SCVA Newsletter (on-line version) - December 2009


Message from the President - Sheri Nelson
Internal and External Assessment

In this education era of standardized testing, API scores, and the federal AYP we need to continue to remind colleagues, administrators, and parents that assessment comes in many forms.  Last month’s article focused on summative assessment (assessment OF learning) verses formative assessment (assessment FOR learning).  I want to expand the topic of formative assessment to include both internal and external formative assessment.

We as director are constantly assessing what we are hearing and providing feedback to the ensemble members.  We might correct notes, rhythm, diction, vowel shape, tone quality, phrasing or dynamics.  Another excellent source of external formative assessment is the feedback provided by an adjudicator.  Bring one or more of your choirs to an SCVA Festival this spring.  Our adjudicators will provide you with feedback on choral tone, intonation, interpretation, diction, accuracy, balance, blend, and presentation.  We don’t have a music CST (California Standardized Test) but this is one way to provide your administration with an evaluation of the learning that is taking place every day in your classroom.  The festival listings are now posted on-line.  Submit your application today at and don’t forget to send in your payment within 30 days.

As directors we are responsible for that daily external formative assessment but it is critical that we also encourage and teach our singers to assess themselves.  This is not only important to develop their listening skills; it will also require them to use higher level thinking skills.  Through guided questioning in the rehearsal you can teach your students to listen to their own tone quality, tone productions, note accuracy, or interpretation.  They should learn to listen and determine if they not only have accurate pitch and rhythm but other musical elements.  We should strive to have them all listen during rehearsal, assess what can be improved, determine how they might improve it, and then reassess if their solution solved the problem while they are singing.

We focus everyday on student learning.  Again, I encourage you to take the time to remind other teachers, parents, administrators, and your school board members that music courses are the role model of formative assessment, both internal and external.  Attend a festival this year to provide your students with another form of external assessment.   If a school can spend 5+ days on CST testing you should have the opportunity to take a day to have an assessment of their musical achievement.


Jennifer Stanley, VP of High School Festivals and Maria Fritts, VP of Middle School/Junior High Festivals

No paper application follows this article!  Online registration will improve the registration process in several ways:
 - A festival will have availability if it says “Register.”
 - As soon as a festival is full, it will be closed on the website.
 - You don’t need a second choice festival since you can only register if there is availability.

YOUR FESTIVAL REGISTRATION WILL NOT BE COMPLETED UNTIL PAYMENT IS RECEIVED. When you apply online, you will receive an email confirming your initial registration.  This email will include the amount due ($75 for MS/JHS and HS choirs) and you can use this email as an invoice to request a school check.  A faster way to pay and guarantee your registration is to pay on the SCVA website through PayPal.  IF PAYMENT IS NOT RECEIVED WITHIN 30 DAYS OF YOUR INITIAL REGISTRATION, YOUR REGISTRATION WILL BE CANCELLED.

APPLY EARLY FOR MOST FESTIVAL AVAILABILITY.  As a courtesy to others, please do not bring more than two choirs to one festival.  Each choir is limited to one festival per season.  The registration deadline is March 1, 2010, and late registrations will not be accepted.  Please check your school’s testing schedule and spring break when scheduling your festival.  Please note the location of your festival so you can begin planning for transportation.  We can’t process your registration unless you are a current member of SCVA; if your membership is not current, please purchase it online or add $35 to your check amount.

WHY ATTEND A CHORAL FESTIVAL?  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!  Many thanks to our volunteer festival hosts for hosting 50 SCVA festivals in 2010!!

 - Festival Schedule
 - Online Festival Registration Form
 - PayPal system for online payment of festival fees and membership dues
 - Festival Adjudication Form
 - Adjudication Scoring Scale
 - Festival Code of Conduct
 - Festival Listening Guide
 - Festival Host Guide
 - List of Recommended Choral Literature
 - Festival Music Suggestion Form (for additions to List of Recommended Choral Literature)

For more information or questions, contact Maria Fritts at or (951) 926-6776; contact Jennifer Stanley at or (626) 258-5292.

Festival Listings and On-Line Registration


Greetings  to all SCVA adjudicators and thanks for your willingness to serve.  I am taking over the responsibilities of scheduling you into this year's festivals.  I will be in touch via email soon with more information and to verify that the lines of communication are open.  If you need to contact me, please feel free to email me at  If you know that your email, phone, or address information has changed, please email that to me as well.  Looking forward to working with you all.


Young Women’s and Young Men’s Harmony Festivals - Mark Freedkin, VP - 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 5th annual “Diva Day” Young Women in Harmony Festival, sponsored by the Harborlites Chorus, will be held on Saturday, February 6, and the 10th annual “Young Men’s Harmony Festival” will be held on Saturday, February 20, 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.

Although the early-registration deadline has passed, the application fee is still only $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:


WEBSITE UPDATE  - Mark Freedkin, SCVA Webmaster
We continue to improve the on-line features of our website.  The latest improvement is the ability to register for Festivals; we hope you find this new capability helpful and easy to use.  If you have any comments, questions or problems with any of the pages on our website, please contact Mark Freedkin at or (714) 357-1187.

How to Save Money When Using PayPal
When using PayPal to pay the application or participation fees for multiple students, you can minimize the processing fees by adding the desired item to your Shopping Cart only one time, and then specify a quantity for that one item.  You should not add the same item to your Shopping Cart multiple times (once for each student), since that will result in a larger processing fee added to you total transaction.


Junior High Honor Choir - Debbie Montpas, VP, Junior High Honor Choir

Dear Colleagues, Students, and Parents,

The Southern California Vocal Association (SCVA) has been hosting the Junior Honor Choir for a number of years.  Membership in this prestigious choir is open to students who are enrolled in their school choir and are currently in 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th grade.   High school BOYS in 9th grade are especially needed for a solid bass/baritone section.  As its name implies, this is an HONOR CHOIR and we are looking for the best and brightest singers in Southern California who are responsible and dedicated.

I am pleased to announce that the director for this year’s Junior High Honor Choir is Dr. Christopher Peterson, Associate Professor of Music at California State University, Fullerton.  Dr. Peterson directs the Men’s Chorus and teaches classes in choral music education.  This is going to be an exceptional experience for your students and I hope that you’ll encourage ALL of your best singers to audition for this year’s Honor Choir.

Membership in the Junior High Honor Choir is based on a successful audition.  Singers must be able to demonstrate that they can perform the following:
1. Sing a major scale up and down (a cappella)
2. Sing a major triad and a minor triad (a cappella)
3. Sing an octave (a cappella)
4. Sight read a brief melody (a cappella on “do”, numbers or letters)
5. Sight read rhythms  (ta, ti-ti or clapping)
6. Sing tonal memory patterns
7. Sing “America” / “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (a cappella)

You will need to go onto the   website to register for an audition day and time.  There is a $5 audition fee.

JANUARY 30                                     FEBRUARY 6
Arlington HS, Riverside                        Lincoln MS, Santa Monica
Manhattan Beach Ms                            Mesa Robles MS, Hacienda Heights
Mark Keppel HS, Alhambra                 Bernardo Yorba MS, Yorba Linda
                                                            McFadden Int., Santa Ana

Students will be notified by FEBRUARY 26 if they have been accepted into the Honor Choir. 
to help pay for your music, the conductor, accompanist, and other expenses.

PARENTS:  We have made every attempt to make the Honor Choir rehearsals as “driver friendly” as possible.  This year there will be only TWO rehearsals and one of them will be as close to your area as possible.  We depend on your commitment to this event so that we are able to have a successful performance.


REGIONAL REHEARSAL  (attend ONE near you)
 - March 13 @ Arlington HS from 9:00 a.m. to NOON (2951 Jackson Street, Riverside, 92503)
 - March 13 @ John Adams MS from 1:00 – 4:00 PM (2425 16th St., Santa Monica 90405)
 - March 20 @ Mesa Robles MS from 9:00 AM to NOON (16060 Mesa Robles Dr., Hacienda Heights 91745)

You MUST also attend the All-day rehearsal on MAY 1ST.  The sessions will be from 9:00 – Noon and from 2:00 – 5:00 pm.  The Honor Choir CONCERT is that evening.  (The performance site has not been confirmed.) Students will be asked to bring a SACK LUNCH from home that day.  SCVA will host a pizza DINNER and snacks for the singers.

STUDENTS:  If chosen for the SCVA Junior High Honor Choir , I agree to:
1. Attend and be on time for ONE Regional Rehearsal
2. Attend and be on time for the May 1st Rehearsal with Dr. Peterson
3. Be fully prepared with my music
for the May 1st rehearsal
4. Be polite and respectful toward everyone associated with the Honor Choir

I look forward to having a WONDERFUL choral experience and hope many of you singers will take this opportunity to become a part of this year’s Junior High Honor Choir.

Debbie Montpas,


Other Important Information
On-Line SCVA Membership Application (not required for Honor Choir audition or participation)