “free” time in any manner you so desired.  I firmly believe that we choral music teachers deserved time off more than any other line of work.  We earned it throughout the month of December!

I can never spend my "free" time without reflecting upon my work as a choral teacher.  Whether pondering about the first semester performances, preparing for the coming semester, or just thinking about the students, I cannot seem to free my mind of my job.  Rather than fight it, I decided to enjoy immersing myself in it.  Remembering the African Proverb: "The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago; the next best time is today," I created a Choir Director’s New Year’s Resolution List:

1.  I resolve to relate to every singer student as a human being first and endeavor to ask for and listen to their thoughts and ideas.
2.  I resolve to empower them to sing twice as much as I talk.
3.  I resolve to teach sight singing daily in every choir class no matter how advanced the choir.
4.  I resolve to enable the student singers to experience one beautiful musical moment each day.
5.  I resolve to change strategies and/or literature should the singer students fail to succeed stated goals.
6.  I resolve to teach with enthusiasm, creativity, and poise no matter how well the student singers are performing or poorly I may feel.
7.  I resolve to learn as much from the student singers as they learn from me.
8.  I resolve to continue to fiercely advocate the value choral music in my school community and beyond.
9.  I resolve to trumpet the philosophy and activities of SCVA at every opportunity.
10. I resolve to make every day my masterpiece (Thanks, John Wooden!).

There is my list, for better or worse.  How about yours?  Please feel encouraged to share it with me at


Junior High Honor Choir – Vanessa Ventre, VP – Junior High Honor Choir
Dear Colleagues, Students, and Parents,

You still have time to register for The Southern California Vocal Association (SCVA) Junior Honor Choir!!!  As of the end of December only 60 students have registered to audition.  This is 30 fewer students than those who were selected for the actual ensemble last year.  This is going to be a wonderful experience for your students and I hope that you’ll encourage ALL of your best singers to audition for this year’s Honor Choir before the January 7th registration deadline.  Below is further information about this event.


Membership in the Junior High Honor Choir is based on a successful audition.  Singers must be able to demonstrate that they can perform the following:

1. Sing a major scale up and down (a cappella)
2. Sing a major triad and a minor triad (a cappella)
3. Sing an octave (a cappella)
4. Sight read one melodic and one rhythmic example
5. Sing tonal memory patterns
6. Sing “America” / “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (a cappella)

You will need to go onto the website to fill out the honor choir application and register for an audition day and time.  There is a $5 audition fee.  The easiest way to pay is using PayPal through our website, but you can also pay with a school booster check or money order.  NO personal checks will be accepted!

Registration and payment must be completed and received by January 7th.  The web application will close itself automatically, so please make sure you register early.  Audition assignments (location and times) will be posted on the website by January 14th.


Lincoln Middle School-Santa Monica
Arlington High School-Riverside
Bernardo Yorba Middle School-Yorba Linda
Manhattan Beach Middle School-Manhattan Beach

Mesa Robles Middle School-Hacienda Heights
McFadden Intermediate School-Santa Ana

*If you are interested in helping to adjudicate please contact me ASAP!!

Results will be posted on the SCVA website by FEBRUARY 18.  Please note that there will be a $45 PARTICIPATION FEE to help pay for your music, the conductor, accompanist, and other expenses.

We have made every attempt to make the Honor Choir rehearsals as “driver friendly” as possible.  This year there will be only TWO rehearsals and one of them should be close to your area.  We depend on your commitment to these two rehearsals so that we are able to have a successful performance.


REGIONAL REHEARSAL (attend ONE near you)
- March 19 @ John Adams MS from 9:00 AM to NOON (2425 16th St., Santa Monica)
- March 26 @ Mesa Robles MS from 9:00 AM to NOON (16060 Mesa Robles Dr., Hacienda Hts)


You MUST also attend the all-day rehearsal on APRIL 30th.  The sessions will be from 9:00﷓Noon and from 2:00-5:00 pm.  The Honor Choir Concert is at 7pm that evening.  Both the all-day rehearsal and performance will be held at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica. Students will be asked to bring a SACK LUNCH from home that day.  SCVA will host DINNER and snacks for the singers.

STUDENTS:  If chosen for the SCVA Junior High Honor Choir, I agree to:
1. Attend and be on time for ONE Regional Rehearsal
2. Attend and be on time for the April 30th Rehearsal with Mr. De La Rosa
3. Be fully prepared with my music MEMORIZED for the April 30th rehearsal
4. Be polite and respectful toward everyone associated with the Honor Choir

If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Vanessa Ventre
(310) 393-9227 ext 73156


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

WHY ATTEND A CHORAL FESTIVAL?  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!  Many thanks to our volunteer festival hosts for hosting 48 SCVA festivals in 2011!

APPLY EARLY FOR MOST FESTIVAL AVAILABILITY. Festival availability is updated in real time. As soon as a festival is full, it will be closed on the website.  Each choir is limited to one festival per season; please do not bring more than two choirs to one festival. The registration deadline is March 1, 2011, and late registrations will not be accepted.  Please check your school's testing schedule and spring break when scheduling your festival.  Please note the location of your festival so you can begin planning for transportation.  We can't process your registration unless you are a current member of SCVA; if your membership is not current, please purchase it online or add $35 to your check amount.

YOUR FESTIVAL REGISTRATION WILL NOT BE COMPLETED UNTIL PAYMENT IS RECEIVED. When you apply online, you will receive an email confirming your initial registration.  This email will include the amount due ($75 for MS/JHS and HS choirs) and you can use this email as an invoice to request a school check.  A faster way to guarantee your registration is to use PayPal on the SCVA website. IF PAYMENT IS NOT RECEIVED WITHIN 30 DAYS OF YOUR INITIAL REGISTRATION, YOUR REGISTRATION WILL BE CANCELLED.

For more information, contact Maria Fritts at or (951) 926-6776; contact Jennifer Stanley at or (626) 258-5292.

Click here to view all of the Festivals.

 - Festival Schedule
 - Online Festival Registration Form
 - PayPal system for online payment of festival fees and membership dues
 - Festival Adjudication Form
 - Adjudication Scoring Scale
 - Festival Code of Conduct
 - Festival Listening Guide
 - Festival Host Guide
 - A History of SCVA Festivals
 - List of Recommended Choral Literature (with new literature added this year!)
 - Festival Music Suggestion Form (for additions to List of Recommended Choral Literature)


Vocal Solo Competition - Supporting the Choral Mission of SCVA
Rich Brunner, VP – Vocal Solo Competition

The Vocal Solo Competition has gone through some significant changes since I joined SCVA in 1996.  What’s true is that there has been a shift of focus from the celebration of the effort of the individual to the inclusion of the choral classroom as both the catalyst for and the recipient of the benefits of private vocal study.

Eight choral directors graciously agreed to host solo competitions at their schools, but due to lack of sign ups, only four of those schools are actually hosting this year, with less than 65 students participating.  It was only 6 or 7 years ago that the number of participants was close to 200.  I know that times are difficult and it is my personal feeling that if we change one student’s life then it has all been worth it.  However, we are accountable to the entire SCVA body and whether we want to be or not, we have to be practical.

I have a number of questions myself.  Some stem from my initial article from the fall and some are new based on working on this project for the last several months.  But what I would like from you is a list of your thoughts and questions - your possible solutions.  What is the next step for the Vocal Solo Competition?

First, please answer any or all of the questions below.  And then offer your own questions or comments.  Finally, please email me your responses at  Your input is important!

Thank you so much, in advance, for your time responding to this set of questions.

 - If you have students who study privately but who didn’t apply for the Vocal Solo Competition, can you tell us why?
 - Is there something about the structure of the competition that you would like to see changed or enhanced?
 - Are there other Vocal Competitions for high school students that you know of that might be in conflict with our competition?
 - How many of your choral students study private voice?
 - Do you have access to private vocal instructors in your area?
 - If we held a Vocal Jazz Competition or a Musical Theater Vocal Competition do you think that your students might be more inclined to participate?
 - How important do you think the Vocal Solo Competition is to the health of SCVA?
 - What other kinds of programs would you like to see instead?

Best regards,

Dr. Rich Brunner
VP Vocal Solo Competition


2010 High School Honor Choirs Concert: Sing On!
Tammi Alderman: VP - High School Honor Choirs

A night of brilliant music...
The 2010 edition of the SCVA Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Choirs at Santa Monica High School on November 20th was a feast for the ears and the soul.  It was an educational experience and honor to watch the magic and artistry of each of the three conductors, Ms. Kimberly Barclay-Drusedum, Vijay Singh and Jeffrey Seaward.  The students were engaged from the start of rehearsals through the performance.  It was fascinating to watch our young people make incredible music under the able hands of these master teachers.  These students had an opportunity that they will never forget, even as many of them take the next step of singing in the California All-State Honor Choir (Sacramento, March 30th-April 2nd) and the ACDA National Honor Choir (Chicago, March 9th-12th).

I want to thank you...
John Hendricks was my right-hand man for the last two years.  Besides being one of the most caring individuals that I know, he was continually reminding me that all is possible and good.  He was more help than I could ever have hoped and he has been a wonderful friend through this process.  The smiles and many shared hours of work could not have been more enjoyable!  THANK YOU, JOHN!  Mark Freedkin is a website wizard who answers every email I ever send within minutes and is always open to my ideas.  His continuing efforts are making the auto-magical world of SCVA events easier than they have ever been.  THANK YOU, MARK!  Jeffe Huls is a blessing and is an amazing “remember-all.”  I am not even sure how many things would have never happened if it hadn't been for Jeffe.  He is a perfect Host.  THANK YOU, JEFFE!  My former students from Crescenta Valley High School and now soon-to-be music teachers themselves spent the entire weekend running errands, moving tables and doing whatever grunt-work needed doing simply because they believe in music education and the experience that this honor choir has to offer (all of them are SCVA Honor Choir Alumni).  THANK YOU BEN, STACY & JAE!!!  The SCVA Board is replete with supportive, helpful, caring, and visionary conductors.  Many of them helped out with multiple aspects of the Honor Choirs even though they have their own SCVA responsibilities to complete.  THANK YOU RODGER (you are a hard and great act to follow, not to mention a wonderful, patient teacher), CAROLYN (the fastest bill-payer, check-writer in the choral world), LISA, KAREN (especially for your Newsletter patience and great emails), VANESSA, JENNIFER, CHRISTINE, JUDY, and RICH!  And to Wyant Morton, our Rehearsal Site Host, Rodger Guerrero (again), Sandra Schnieders, and Michael Hayden, our Rehearsal Conductors, all of the audition site hosts, adjudicators, sectional rehearsal leaders, accompanists, T-Shirt “hander-outers,” check-in table monitors, ushers, errand-runners, etc, THANK YOU for doing the sometimes thankless and indistinct jobs which truly enable the Honor Choirs to succeed!  A Successful Honor Choirs experience could not have been accomplished without any one of you

New Roads to Travel...
My term as SCVA Honor Choir Chair is nearly at an end.  I only have a few articles to write, some bills to pay, Concert CDs to deliver, and recommendations to make, both to SCVA and ACDA.  John Hendricks (my former right-hand man) will take over as SCVA Honor Choirs Chair next year, and he will do a phenomenal job.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this job and am looking forward to serving in a similar capacity for the All-State Choirs in the near future. 


SCVA Vocal Jazz Festival – Christine Tavares, VP – Jazz Choirs
Tuesday March 8th, 2011
Include your students in an incredible day of learning and growth in Jazz!
With Guest Artists from Audio Radiance
South Western Community College
Jason Smith, Director

You may choose to have your performance scored (Superior, Excellent, Good). Note: This festival is not a ranked/placement festival. It is adjudicated on the same basis as all SCVA festivals.

At 7pm, Audio Radiance will close the evening with their performance!  This will be a great gathering of vocal jazz students and teachers throughout Southern California.  For those participating in competitions later in the school semester, students will also get great exposure and coaching from our very experienced clinicians. Applications are being accepted now, space is limited so do not delay! If you have any questions please email me at   Please put this date on your calendar!!!  The festival is open to all levels, novice through advanced.  The fee is only $150.

Location:  Valencia High School, 27801 N.  Dickason Dr. Valencia, Ca. 91355
Time:  1:30pm - 6:30pm with concert beginning at 7pm (may change slightly based on the number of groups attending)
Equipment:  16 microphones  Provided:  Piano, Bass Amp
Cost:  $150 per group: Includes evening concert with Audio Radiance!

Deadline Approaching
Please Apply: February 11, 2011
Application is now available on the SCVA website.


The First SCVA Choral Festival (click here)
April 19, 1940 at Thorne Hall, Occidental College
The JHS festival was at 3pm and the High School/Junior College festival was at 7:30pm

Program obtained by Jennifer Stanley, 2010 SCVA VP of High School Festivals


Want to Recruit More Young Male Singers?
Mark Freedkin, VP - Barbershop Harmony Festivals

This year’s Barbershop Harmony Festivals for Young Women and Young Men are now completely full, and we are no longer accepting any additional applications for either event.  We greatly appreciate the enormous support that our programs have received over the past 12 years.

Just ask any of your colleagues who have attended one or more of our festivals, and they'll tell you what an amazing experience this has been for their singers.  In addition to the fellowship and camaraderie of men singing with men and the positive adult male role models that they observe, the ear-training techniques that are used with this style of four-part a cappella music immediately transfer into all other forms of literature.

All of the young men who have participated in this event discovered that they are not alone in their love for choral music, and many of them have continued singing through college and beyond.  They learned that singing can be and should be a life-long recreational activity.

As a special treat this year, Adam Scott, a Music Specialist from the headquarters office of the Barbershop Harmony Society will be joining the music faculty for the Young Men's Festival on Saturday, February 12 at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.  While the young men are in sectional rehearsals after lunch, Adam will be giving a special presentation to all of the choral directors who are attending the event.  Even if you don’t have any of your singers participating in the festival, this will be a great opportunity for you to learn more about how you can use barbershop harmony and other local resources to help recruit more young men into your choral program.  You'll also learn how you can earn continuing education credits by attending some of our regional and national training programs.

Any choral director who wishes to attend the special presentation with Adam is welcome to attend at absolutely no cost.  If you come early, we'll even provide lunch at no cost.  Just let us know if advance if you wish to attend, so we can arrange meals for you.  You are also welcome to attend the rest of the day as our guest, including dinner and a complimentary pair of tickets to the evening show.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Mark Freedkin
Masters of Harmony
Mobile: (714) 357-1187  Email:


Automated E-mail Reminders - Mark Freedkin, SCVA Webmaster

1) Be sure that your e-mail system can accept messages sent from:
2) When you receive an e-mail message from, please don't reply directly to it (since your reply will actually be sent to me, and then I must forward it to the original author).  Instead, please send your reply to whoever composed the original message.


Other Important Information
On-Line SCVA Membership Application
California All-State Music Education Conference
Calendar of Events