SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) – February 2008


Message From The President - Mark Henson
I hope 2008 is off to a great start and that his newsletter finds you excited about the upcoming months.  The preliminary round of the Vocal Solo Competition was quite successful, with many fine singers now on their way to the semi-finals.  This was my first time to host a Vocal Solo Competition site, and I enjoyed it thoroughly!  These young singers and their teachers have chosen fine literature and are so well prepared.  It is a pleasure to hear young people performing with such enthusiasm, passion, and finesse. 

Auditions for Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir are underway, with the results to be announced soon.  I enjoy seeing and hearing the junior high students as they come to audition.  It is a testament to the fine middle school directors in our organization. 

Many of us have singers participating in “Diva Day” (February 2) and the “Young Men’s Harmony Festival” (February 23) taking place at Orange Coast College.  If you’ve not attended one of these events in the past, I urge you to do so.  Many thanks to the Masters of Harmony and Harborlites for making these events possible.

March brings the beginning of the SCVA Choral Festival Season, the ACDA Western Regional Convention, All-State Honor Choir, and the Semi Finals of the Vocal Solo Competition.  As I am writing this, March seems far away.  But as we know, it will be here soon!  (Remember – festival applications are due by March 1.)

April and May will bring our season to a close with the Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir rehearsals and performances, the Vocal Solo Finals, and the Show Choir Spectacular.  Information for each of these events is posted on our website.  Please plan to participate or attend as an audience member.  You’ll be glad you did.

We will soon be making plans to elect the next SCVA Executive Board.  Please contact me if you are interested in serving as an officer for our organization or if you have questions about becoming involved.  The Executive Board is a wonderful and dedicated group, and we welcome you to take part.

Best wishes as we begin the second half of our season.  As always, it is my pleasure to serve as your President.


Wow!  What a Concert!  What an Experience!  What’s Next?
Rodger Guerrero   VP - High School Honor Choirs

Each choir had its moment in the sun…
No set of SCVA Honor Choirs has ever performed better than the 2007 Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed Choirs did at Santa Monica High School on November 17th!  From the beautifully sung lyrical lines of The King of Love My Shepherd Is to the phenomenal, contemporary interpretation and extension of the Loch Lomond, the Men’s Choir absolutely brought the house down!  The incredibly complex and diverse Women’s Choir program was executed to near perfection.  From the gorgeous, lush harmonies of the Nuit D’Étoiles to the splendid precision of the Chindia, the girls delivered an unbelievably detailed performance.  The Mixed Choir has never sounded so unified, particularly in the sophisticated, warm harmonies of The Sweetheart of the Sun and the textual clarity and rhythmic exactness of the Véniki.  I must add that the basses in the Mixed Choir have never sounded better.  If you missed this concert, you REALLY missed it!

All three directors, John Byun, Shawna Cross-Stewart, and Sharon Paul, elicited the most out of the singers, and each did so in completely unique ways.  While the musical experiences throughout the rehearsals and concert were superb, indeed, the teaching and education going on were of the highest caliber.  Thomas Paine once said, “It is the faculty of the Human Mind to become what it Contemplates, and to act in unison with its Object.”  It was fascinating to watch every singer consider each facet of the music as presented by these master teachers.  All of the individual, musical reflection and intellectual analyzing metamorphosed into some very profound, unified music-making.  And even though the concert clearly moved all who listened, the joy expressed on the faces of the singers was even more indicative of the overwhelming value and meaning of the Honor Choirs experience.  The singers LOVED it, were TRANSFORMED by it, and will NEVER forget it. 

Continually thanking, thanking, and thanking…
Tammi Alderman is an absolutely fantastic thinker, leader, and person!  All of the computer-generated lists, schedules, etc. were generated by Tammi.  And what a fantastically positive attitude she brought to every last menial task.  THANK YOU, TAMMI!  Mark Freedkin is a selfless, stick-to-it-and-get-it-done website genius.  All things Honor Choirs were so much easier this year thanks to his outstanding work.  THANK YOU MARK!  Jeffe Huls, Megan Arthurton, and Nancy Gray are tirelessly dedicated and giving people.  Each of them willingly, patiently, and effectively hosted an Honor Choirs activity.  THANK YOU JEFFE, MEGAN, and NANCY!  Carolyn Kelley is a marvelously efficient SCVA Treasurer and delightfully funny human being.  All who received checks for your adjudicating, hosting, etc. owe her a lot.  THANK YOU CAROLYN!  The SCVA Board is filled with supportive, helpful, caring, and visionary conductors.  Many of them helped out with more than one aspect of the Honor Choirs even though they have their own SCVA responsibilities to complete.  THANK YOU MARK, SHERI, KAREN, TONY, and PATTY!  And to all of the audition site hosts, adjudicators, sectional rehearsal leaders, accompanists, check-in table monitors, T-shirt “hander-outers,” ushers, errand-runners, etc, THANK YOU for doing all of those sometimes thankless and indistinct jobs that truly enable the Honor Choirs to succeed!  This whole process could never have been so extraordinary without your help.

Next on the List and a Chance to Speak Up!
Nothing is perfect in life, and the Honor Choirs are no exception to this rule.  So, in order to improve the process, I thought that it might be prudent to engender some feedback from all of those directors whose students participated in one or more of the Honor Choirs.  Thanks to the aforementioned “Web Genius,” Mark Freedkin, we have created an online Honor Choir survey to help you in this endeavor.  Each director will receive an automated email announcing the posting of the Honor Choirs Survey as well as a link to the survey page.  The survey is inclusive of fifteen topical questions for which you may indicate your agreement or disagreement with on a scale of 1-5.  You may also post specific comments for each question.  Three final questions will hopefully enlist your suggestions for future Honor Choirs conductors, music, and sites.  When you have completed and submitted your survey, both Tammi and I will receive an automated e-mail message with a link to the Survey Administrator page.  There we will be able to view, categorize, and combine the results.    We will then post them in a future SCVA Newsletter article, so stay tuned for more…


Vocal Solo Competition - Colleen Kennedy, VP/Vocal Solo Competition
On January 12, over 130 middle and high school singers participated in the first round of this year’s vocal solo competition at eight different sites. By all accounts it was a wonderful day of music-making and learning for everyone involved. We had a few new hosts this year, all of whom affirmed that it was an extremely easy and pain-free experience (encouraging words for would-be hosts next year!).

I would like to acknowledge and offer my heartfelt thanks to all of the site hosts and adjudicators for giving their time and expertise to the event, without whom it would not be possible.

Site hosts                                                                    Adjudicators
Melanie Alpert, The Alpert Studio (double site)             Lisa Stidham, Melodee Fernandes
Anne Cherchian, La Cañada High School                      Timothy MacDougall
Heidi Cissell, Oak Park High School                             Dr. Jayne Campbell
Rodger Guerrero, Harvard-Westlake School                Dr. Susan Kane
Allison Harned, Whittier Christian High School              Dr. Rich Brunner
Scott Hedgecock, Fullerton Union High School             Karen McBride
Mark Henson, Segerstrom High School                        Dr. Ricardo Soto
Don Orser, Matilija Jr. High School                              James Kenney

Looking ahead…
I received some good feedback from this first round, which might help teachers better prepare their students for next year’s competition. First, ensure that your student has a skilled accompanist. We all know that an accompanist can make or break a performance. Especially with inexperienced soloists, it’s important for singers to stay focused and not be distracted by what’s going on with the piano.

Another comment that I get year after year (even the years I wasn’t running the event!) is that many of these singers perform literature that is not appropriate for them in terms of difficulty or maturity. Even at the one site I attended, the adjudicator pointed out to a student that he should put that aria away for a few years and come back to it. The point of this competition is not to perform the hardest literature, but to perform appropriate literature well. Singers hear all kinds of wonderful music, and our job as teachers is to guide them to what is best for them developmentally so that they don’t damage their delicate, budding instruments.

Dates to remember:
 - Saturday March 8, 2008: Semi-final round
 - Sunday May 4, 2008: Final performances, Jr. High/Middle School Honor Choir concert


by Jennifer Stanley, VP of High School Festivals, and Maria Fritts, VP of 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 44 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, 2008, 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 (951) 926-6776; contact Jennifer Stanley at or (626) 258-5292.We are pleased to announce that this year’s conductor will be Dr. Ricardo Soto of Orange Coast College!

Festival Listings

SCVA Choral Festival Code of Conduct
Directors are strongly encouraged to read the Code of Conduct to all students who participate in SCVA festivals.  A choral music festival sponsored by SCVA provides the opportunity for a satisfying experience in listening as well as in performing.  These rules are designed to encourage concert behavior in which everyone may take pride.  They are not meant to stifle enthusiasm or to detract from the enjoyment of a festival.

1. Each student is a guest of the host school and will follow the rules of that school.  He/she will not leave the auditorium without permission of their director.
2. Each student will be seated with his choir prior to the opening of the festival and will remain in his place until its conclusion.  Personal needs must be satisfied before the festival begins.
3. A courteous listener will sit up in his seat and will refrain from talking, chewing gum, eating, combing hair, applying make-up or doing homework.
4. Applause at the proper time is encouraged.  However, activities such as standing, shouting and whistling are obviously inappropriate in a concert hall.  Adjudicators may downgrade any performing group that displays poor concert behavior, or may withhold adjudication for obviously disruptive conduct.
5. California State Law prohibits smoking on school grounds.

Festival Application Form


Vocal Jazz – Jamie Shew, VP – Jazz Choir
So many people ask me for suggestions on hip beginning-medium level vocal jazz charts.  Well, I’ve compiled a list with the help of some great friends!!!  Also, for ssa, ssaa, ttb, ttbb tunes, check out or – they’ve got some wonderful charts to check out!  If you’d like the publisher information on any of the tunes below, please feel free to email me at

Beginning-Medium Level Vocal Jazz Charts
Recommendations by Jamie Shew, Cindy Bourquin, Christine Guter, Matt Falker, Kate Reid, & Michele Weir
Like Someone in Love                          April Arabian-Tini
I Could Write A Book                          Jennifer Barnes
I’m Beginning to See the Light               Jennifer Barnes
Old Devil Moon                                   Jennifer Barnes
Sugar                                                   Dayru
How Deep is the Ocean                        Rosana Eckert
Telephone Song                                    Rosana Eckert
Come Back to Me                                Matt Falker
Comes Love                                         Matt Falker
Moondance                                          Jeremy Fox
Shenandoah                                          Derrick Johnson
Autumn Leaves                                     Ken Kraintz
Danny Boy                                           Kirk Marcy
Just One of Those Things                      Kirk Marcy
Never So In Love                                 Kerry Marsh
Shout Blues                                          Kerry Marsh
Sing a Song of Song                             Kerry Marsh
If I Loved You                                     Phil Mattson
I’ve Got You Under My Skin               Phil Mattson
Danny Boy                                           Phil Mattson
I’ll Be Seeing You                                Phil Mattson
Drive                                                    Bobby McFerrin
Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me      Darmon Meador
Brazil                                                    Paris Rutherford
Dahoud                                                Paris Rutherford
Flor de Lis                                            Paris Rutherford
Love Letters                                         Paris Rutherford
Old Devil Moon                                   Paris Rutherford
Caravan                                               Vijay Singh
Before I Gaze at You Again                  Vijay Singh
Embraceable You                                 Kirby Shaw
Stolen Moments                                   Kirby Shaw
Sway                                                    Kirby Shaw
Cinnamon and Clove                            Michele Weir
At the End of the Day                           Michele Weir
I’ve Got the World on a String              Michele Weir
James                                                   Michele Weir
Mas Que Nada                                    Steve Zegree
This Masquerade                                  Steve Zegree

Vocal Jazz Ensemble Recordings
Beachfront Property                             Beachfront Property & Straight Up
Genesis (Mt. Hood CC)
Gold Company (WMU)                       While We Were Young, 20, & 25
Just 4 Kicks                                         Side By Side & Kick in the Pants
LA Jazz Choir                                      From All Sides
Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross                Everybody’s Boppin’, Sing a Song of Basie, &
The Hottest New Group In Jazz
M-pact                                                 Live at the Triple Door
Manhattan Transfer                               Anthology: Down in Birdland & Vocalese
Bobby McFerrin w/ Voicestra              Circle Songs
New York Voices                                Sing Sing Sing
Soundsation (Edmonds CC)
Take Six                                               Take Six
The Boswell Sisters                              Shout, Sister, Shout! 1925-1934
The Hi-Lo’s                                         Suddenly It’s The Hi-Lo’s/Harmony In Jazz &
Cherries and Other Delights
The PM Singers                                    Jubilee
The Real Group                                    In the Middle of Life, Nothing But the Real Group, & Live in Stockholm
The Singers Unlimited                           Magic Voices
The Swingle Singers                              Retrospective & Mood Swings
Vocalogy                                              Distilled
Voice Trek                                           An A Cappella Trek
Vox One                                              Pure Imagination & Chameleon


Other Important Information
On-Line SCVA Membership Application