SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) - April 2011


Message from the President - Rodger Guerrero
In January, along with SCVA High School Honor Choirs VP Tammi Alderman, I represented SCVA at an eye opening music advocacy summit sponsored by CMEA and The California Arts Project.The meeting took place during the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Convention in Anaheim.†† Representatives from nearly all of Californiaís professional music educators associations were present.The subject of the gathering: Surfacing the Current Climate of California Music Education and Leveraging the Power of Music Education Supporters.A key element of the discussion involved the ability of CMEA to operate as our music education political advocate in Sacramento and how supporting organizations like SCVA could act within the umbrella of CMEA.

Once again, music education in California is in danger of falling to the axe of politicians and administrators who myopically balance budget constraints with educational necessities.Once again, worries over dollars, assessment, and academic achievement appear to outweigh sincere and honest considerations about the overall educational welfare of our students and quantifiable, confirmed connections between music education and scholastic success.Once again, districts deliver pink slips to music and other visual and performing arts teachers because of funding shortages.Once again, students are being required to take additional curricular classes at the expense of their (often music) elective courses under the shortsighted guise of improving their academic performance.Once again, those who control educational dollars, goals, and objectives fail to remember that the American public, by an overwhelming margin, believes that the arts are vital to a well-rounded education.Once again, itís time for us to take up the fight to aggressively advocate for music education in our schools.

I am an extremely fortunate music educator in that I work for a private school whose educational vision incorporates the visual and performing arts.Nearly one in three students at my school, from grades 7-12, attends daily music classes, and one in eight sings in a choir.Juniors and seniors at my school are enrolled in three AP classes on average, score in the top 10% on standardized tests, and attend the finest liberal arts colleges and universities in the country.The administration at my school understands that arts classes play a significant role in overall student achievement.A similar outcome of success pervaded my experience at a public high school in Central California, where one in four students lived below the poverty level and over thirty different languages were spoken in student homes. There too, students involved in the arts were far more successful in nearly every measured educational assessment than those who did not take arts classes.I am sure that my personal anecdotes are not isolated.I am positive that all SCVA members can provide similar experiential evidence.

Whatever we may opine about the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), it clearly states that: the arts share equal billing with reading, math, science, and other disciplines as "core academic subjects," which can contribute to improved student learning outcomes (U.S. Department of Education, NCLB website:, in almost every section of the law (signed into action in January, 2002), NCLB stresses that decisions about the allocation of federal resources for education should be grounded in "scientifically-based research" (Arts Education Partnership [2005], No Subject Left Behind: A Guide to Arts Education Opportunities in the 2001 NCLB Act).And what research do we already have with regards to the positive impact of arts education upon student achievement and success?The evidence thunders:

1.      UCLA national study of a federal database of over 25,000 middle and high school students finds connections between high arts involvement and better performance on standardized achievement tests (Catterall, James S. [2002], "Involvement in the Arts and Success in Secondary School").

2.      Multiple independent studies show that arts participation and SAT scores co-vary Ė that is, they tend to increase linearly: the more arts classes, the higher the scores ("College-Bound Seniors: Total Group Profile Report," The College Board, 2005, Table 3-3).

3.      Participation in the arts is an established strategy for engaging and motivating students at risk of dropping out of high school (Barry, N., J. Taylor, and K. Walls [2002], "The Role of the Fine and Performing Arts in High School Dropout Prevention").

Want more critical evidence?Need viable strategies?Then by all means visit the incredibly helpful NAMM music advocacy website ( and take advantage of the phenomenal resources and action plans provided by our National Music Merchant sisters and brothers.More importantly, forward this valuable information to whomever you believe can benefit from it.The time to complain has passed.The time to act is now.


Vocal Solo Competition Holds the 1st Annual Finalist Concert
Rich Brunner, VP - Vocal Solo Competition

In a continuing effect to expose more students to the pleasures of singing solo music in public performance, twenty high school singers and two middle school singers were chosen to sing at the 1st Annual Finalist Concert on March 19th at the Riviera United Methodist Church in Redondo Beach.The men were very strong this year with five of the six top placers being tenors and basses.(Can anyone make a connection between this result and the growth of the Menís Honor Choir program?)

A beautiful venue for singing, the Riviera United Methodist Church hosted about 150 people who attended the Concert Competition to watch their children performing a concert of arias that left the adjudicators with the unenviable task of picking just a few winners.

Those three judges, Anne Valerie Walsh, Carol Stephenson, and David Wilkinson, worked furiously and enthusiastically to give thorough and supportive written critiques of each studentís performance.All kudos to the private voice teachers and choral directors of the students who performed because all three judges were very impressed with the quality of singing, mentioning in particular how musical every singer was.

I hope that next year you will encourage more of your students to partake in this most worthwhile singing experience!

Congratulations to all the finalists!Here are the singers who placed:

Junior High/Middle School Division
1st Place††††††††† 8th grader†††††††† Abigail Bush†††††††††††††††† Wilson Junior High School
2nd Place†††††††† 8th grader†††††††† Kandise Le Blanc†††††††† Hughes Middle School

High School Division
1st Place††††††††† 12th grader†††††† Jack Petok†††††† ††††††††††† Harvard-Westlake
2nd Place†††††††† 11th grader†††††† Austin Lee††††††††††††††††††† La Canada High School
3rd Place††††††††† 11th grader†††††† Gregory Sliskovich†††††† The Buckley School
4th Place††††††††† 10th grader†††††† Zachary Hillman††††††††††† Fullerton Union High School
5th Place††††††††† 11th grader†††††† Christina Lamell††††††††††† Santa Monica High School
6th Place††††††††† 11th grader†††††† Danny Roth††††††††††††††††† Harvard-Westlake

* Most Promising Singer†††††††††† Isaac Nemzer†††††††††††††† Santa Monica High School

* Most Promising Singer Award goes to the 10th grader with the highest score after the top six singers are chosen.


Barbershop Harmony Festivals a Whopping Success
Mark Freedkin & Karen Ridout, Festival Coordinators

The Harborlites Chorus held their 6th Annual "Diva Day" on Saturday, February 5 at Orange Coast College.Over 190 young women from 24 Southern California high schools came together for the barbershop experience, including several first-time schools.The girls and their choral directors thoroughly enjoyed the day of learning and performing four-part harmony barbershop style under the direction of guest clinician Gary Lewis from Parma, Ohio.The festival ended with an evening performance for an audience of over 300 parents, families and friends.

The Masters of Harmony held their 11th Annual Young Menís Harmony Festival on Saturday, February 12 at Orange Coast College.We had 195 young men from 30 high schools throughout Southern California in attendance, and the feedback from students, parents and teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. The evening show was nothing less than stellar, and it featured the young menís chorus, quartets from Irvine High School and Patriot High School, guest quartets OC Times,Masterpiece, and the Masters of Harmony, culminating with a combined finale with over 275 singers on stage.This yearís event brings our 11-year total to just over 2,300 students who have participated in one or more of our festivals.

Plans are already underway for next yearís Festivals.The womenís festival is tentatively planned for Saturday, February 4, 2012, and the menís festival is tentatively planned for Saturday, February 18, 2012.Please watch the SCVA website for more information as it becomes available.


Website Update - Mark Freedkin, Webmaster

Please remember that all broadcast e-mail messages that originate from are generated automatically from our web-server, and that any replies to such messages are sent directly to me (as webmaster) rather than to the original sender.If you wish to reply to any broadcast e-mail message, please forward your response to the sender.Otherwise, your response will be delivered to my personal e-mail account, and I will need to manually forward your message, which could delay the delivery to the intended recipient.

PayPal Helpful Hint: How to Consolidate Multiple Items into a Single Invoice
When using PayPal to pay the application or registration fee for multiple events or activities, you donít need to check-out after submitting each item.Instead, you can add each item to your current shopping cart, and then click on the Continue Shopping link to return to the SCVA website.After you have completed all of your purchases, you can then proceed to the checkout page and receive a single invoice that lists all of your purchases.


Jennifer Stanley, VP- High School Festivals

SCVA is implementing a new system of recording festival adjudicator comments this year.We have tried to design a system that will allow each director to receive their adjudicator comments in the format they find most useful while not adding any work to the already busy schedules of our volunteer festival hosts.

Some festival hosts may decide to offer digital recording at their festivals.If your host does not offer digital recording, then this year (instead of a cassette tape) you will need to BRING YOUR OWN RECORDING DEVICE (BYORD) to your festival.When you arrive at your festival, you will submit your recording device and music (two copies of each piece for the adjudicators, no illegal photocopies accepted) to your festival host.Please have a student or parent ready to assist the adjudicator if they need help operating your device.Your device and scores will be returned to you at the end of the festival.If you do not provide a recording device, then you will receive two written adjudications.

Many of you have asked for digital recordings of adjudicator comments.BYORD will allow you to have a digital recording if you bring a digital audio recorder.If you do not already own a digital audio recorder, there are MANY choices available.Here are some devices that have worked well for some of our SCVA members:

1. Sony ICD Digital Voice Recorder: There are several recorders in this line priced from $40-300 and they record in MP3 format.Most models have USB connectivity (which is highly recommended so you can transfer the audio files to your computer to listen to them on iTunes or Windows Media Player, etc, and burn a CD if needed).There is also a built in speaker for playback. These recorders are small, easy to use, have variable mic sensitivity and recording data sizes.
2. Yamaha Pocketrak C24:This recorder records both MP3 and WAV formats and retails for about $200.It has a retractable USB connection and a slot for a microSD card.The Pocketrak has excellent recording quality and a built in speaker for playback.Designed for musicians, it also has a built in tuner and metronome, and comes with a music stand attachment clip.The recorder is small, easy to use, and has more recording options than most other recorders. Recommended festival settings are MP3 128kpbs, mic sensitivity HIGH, ALC On.
3. Olympus WS Digital Voice Recorder: SCSBOA has had success with these recorders at their festivals.You might also want to check Olympus VN digital voice recorders.

There are many other options as well.Do you have a SMARTPHONE?Does it have a built in MP3 recorder, or can you buy a downloadable app?Newer IPODS have MP3 recording capability, and there are also MP3 recording attachments available for them.We have had a few inquiries from directors who want to bring their laptop as a recording device. Again, please have a student or parent ready to assist the adjudicator if they need help operating your device.There are many options we have not yet thought of, perhaps ask your students.

If you still want an analog (cassette) recording, please bring a cassette recorder and blank cassette with you to your festival.We do NOT recommend this option, and if you do not own a cassette recorder they still cost $30-50.

Video cameras are NOT recommended; obviously an adjudicator will not be able to hold and aim a video camera while reading scores, writing grades, and making verbal comments.

We must also state that SCVA can not be held responsible for devices that are damaged or lost during SCVA festivals, so please plan accordingly.

We know changes and new technologies are never easy, but we appreciate your help in bringing SCVA festivals into the digital age.Please email Jennifer Stanley or Maria Fritts if you have comments or questions about BYORD.


Junior High Honor Choir
Vanessa Ventre, VP- Junior High Honor Choir

Dear Colleagues, Students, and Parents,

What a great turnout of students we had this year of students for the Junior High Honor Choir auditions!Out of the 145 students that auditioned, 90 were selected for this prestigious honor and wonderful experience.Congratulations to all those that auditioned and those that were selected.

I had the pleasure of rehearsing about half of the group yesterday at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica.During our rehearsal the students got a taste of the 9 pieces they will be performing in their concert in April.This year, because the honor choir will not share the stage with the vocal solo competition, I told our guest conductor, Mr. Lou De La Rosa, that he could plan more music than in years past.The concert promises to be challenging musically but also quite entertaining!From Renaissance madrigals to contemporary gems with some added little surprises, the audience is certainly in for a treat!

The students will finally come together April 30 at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica for a day of rehearsing with our guest conductor.The concert will commence at 7:00pm in the Lincoln Middle School Auditorium.Our auditorium seats over 400 and I know these students would love a supportive and appreciative audience.Please come and bring your friends and family to share in this wonderful concert!

I am truly looking forward to the concert and I hope to see all of you there!


Christine Tavares - SCVA Vocal Jazz

The SCVA Jazz Festival on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 was a blast this year with Royal H.S., Katella H.S, Saugus H.S., Valencia H.S., West Ranch H.S, Canyon H.S., Van Nuys H.S., Warren H.S., Downey H.S., and Encore H.S., Thanks to Jason Smith and Suzanne Morrison for an exceptional day of adjudication and for being our clinicians! The concert after the festival by South Western Community Collegeís "Audio Radiance" was exceptional! Looking forward to next year!

Next yearís date: Tuesday March 13th, 2012


The February CBDA Convention in Fresno combined with CMEA, SCVA, and the California Alliance for Jazz presented an unprecedented performance in front of a thousand plus crowd of honor students, music directors, parents, and a public audience! Darmon Meader (New York Voices) directed the All State Jazz Honor Choir this year and opened the weekendís festival along with the All State String Orchestra, Symphony, and band. 16 high school vocalists from California were selected to sing in this prestigious performance. Check for upcoming audition dates and information for next year, February 2012 at and

2012 All State Vocal Jazz Director; Jeremy Fox. Feb. 16-19th, 2012
2013 All State Vocal Jazz Director; Jennifer Barnes. Feb. 21-24th, 2013


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