SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) – April 2005


Message from the President – Grace Sheldon-Williams, President

How do you become rejuvenated?
I hope all of you were able to attend one of the recent music conventions in our area: the ACDA National Convention, the CMEA Southern Section Conference, or the CMEA State Convention.

For the first time ever, the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association was held in Los Angeles. This event brought together many of the most outstanding choral ensembles anywhere. An unbelievable array of choirs were featured, including several led by our Southern California colleagues. Kudos to those conductors! We’re proud to call you our own.

These events offer ALL of us, regardless of our students’ age or ability level, an opportunity to be inspired and awakened to new possibilities for ourselves and our choirs. At each performance, whether it be that of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or some less famous group, I always find something I can use in my own teaching. Among the most practical for me, the director of an average high school choral program, are the children’s choirs and the junior high/middle school honor choir. You get all of these plus interest sessions, reading sessions, exhibits, and, of course, the invaluable opportunity to meet and network with colleagues. What an experience!

Much smaller in scope, but also excellent was the CMEA Southern Section Conference held at Cal State Fullerton in January. The keynote speaker, Dr. Peter Boonshaft, was engaging, funny, and inspiring. His book, Teaching Music with Passion, (Meredith Music Publications) is a great read. I bought four copies, one of which I gave to my principal! I didn’t think the sections specifically about conducting would be of interest to her, but she said that she just substitutes the word “educator” for the word “conductor,” and it speaks to her. (Don’t forget that sometimes we must educate those who supervise us as well as those whom we supervise!)

If you’re like me, you believe that what we do is not just about the music. It’s about the people. Boonshaft says...

“Never lose sight of the power of what we do...We help people express their emotions and feelings. That is our job...We have the ability to touch people’s souls. We can change their lives.” (used by permission)

So, the next time you have the opportunity to attend a conference, convention or workshop (many of which are offered in the summer), I urge you to do so. You will be rejuvenated!


Just Do It Attend a Choral Festival This Year
Jennifer Stanley, VP of High School Festivals

Thank you to all the directors who have submitted their festival applications! Many of you have commented on the ease of using the website for your festival application and payment, and many people are checking the website for updated information. I am working to complete all my communication with you in a timely manner, please email me with any questions or concerns you have:

There is new information posted on the website to assist you and your students in festival preparation:

        The Festivals General Information page has been updated to include the Festival Code of Conduct

        The Festival Adjudication Form (in PDF format) and Festival Scoring Scale are now posted on the website

        The Festival Listening Guide is posted

        The Schedule of Festivals on the website has been updated

Festival Application Form


PayPal Update – Mark Freedkin, SCVA Webmaster
Since we introduced the new PayPal interface on the SCVA website at the beginning of this school year, more than 150 electronic payments have been made by SCVA members. The PayPal interface allows you to pay for SCVA events (such as membership renewals or festival registrations) using a personal credit card instead of obtaining a school check or money order. You simply click on the "Buy Now" button for the item you wish to purchase on the "e-Payments" page of the SCVA website and enter your name, email address, credit card account number and expiration date. In addition, please be sure to enter the event-specific information (such as "School Name and Choir Name") at the bottom of that page. After the transaction has been completed, your credit card will be charged and you will receive an e-mail message confirming your payment. Please be sure to print out that e-mail message and include it along with your application.

Please note that you don't need to have your own PayPal account to use this interface. For those of you who do have your own PayPal account, we are pleased to report that the PayPal technical staff finally fixed a problem on their side that caused a generic message of "Optional Message to Seller" to be displayed instead of the "School Name and Choir Name" heading. We also request that members who have their own PayPal account still use the "e-Payments" page to select and pay for various activities, rather than by-passing that page and creating your own independent electronic transfers. This will help us to maintain accurate records of electronic payments that have been made.

Please contact Mark Freedkin ( if you have any questions or problems using the PayPal interface.


Junior High Honor Choir – Debbie Montpas, VP Junior High Honor Choir
My sincere thanks to those of you who helped with the Junior High Honor Choir auditions. I especially want to thank the following directors for volunteering their school sites for the auditions: Cecile Blanchard at John Adams MS, Roger Estrada at Upland HS, and Linda Nason at Bernardo Yorba MS. Also, many thanks to the adjudicators: Tony Azeltine, Rich Brunner, Greg Ellis, Laurie Hancock, Colleen Kennedy, Tim Lutz, Sheri Nelson, Betsy Olson, and Nancy Wolfe. Your help was greatly appreciated!

Our guest conductor this year is DR. CHARLENE ARCHIBEQUE. You may come to Mesa Robles School (16060 Mesa Robles Dr., Hacienda Heights) if you’d like to see her rehearse with the students. It’s always a wonderful learning experience for teachers and students alike to watch a guest conductor of Dr. Archibeque’s caliber!

The Junior High Honor Choir Concert along with the Solo Vocal Competition finalists’ performance will take place on SUNDAY, MAY 15 AT THE LA HABRA HILLS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (951 N. Idaho St., La Habra) AT 4:00 P.M. Tickets are $7 and we invite you to attend this wonderful event.


Young Men’s Barbershop Harmony Festival – Mark Freedkin, Barbershop Harmony Society Liaison
The Masters of Harmony and SCVA hosted the Fifth Annual Young Men’s Harmony Festival on Saturday, February 19 at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. A whopping 214 young men from 34 secondary schools throughout Southern California attended the event, the largest number of singers ever.

The festival day began with a fast-paced vocal and mental warm-up by Barbershop Harmony Society Music Educator Rick Spencer, followed by a brief demonstration of the barbershop style by “O.C. Times”, a dynamic young foursome who recently won the regional Barbershop Quartet championship. We rehearsed all of the songs until lunch, which consisted of 650 Arby’s Roast Beef sandwiches, chips, cookies and soft drinks, and which were gone within minutes.

After lunch, we broke into sectional rehearsals to work out the rough spots and met with the choral directors in another room to discuss how they could use the barbershop style in their programs to help attract more young men. Several members of the Harborlites Chorus (current 2004-2005 Sweet Adelines Chorus Champions) were on hand to encourage the development of their Young Women In Harmony program in the Southern California region.

After the sectional rehearsals, the young men returned to the risers for final polishing and a run-through of the entire set. The improvement from the morning rehearsal session was readily apparent. Dinnertime consisted of 75 large pepperoni pizzas and soft drinks for the singers and a pasta dinner for the choral directors and MOH staff. Then it was time to distribute bow ties and cummerbunds to the young men, who had changed into their tux shirts and pants.

The evening concert was awesome! The young men opened the show and really “turned it on” during their segment. They were followed on-stage by our guest quartets and the MOH. The young men returned to the stage for the grand finale of “Fun in Just One Lifetime” with MOH and “I Have A Song To Sing” with the guest quartets. The show closed with a rendition of “God Bless America”, sung by all performers.

At the end of the show, the audience rose to their feet and demonstrated their approval and appreciation for the gift of music that we shared with those young men. We heard parents and choral directors say this was one of the best musical experiences their singers had ever had. Many thanks to the choral directors and parents who supported this year’s event and helped make it an overwhelming success.

Plans will soon be underway for next year’s festival. Since the popularity of this event has grown, please be sure to submit your applications and registration fees as soon as the announcement for next year’s event is made, to ensure that your men can be included.


Other Important Information
SCVA Membership Application