SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) - December 2008


Message from the President - Sheri Nelson
Lifelong Learners

Those of you who have taught in a school that has undergone a WASC accreditation in the last decade will be familiar with E.S.L.R. (Expected School Wide Learning Results).  At Alta Loma High School one of our expectations is that students will become “Life Long Learners”.  I believe we cannot expect that of our students if we don’t have the same expectation of ourselves.   It is so important that we continue to grow and learn and musicians.

There are so many wonderful choral and vocal programs in Southern California taught by colleagues who are willing to share their expertise that you don’t have to attend a national ACDA convention.  SCVA began its 08-09 season with a wonderful Fall In-Service organized by our Past President Mark Henson.  Karen Garrett shared her knowledge of sigh singing, Ruth Freeman shared her experience of fundraising with singing telegrams, and Mark introduced us to new literature, both new publications and those available free from the choral public domain library website.   We also had an adjudication workshop led by Scott Hedgecock featuring the Manhattan Beach Middle School Madrigals Singers and Bonita High School Chamber Singers, and Heather Gold led a session on preparing your students for honor choir auditions.  Thanks to both Mark Henson who organized the day and our colleagues who presented at the Fall In-service.

Another local opportunity we had to become a “Life Long Learner” was the new ACDA Regional Fall Conference which was held the same day as the SCVA High School Honor Choir rehearsal.  In addition to numerous reading sessions, including one led by Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe (USC), Dr. Christopher Peterson (CSU Fullerton) presented ideas for Keeping Your Singers on Task which focused on replacing the unwanted behavior with a wanted behavior.  During The Choir Director as the Voice Teacher  session, Desiree LaVertu gave us some observations she has made in her experiences as both a voice teacher and choir director and reminded us that it all come back to basics. 

If you have not attended a workshop or conference this Fall I hope that as you make your New Year’s Resolutions to attend one in 2009.  It is a great opportunity to gather with old friends, meet some new directors, learn some new techniques, or remind us of some old tried and true techniques we have just forgotten about.  Thank you again to those who give of their time to organize these rewarding activities and to those who share your expertise so that we can all continue to learn. 


Vocal Solo Competition - Colleen Kennedy, VP of Vocal Solo Competition
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 masterclass 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.

Once again, we have a wide selection of preliminary round sites to choose from this year. Many thanks to our colleagues who have volunteered their time and facilities. Special thanks to first-time hosts Joyann Gongaware of West Valley High School, Stan Nickel of Chaparral High School and Tiffany Tarleton of San Juan Hills High School.

NEW!  Chaparral High School, Temecula         Stan Nickel
Fullerton Union High School, Fullerton              Scott Hedgecock
Harvard-Westlake School, North Hollywood    Rodger Guerrero
Mark Keppel High School, Alhambra               Tony Azeltine
Matilija Jr. High School, Ojai                            Don Orser
Oak Park High School, Oak Park                     Heidi Cissell
San Juan Hills High School, San Juan Capistrano           Tiffany Tarleton
Segerstrom High School, Santa Ana                  Mark Henson
West Valley High School, Hemet                      Joyann Gongaware
Whittier Christian High School, Whittier            Allison Harned

Online Application
As with the other SCVA events this year, the vocal solo competition application will go completely digital this year. The online application is up and running on the SCVA web site at A link is the front page, as well as on the Events calendar.

Suggested Repertoire
A list of suggested repertoire and song books, compiled by Heidi Cissell at Oak Park High School, is available online in the event details information.

Application Information
 - Please remind participants to make sure that they are available for all dates and times before completing the application. The competition is a significant time commitment.
- Participation is open to students in jr. high/middle school (grades 6 – 8) and high school (grades 9 – 12).
- Participants must be active members of a school choral program. (Note: This requirement has been revised from previous years.)
- Chorus membership must be confirmed by the choral director.
- The non-refundable application fee remains $20.
- Applications must be accompanied by a school check or money order, payable to SCVA, or an SCVA e-Payments receipt. Please, no personal checks or cash.
- Directors or sponsors must be current members of SCVA, having paid their 2008-09 dues, in order for their students to participate.

Performance Information
- Each participant will sing one classical piece (art song or aria).
- Selections should be appropriate to the singer’s age and experience level.
- Participants have a total of 8 minutes to perform and work with the adjudicator.
- Singers must provide their own skilled accompanists for the preliminary and final rounds.
- More than just a competition, the preliminary and final rounds are in masterclass format, lasting approximately 3 to 4 hours, including breaks.
- Participants are expected to check in before the masterclass starts and remain until the end to receive their certificates and adjudication forms.
- Depending on the number of finalists, there may be two sessions for the final round (as happened last year). If so, participants will only need to attend one of the sessions.
- Scholarships will be awarded, and final placement of the high school finalists will be announced, at the Jr. High/Middle School Honor Choir concert.

Dates to Remember
- Saturday December 6, 2008: Application deadline
- Saturday January 10, 2009: Preliminary round
- Saturday March 14, 2009: Final round
- Sunday May 3, 2009: Final performances at the Jr. High/Middle School Honor Choir concert


JUNIOR HIGH/MIDDLE SCHOOL HONOR CHOIR - Tony Azeltine, VP of Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir
Dear Colleagues,

The registration web page for auditions and membership in the Honor Choir will be open Monday, Dec. 8, through Tuesday, January 8, 2009.  This will give directors adequate time to “talk it up” with your students.  Remember, the larger the audition base, the better a group we can cull, and the larger a group we can field.  We’d like to get as many students involved, in some way, as we can.  This will assist all of your programs further down the line.  High School Directors … Please encourage your 9th grade males to audition. Their presence makes the difference!! All registrations must be done on-line at

The following sites have been confirmed for auditions.

           Jan. 24                                                Jan. 31
Mark Keppel, Alhambra                       Arlington HS, Riverside
Segerstrom HS, Santa Ana                   La Habra HS, La Habra
                                                            Mesa Robles MS, Hacienda Heights
                                                            Manhattan Beach MS, Manhattan Beach

Please notify me of any student in financial need.  Some scholarship money may be available.

When placing voice parts, please have student indicate ALL parts the student currently sings in his/her ensemble.

WE NEED ADJUDICATORS and HOSTS for January 24 and 31, 2009.

Why not consider hosting or adjudicating Junior High/9th Grade Honor Choir auditions?  Please e-mail me at, or phone me at (626) 572-2267 ASAP!!

Because of construction at various pre-selected sites, we are seeking a performance venue.  It must be acoustically appropriate, with a good piano worthy of the vocal solo finalists and an honor choir.  Rehearsals will be staggered around the southland, to ease the travel burden on all for at least one week.

Thank you for all your support in making this a very special event for our students.


Young Women’s and Young Men’s Harmony Festivals - Mark Freedkin, VP of Barbershop Harmony Festivals
There is still room for additional singers at this year’s Barbershop Harmony Festivals.  The 2009 “Diva Day” will be held on Saturday, February 7, and the “Young Men’s Harmony Festival” will be held on Saturday, February 21. Both of these events will held at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.

You can download and print the appropriate application forms from the SCVA website. Complete and return the applications and forms, along with payment of $25 per singer by cash, check or money order payable to Harborlites (for Diva Day) or Masters of Harmony (for the Young Men’s Festival).  Each event is limited to a maximum of 250 participants, so be sure to submit your applications as soon as possible.  Please note that these festivals are separate events, and you must send the appropriate forms and payments to the proper recipient.

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:


Calling All Choral Festival Adjudicators - Chris Hall, Executive Vice President
Due to the hard work of our positive and encouraging choral adjudicators in past years, the Board has approved an increase in the fee for your assistance.  We will be paying $175 to the choral festival adjudicators for the upcoming 2009 festivals.  Festival dates are in this newsletter and also on the website and I’ll be contacting all of you in January.  I look forward to working with you.


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 40 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 2, 2009, 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.

Festival Listings
Festival Code of Conduct
Festival Application


Vocal Jazz - Christine Enns, VP-Jazz Choir

SCVA Vocal Jazz Festival Tuesday March 10th, 2009 with Christine Helferich-Guter  and Kerry Marsh

We finally have our date set for our SCVA Vocal Jazz Festival! We are pleased to announce that Christine Helferich-Guter, director of Cal State Long Beach Vocal Jazz and Kerry Marsh, director of Cal State Sacramento Vocal Jazz will be our adjudicator/ clinicians. Cal State Long Beach will close the evening with a performance by their wonderful jazz group, Pacific Standard Time! After receiving your emails, many of you suggested we do a festival around February/March as it would help students prepare for competition and spring performances.  On Tuesday March 10th, 2009 we will be hosting our festival/clinic with an added “vocal solo” portion. Please mark your calendars as this will be a great gathering of vocal jazz students and teachers throughout Southern California.  For those participating in competition, students will also get great exposure and coaching from our very experienced clinicians. Early applications are being accepted now, space is limited so do not delay! If you have any questions please email me at Please put this date on your calendar!!!  The festival is open to all levels, novice through advanced.  The fee is only $150 per group plus an additional $5 per student participant for the concert.

Location:  Valencia High School, 27801 N.  Dickason Dr. Valencia, Ca. 91355
12:30pm – 6:30pm with concert beginning at 7pm (may change slightly based on the number of groups attending)
  16 microphones
  Piano, Bass Amp (drum set may be provided if requested)
  $150 per group

Please note: No cash or personal checks accepted.  Payment may be made by school or booster club check, money order, or PayPal.  If using PayPal, please include your confirmation slip with your application.

Jazz Festival Application


Other Important Information
On-Line SCVA Membership Application