SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) - October 2008


Message from the President - Sheri Nelson
As most of you have already noticed, SCVA has been making the transition to on-line registration for most of our events.  You have already submitted your membership application, registered your students for the High School Honor Choir, submitted your Fall In-Service registration, and even applied to host a High School or Middle School Festival through the SCVA website (  None of this would be possible without our fantastic webmaster Mark Freedkin.  Mark Freedkin has spent many years hosting the site but has now added countless hours working with the various board members to create user friendly on-line applications for our members to complete and then various reports for board members based on your submissions.  We cannot thank him enough for his dedication to SCVA.  He truly is SCVA's web "MASTER".

With this transition to on-line applications our newsletters are also in transition.  You will still continue find information about our events but we now have room for additional articles.  We would love to hear from you! I know I continue to learn and gather many ideas from my colleagues.  In the first few weeks of school I have used in my classroom many things I have learned from other members at past SCVA Fall In-Services, including sight singing techniques presented by Karen Garret and a rhythm book presented by Marguerite Brodeur.  When we attend a Fall In-Service or other workshop we come away with new repertoire, teaching techniques, and inspiration from other choir directors.  However, there are so many others out there with knowledge to share.  I would like to invite you to submit articles on topics that you would like to share with our membership.  You may have resource books you use in your classroom, tried and true repertoire, internet sites or technology you use in your classroom, lessons you use to teach to one of our state standards or research you may have completed for a college class.  Next month I will share some information I gathered during a presentation I gave during a master's class on the use of sacred music in the public schools.  SCVA is dedicated to the advancement of vocal music and one of the ways we accomplish that goal is through our publications.  I hope you will share your knowledge by submitting an article that will help other choir directors and their singers.

If you would like to contribute to an upcoming SCVA Newsletter please email your ideas or article to, or our newsletter editor Karen Bluel,  We would love to share your ideas and lessons with our membership!


2008 Fall In-Service - Mark Henson, Past-President
Friday October 24, 2008, 9am to 4pm
Reading Session
Adjudication Certification
Presentation by Karen Garrett of Santiago High School on various sight singing methods
Performances by Manhattan Beach Middle School Madrigal Singers and Bonita High School Chambers Singers
Cost:  $30 for SCVA members or $20 for SCVA collegiate members (participants must be SCVA members). Visit the SCVA website to register
Registration Deadline: Extended to October 24


Hosting a Festival is a Great Experience!
Jennifer Stanley, VP of High School Festivals and Maria Fritts, VP of JH/MS Festivals

“Hosting a festival is so easy, I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner!” -  Joel Whisler, El Monte HS Choral Director

It is never too early to start planning for festival season!  We have been working to make the festival process easier for everyone, especially festival hosts.  Whether you are the director of an elementary, middle school or high school choir, there are many reasons to consider hosting a festival:
  - The registration form is easy AND ONLINE.
  - You get free festival registration for one of your choirs at each festival you host.
  - You don’t have to get a bus to go to festival.
  - You provide schools in your area a quality performance opportunity.
  - You and your students get to see other choirs and hear quality literature.
  - Your students have the comfort and familiarity of performing in their regular auditorium (home court advantage!).
  - Students enjoy the responsibility of assisting in the running of the festival.
  - You get excellent networking opportunities with other directors in the festival, and with the adjudicators.

SCVA will provide for each festival host:
  - Information on the duties of a festival host
  - A list of participating choirs with contact information for each director
  - All forms needed to run the festival (paper copies, or forms online)
  - Plaques delivered to your school for each participating ensemble
  - Certified adjudicators scheduled for each festival by SCVA

A regular festival has eight participating choirs and two adjudicators. One adjudicator tapes his/her comments, and the other writes comments on the score sheet.  Both adjudicators’ scores are averaged to determine the rating (if desired by each director).  If you would like to host a clinic festival, please indicate that on your form; a clinic festival has a maximum of six participating choirs and one adjudicator.  After each choir performs, the adjudicator works with the ensemble onstage.  SCVA may convert a regular festival to a clinic festival if there is low enrollment.

If you are interested in hosting an ELEMENTARY FESTIVAL, or if you have questions about elementary festivals, please email Maria.

NO MORE PAPER REGISTRATION FORMS!  SCVA is online!  Festival hosts go to to submit your festival host registration!  The deadline to submit is November 1, 2008.

Please contact us with any questions you may have! 

Jennifer Stanley                         Maria Fritts
(626) 258-5292                       (951) 926-6776


HONOR CHOIRS NEED YOUR HELP! - Rodger Guerrero   VP - High School Honor Choirs
Approximately 260 students will be descending upon Riverside Community College for the High School Honor Choirs rehearsal on Saturday, October 25th (THANK YOU, JOHN BYUN!).   And on November 21st and 22nd, Honor Choirs Weekend, they will once again gather at Santa Monica High School (THANK YOU JEFFE HULS!) for two days of intense rehearsal which will culminate in another spectacular SCVA Honor Choirs Concert on Saturday evening.  They will bring so many parents, siblings, friends and classmates with them, that the 1,200 seat concert hall will be absolutely packed!  If you have never attended an SCVA High School Honor Choirs concert, take advantage of the opportunity this year.  The raucous atmosphere and phenomenal musicianship displayed by the young singers are not to be missed!

While working with and managing the three choirs during rehearsals is great fun, and unbelievably rewarding, it is also incredibly challenging.  With the singer to teacher ratio anywhere from 50:1 to 100:1, the odds are daunting that we can manage to remain sane throughout the weekend!  Honestly, a great deal of help is needed.  Tammi and I so much appreciate all of the help teachers gave us with the adjudication process, and we don’t want to overtax your goodwill.  But to those of you who had students audition for the Honor Choirs (even if they didn’t make it)…HELP!  If it’s only for an hour or so, we need you.  It’s not glamorous work (and some of it isn’t pretty) but it all needs to get done.  Besides, with more high school conductors hanging around because of the ACDA Southern Region Fall Conference taking place nearby, it’s logical to expect that many of those same teachers would willingly volunteer to help out with the Honor Choirs.

We especially look forward to accepting help from directors whose students auditioned successfully for one or more of the choirs.  We realize how thankful you are and know that you want to show your students how much it means to you that they are there. We are confident that you will contact one of us and ask how you can help!   Please give us some of your time.

This year’s Honor Choirs conductors, Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe (USC), Desiree LaVertu (Cal Tech and Occidental College), and Dr. Christopher Peterson (Cal State Fullerton) have chosen incredible literature for the students.  Every singer will be challenged by it but will also experience the kind of profound music that can change lives.  And all three conductors will demand the best the students can give.  They exemplify the old Somerset Maugham axiom, “It is a funny thing about life: If you refuse to accept anything but the best, you often get it.  Each will guide and inspire the singers in a wholly unique way; each is a master teacher; all three are conductors who have “polished their own lanterns so that others may follow their lights” (Roshi).  Don’t miss this chance to come and observe and learn.  And while you’re at it, please stop by and offer to help Tammi and me out.  In fact, email us and make a reservation to volunteer today!

Rodger Guerrero: or Tammi Alderman:


Young Women’s and Young Men’s Harmony Festivals - Mark Freedkin, VP of Barbershop Harmony Festivals
We are pleased to invite you to this year’s Barbershop Harmony Festivals for Young Women and Young Men.  Both events will be held at the Robert B. Moore Theater on the campus of Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.  The 4th annual “Diva Day” Young Women in Harmony Festival, sponsored by the Harborlites Chorus, will be held on Saturday, February 7, and the 9th annual “Young Men’s Harmony Festival” will be held on Saturday, February 21, sponsored by the Masters of Harmony. Both of these events will provide a unique musical opportunity for your singers and will provide a positive boost to your choral music program.

Each event will consist of morning and afternoon clinics and rehearsals, followed by a public performance in the evening with the respective adult choruses.  There will also be a clinic for music educators who would like to participate in a hands-on demonstration of how the barbershop style is taught and how it can be used to attract more young men and women into your program.

The early application fee is only $20 per singer for applications that are submitted by November 14. After November 14, the application is fee $25 per singer.  The sponsoring choruses will cover the remaining costs for all sheet music, practice CDs, rehearsal facilities, guest clinicians and performance costumes. Each singer will receive a commemorative t-shirt. We will also provide lunch and dinner for the singers, choral directors and any adult chaperones accompanying the singers.

Please download and print the appropriate application forms from the SCVA website. Complete and return the applications and forms, along with payment by cash, check or money order payable to Harborlites (for Diva Day) or Masters of Harmony (for the Young Men’s Festival).  Each event will be limited to a maximum of 250 participants, so be sure to submit your applications early.  Note that these festivals are separate events, and you must send the appropriate forms and payments to the proper recipient.

Young Women’s Festival Only:
In order to accommodate more schools, we are limiting the number of singers per school to twelve (12). Ideally we suggest 1-2 tenors, 3-4 leads, 2-3 baritones and 3-4 basses. This will allow you to perform the music as a group and use this group to help your other students learn the joy of singing four-part harmony, barbershop style. Send applications for all students you wish to participate, indicating those students beyond the initial 12 that you wish to put on the Waiting List. We will try to accommodate as many as we can.

Young Men’s Festival Only:
There is no limit to the number of singers from your school who wish to participate, but please submit your applications early to ensure that all of your singers can be accommodated.

We look forward to receiving your applications. Please contact us if you have any questions about our festivals.

Diva Day (Young Women’s Festival)           Young Men’s Harmony Festival
Karen Ridout                                                    Mark Freedkin
Harborlites Chorus                                           Masters of Harmony
Home: (714) 847-0787                                    Home: (949) 559-9621
Cell: (714) 319-2325                                       Cell: (714) 357-1187
Email:                             Email:


Vocal Jazz - Christine Enns, VP -  Jazz Choir
I am very excited to be the new Vocal Jazz Rep for SCVA! I currently direct two vocal jazz groups Two N’ Four and Seven AM at Valencia High School in Valencia. I have a bachelor’s degree in vocal music with an emphasis on classical and jazz studies from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I also perform as a jazz vocalist in “The Swingin’ Six” and an improvisational vocalist in “Moira Smiley and Voco.” My goals as SCVA Vocal Jazz Representative are to encourage high school vocal jazz educators to network, provide resources to directors, to help educators wanting to start a vocal jazz program, and to plan the annual SCVA Vocal Jazz Festival. Please email me  if you’d like to make any suggestions for this year’s vocal jazz festival or have any questions about vocal jazz in particular. Stay “tuned” (haha) for more details about the SCVA Jazz Festival in our next monthly newsletter!

ANNOUNCING: CMEA / IAJE California All State Vocal Jazz Auditions:
This is a wonderful audition opportunity for Vocal Jazz Students. Only 16 students are chosen throughout the state. Duane Shield Davis has been selected as the 2009 California All State Jazz Director. He is presently the Director of Vocal Music at Grand Rapids Community College as well as Chorus Master for Opera Grand Rapids. He has also served on the adjunct faculty of Western Michigan University where he directed Gold Company II and Gold Company.   If you would like to see more information or would like to apply, go to

Rehearsals March 12-13, 2009  Concert, March 14, 2009, 11:15 AM  Ontario, CA Convention Center
Conductor: Duane Shield Davis - Audition Deadline: November 20, 2008

California 2007-2008 Vocal Jazz Festivals/Workshops to consider……….
(This list will be updated, please email for inclusion in this list or if you have any corrections).
* November 7-8th, 2008—Cuesta College Vocal Jazz Workshop, San Luis Obispo, CA
*December 13th, 2008 Cal State Sacramento Winter Jazz Festival, Sacramento, Ca.
* January 23rd and 24th – Folsom Jazz Festival, Folsom, CA
* March TBA – Columbia College Vocal Jazz Festival, Sonora, CA
* March 27-28th  – Oceanside Jazz Festival (Mira Costa College), Oceanside, CA
* March 27 – 28th Santa Cruz Jazz Festival
* March TBA—Val Verde Jazz Festival at Rancho Verde H.S., Riverside, CA
* April 3RD – 4TH —Fullerton College Jazz Festival, Fullerton, CA
*April TBA– Royal High School Vocal Jazz Festival, Simi Valley
*April 3rd – 5th Next Generation Festival, Monterey, Ca.


A Day (or Two) in the Life of a Webmaster - Mark Freedkin, SCVA Webmaster
Can you imagine receiving more than 1,000 automated e-mail messages within a 48-hour period?  That’s what happens during the two days prior to the High School Honor Choir Auditions deadline.  To ensure that all of the behind-the-scenes database processing continues to function smoothly, I intentionally have our web-server send one automated e-mail message to me for every singer who submits an on-line audition application.  I also receive another automated message every time a choral director enters his or her contact information after approving one or more audition applications for the first time.  The same thing happens for Membership applications, Fall In-Service applications, Vocal Solo applications and Festival Host applications.  As if that weren’t enough, I also receive an automated e-mail message for every payment we receive through PayPal.  I can usually skim through most of those e-mail messages quickly, just to make sure everything is still running at peak efficiency.

Now imagine that a student inadvertently entered an incorrect e-mail address for his or her choral director.  Our web-server still tries to send an automated approval e-mail message to that invalid address, only to be bounced back to the web-server as undeliverable.  So, I simply login to the web﷓server, correct the invalid e-mail address, and re-send the e-mail message from my own personal e﷓mail account.  Not so bad, if it’s just one or two of those.  Would you believe more than 50 of those?!?  And that doesn’t even include all of the applications in which the student specified the wrong audition date or location, or even when the student misspelled his or her own name, all of which requires manual correction in the database.  I’ve completely given up trying to correct any missing capitalization of proper names (and not just from the students…).  And do you realize that you are yelling WHEN YOU TYPE IN ALL UPPER CASE LETTERS?

But wait – it gets even better.  The e-mail servers for a few school districts have some overly aggressive SPAM filters running, so even more e-mail messages bounced back to me as suspected SPAM, and I had to manually re-send those messages from my own e-mail account.  Fortunately, we recently took some significant steps with our web﷓hosting service to improve the authentication quality of our outgoing messages, so this wasn’t as big of a problem as it was last year.  But it still happens.

Now comes the really fun part.  AT&T (service provider for and Microsoft (service provider for and have their own in-bound SPAM filters in place.  Those filters automatically decided that since we were sending a large number of e-mail messages, we were obviously a malicious SPAM generator.  Therefore, they summarily blocked all messages coming from our website, and all those messages bounced back to me for manual re-transmission.  Fortunately, we were able to get those blocks removed quickly (but not necessarily easily).

You may be wondering why I subject myself to all this stuff.  Well, it saves the coordinators of these events many hundreds of hours manually entering all of the data into a spreadsheet, and it also ensures a much higher quality of the data that is captured (especially with the astonishingly poor penmanship from some students).  That results in much better accuracy and responsiveness for all of you, the participants of these events.  More importantly, this is my opportunity to give something back to the choral education community.  I still remember my high school choral music teacher as one of my heroes, and I know that being involved with vocal music has made a difference in my life.  I also have a 12-year old daughter who just started 7th grade, and I want her to be able to benefit from choral music education the same way I did.  That’s why.


Vocal Solo Competition - Colleen Kennedy, VP - Vocal Solo Competition
Once again, I cannot stress strongly enough the value to your students, and to your choirs, of participation in the SCVA Vocal Solo Competition. It’s so much more than a competition. The process of preparing and performing a solo for adjudication, in and of itself, provides singers with a tremendous opportunity for growth as musicians. Add to that watching and listening to their peers and receiving guidance by leaders in the field, and you’ve got one powerful experience. The educational master-class aspect of the competition is emphasized throughout the process, so that everyone, novices to veterans, can benefit from participation. Some choral directors have found the solo competition experience so valuable that they require members of their ensembles to participate.

Change in requirements!
The SCVA Board recently voted to revise the vocal solo competition policies so that the choral requirement for the vocal solo competition it is now in line with the honor choirs. Specifically, applicants for the solo competition are now required to be active members in their school choral program. As with the honor choirs, exceptions may be considered for students who are home-schooled or whose schools do not have choral programs. The Board feels that this revised requirement will maintain consistency among the various SCVA events, and it will also better serve the stated goal of the SCVA to promote choral music in the schools.

Sites needed!
I’m still looking for a few more volunteers to host the preliminary rounds in January. This is a perfect entry-level event for anyone who is interested in becoming more involved in SCVA. All you need is a room with decent acoustics, a tuned piano, and seating for maybe 40 - 50 people. The average choir room is just fine. It doesn’t require much time on your part, outside of competition day. Everything you need will be sent to you in a packet. Other than setting up the room, the only prep work is filling in the names of singers on their certificates. On competition day, you simply collect the paperwork in a postage-paid envelope and drop it in the nearest mailbox. It really is that easy.

Here are the sites offered this year so far:
Fullerton Union High School     Scott Hedgecock
Harvard-Westlake School        Rodger Guerrero
Mark Keppel High School        Tony Azeltine
Oak Park High School              Heidi Cissell
Segerstrom High School           Mark Henson
Whittier Christian High School  Allison Harned

Online application!
As with the other SCVA events this year, the vocal solo competition application will go completely digital this year. Mark Freedkin and I are still fine-tuning the process from last year, and the revised application will be available well before the December 5 deadline. Stay tuned for updates.

Suggested repertoire!
Heidi Cissell, choral director at Oak Park High School, has put together an excellent list of suggested pieces and songbooks that I will post to the SCVA web site (a partial listing is below). Thank you, Heidi, for compiling this wonderful resource!

If any of you have additional arias and/or art songs that you feel are appropriate, or not appropriate, for the middle/high school level, please send those titles to me. It would be helpful to develop our own suggested repertoire list that we can provide to our adjudicators, so that each year, they can add their suggestions or tell us ahead of time whether they feel that any of the repertoire listed is not appropriate.

24 Italian Songs & Arias (of the 17th-18th Century) (ML, MH) - Various
26 Italian Songs & Arias (MH, ML) - John Glen Paton
Anthology of Art Songs of Black Composers - Various
Anthology of Spanish Song (H, L) - Various
Art Song - Compiled by Alice Howland and Poldi Zeitlin
Art Songs for School and Studio (MH, ML) - Glen/Spouse
Coloratura Arias for Soprano - Robert Larson
Deep River Collection, Vol 1 (H, L) - Moses Hogan
Easy Songs for Beginning Singers (S, A, T, B) - Joan Frey Boytim
English Songs Renaissance to Baroque (H, L) - ed. Stolen and Walters
Favorite French Art Songs (H, L) - Various
Favorite German Art Songs (H, L) - Various
Fifty Five Art Songs – Spaeth/Thompson
First Book of Baritone/Bass Solos Vol.1 & 2 - Joan Frey Boytim
First Book of Mezzo-Soprano Solos Vol. 1 & 2 - comp. by Joan Frey Boytim
First Book of Soprano Solos Vol. 1 & 2 - comp. by Joan Frey Boytim
First Book of Tenor Solos Vol. 1 & 2 - comp. by Joan Frey Boytim
Five Folk Songs (L, H) - Luigi Zaninelli
Heroes and Vagabonds (Solo Songs for the Male Changing Voice) - Mark Patterson
Old American Songs (Set 1 & 2) - Aaron Copeland
Pathways of Song (Vol. 1-4 L, Vol. 1-4 H) - Various
Reliquary of English Songs Vol. 1 - Potter
Solos for the Changing Male Voice - Dave & Jean Perry
Solos for Young Voices - Dave & Jean Perry
Songs of Travel (H, L) - Ralph Vaughan Williams
Thirty-Six Solos for Young Singers - Joan Frey Boytim
Young Singer, The (S, A, T, B) - Richard D. Row

Dates to remember!
Saturday December 5, 2008:    Application deadline
Saturday January 10, 2009:      Preliminary rounds
Saturday March 14, 2009:        Final round
(Note: This has been changed to avoid conflict with the ACDA national convention)
Sunday May 3, 2009:               Final performances at the Jr. High School Honor Choir concert


Junior High Honor Choir - Tony Azeltine, VP, Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir
Have your students save these dates for Junior High/9th Grade Honor Choir events.  Please help them remove and AVOID conflicts!

January 24 and 31, Saturdays:              Honor Choir Auditions, 9-12 A.M.
March 21*, April 25, and May 2:         Honor Choir Rehearsals, *PENDING Confirmation
May 3:                                                 Honor Choir and Vocal Solo Finalists Concert, 3:30 P.M. at Alhambra High School
*The March 21 rehearsal is pending conductor confirmation.

Why not consider hosting or adjudicating Junior High Honor Choir auditions?  Please e-mail me at or phone me at 626.572.2267.

Please encourage your 9th graders to audition for the Junior High Honor Choir 2009.  Their presence makes the difference!!


News from the CMEA Choral Representative - Christopher W. Peterson
This year CMEA will be offering a new opportunity for middle-level choral musicians, the CMEA Middle School Honor Choir. This exciting event will be available to students in grades six through nine, and the rehearsals and concert will take place during the CMEA In-Service Conference in March. Here are some important dates to mark on your calendar right away:

November 7, 2008:   Postmarked deadline for audition materials to be sent to the CMEA Choral  Representative
November 21, 2008: Notification of accepted singers via the CMEA website
December 15, 2008:  Postmarked deadline for paperwork and fees to be returned to CMEA
January 12, 2009:      Music packets and related materials mailed to accepted singers
March 12–14, 2008:  Middle School Honor Choir Festival in Ontario, CA

Complete audition information, participation details, and all forms will be available on the CMEA Website after September 10, 2008.  Go to and click the link to the CMEA Sections and the Southern Section (VII).  Contact Chris Peterson with your ideas or questions. (


Other Important Information
On-Line SCVA Membership Application
On-Line Festival Host Application