SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) – September 2005


Message from the President – Grace Sheldon-Williams, President
It’s that time again!  I hope you have had a restful, rejuvenating summer and are now ready to dive into a new school year with energy and enthusiasm. For the past 66 years, SCVA has served the choral directors and students of Southern California with an exceptional array of events, all coordinated by the dedicated individuals listed on this page.  We are pleased to welcome the following outstanding educators to the SCVA Executive Board:

 - Tammi Alderman (Crescenta Valley High School), Show Choir V-P
 - Rodger Guerrero (Harvard Westlake School), Vocal Solo V-P
 - Carolyn Kelley (Bellflower High School), Treasurer

Welcome, Tammi, Rodger and Carolyn!  Also, Linda Nason has moved from the position of co-secretary to Junior High/Middle School Festival V-P. 

Please renew your SCVA membership now, so that you will receive future issues of the newsletter and be able to take advantage of all that SCVA has to offer, such as

- High School Honor Choir—please note deadlines and important details in this newsletter

- Fall In-Service workshop—this annual event is a great time for directors to network with colleagues and get fresh ideas and new materials

- Jazz Festival – contact jazz guru Matt Falker for more information

- Choral Festivals!  Consider hosting a festival—you get to choose the festival date(s) and time, you will receive a free festival entry for every festival hosted, AND you won’t have to worry about transportation!

I am especially interested in connecting with elementary school choral directors.  Please e-mail me with your name or the name of an elementary director that you know.  I’d like to find out what the needs are for this group and explore ways we can address those needs.

Finally, I wish you a wonderful year.  Don’t forget to renew your membership!  You can use the application in this issue or pay online with PayPal at


SCVA High School Honor Choir – Kathy Cobb-Woll, Vice President, HS Honor Choir

Regional Honor Choir
After hundreds of students from all over Southern California audition, 250 will be selected to sing in one of three groups: Women’s, Men’s or Mixed Honor Choir.  They will receive a packet of music, meet for one rehearsal (October 29th) before the Honor Choir weekend, and then (with music memorized) come together on Friday and Saturday, November 18 & 19, 2005 for two days of intense rehearsal and a Saturday evening concert with some of the most distinguished conductors in our field.

Please Note:
Check your availability for all dates BEFORE auditioning.  Being accepted into a choir and then not participating will prohibit your school from participation in the Honor Choirs for one year.  Please see: Honor Choir Guidelines and Policies.

All students auditioning for Regional and State Honor Choirs must be members in good standing with their school choral program and their conductors must be paid members of SCVA.  Teachers may pay their dues by contacting Shawn Taylor at or via PayPal at

All students in Southern California should use the attached application.  DO NOT use the ACDA application.

Regional Honor Choir Conductors
We are proud to announce this year’s conductors for the Regional Honor Choirs.  Dr. Ric Soto, from Orange Coast College, will conduct the Mixed Choir; Dr. Katharin Rundus, from Fullerton College, will conduct the Women’s Choir; and Rob Istad, conductor for the Men’s Choir at CSUF, will lead the Men’s Choir.

Important Dates:
Audition Application Postmark Deadline:
            Friday, September 16, 2005

Audition Dates:
            Saturday, October 1, 2005
            Saturday, October 8, 2005

First Rehearsal:
            Saturday, October 29, 2005   9:00am – 4pm
            Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA

Honor Choir Weekend:
            Friday & Saturday, November 18 & 19

Honor Choir Performance:
            Saturday, November 19, 2005, 7:30pm
            Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA

California All-State Honor Choir:
            March 9-11, 2006, Sacramento, CA

$$$  Several Ways to Pay!!!  $$$
To encourage more students to audition we are keeping the audition fee at just $10.00 per student.  However, we need your assistance.  REMEMBER: All monies must be paid by either PayPal, a school check, a booster check or money order.  NO PERSONAL CHECKS from directors, students or parents will be accepted.

Please Read Carefully…
All deadlines are firm and WILL NOT be extended and the guidelines CANNOT be altered.  Keeping strict deadlines allows your students and ou staff the greatest amount of time to prepare for the Honor Choir auditions, rehearsals and performance.

For questions about SCVA Honor Choir, to volunteer, or to act as an adjudicator, contact Kathy Cobb-Woll at or Dr. Rich Brunner at

Audition Procedures
all audtionees will prepare and sing a solo from the Twenty-four Italian Songs and Arias (G. Schirmer) or equivalent art song book.  The solo MUST be memorized, sung in Italian and accompanied by tape, cd or an accompanist supplied by the auditonee.  Adjudicators will be listening for tone quality, diction, pronunciation, musical sensitivity and appropriate vocal range.

Range: all audtionees will demonstrate their vocal range through a short series of warm-up exercises.

Tonal Memory: all auditionees will demonstrate tonal memory skills by singing back a 4-5 note passage played by one of the adjudicators.  You may sing back on any neutral syllable.

Scales/Triads: all auditionees will prepare and sing a major and minor triad, a major scale and a chromatic scale on any neutral syllable.

Sight-Reading: all auditionees will demonstrate rhythmic and melodic sight-reading skills by singing a single, unaccompanied melodic line on any neutral syllable.

NOTE: Students must provide their own accompanist or an accompanying CD or tape IN THE PROPER KEY!

Acceptance Notice and Fees
Those accepted for the Mixed, Men’s or Women’s Honor Choir will be notified by their directors sometime during the week of October 18th.  A $65.00 fee will be collected at the first rehearsal on October 29th.  The fee provides for music, accompanists, directors and facilities.  ONLY PayPal verification, a school check, booster check or money order will be accepted.  NO PERSONAL CHECKS WILL BE ACCEPTED from students, parents or teachers!!

Important Dates for All-State
The All-State Honor Choir will take place in Sacramento from March 9-11, 2006.  Participation in the Regional Honor Choir makes you eligible to be considered for All-State.  If interested, place a check in the space provided on the application so that your audition scores will be forwarded.

Honor Choir Guidelines and Policies
A student must be enrolled in his/her school’s choral program in order to be eligible for participation in Honor Choir.  If a student drops out of the school program, he/she will be dropped from Honor Choir as well.  No sanctions will be imposed on the school in this case.

However, when a student drops out of an SCVA Honor Choir, the student’s school may not be allowed to participate in Honor Choir the following school year.  Given our time constraints, when a student drops out of Honor Choir it is impossible for us to fill their vacancy.  Therefore, when a student drops out, another deserving student misses out on this wonderful opportunity.

Students who must, out of extreme necessity, drop out of Honor Choir after being accepted are required to provide a signed, written note from their parents and from their school choral director stating the reasons for the drop out.  The note MUST be sent immediately to the Honor Choir coordinator by mail or hand-delivered by the student, parent or director as soon as possible.

Acceptable reasons for dropping Honor Choir:
Death in the family just before the concert
 - Serious medical problem
 - Other matters of an equally serious nature

Unacceptable reasons for dropping Honor Choir:
Schedule conflicts of any kind.
 - Student deciding he/she would rather not participate, doesn’t like the music, or doesn’t want to work with a particular conductor.

If a student drops for any reason, a panel of members from the SCVA Board will consider the reason given and decide whether it is an unacceptable or acceptable reason.

Choral directors are responsible for remaining informed about their students’ continued participation in the Honor Choir.

Honor Choir Application


VOCAL JAZZ FESTIVAL - Matt Falker, VP – Jazz Choir

Roger Estrada has graciously offered to host this year’s SCVA Vocal Jazz Festival at Upland High School on Friday, October 28. Please put this date on your calendar as we will be joined by the incredible vocal ensemble m-pact! (visit them at A registration form is included in this newsletter. The postmark deadline to register is Friday, October 14, 2005. Online information will be available on my web site ( soon and also on the SCVA web site.

Many college vocal jazz ensembles are looking for off-campus performance opportunities, and would love to come and work with your students. Well, I can’t speak for other directors, but I can say that both the USC and Cal State Northridge vocal jazz ensembles are definitely interested in coming to your school! A common format is to hold an after school exchange/clinic, have some dinner, and do a joint evening concert. I know the school calendar gets packed so quickly, but these experiences are wonderful for everyone involved. 

IAJE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE - January 11-14, 2006, New York, NY
The best way to continue to grow as a vocal jazz director is to see this music performed live and to collaborate with other educators. Consider looking into whether or not your school will subsidize your attendance. This conference is jam packed with incredible performances and clinics – check out for more conference details!

We are all very excited that  is once again organizing the effort for the All-State Jazz Choir. The ensemble will perform at the annual CMEA convention in Sacramento on March 9, 2006. Applications and details will soon be available on the CMEA web site ( Encourage your students to submit an audition tape!

A comprehensive list of all vocal jazz festivals (local and regional) that I am aware of is available on my web site, including links to festival web sites. If you hear of any others, please let me know!

Jazz Festival Application


PAYPAL UPDATE - Mark Freedkin, SCVA Webmaster

Just a reminder that you can still use the PayPal interface on our website to pay for membership renewals, festival registrations and other SCVA fees using a major credit card (such as MasterCard, Visa, Discover or American Express) as an alternative to sending school checks, booster checks, cashier checks or money orders.  PayPal, which is owned and operated by e-Bay, will help to ensure timely and secure payment for those items.  And you don't need to have your own personal PayPal account in order to use this interface.

To use this feature, simply select the "e-Payments" item from the navigation menu of the SCVA website.  You will then see a list of items that you can purchase.  Click on the "Buy Now" button for the item you wish to purchase.  You will then be taken to the PayPal website to process your payment.  Then select the "Click Here" button next to the line that reads "If you do not currently have a PayPal account.  Then 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. 

If you continue, your credit card will be billed and you will be returned to the SCVA website.  You will also receive a separate confirmation e-mail message, which you should print out and submit with your application for the SCVA activity. When you receive your credit card bill, the charge will appear as "PAYPAL * SCVACHORAL".

A modest processing fee is added to each purchase to cover our costs for using this service.

If you already have your own PayPal account, we request that you still use the "e-Payments" page to select and pay for various activities, rather than by-passing that page and creating your own independent e-check transfers. This will help us to maintain accurate records of electronic payments that have been made.

If you have any questions or problems feel free to contact Mark Freedkin (


Fall In-Service - Mark Henson, Past President

Greetings and welcome back!  I hope this year brings you satisfaction and success! Mark your calendars for Friday, October 21, 2005 - the annual SCVA Fall In-Service, beginning at 9 a.m.  Our location will again be Placentia Presbyterian Church located at 849 N. Bradford Avenue in Placentia. 

Those of you who attended last year's Fall In-Service undoubtedly have fond memories of the wonderful day we spent together. I encourage you to seek out directors who have not previously attended an SCVA In-Service and invite them to join our organization and attend with you!   Directors at all levels will find the event informative and fun.

You will recall that we had a wonderful reading session at last year’s event which featured a variety of outstanding literature.  This year, Tim Lutz will present a reading session of quality literature for the “developing” choir.  The response to last year’s “Alexander Technique” session was so enthusiastic that I’ve invited Debby Jay to share more on this interesting topic (this time in smaller groups!).  Also featured will be tips for sight-singing practice in the choral classroom, building your men’s choir, and more.

Reserve Friday, October 21, 2005 on your calendar now so you'll be able to attend!  This is a great way to see colleagues, share new and useful ideas, and hear some great music.  You can even register early!  See the application that follows or visit our website.

Fall In-Service Registration Form


Other Important Information
SCVA Membership Application
Festival Host Application Form